Sunday, September 6, 2009


I know the Love that waits for me
Is a love so deep and pure I can't even really fathom it -
So I don't wonder about it anymore.
I know that what Life has in store for me
is wilder than my wildest dreams
Sits outside the boundaries of my imagination
And far exceeds anything I could possibly expect
So I don't do too much thinking of it anymore.
I know that it's out there, waiting
And each day that passes by is a day I get closer to it -
And my sense for it gets stronger daily -
So I've let go of looking for it.
I know that the Love that waits for me
Isn't meant for my full understanding
Some things need our acceptance, and nothing more;
When I'm ready to accept it,
I know that this Love will actually find me.

© 2009 Patricia B.

The process:

I've been having lots of conversations lately with my girlfriends about marriage... well, actually more about weddings than marriage but definitely on the topic of what it takes to be successful in marriage. I guess I'm just in the time of my life where these conversations are more prevalent - because they sure weren't a few years ago! Just now, as I thought of the prospect of me being married, the first line of that poem popped into my head. And then the rest just flowed out.

When I'm ready to accept it/ I know that this Love will actually find me.

I don't know why, but I'm not worried.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

On Pride and its Place.

The biggest failures I have ever seen and experienced have always come about because someone could not let go of their pride. What's is its purpose? Where does pride really belong, if anywhere? It's good when we are proud of ourselves - our accomplishments, our acquisitions - right? But why does this even have an impact on the parts of our lives that have to do with other people?

Pride is what keeps a father and son from talking for 10 years or so because they argued and no one wants to say sorry, even when the son might be in danger of his life, unbeknownst to the father. The father's pride is so important that he doesn't even know that it has taken precedence over his interest in his son's life.

Pride is what keeps her from telling him she loves and misses him even though she already agreed that they should "see" other people while he works abroad. She doesn't want to look like a fool, she wants him to come to her on his own. All the while, he dates foreign girls and tells her all about it.

Pride is why it took him two years to admit that he was wrong for what he did to her and ask her for another chance - but much too late. Pride took precedence over his love for her, until the time when it didn't - and she had already let go of her love for him.

Pride is what kept the child of a mother starving to the point she became sickly, because the mother could not face up to her financial difficulties and ask for public assistance. She was raised to do it on her own. Pride was more important until the child nearly died.

Pride is what kept him unemployed for an entire year, wracked in debt. Pride in his master's degree took precedence over lower level jobs until he almost lost it all. His degree could not sustain food, water and shelter on its own.

Pride is what has kept a whole race/class of people down, because looking at themselves as at least a part of their problems would mean letting go of the pride attached to overcoming. They got too comfortable blaming someone else.

Pride, defined in the New Oxford American Dictionary as the consciousness of one's own dignity: is it a building block of the persona, or a brick wall to accessing the truly important things in our lives? Or both?
Should we even have any "pride" in or accomplishments and acquisitions? How important are they really in the scope of who we are?
If the things in which we take pride were to fall away - do we cease to exist?
I search for answers, because all around me there is suffering, and I find that the suffering would either cease to exist or at least remain undisturbed if someone (or many people's) pride were to crumble and fall.

I write this, not supposing that everything in our world must have utility, but with the belief that everything has its place. So really, what I need to know is why do we have pride, and what is it's proper place?

Consider it.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

A requiem, from an 80's baby

"Depending on when you grew up, each of us has a different Michael Jackson that we knew and lost."
- Oliver Wang (Though really, he was paraphrasing someone else. And I'm glad he did.)

I believe that having a successful life is not so much about our accomplishments - but is signified by a process of growth, and change which results in a life where we show the world several different versions of ourselves (each version an improvement, hopefully). I'm aware that the 27-year-old version (i.e., the current version) of myself is quite distinct from the 17-year-old version of myself, as that version differed greatly - of course - from 7-year-old me. You could call them different "stages" of life - but thinking of them as "versions" fits better with the idea that who you are at any given moment will be shared with the people who encounter you. They get to deal with the most current upgrade/downgrade of you at that moment. For example, those who only knew me and had to deal with me at 7, or even 17, would be dealing with a radically different version of me at 27 if they encounter me again. I've been through too many changes for there to be seen any smooth continuum flowing from the who I was then, to the person who I am now. No smooth continuum of change here or with anyone else in my opinion - each change is more like a revision. Thinking of our growth process as creating different versions of ourselves just seems a bit more accurate, in light of everything I've ever experienced when encountering others over long periods of time.

So, in considering my beliefs about "versions" of ourselves and the life of Michael Jackson, I'm reminded that the Michael Jackson I knew as a child was a completely different version than the man that passed away on Thursday. It's not something I ever gave any serious thought - I just accepted whatever version seemed to be out there in the public, for the good and the bad.

The MJ I knew in the early '80s scared me with the Thriller video. It's my earliest memory of him - cowering when he changed into Michael Jackson the ghoul. Little did I know that the video which I couldn't bear to watch actually made history - that the song itself (which I loved) made history.

