How Mental Health, Religion, and Spirituality Are Interconnected (My Story)

If you didn’t already know, May is Mental Health Awareness month in the U.S.A. Depending on the organization, you’ll find different themes. #CureStigma for NAMI, #4Mind4Body for Mental Health America etc.  So far, this year has led me to looking for lost keys, and finding them once I’ve stopped looking.  I’ve found myself religiously pursuing the wisdom of spiritual texts and practices. I have been implementing old practices on a new level, and leaning new ways to look at the wisdom and teachings of my elders that I had previously either ignored, or wasn’t yet at a level of awareness where I could understand their guidance, even on a basic level. Feelings and experiences I didn’t have words for, now have new meaning. And as I learn and struggle with growing through changes I have moments of anxiousness and of deep sadness, while also experiencing deep gratitude and joy. Honestly, it’s been a ride.

So, it made the most sense for me to introduce the theme of spirituality as it related to mental health (or perhaps mental health and how it is connected to spiritual being-ness).

I’ve invited some special guests to talk about the relationship between Mental Health, Religion, and Spirituality. I write it as three items, but I believe both mental health and religion are the human touch we bring to spirituality. I can’t wait to share the interviews with you this month!

But before I present their insights and perspectives, I wanted to share with you some of my own even as I’m still learning them…it’s a journey after all.

The first time I started doing inner-child work, I began to uncover what I believe to be the start of my anxiety and depression. Even though we didn’t have much in our single parent home, we seemed to have just enough and I remember having a happy childhood. I spent most of my time with my grandmom and her friends, I loved sitting around them and being all up in grown-folks business. Growing up, I was the only girl my age on my street, so all of my closest and dearest friends were boys. I was for all intents an purposes not a “girly girl” and was frequently called a “tomboy”. That didn’t bother me, and I didn’t take it as an insult. I was shy and quiet upon initial meeting but once I warmed up I was an active, wide eyed, “chatty Kathy” around people I considered friends and family. Knowing what an introvert was and claiming that as a label simply wasn’t a thing. I was an old soul with a close knit neighborhood, and happy go lucky.

But then something changed. 

My mom would meet a man who would become her husband, uproot us from my grandmother’s house, the house and neighborhood of my happiest memories with my childhood friends and neighbors who watched out for each other and took turns keeping an eye on us kids. She also unintentionally separated me from the base of my identity, and the foundation of my wisdom and knowledge when I moved away from the one person who understood me the most, my grandmom. I didn’t feel right about the man she would marry but I didn’t understand why, my instincts simply told me he was not a nice man and that my mom was not the mom I loved when she was with him.

It was then that I began to let go of the girl who happily played freeze tag and hide and go seek with the guys, and replaced myself with a false self to survive the dysfunction of my home and the environment around me. Depression for me formed out of suppressed anger, fear, disappointment, hatred, and powerlessness turned inward with no outlet.

I eventually made friends with a few girls, one in particular came from a very religious family and while I knew prayer, I learned a new level of prayer from her family. She introduced me to ballet and I found my outlet in dance and peace in talking to this old invisible guy that watched over me from the sky. By the time I was 10,  I would have vivid dreams I could recall and write stories about, including dreams about the end of the world. I began writing stories about my dreams and had an invisible friend to share them with.

Eventually, my mom would divorce the mean man and start taking us to church consistently. I again would meet a man who gave me creepy feelings only this time he would be the pastor. At this point I was being taught not to trust myself and my instincts because I was just a kid…what did I know? That pastor, who was a married man, ended up in scandal being found out to have been sleeping with multiple women in the church. The second husband of my mother, a minister of the Christian church, walked out one morning, happily smiling and laughing only for us to come home from school and see half of the house empty and having to call our mom at work to report a robbery that didn’t happen because the step father was gone too. So as I prayed to the invisible old man, I was also being constantly lied to, and abandoned by men of power and influence. And the women around me were always taking it, fighting each other for scraps, and suffering in silence convincing themselves that their husbands and husbands (the not really married kind) were heaven sent.

I sponged it all. 

