“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world would do this, it would change the earth” – William Faulkner
Kym Worthy is a true Lemonademaker. She inspires me because she truly makes a difference. She changed not just her local county that she worked in, she really changed cities around the entire United States. She was like water. She went around obstacles, she broke up boulders in her way, she flooded the media, she stormed through anyone and anything standing in her way and got justice for rape victims who had been waiting for it for as long as 30 years. She is my hero.
“There be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protect” – Elie Wiesel
Her story starts back in 2009 when she was an assistant DA with Wayne County in Michigan. In the summer of 2009, Rob Spada who worked in her office was taking a tour with local police through an evidence warehouse. Passing by rows upon rows of white cardboard boxes he asked what they were. He was told they were rape kits. When he pulled down four random boxes he discovered that they were all unprocessed rape kits – 11,341 kits, some more than 30 years old (statute of limitations is 20 years).
In the past half-dozen years, backlogs of untested rape kits have been discovered in Memphis, 12,000; Cleveland, nearly 4,000; Tulsa, 3,783; Milwaukee, 2,655; Dallas, 4,144; San Diego, 2,873; Miami, 2,900; Honolulu, 1,500. Smaller cities are not immune, either. Kansas City, Missouri, had 1,324 backlogged kits; Tempe, Arizona, more than 500; Flint, Michigan, 246.
“When injustice becomes law, rebellion becomes duty” – Unknown
Rob Spada contacted Kym Worthy in his office and told her what he had found. She first wrote to then Detroit Police Chief Warren Evans requesting a meeting to discuss how to proceed. When she didn’t get a response, she wrote Chief Evans again, adding, “It is imperative that your Department move on this as soon as possible.” Again, nothing.
“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor” – Desmond Tutu
Not one to stop at no answer, the story was leaked to the newpaper resulting in “Rape Evidence Shelved?” as the front page of the Detroit Free Press on September 22, 2009. Worthy put together a plan for her office to take the lead on testing the kits, but then Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano, who controlled her budget, shot it down. The county simply couldn’t afford it, he said, and it was really a problem for city hall and the police, not the county.
Kym is not a woman who takes no for an answer. What she did next was to spearhead a national movement for reform. In May 2010, at the invitation of U.S. Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), she testified about the backlog before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee. Later that year, the research arm of the Department of Justice gave Worthy and her partner agencies a grant to test 400 random kits, to provide a statistically significant snapshot of what was at stake, and then in April 2011, the agency followed up with a $1.5 million grant to address the backlog.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” – Unknown
To test all of them, Worthy estimated she’d need about $17 million (the lab work ran $1,000 to $1,500 per kit). On top of that, she intended to investigate every single case, even those that didn’t end up having meaningful forensic evidence. But she had only three sex-crime investigators on her staff, the police department had as few as six.
“One person can stop a great injustice. One person can be a voice for truth. One person’s kindness can save a life” – Nicky Gumbel
The nonprofit Detroit Crime Commission—which, on behalf of Worthy’s office, had negotiated the cost of testing down to $490 per kit—joined with the Michigan Women’s Foundation to launch what organizers believe was the first-ever crowdfunded campaign for a government program, called Enough SAID (Sexual Assault in Detroit).
“An unrectified case of injustice has a terrible way of lingering, restlessly, in the social atmosphere like an unfinished equation” – Mary McCarthy
They received donations from everyone and everywhere. A local canasta club started donating the pot from its weekly game; the Galentine’s Book Club kicked in $525. In October 2015, a coalition of African American businesswomen held a fundraiser that leveraged the rivalry between the University of Michigan and Michigan State football teams to net more than $30,000. Sheryl Sandberg donated an unsolicited $25,000 to the cause. To date, Enough SAID has raised $1.5 million in private contributions. by the beginning of 2016, $8 million had been allocated to Enough SAID by public bodies ranging from the state attorney general’s office to the Michigan legislature.
Worthy didn’t just rustle up money; she also transformed the “entire culture of law enforcement,” as her deputy Spada puts it. In his 20-plus years at the prosecutor’s office, he says, “I’ve seen a change in how police approach sexual assault victims. That’s been brought about by Kym, in how she attacked the problem and let it be known publicly that society had certain kinds of assumptions about what a victim would act like or be like.”
“If you look at any other group of people suffering injustice, women are always in the worst situation within that group” – Salma Hayek
Worthy also has spearheaded the push for concrete legal and procedural reforms. Michigan law, enacted in 2014, requires that rape kits move through each level of law enforcement according to a mandated timeline—three months from start to finish—and both police and healthcare professionals must notify victims about their right to obtain information about their own kits.
“The time is always right to do what is right” – Martin Luther King Jr.
I believe that Kurt Cobain stated the problem of rape many years ago. Kurt Cobain said, “Rape is one of the most terrible crimes on earth and it happens every few minutes. The problem with groups who deal with rape is that they try to educate women about how to defend themselves. What really needs to be done is teaching men not to rape. Go to the source and start there.“
See the full article which includes ones rape victims story of getting justice 15 years later. This story was first published by Elle and I found it with an article in NationSwell.
Do you see in your own life where injustices were tolerated by yourself and others? Be inspired for follow in Kym’s footsteps. She got creative. She raised awareness. She didn’t let the matter go away. Even though her journey took years to complete, she stayed true to her vision and her conscience.