MJ also gave me my first lesson in understanding just how much people could change. He went from brown to not brown - which confused me (I used to wonder HOW someone could change their color like that?!) He was my first lesson about the fickle nature of race in this country and I didn't even know it. I might have been 6 or 7 when I first learned that the boy singing "ABC - easy as 123" (I knew that song from when I was very little) was the man that sang "Billie Jean" and I remember being STARTLED at seeing a picture of what he looked like as a child. How could someone change THAT much physically?

The MJ I knew was also the first person (that I'm aware of) that premiered a video on prime time television. I remember well (though I can't remember when exactly - I know it was the '90's) when "Black or White" and "Remember the Time" showed for the first time on TV (and if I'm not mistaken, they both premiered on FOX). "Remember the Time" = one of the best videos EVER - definitely one of my favorite MJ songs.

I remember when he married Lisa Marie Presley. I remember that it was a big deal - though I didn't get why - and also that they were in the "You Are Not Alone" video appearing to be naked. I don't remember being fazed by this one bit but that some people made a big deal about it. (The hallmark of a 80's baby: lack of sensitivity to sexual references in the media? Probably.) Looking back, I know that this version of Michael Jackson is the version people started to have serious trouble with - when he started to have serious trouble - around the time there were whispers and then serious talk, accusations (and ultimately, court cases) about his dealings (potential misdealings) with children. I knew it wasn't good - but I was too young to fully understand. This version of Michael Jackson was just as magical as he was when I was scared by Thriller - but more obviously beleagured.

I remember the first time I saw the video for "Leave Me Alone." I remember wishing that they left him alone. Of course, they didn't. I remember learning, around the time I saw the video (the early '90's?), that he had been beleagured for quite some time.

I remember "Man in the Mirror" (by the way, these memories are not in chronological order). It was the first song where I can remember paying close attention to the lyrics - a habit that never went away. It's possible that when I listen to music, I am looking to have the same sort of connection to a song that I had when I first heard Man in the Mirror. I was young - like 6 or 7 - and I remember feeling like it spoke to my purpose, which by that point, was something of which I pretty aware. (I'm gonna make a change, for once in my life...). As I get older, and more solidified in my purpose, the lyrics are just that much more poignant.

I remember when SWV came out with Love Will Be Right Here (Human Nature Mix). I had absolutely no idea why this was the "Human Nature" mix when the song came out until someone on the radio said something about them sampling Michael Jackson's song, Human Nature. I guess I missed that one in my early years. So I ended up I finding the song - actually, they might have played the two songs back to back on the radio. I remember upon hearing it, being taken over with that same magic his music always seem to have. I was in love.

There's so much more I can say about the versions of MJ I knew. I remember when Michael Jackson came out with Butterflies - which I loved. I remember thinking that I hadn't really heard anything musically from him that I liked in some time. It was the first time I realized that Michael Jackson's significance in my life was more in the past than anything else.

And it's like that with some people - as they become different versions of themselves, their upgrade or downgrade just doesn't fit in your life the way the previous versions did. And you move on. The most recent version of MJ that I came to know - the one that passed away on Thursday, was the version that only came across in somewhat negative media. I heard about it - but it didn't fit in with my life. I remember hearing recently that he was sick - that he might have had cancer or something like that. I also remember hearing that he planning on a comeback tour. And I remember feeling a bit excited about that - even if the comeback just a walk down memory lane, recalling versions of him from the past.

Of course he'll be missed. I just didn't know, until Thursday, that I had been missing him - the version I knew - for quite some time.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Rivers, streams and puddles.

So I randomly started browsing the Jamaica Gleaner's website this morning (a random event which nonetheless occurs on the regular) and came across today's Letter of the Day, written to the students of Jamaica who recently received their results from the Grade Six Achievement Test. It's a placement exam the students of JA take to decide where they'll attend secondary school (that's high school, folks). It's a big deal (and apparently, unfair).

I can't help but to love what he wrote - maybe because I'm also preparing for an exam whose outcome has the appearance of deciding my fate - a supposed impact on fate that also hinges completely on my score.

And I also love the fact that he tells the readers to look up the word bifurcate if they don't know it. Encouragement and a lesson!

So read it nuh?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Be Optimistic?

optimism |ˈäptəˌmizəm|
1 hopefulness and confidence about the future or the successful outcome of something : the talks had been amicable, and there were grounds for optimism.
2 Philosophy the doctrine, esp. as set forth by Leibniz, that this world is the best of all possible worlds.*
• the belief that good must ultimately prevail over evil in the universe.
© 2009 New Oxford American Dictionary

*If this is the best of possible worlds... then does that mean it won't get any better? Almost sounds like pessimism - the opposite. Or is it?