I eventually forgot about the peace I felt in that solitude with my invisible friend/old man of the sky, and I stopped dancing from the joy pouring out of my spirit. I thought about death a lot, and non-existence, I often wondered why did a mistake like me have to be so much a burden. I built my life trying to be useful, perfect, not needing much from others so as not to get on people’s bad side, and I wondered why I still couldn’t fix things. Why I wasn’t alright. I wondered if I was to blame for everything that went wrong. I went to Catholic school and learned that if I killed myself I would go to Hell; a fiery red flaming furnace of everlasting pain and agony, and I didn’t need any more of that. Great, now I had to stay in a world that I hated and that hated me.

By the time I got to high school I still struggled with depression, but it became a part of my life by then. I continued to have panic attacks when presented with any type of confrontation and I was a geek, without the honor roll to go with it. Youtube shows like Awkward Black Girl didn’t exist back then to help me feel like I belonged…somewhere…anywhere! My only saving grace (survival mode mask) was that I could dance and sing. I wrote short stories that classmates took a liking to, and I wrote poetry for friends to give to their crushes. Luckily, perhaps by Divine intervention, my guidance counselor took an interest in me and even though her goal was to get me to college, she became my confidant who I talked to about my depression.

I also had the mentorship of a male deacon (who sadly passed away due to lung cancer) and new church and pastor, both of whom I adored and saw as father figures. Both of whom never truly addressed mental health issues when we spoke, and likely did not recognize my mental health symptoms in how I spoke and questioned everything. Not only me, but other people in the church would be written off as “that crazy uncle” and such. Later, I would be able to recognize that people living with conditions such a schizoaffective disorders and bipolar disorders were just called crazy relatives. The rest of the members, mostly women would simply shoot my natural curiosity about the world and religion down. They were women of faith and no question, and I believe they were good intentioned and well meaning, but their rejection left scars. When I questioned things, when I spoke about my thoughts about death, when I mentioned my dreams I was written off as being disobedient, told I needed to pray more, and constantly reminded about “the enemy” aka the devil that was clearly attacking me. Of course “love” wasn’t just chastisement, but I’m sharing this aspect of how I perceived things at that time.

My depression grew deeper and deeper and I kept feeling worse and worse about myself believing that something was inherently wrong with me because even though I prayed, and did what people told me to do, nothing changed and I wondered if I was always being punished for everything that shaped who I had become. Church and religion gave me friends, and community, which helped ease the pain of my depression, but at the same time, I had no real relationship with this Jesus guy and the invisible old man of the sky he called Father. And quite frankly, I couldn’t relate to what was presented to me of either depiction.

Even though my dreams were so revealing that if I had known about psychoanalysis I would have learned so much about myself and my history, I stopped listening to my dreams, I stopped listening to the small voice inside my head that spoke from my gut. I found that could not hear from the G-d that my dreams introduced me to amongst the noise of dominating men leaders and liars and the women who made excuses for them. I couldn’t feel this Divine Presence that gave me Breath when I couldn’t see my way through my disappointment for the few good men who didn’t know how to adequately address mental illness and the women who though they probably meant well, encouraged me to just pray about it. I could not find myself, when everything about the me that kept bubbling up despite my trying to suppress myself simply did not fit nice and neat into the orthodoxy of “normal”. Even though the last Christian church I went to was a pretty good experience (heck, they even had a husband and wife team as co-pastors), the damage was done and I was tired of pretending to be a  title or affiliation just to fit in, to survive, to avoid conflict and confrontation. I began letting go of religion and eventually left the church.

My story about my relationship with contemporary Christian religion is not unique. Heck, even my fall out with religious communities and the belief systems they present as truth is not unique. People have often wondered why G-d has forsaken them in times of atrocities such as genocides, marital abuse, rape and so on. The very communities that give us peace in times of storm, also give us the most aggravation, frustration, and leave us with a deep spiritual hunger. Nevertheless, my story hasn’t ended with bitterness and anger though.

I eventually found my way into mental health recovery, and after some serious hard work I released, (and make it an ongoing and conscious practice of releasing) toxic relationships including the one I had with toxic masculinity.  Just as I began to question why I even held onto to a belief in the divine, I had a spiritual experience that I’ll have to tell you about some other time (though words would not be sufficient) and was compelled into purpose by the Higher Power of my understanding.  Based on that spiritual awakening I was moved to again seek fellowship with people who I could practice my foundational contemplative practices with, (now that I knew what they were called).