à la Wikipedia:
...A number of scholars have suggested that, although optimism and pessimism might seem like opposites, in psychological terms they do not function in this way. Having more of one does not mean you have less of the other. The factors that reduce one do not necessarily increase the other. On many occasions in life we need both in equal supply. Antonio Gramsci famously called for "pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will": the one the spur to action, the other the resilience to believe that such action will result in meaningful change even in the face of adversity.

Hope can become a force for social change when it combines optimism and pessimism in healthy proportions.*

*So the Wikipedia entry writer says, so it is. Right?
(I like how he or she stuck her own philosophies about hope in there. I dig it though.)
Hope as a force for social change... hmm.

Consider Radiohead:

Apart from this being a good damn song (and I'm nobody's Radiohead fan) it's an interesting comment on optimism. If you try the best you can...meanwhile, just where are those dinosaurs lately? And how would they feel about Leibniz's ideas about this being the "best possible world?" Hmm...


So, as I study for the bar exam, I'm also studying myself, and just how my thoughts shape my world. Your focus shapes your reality... but why? And how? I've been coming up with lots of answers... which have lead to more questions, but the one thing that seems to be key to like, everything, is the understanding that my (our) subconscious can make you or break you. One day, I dug around my subconscious in regard to one particular question and, amazingly, the digging around unearthed this song as the answer:

So yes, be optimistic. Never say die.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The providence moves too.

... but when I said that nothing had been done I erred in one important matter. We had definitely committed ourselves and were halfway out of our ruts. We had put down our passage money— booked a sailing to Bombay. This may sound too simple, but is great in consequence. Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans:

that the moment one definitely commits oneself, the providence moves too.

A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way.

William Hutchinson Murray, The Scottish Himalayan Expedition (1951) (Seems like good readin, don't it?)

No gun in my face.

There's a difference between being afraid of the gun in your face, and being afraid of the possibility for a gun to be put in your face. The former: a response based on present reality - a response based on the circumstances currently in your existence, in the moment. The latter: a response based on an abstraction of the mind - a response to what could be, what might not ever be.

Between the two, which one is really worth the stress - the taxing of emotions - that comes with being afraid?

Usually when I let my mind imagine what it would be like to not pass the exam, I respond based on whatever comes to mind with fear. I was just sitting here thinking about that response and it dawned on me - what am I really afraid of? Is it worth a response of fear?

In the present moment, I'm sitting in my bed with my laptop in my lap, typing out my thoughts. I'm completely comfortable. If I weren't comfortable with this laptop-in-bed situation I could do something to help it - NOW. Sure, something in the next moment could happen that I wouldn't want to happen - but worrying about what could happen in the future does nothing to help me out NOW.

Same with the exam, or any future event. Nothing wrong with being concerned about the future, working right now to make sure things go well in the future - but nothing in the future is worth being afraid.

Word to Jesus.


Dontcha just love it when you have one of those moments - where something in your head just snaps, clicks, buzzes, lights up (you know?) - and things just become CLEAR - where life just starts to LOOK different? Yup. Call it inspiration. And motivation for this post.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Dear bar exam,

You're SO frustrating!!

I found my inspiration about 7 years ago. Almost exactly 6 years before we met for the first time. I was reading A Civil Action - wasn't even finished reading it actually when it clicked. In one moment, I KNEW I would be an attorney. I KNEW that I was meant to help people like the attorney helped Woburn. I thought about it after that moment - reasoned the decision to become an attorney as I did research on law schools - and the inspiration made complete sense. I've known since I was little that I was put here to serve. I don't know how or why I knew that so early, but I did. I care about social justice. I love to write-research-learn-and I don't mind a good argument. Becoming an attorney just made sense.

And it still makes sense. Being an attorney still feels right - despite the four years of trials and tribulations that was law school - despite the fact that I think most attorneys suck - I still feel like I belong in this profession. And here I am, ready to pass the milestone that is you. Ready, willing and able. But it hasn't happened yet.

I can't wait for the day I can look back and see you in the distance, a haze of blurry, stress-filled memories.

There's much that can be said about things happening in their own perfect timing, according to the schedule set out individually for me by God. When things are right, they're right. It wasn't right the first two times I encountered you. It wasn't my time to pass. This stuff about timing may be true, but the truth is that passing the bar exam isn't about timing. Based on my scores it appears that I actually knew enough law to pass. Maybe I should have practiced more essays. Maybe if I finished the MPT. Maybe I should have done more of Pieper's quizzes. Maybe I shouldn't have left my mother's house while studying. Maybe I shouldn't have worked until a week before.

Maybes aside - I did what I did. I made as much effort as I could have. The point is that it didn't work.

On July 28 and 29, 2009, it needs to work. Otherwise, I will have to move on in November or December (whenever the results come out), knowing that I'm meant to do something else with my life. There are many ways to serve. My talents can be used in ways that have nothing to do with the law. This experience of learning about the law in law school and in my job experience will always have value.