After an invite that came at the right time, and an openness to inner wisdom leadings, I began attending Meetings for worship with Friends, and I eventually came across an organization called The Mystic Soul Project where they caught my interest with a focus on people of color centeredness and pretty much had my full attention with the words “intersections of contemplation/mysticism, action/activism & healing”.  I volunteered to organize a local inclusive community fellowship where we could explore those intersections together. (Hit me up if interested to learn more!)

Through Mystic Soul Project, like other people who found it and attended their inaugural conference,  I too found missing pieces that I couldn’t quite put my finger on, but felt their absence from my life. I began being introduced to concepts such as indigenous reclamation, decolonized religion, and healing intergenerational trauma, and how all of this has to do with mental health and spirituality.

There’s so much more I could get into with this topic and many pieces of my story that simply wouldn’t fit in a blog format, perhaps a memoir one day eh?

In the upcoming interviews I hope to shed some more light on this topic.

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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Live Love Out Loud: A 2016 Year in Review Post

This last post of the year is a quick review of the ups and downs and “meh” moments from 2016. 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. My hope is that through my personal experiences you gain some new insight and perspective.

glasess and hearts

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. It’s easier to keep it as is for now.

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 2016 was…actually I had 2 words this year Produce and Manifest

“Manifesting is practically translating your purpose, (purpose being loosely defined as your unique expression of love in the world) into an actionable blueprint for the next phase of life’s work which you are uniquely designed for”.

( I honestly cannot remember how I came up with that definition but I know it’s not my original wording; it simply coincided with my thinking, so I put quotes around it. )

My personal theme was: Live Love Out Loud

At the start of the year I identified that my theme was about my personal experience with love,  and the “out loud” part was about getting my thoughts on paper so to speak.

Throughout the year and by the end of the year I had documented out several guidelines and principles (instead of a “How-to” manual or set agenda)  to express what I was recollecting about love, and living with love as my foundation and personal religious practice.  The guidelines became clear to me as I looked to my intentions for each slice of life.

For instance, in my Social Slice (and as I reflect it touches into personal and spiritual as well)  I focused on relationships with men. One way I addressed this focus was through romantic type relationships. I had set out to get back into the dating scene after a much needed hiatus. I thought I’d find myself in a loving committed relationship, but instead I found great disappointment and yet another learning experience.

While I wanted to blame that disappointment on something (someone) outside of myself, I can only reflect on where shadow resided within myself that still needed to heal.  A major shadow area I had  to take a deeper look at was how I wanted to show up to relationships and most importantly, my perception of who was loveable and by whom.  My ACA/ACOA background planted a lot of negative messages in my head that I hadn’t realized still played on repeat. Choosing to be alone; to avoid relationships would not, and did not address those tapes.  Continuing to devour media that I know is purposely meant to make you feel “not enough” so you can buy something to “fix it” also did not help the situation. While I said I was looking to date, I realized later I was looking to confirm my perception of the dating landscape and how men perceived me as a black woman in an era of “black girl magic” coupled with protests about racial and social injustice.  *hint* It wasn’t a very positive outlook.

Let’s just say the whole dating experience triggered the mess out of me.

However, when I wanted to give up completely on the notion of being loved and shutting down that piece of my heart forever, I found that I couldn’t, because I wasn’t bitter and I also didn’t fully believe my negative perception anymore. The love I’d been researching, practicing, and blogging about actually became graspable by how fast I was able to bounce back from let down after let down.  I began to understand that love was always there for me and all I needed to do was reach within so I could perceive it better when I looked out.

I knew I had a right to be mad, (thanks for the reminder Solange) but still, I found compassion, and forgiveness. I sought to heal specific areas of my psyche that I hadn’t thought to analyze and build up coping skills for. And when I wanted to embrace my deepest fears and stay stuck, I chose love that extended beyond myself for true growth; love that sets healthy boundaries and not because a professional told me to have them but because I believed I was worthy of someone who would respect them and that having healthy boundaries would position me for joyful living. I chose love with standards that were no longer based on learned survival mechanisms from the helplessness of childhood, but the kind you discover when you’re realize the hidden power inside.

And when you are no longer concerned with the uncomfortable you feel about putting yourself and your needs 1st you understand that there is no one on this planet that is worth sacrificing your self-esteem over. I re-learned that people who honored their own boundaries, could honor mines. That people who are loving could act loving because they had it to give in the 1st place. And as I remembered what it felt like to be genuinely loved, and cared for (not simply tolerated, or grudgingly accepted) I began to encounter more and more people who showed me love, care, and respect for my boundaries.

I saw how these concepts translated into my professional slice. And knew I needed to let some things go this year that I could no longer carry with me into the new. One of those things was A & D Media. After “A” left the business to me, I hadn’t felt right about continuing it the way I did. Still I pressed on and did the best I could do to stick to the original plan and mission. We had set out to be a social media marketing firm, but as time went by I felt that a firm or even a small agency was not what I really wanted to run, especially when I had to do it without my business partner. After subcontracting with both an agency and a firm, that feeling was confirmed. So I felt a bit stuck for awhile and stopped actively marketing my business.I hid behind client work, I focused on side projects and ignored what helped make those side projects even possible and in turn I made me miserable.

I could not preach out loving yourself loving your business if I was not loving my own. I knew I’d be making changes and I knew I needed help doing so. I began working with the amazing Anastacia Brice of AssistU. I had met quite a few virtual service providers who had worked with her and I admired their confidence, realness, skills, and fire so I was excited to work with an industry pioneer but most importantly someone who claimed that, “Loving is my calling, my honor, my absolute joy, and at the center of everything I do professionally and personally.”

Throughout the year we worked together on a lot of my mindset issues and began developing and documenting business standards and modes of operating that represented how I could make love visible through my work; through a business that represented my strengths, my personality, my aptitude to learn and grow, and my ready and willingness to embrace and embody my authentic self, it would reflect more in how I showed up in my work practices for my clients.  I still have a lot to learn, but I’ve learned a lot of important foundational things along the way. For one, even though I can and do delegate and even partner up from time to time on special projects, (like mental wellness web series, and mental health healing circles) I’m a solopreneurial type of “preneur” and will be rebranding my business to reflect that in 2017.

Between working with my coach and helping one of my clients set up her amazing free make money your honey makeover challenge,(starting January 9th) I had the courage to take a good hard look at my numbers, not estimates, but the true costs of running a business that is sustainable and profitable. It was a wakeup call that if I wanted to remain in business, a mutually beneficial business, I had to stop allowing others to define the worth of my profession and my role in it.

As I look back over the last 12 months, all of this year felt like a set up and preparation for what was to come next. And there was a lot of learning about how I wanted to show up to my personal practice of love along the way. I encountered many circumstances that called for me to step out of my comfort zone, from traveling for work conferences and retreats, to saving a friendship even if that meant sacrificing income, to figuring out how to be an empathetic big sis towards my younger siblings who lost a great deal this year, to learning what it takes to build true community by learning what NOT to do. And I documented as much as possible to reference along the way. Some of these documentations were gathered for the book I’ve been working on about mental health and entrepreneurship which I’m planning to publish in 2017 (This is more concrete now that I have finished my 1st draft) while some of these documentations were meant just for my eyes… for now.

At the start of this post you might have noticed that I underlined actionable blueprint and work. I did this because I noticed one led to the other, so while this year it was about producing this actionable blueprint, next year is most definitely about the work and I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and get to it.

Until Next Time…Peace!

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A Breakthrough-2015 A Year At A Glance

I guess I’ll start with a heads up. This last post of the year is a quick review and recap of the ups and downs and “meh” moments from 2015. 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. My hope is that through my personal experiences you gain some new insight and perspective. Enjoy lovely people!

one way

Image via http://madcrisimages.com/

As I’ve shared before in previous reviews, I center most of my intentions for the year around 6 areas or slices of life: Personal, Social, Spiritual, Physical, 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 2015 was: Breakthrough and My personal theme was: Go Get It

It took me awhile to see the gifts I’ve possessed all along but, I got it. I really embraced pieces of myself I’d been denying for so long, because I personally did not see the value in what I brought to the table in comparison to what I believed the world valued. That was an “Aha!” moment that opened me to receive what life would soon reveal…a gift is only a gift if you choose to accept it.