But I haven't given up yet. I can't. I won't. There are a lot of things I'm gonna do differently this time: not taking a class, exercising more, meditating, following a schedule, etc. I'm gonna manage my life better. I've always known my priorities and I'm learning how to work those priorities. The most important thing I've learned in this experience with you is how to Let GOD Lead my success. My relationship with God does come first. He's brought me to this point for a reason and I have to trust that.

Maybe I haven't passed because I needed to learn how to manage my life before passing.

Whatever. As frustrating and annoying as you are, bar exam, I appreciate the opportunity I have had to take you. So many like me - who come from circumstances like mine - dream for the opportunity like the one you present to me. So many like me - who come from similar circumstances, who have been where I am, who intend to be where I am in the near future - are invested in having me (and people like me) pass. I'm thankful for the opportunity to make my dream into a reality.

What's the most frustrating though, is to be this close to making my dream a reality and to be held in the same place for awhile, wondering when I'll get a break. But timing. This is for a reason. All of that jazz. As frustrating and annoying and time compromising as you are, you're just another step towards making my dreams come true. And so, I need you. I need to push through you.

I need pass this July! God be with me.

Today's post has been brought to you by inspiration from this. Brilliant.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Place your bets.

To make a jackpot in the future, you have to place your bets in the present.
- Carrie Bradshaw.

It's possible that I get too much wisdom from watching Sex and the City. Or maybe not. But I was sitting here watching a repeat - the one where they go to Atlantic City for Charlotte's birthday - and Carrie's seemingly trite metaphor about going for what you want (one that I've heard every time I've seen this episode but never bothered to consider) inspired this lightbulb moment!

If you have faith in anything - including yourself - then you have some sort of belief in that thing/person/being about something that you can't yet see. And the faith is there, in part, because you believe that one day, you will see what you believe in. If you truly have faith, then it's likely that you act according to your faith - you'll invest time, energy, emotions, money, etc. because you believe that you will get some sort of result from the object of your faith.

Acting according to faith is a gamble.

You don't know what you're gonna get from "placing your bet" on the object of your faith. There's never any guarantee. Still, you believe that the bet is worth placing, because the jackpot is of tremendous value. It's worth the risk. So you act according to your faith - not by anything you can see.

We live by faith, not by sight.
2 Corinthians 5:7
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1

I feel like a gambling addict. I've been doing SO MUCH these past few years, basing my actions, often, on my faith. And that faith is in God mostly - but also, in me, in my abilities, in my untapped potential. Like any gambling addict I've found myself in many tight situations - times when it seemed like I had nothing to gamble. Actually, I'm in one of those tight situations now... a situation that makes me question my faith. All these questions, and yet, I keep on rolling the dice.

If I'm interested in the future jackpot, the time to place my bet is always NOW.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

28 Lessons Learned in 27 Years.

This is actually a continuation of a list of lessons learned that I wrote after I turned 25. Two years later and the life lessons just don't stop pouring in!

1. Anything worth having is worth working for until you get it. Even if you have to make multiple attempts, spend all kinds of money and time to get it - if it's worth having, it's worth the effort needed to get it. For example - I'm taking the bar exam in NY AGAIN. And it's totally worth the effort.
2. If I'm not willing to put in all the work and effort required to get something, then I probably don't want it or need it.
3. There is a distinction between what I want to do and what I have to do, but ultimately, I tend to treat them as the same. What I want to do is what I have to do, and what I have to do is what I want to do. This is an important part of how I stay driven.
4. Taking a step out on faith requires that you already have faith in place before you take that step.
5. Faith is all you really need to go for what you want out of life. Take a step towards what you want, even if you can't see the way towards it, and the way will be made for you.
5. Those who walk without faith will let you know about their lack of faith with their constant searching for earthly assurance.
6. The way to increase your faith is to stop looking for tangible, physical, earthly signs to show you the way. Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe. - Augustine of Hippo.
7. People who seriously lack in faith (in themselves, in the universe, etc.) drain and frustrate me.
8. Trying is acting with the intent to fail. I am learning to eliminate the word from my lexicon and the act from my life.
9. You never know just where, or how, you will find opportunities. Be open to every possibility. (Word to twitter!)
10. It's totally possible to create great friendships without ever being face to face with your friend - communication is key (Word to HER!)
11. The key to giving someone a great gift is to be attentive to their needs, likes and dislikes. The best gifts will meet the needs of the receiver, or at least their likes.
12. Your focus shapes your reality - to an extent. Your actions make up for the rest.
13. Doing what you love (which requires focus and action) only brings more of what you love. Why not just do what you love?
14. Obstacles are what you see when you take your eyes off the goal. - Vince Lombardi
15. When I look back at the past few years of my life and everything that I've done and experienced, I see where and how my accomplishments weren't my doing, but was God. I was never alone. God has always carried me through. (Word to Footprints In The Sand!)
16. It is totally possible to live without all the stuff I've accumulated in 27 years. I've always known that but I didn't know how I could. Recently I've had to actually live without being in possession of most the things I own and I've been just fine without them. I don't even miss most of them.
17. The way I have accumulated so much is a lack of mindfulness of my acquiring/spending habits. Mindfulness leads to freedom from possessions.
18. I enjoy organizing and planning. I should do it for a living.
19. I enjoy making people look nice. I should do it for a living.
20. I enjoy analyzing and writing and discussing the law. I need to pass the bar exam so I can be licensed to practice law!!
21. The object of life is not pursuing happiness - but growth. Happiness is merely but a result of growth.
22. Things are only difficult when we perceive them that way.
23. Actions speak louder than words, but actions can also undermine how we feel. People don't always act in accordance to their feelings - all kinds of other things can come into play to drive someone to behave a certain way.
24. Nothing exists but the here and now. As a result, I find that people who live bogged down in the past - who drag their pasts into their present and use it to determine their future - SUCK. I have no time for people like this.
25. Opinions are like assholes - we all got 'em and we all use 'em. No one's opinion on your life matters as much as yours, but there's nothing wrong with being impacted by another person's opinion on your life. Just gotta keep in mind the place of other people's opinions in your life (secondary!)
26. You can't hope for what you already have. And you shouldn't hope only for what appears to be in reach.
27. My friends are astounding people. ASTOUNDING. I'm always in awe.
28. The universe conspires to support you at all times. You just have to be open to receiving the support.

P.S. It's my birthday.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Style without limit.

Since writing the last post I've been doing a lot of thinking about my voice and I've decided that I don't need to figure that out just yet. I should let the voice develop as I go along and figure myself out. I'm sure it will come together. My reader will probably know my "voice" before I do.

In the midst of all this thinking of my voice I got to thinking about my style in general - which lead to thoughts of style, generally - which lead to my latest writing endeavor:

Style Without Limit.

I figured the concept was worth an endeavor. Let's see where this goes!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Beyond the byline.

I was listening to that new Soulja Boy Tell 'Em joint this morning (Hop up out the beeeeed, turn my swag awwwwwn, took a look in a mirror, said what's UP. Yeaaaa...) and as I turned my swag on I thought about how most people that pay any attention to hip hop or pop music will expect a certain kind of sound (his style of music, content, lack of adept lyricism etc.) when they hear a song associated with the name "Soulja Boy Tell 'Em." He could definitely grow and change as an artist and thus his sound would change - but as of now, the Soulja Boy Tell 'Em sound has been established and much of his success is due to consumers merely EXPECTING that sound when they hear his name attached to a particular song.

I thought about it and it hit me - as far as my writing is concerned, I really don't have a "sound!"

I've looked through through the things I've written through the years and it seems to me that I don't really have a particular sound, or rather, a voice. I'm missing that particular "something" that makes me stand out amongst the bevy of bloggers/writers on- and offline. I've been doing a lot of thinking about this, and looking through my work, because I have been SO UNINSPIRED lately. Boo.

It's not about a lack of things to write about. I can come up with a bunch of things to write about - and as a matter of fact, last Tuesday I attended a free article writing class at the Gotham Writers Workshop where I had to do just that. Our instructor basically had us do an idea development exercise, which we started by coming up with a long list of very general topics that we were passionate enough to write about. I was actually surprised at the number of things that came to mind as "topics I'm passionate enough to write about" - any one of them could be the focal point for an entire blog or website or publication. The exercise continued on with us developing a particular article idea from one of our more general ideas - a great exercise which left me thrilled about writing...

And the next day - nothing. I sat with a (virtual) piece of paper in front of me and came up with nothing to write about. Boo.

Since then, I've been exploring my issues and I realize that the problem is not with ideas but that I don't have a particular "thing" I'd like to be about when it comes to my writing. I don't know what makes me stand out - I don't have anything in particular to offer that's different or special than your average writer on the come-up. I have yet to come across a successful artist that didn't have that "thing" they're known for. And I believe that if I'm to be taken seriously as a writer, I need to establish my voice. What do I think I should be delivering to my readers? What should people expect when they see my name in the byline?

I guess the process of growth as an artist means developing that voice. Right about now, it has me sort of stuck.

Writing this was just my way of trying to unstick myself. If I write something here tomorrow, it means that it worked.

Monday, April 6, 2009


In my last position - one which didn't even last two weeks - I was required to pack a lot of information into one sentence. That was essentially all there was to the job. I took the position knowing it would be a challenge to do this repeatedly (especially given the amount of information we had to work with!) and for the brief time I was there, I did NOT do well at all. While I do think it could have been something I eventually learned to do well, I also hated doing it. No love lost on being let go. And considering how much I hated doing that work, I'm puzzled - one of my favorite forms of poetry requires me (the poet) to do exactly what they wanted me to do at that job: pack a lot of information in a very, very limited space.