My breakthrough (a sudden, dramatic, and important discovery or development.) this year led me to make the decision to step into my Purpose in the role as a mental health and wellness advocate. To become a voice for women entrepreneurs with a history of mental health disorders.  We may feel “other” because we feel inadequate or flawed or quirky or complicated. We may feel alone even when surrounded by support systems. We may be afraid because we do not want to be stigmatize for being who we are despite our ability to totally rock our careers. I want to be there, I want to run this race, I want to carry the torch and find new paths or more effective ways to run the paths we’ve already chosen.

Deciding to do a non-academic based investigation on the possible correlation between mental illness or mental health disorders and entrepreneurship led me to begin working on my 1st book on the subject, which then triggered an interest in pursuing advanced studies over the course of the next few years. In essence, I’ve decided to put into motion what I started when I 1st went to Rutgers and received my BA in Sociology. 10 years later I came back home to my original love for social work. I realize this time around, that I have a passion for the administrative and research side of social work, and most importantly I discovered a strong passion to expose research-inspired and evidence-based psychological resilience principles and practices for business owners and entrepreneurs…without sounding like the dry-eyes commercial guy.

What this will all look like… well, I’m still piecing that together to be honest. But as a starting point this year I co-launched my heart-work project Love Yourself Love Your Business, a virtual summit for entrepreneurs to learn more about the importance of a commitment to self-love when building a passion for profit or heart-work business. Self-sabotage, stress, not charging what you’re worth because you are unsure of your value, not having the confidence to market yourself and tell the world about your business are some of the reasons why I knew that this summit was needed and I’m proud to say we had a great response and will be expanding our outreach and taking it to a new level in 2016. I also did my 1st Speaking engagement as a mental wellness advocate and I didn’t freak out although I did manage to knock everything inside the podium on to the floor (just making sure everyone was awake of course haha!). Next year I intend to team up with my long-term marketing assistance client Dr. Angela Clack a Coach and Psychotherapist to present a web show all about mental wellness. And I joined my local branch of the National Alliance on Mental Illness NAMI  to be a part of something much larger than myself.

In the midst of all this I struggled with physical health issues which woke me up to finally tend to the much neglected self-care branch of my self-love tree. I went gluten-free for a month and committed to a strict low-acidity diet trying out recipes from this cookbook for people who have acid reflex issues and sensitive tummy issues. I lost about 20 pounds in that time just by changing up my diet and doing a lot of walking at the park with occasional yoga stretches and gym visits on a guest pass.  Honestly, I hated not being able to eat at restaurants like I used to, I hated the taste of gluten-free pancakes and got so fed up with not being able to eat things I love like onions, peppers, tomatoes, and drinking coffee that I pigged out on Thanksgiving giving myself a horrible gut attack in the process. Lesson learned. Making my signature lasagna dish for Christmas and not being able to eat it this year kind of sucked. But sleeping peacefully at night after enjoying small portions of some of my favorites was well worth it. I plan on incorporating much of the diet into my lifestyle going forward with subtle “cheat days” now that I’ve learned what keeps me from having attacks and what foods agree/disagree with me the most.

This diet led me to seek new connections because I needed to reach out to others who experienced similar issues to better understand how to cope with the changes in body and in seeking new connections I found myself exposed to new communities. Somehow I stumbled into an American Sign Language meetup group by accident and despite my lack of knowledge received a warm welcome from those in the deaf community. I found that having to learn a new language and being corrected when I goofed up or unintentionally committed a cultural ‘no-no’ out of sheer ignorance was quite humbling and gave me new perspective on the words empathy and compassion.

And while I realized that I needed to show others compassion, especially those closest to me, I realized yet again that I simply could not give what I didn’t have for myself. That by accepting myself for being perfectly imperfect I in turn was able to accept, forgive, and show compassion to others for the same. I’ll be taking these “gifts of imperfection” with me into 2016 and in the pursuit of living love out loud I wish you all a fulfilling and rewarding New Year!

Until Next Time…Peace!