But whatever. Haikus are fun. I enjoy the challenge of trying to say a lot in 5 syllables, and then 7 syllables and then 5 syllables. And I know I don't have to stick to this formula - but I ENJOY trying to say all I want to say while sticking to the formula. It takes discipline and focus. It challenges my creative juices.

Here are two I recently wrote:

1. Kiss.

Mottled lips part.
Exhale darkened excitement.
Inhale in pink tongues.

(You can also find this posted by me here).

2. Untitled.

The universe speaks.
Thrust yourself toward your fears.
To conquer, confront.

I've been creatively out of commission for a little while now. I think it's high time I got things going. These were just warmups.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

This week's affirmation:

With love,
I choose
To focus on the present.
With gratitude
And faith
I could fly right now.
- SatiLife.

I love this affirmation because of it's focus on the present. It's sooooo easy to get caught up in the past... in particular (at least for me), expecting what happened in the past to be an indicator of what will happen in the future. Looking back at the past for its lessons is important, but there is definitely a point where looking back stops being didactic and becomes restrictive - limiting us from reaching our full potential in the here and now because we aren't open to experiencing anything but the kinds of situations and experiences that have passed.

The sankofa, an Adinkra symbol.

For the past two years of my life, I've been doing a lot of what the sankofa represents: to bring the good things from the past (the lessons) to help me in the present and the future. Very recently I realized I reached a point where I was doing TOO much looking back and thus lived in my past. It was an important for me to do this looking back - it was a phase of serious introspection that I needed - but that phase has officially passed, with its own lessons to be used in my here-and-now. I don't think I'll ever completely stop looking back at my past for its lessons but I'm now concerned with living in the NOW.

It's come to my attention that my potential in the here-and-now is really, truly, limitless and I've been limiting myself with what I once thought were big dreams. Here is a good example of what living in the past can do to you. Living in the past had me still in the mindset that the goals I once set for myself were SO far away and thus were BIG... meanwhile, when I was brought back to reality and the present (via a very enlightening conversation I had earlier this week) it was noted that my dreams are very close to becoming reality. So they're still worthy of attaining and they're just as important as they were in the past - but they aren't so grandiose considering my proximity to accomplishing them. All of this means that I need to keep focused on those goals and to DREAM BIG once more....

And so I've been doing just that. Saying the affirmation helps - especially in the midst of moving and stretching and pushing myself during a SatiLife class. More on those SatiLife classes later. I'll just say for now that I am so unbelievably glad that I'm taking them.

So say the affirmation, see how it makes you feel and really think about what it's saying (in particular, note what I bolded in the affirmation because they are all very important). Also consider this: When you think of your present and future, do you think of it more in terms of what has already happened? Or do you consider it more with the mindset that any and all things are possible?

More and more I feel like I could fly right now.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

As long as it comes in.

When you blame others, you give up your power to change.
- Robert Anthony

If you're unemployed, don't blame your job situation on the economy. I don't.

I don't blame it on the fact that I just took the bar exam for the second time last week and I didn't pass the first time I took it.

I don't blame it on the fact that looking for a job while trying to study for the bar exam is crazy difficult, especially when you're also working at the same time as studying.

I also don't blame it on the limited amount of jobs in my chosen field in comparison to the number of applicants, or on the fact that the City of New York (as an employer) is on a hiring slowdown and has been for some time.

I don't blame it on these things, but I totally could and I'd say that most people in my position would. The aforementioned definitely have had an impact on my current lack of employment. They've had their impact but I've come to realize a few things this week as I resumed my job finding mission full force:

1. No one factor in my life can really be to blame for my lack of a job because they all have had their effect - and the blame game does not empower me at all to effect change and make things happen (so apropos, that quote!)
2. There are MAD job opportunities out there! (Yo, just check Monster or Careerbuilder or some other site. No joke.)
2a. There are mad job opportunities out there, although the majority of them may not be what I would want to do preferably.
3. I have so many skills that are applicable to so many different types of jobs and the only thing stopping me from applying to these different types of jobs is me.
3a. By me, I mean, my sense of entitlement...

It dawned on me this week that I have been going at this job search with a strong sense of entitlement, namely: I am entitled to work in a certain kind of job, which pays a certain level of pay and gives me a certain kind of experience. And that entitlement stems totally from the fact that I am no longer a 16-year-old with zero job experience, willing to do whatever kind of job she can do legally - but I am a 26-year-old doctorate-of-law recipient who bust. her. ass. earning that doctorate, who has worked in some form or fashion for almost 10 years (including the majority of her four years of law school) and thus has culled a significant amount of experience and skills to back her terminal degree.

As understandable and predictable (frankly) as this sense of entitlement is, it amounts to absolutely NOTHING in itself. Entitlement controls or dictates very little, if anything at all. Circumstances have to favor that sense of entitlement coming to fruition... and more importantly, GOD has to favor the sense of entitlement, I believe. I believe that, not only because of my faith in God generally, but because in the 10 years I've been employed, I have held at least two (absolutely amazing) positions that, on the surface, I was in no way entitled to hold... but I got the job and gained so much for them (so thankful for those, and all my experiences). But if circumstances/God don't favor me getting whatever it is I feel I'm "entitled" to, then its not likely to happen!

So I have officially let that sense of entitlement go. It feels good. And it feels like is my horizon has suddenly expanded. The sky was always the limit, but instead of those one or two paths I had in mind for going beyond the sky, now I see so many ways to go. It's sort of exciting. I'm not saying I won't be looking to be an attorney fighting the good fight for what's right, or writing/publishing that Great (Jamaican) American Novel (or book of poetry) but I am no longer limited in my search for employment by anything in existence, whether economy, entitlement or other.

Think about this. When you boil down the issue of employment, regardless of whether you're employed at your ideal position or not, there will always be left the core concern of whether your job can sustain you and provide you with all that you need to live (at a minimum) or prosper (ideally). And if the job isn't, you will likely adopt the secondary income mentality, which leads to looking for and finding an alternative source of income using some other skill set you've developed because you feel as if you need the money. My job finding mission hasn't changed in scope - I will not stop searching for what I ideally want - but it has now adopted the secondary income mentality, and is open to the possibility that the secondary income might just be the primary.

Income is just that, as long as it comes in.

N.B. When that income does come in, and my primary monetary concerns are addressed, this might just be the shoe purchase I use to celebrate...

It's nice to have something to look forward to.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

This week's affirmation:

Today I gratefully receive all the gifts life has to offer me.
So as above, as is below. This is what I know.
- SatiLife.

I like this affirmation - not just because it's "affirming" - but it also acknowledges the supremacy of God. What he ordains above is what will happen below. Reminds me a bit of The Lord's Prayer.

I'm sharing this particular affirmation from my SatiLife classes (more later on my SatiLife challenge!) because for me, saying it a couple of times opens my mind up to all the possibilities of positive things that could come my way today. It's energizing - such a good feeling. Say it a couple of times to yourself and see how you feel.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Me want cookie!

Is success more about 1) the pursuit of our dreams and desires or 2) from the actual possession of that desired thing? Is it more about the hunt that leads to the capture (1) or more about what you do when you have your prey (2)?

You might wonder why I pose the question at all. It wasn't something I thought about until Saturday afternoon, at the beginning of my SatiLife class, where the instructor talked a bit about the pursuit of a goal. She posed to the class the question above and gave what she believed to be the answer- numero uno.

Was my instructor right? Consider this hunter-of-sorts:

You may not have realized it as a child when you were watching Sesame Street, but Cookie Monster was teaching you all about how to go after your dreams (among other things)! Considering CM's fervent search for cookies: while his goal is always to eat some cookies (Me want cookie!) his success lies completely in his pursuit. If he wasn't Cookie Monster, i.e., a blue monster always on the hunt for cookies, he would never have had any cookies!

Sounds so simple but yet so complex when it comes to achieving success. This question is important because the answer tells you where you need to focus your energy! I find it to be REAL easy to get caught up in the end goal: because it IS what we want. The end goal is what it is though - the end. If we don't do what it takes to get there, we won't get there. Consider, again, Cookie Monster. Even when his efforts seem to be thwarted by things out of his control, his desire (or maybe frenzy in his particular case) grows and he keeps on pushing until he gets his cookie!

Learn from the monster! An obstacle stood in the way of the cookies but CM didn't let that daunt him. He saw his problem, came up with an effective solution and Kept It Moving. And that's all you can do. An obstacle only stops you from reaching your end goal when you let it. And the more you're focused on your pursuit, the more likely you are to find a way to get rid of the obstacles - the more likely you are to find a solution to a setback. You think Cookie would have thought of eating a safe if he wasn't focused on his pursuit?

The point: Keep the end goal in mind but remember that the end goal comes at the end - you have to make the effort to get there. Even when setbacks and obstacles threaten your success you just have to find a way to get over them or around them. If it's something you really want, stay focused on your efforts. You'll get your cookie.

By the way, Cookie Monster was my favorite monster on the Street.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Three weeks.

I would love it if all that I were concerned about this month was the bar exam.

I remember last July, about three weeks before the exam. Apart from my quotidian affairs, all I had to be concerned about was the bar exam. And three weeks before the exam, that's all I cared to be concerned about. And that's the way it really should be when preparing for any bar exam. There was absolutely nothing else in my world to think about - at all. Even my friends and family: as much as I love them, I didn't even have the space of mind required to miss them three weeks before I took the bar exam last summer. Just me and those two days. It's surreal when I think about how I was just consumed, only, by that one thing.

And I came so close. But close doesn't cut it.