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A Half-year Review Part II

dreams

Picking up  where I left off from last week, here is part II of my 6 month review…

Again, I center most of my intentions for the year around 6 areas or slices of life: Personal, Social, Spiritual, Physical, Professional, and Financial. I’m covering the remaining 5 here and then I’ll see you all again in August!

SOCIAL

Intention: Knock my walls down

As I work on getting more present and aware, I’ve come to really see how much I like to take on the role of the observer, even when it seems I’m being social. One of my talents is that I’m able to hold multiple conversations and still daydream at the same time without missing too much a beat. Social Media helps me do that because I’m used to monitoring several accounts for people and ghosting in their voice while still retaining my own. The issue comes into play in real life situations when I’m trying to develop real connections. When I feel inadequate, or when I feel not enough for a situation, or rather the people that make up a social situation, which I’m embarrassed to say is quite often; I tend to disappear for awhile, so I don’t have to deal with how Not awesome I am on the outside vs the amazing person I am on the inside.

Basically my natural defense mode is to go inside my own head where it’s safe. That results in self-imposed isolation, making me seeming very cold and distant and well… I start wall building.

The 3 main resources that have helped me tremendously in not only identifying these things about myself, but helping me to work through them so that I could …be love has been The Enneagram personality assessment, The Dark Side of Light Chasers by Debbie Ford, and The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown.

SPIRITUAL

Intention: Let Love guide all other slices

I only kept this separate to break down what’s going on here. I no longer believe this to be a separate slice, as I am no longer trying to compartmentalize my relationship with my Higher Power. I realized that was exactly what I was doing, and it took a split with an ex for me to understand that that was what I was doing when I felt “some type of way” about it being done to me.  When I first did this exercise, spirituality and religion held no real distinction so it was easy for me to separate this slice. It looked something like this: Step 1 Go to church on Sunday Step 2 say a prayer at night for the homeless Step 3 Try not to cuss people out throughout the week so no one could question your claim to fame.

However, religion can be tricky and while I don’t identify as solely spiritual but not religious now because I think there is a pivotal role for religion in this society; I think it’s very important to come to your own understanding of the role organized religion plays in your life.  Right now, I’m being led down the path of a seeker but while I seek I already hold certain foundational beliefs one such is that Love seems to be a central theme in many of the major organized religions so I believe love is key. So while I’m working to integrate love, the verb in all I do, I’m seeking to understand that all of what love is which seems to be a life-long journey at least.

PHYSICAL, PROFESSIONAL, and FINANCIAL

I’m grouping these together because they share a common goal. The goal is to try my hand at living in the some of the places I’ve dreamt about as a little girl. There are way more places I’d like to visit, I’ve mentioned before that I’ve wanted to do a volunteer vacation in Africa, but this is something else and this list isn’t as long as the quick visit list. This isn’t about a few days or few weeks pit stop. It’s so much more. I’ll be blogging more on how I’m working on these 3 slices because they are the easiest to measure. It’s much easier to see the intention to move when you’re glancing out the window and it overlooks mountains and hidden valleys rather than a string of Mcmansions (actually some of those developments are kind nice though).  It’s much easier to see the intention to rebrand when you’re passing out new business cards and reciting your new elevator pitch, an much easier to measure the success of the intention to make a certain amount of money, when your bank account shows that you have it filed away in savings.

For now I’ll leave you with these resources: Being more organized helps me be a better professional and I am a fan of the Productive Flourishing Planners method of organizing my work-life.

Also, I am a fan of Make Money Your Honey and I’m excited about this new workbook to help with the process of taking more actionable steps towards financial freedom.

One of the resources I plan to utilize is airbnb and reading the blogs of other traveling location independent entrepreneurs helps a lot. I found this post about how to choose a great air bnb a great starting place.

I’ve heard of travel hacking, though I’m still not sure I feel like doing all the research necessary to actually be any good at it. (I have a business to run after all.)

So there you have it, the blog friendly edition of my personal 6 month review!

Until next time…Peace!

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It’s June! Time for A Half-year Review-Part I

A promised, here is a look at the upcoming blog themes for the remainder of the year. June: Awareness, Acceptance and Facing judgment, July: {Blog Hiatus } August: Be The Change interview series, September: A Second wind for the neo Purposepreneur, October: Express Yourself, November: Gratitude and Thanksgiving, December: Connection and Community.