So here I am again, three weeks before the bar exam. Again. This time, however, I would like to today to be three weeks before I pass the bar exam. I wonder if that will be the case, considering that this time around, I have SO much to be concerned about. Matters having to do with the basics of life - the things that some people actually take for granted and for others become serious pressing matters, because they're that important. These are things that actually come way before the bar exam and practicing law in terms of importance to my life. And practicing law is pretty high on the importance scale of my life.

But what do you do when you're back's against the wall?

In the past few weeks, I've learned that when faced with such a situation, I fight.

I've never fought so hard for so much in all my life.

In such a situation, I also take steps out on faith.

Life right now feels like walking on air. Not floating - but taking concrete steps on something that I can't see with my eyes.

It feels as crazy as it probably sounds - but then I remember this - something I've always believed but never have actually lived until now. And it seems less crazy.

Forget learning the law. I've just been learning about myself.

(If only I were a topic on the bar exam!)

When I first learned that I didn't pass the exam, I questioned - "Why me? Why do I have to go through this again?" And although there are times when I still wish that I passed over the summer, I am beginning to see just why.

Things are difficult, but I'm beginning to see that I actually needed this difficulty. Everything that happens has its purpose and you just have to trust that it's for the best.

And if you're so inclined, you trust in God.

"Good timber does not grow with ease; the stronger the wind, the stronger the trees."
- J. Willard Marriott

(Oh, and forgive the rambling nature of this post. I really just needed to let this out! I'd edit - but I really need to get back to work.)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Baby steps. (2008 in review)

I had been thinking of an appropriate way of summing up 2008 all throughout its last few days and could come up with nothing! I figured I'd just leave my annual New Year's walk down Old Year Memory Lane alone this year, and then I came across this clip. So appropriate!

powered by

In 2007 I set a number of clear goals that I wanted for my life and positioned myself mentally to achieve them. It was also the year I commenced some very serious introspection and began to visualize what I wanted my life to be. This was the year I was introduced to the law of attraction and the year I began to understand how it worked in my life and could work in my life. I would say that 2007 was the year of foundation, and 2008 was the year of the baby steps taken towards realizing my goals.

Aww. I just read the last sentence in the previous paragraph. Sounds nice doesn't it? Taking baby steps towards my dreams for 366 days (remember 2008 was a leap year!) is a nice thing - a great thing really - and I'm proud to say that it's the truth. Every single freaking day of 2008 I was concerned with turning my visions into reality and how I would get that done. That, in itself is an accomplishment - a natural accomplishment for someone who is as serious as I am about turning my visions into reality. And so those baby steps towards my dreams were great but there were so many times that they sure as hell didn't feel great!! There were many days when it felt crappy. I accomplished some things but the hurdles I had to jump to get over the hurdles were quite high. But, I accomplished them.

One of the things I love about writing is that I can start out with one goal in mind for the piece and as the words flow, my idea for the piece evolves into something else. I started out writing this post thinking I'd post the video above about baby steps and connect the baby steps theme to a list of things I've learned, accomplished and gained in 2008. I've changed my mind and now I'm gonna run with this metaphor a bit (because you don't really need to know ALL my business, do you?). The way my mind can change while writing a piece is a lot like what happens as I pursue a dream - as I pursue, the dream can change. I found that this happened in 2008 in a tremendous way in two major areas of my life:

Career. The long story short of why I decided to become an attorney is that I want a career of service, helping people in a way they may not be able to help themselves, and making my love of words, writing and communication an important part of that career. I was actually inspired by reading this book to pursue the law - and all throughout law school the dream of being an attorney seemed to be pretty fixed in the arts. I wouldn't say that completely changed in 2008, but this year the dream morphed a bit - and now I want to pursue a career in the law that will lead me to working with education law and policy.

As a creative soul, there's no way I wouldn't be interested in working in the law as it relates to all creative outlets and it means something that during my time in law school, I kept attracting these sorts of opportunities and kept on meeting/dating other creative souls. But I feel passionate about education and the law - I think I always have but it didn't become clear to me until a couple of months ago - and the policy bit - yea. That's definitely new. The dream to be an attorney is still there - but it's taken on this whole new look.

Health. I've been wanting to lose weight since I was a little girl and my older cousins taunted me for being fat. True story. The why and the how I wanted to lose weight has changed quite a bit since then and in 2008, I suddenly added a "what" dimension to this whole thing - marathon running! I get all nervous and butterfly-filled just thinking about it. I think on this one the baby step came in making the decision to run one. It occured to me years ago that it would be something good to do but I'd always quickly discard the thought. Ms. YCV in full effect. In the summer of 2008, after making it through the marathon that is studying for the bar exam, it occurred to me that I should ignore Ms. YCV and go for it.

2008 was a rough year for me emotionally - full of highs and lows - but I kept on moving towards what I want for my life. As a typical Taurus, I move slow. Baby steps fall right in line with my natural way of getting things done. But you know what they say about the slow and steady types.

If you don't, I suggest you stay tuned.