I wasn’t sure how I could cover Awareness, Acceptance and Facing judgment in 2 blog posts but being that this is June and the last month of the 1st half of the year, a half- year review seems perfect. So here goes…

My personal theme for this year is: Go Get It

Sail

I’m not going to lie, sometimes this ride called life feels so exhausting; you really do wish there’s a easy button for you to push. However, reality has shown me that if I wanted change, if I wanted movement, if I wanted breakthrough- it would be an inside-out job…more like a lifestyle. I understand that there will be times for sitting still and simply being present,  and you experience those times even if you don’t like it. But, there are also times when things need to be set in motion so you can position yourself for whatever comes next. It was time for me to move.

It has been scary! I have backed down only to pick myself back up, I’ve hesitated only to say, “nah, I’m just gonna say it, I’m just gonna do that, I’m just going be this” and I throw myself back in the ring.  So far, some of my favorite moves have been… the decision that a social media marketing firm was not the path for me so I began subtly marketing myself specifically as a solo Virtual Marketing Assistant to women Coaches, Speakers, and Authors, and it feels extremely liberating. I formed a joint venture, and together we launched the Love Yourself Love Your Business virtual summit and a new found confidence emerged, (not to mention the start of a new business model). I conducted my 1st Speaking Engagement as a personal development Blogger to a room full of women, and it was empowering.  There is still much work to do, but this time around I’m really just enjoying the journey.

My word for the year is: Breakthrough

I had to look the word up because I wasn’t sure where it came from or what it would look like for me.

A Breakthrough is defined as a sudden, dramatic, and important discovery or development. It’s also an instance of achieving success in a particular sphere or activity.

Synonyms include: advance, development, step forward, success, improvement.

I haven’t felt any suddenness or dramatization of anything in particular, but others around me have told me that I’ve changed-for the better; while still there others who ask me if certain things will stay the same. I can’t promise things will remain the same, that’s the funny thing about transformation, change occurs. I constantly experience 1st hand, the whole adage about reason, season, and lifetime encounters. And because “go get it” means acting despite fear in most cases, I’m learning that much of my process towards a breakthrough is surprisingly about self-awareness, self-acceptance, and deciding I’d rather be judged for being true to myself, than hold myself back another minute since doing so never delivered on whatever sense of belonging I was hoping it would provide me.  And yeah, that presents lots of reason and seasonal encounters. We shall see what this looks like more and more as the year unfolds…

As I’ve shared before in previous reviews, I center most of my intentions for the year around 6 areas or slices of life: Personal, Social, Spiritual, Physical, Professional, and Financial. This year my goal setting was done differently, so I’m using the word intention on purpose.

PERSONAL

Intention: To gain more clarity around my personal brand and adjust accordingly.

A good chunk of my personal brand is expressed through this blog, so with that being said…

Blog Hiatus and Special Announcement: The reason I’m going on a blog hiatus in July is because I am converting Asummermoon.com to LynetteDavis.com The blog will still essentially remain a blog which strives to Inspire Action, and Revive Passion however, instead of saying Empower the Inner Child I’m saying Empower Women to Activate their Inner Superheroine. And I am not a ‘how-to’ type of personal development blogger because there isn’t a one-size fits all approach to anything in this life.

I also realized that I was most passionate about empowering women who feel “other”. “Other” is defined differently for each woman. Personally, I’d always felt “other” for being introverted, struggling with codependent behaviors in relationships, being a black woman in America, and a business owner who has to be very mindful of my history with depression and anxiety. Coming out about all of this sparked another happening in the personal slice area of development…

Write 1st nonfiction book: Never thought the 1st book I’d want to publish would be nonfiction but that is what it will be. (I’ve decided to go in a different direction with my poetry.) I am currently and actively working on a book project about mental health issues amongst women in business and have called upon women entrepreneurs, and mental healthcare providers from around the globe to help me out. I’ll be sharing tidbits and interesting findings from my research on Twitter.

I’ll pick up with quick summaries on the other 5 slices plus resources I’ve discovered these past 6 months next Sunday.

If you’ve posted a half-year review online, I’d love to read it so feel free to share in the comments section or a private email if you prefer.

 

Until next time…Peace!

 

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