The fact that we are human beings is infinitely more important than all the peculiarities that distinguish human beings from one another – Simone de Beauvoir
When I was a little girl and I was behaving badly, my mom would always say it was because my hair was in my eyes, and I needed to get my bangs cut. I never did figure out if there really was a correlation between hair in your eyes and bad behavior. But if there is, then there are a lot of people in the world that need to get their bangs cut.
It seems like the news agencies and our government have gotten into a rut. A pattern of bad behavior where they are just waiting to maliciously pounce on one another. They have forgotten their purpose. They got sidetracked and can’t seem to find their way back to their purpose.
Sometimes the same thing happens to us. We get sidetracked off on some piece of drama. As it plays out, we get sucked further and further down that particular rabbit hole. It’s like when you go into the kitchen to get a drink of water. Then you notice stuff on the counter that someone got out and didn’t put away. So, you put it away. Then you notice dishes in the sink. So, mumbling about how you have to do it all, you take care of that. Then you are tired and go back into the living room to sit on the sofa, completely forgetting that you got up to get a glass of water.
Every American deserves to live in freedom, to have his or her privacy respected and a chance to go as far as their ability and effort will take them – regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, or economic circumstances – Christopher Dodd
The world right now if you pay attention to the news seems pretty scary. It would seem that it is filled with violence, and racial and gender hatred. For some reason, the news and our political leaders around the world seem to be focused on the small minorities of events that are truly negative. Nothing is said about the positive things that are going on around us.
In Washington hundreds maybe even thousands of employees are doing a great job, but you don’t hear about their progress, you hear about the negative fighting that is going on within the political parties and even amongst their own parties.
In your local town, the news for 45 minutes will be about every negative thing going on around the world, and then they spend a less than 5 minute segment on someone in the local area that is giving back and helping those in need. We need to reverse this trend. Spend more time on the great people all around us that are doing great work helping others. Celebrate milestones in people’s lives.
It has to begin with peaceful collaborative action. We as in all of humanity, all matter and we are all equal. We may have different colors of skin; have different religious beliefs; have different cultures and social and economic backgrounds, but we are still all the same.
We all need to be seen and heard as being a part of our families and communities. We need to turn towards each other in brotherly love and trust. We are all one people, and we need to start standing together.
We need to cultivate it like a garden – the gardening science of human relationships. We need to weed out what is wrong, support what is weak, and prune off anything that isn’t supporting the growth of peace.
We’re All human, aren’t we? Every human life is worth the same, and worth saving – J.K. Rowling
Each of us has a powerful voice that needs to be heard. You have the right to speak up when wrongdoing is being done or condoned. It is the basis of how this country was founded.
Instead of listening to those who seek to tear down your country out of fear, you need to show the world just how powerful a group of people can be when they come from their hearts with peace and love to each other.
We need to transform that fear into love and forgiveness. The world will be changed by our positive examples of reaching out to each other in love.
You have thoughts and ideas of what can be done to improve our broken system. You need to listen with both ears to what others are saying. You need to be slow to speak from the standpoint of making sure that your words are contributing to the discussion, and not tearing it apart. You need to be part of the solution. We all want a world without war, conflict or suffering
Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future, and renders the present inaccessible – Maya Angelou
When you see police shootings of unarmed men or women in their pajamas who were just trying to report a possible crime, it is obvious that changes must be made. Not only laws or procedures, but hearts and minds need to be changed.
If you start with your own heart and mind, seeking to rip out the prejudices and judgements that you have yourself, then we will have made a good start to what needs to be done by every person in our world.
Walls turned sideways are bridges – Angela Davis
“Refuse to be an extraordinary person trapped in an ordinary life” – Zaro Dean
A little step can be the first step in the beginning of a great journey. Live a life that is a story worth telling. I heard one of those kinds of stories recently. The storyteller had me laughing so hard throughout his story. It was the story of how one day when he was having a bath, he wondered if anyone had ever rowed a bathtub across the English Channel. Now you might think that this kind of dream is very silly, I know I did. But as he told it I was simply amazed.
They say that in an average lifetime we spend six years dreaming. How many of those dreams have you brought into reality? How many have you made even a small effort to bring into reality? Tim Fitzhigham and his story is remarkable, because he made a really crazy dream come into reality. Just think what you could accomplish if you put in half of the effort that he did?
It helps that as part of his career he is a comedian. So, he didn’t take himself too seriously. Now as you may or may not know, a man by the name of Thomas Crapper was an inventor of the toilet. Hence the reason why his last name is very famous. Tim first went searching for someone to donate an appropriate bathtub to row across the channel and the company Thomas Crapper and Co Ltd donated a copper Victorian style bathtub to which he attached a kind of pedestal.
Next he had to learn to row a boat. Then he had to request permission to sail across the channel from both Britain and France. The British thought it was a fine idea, the French not so much. They actually made an amendment to their law to prohibit sailing bathtubs across the channel. Tim was successful in getting the British Navy to make his bathtub a registered boat, so that he was now in compliance with French law.
Now what is really amazing is that in getting all of this accomplished Tim talked to British Rear Admirals and even the Queen of England to make sure that he could in fact sail his bathtub across. He tells his story on the British equivalent of a TED talk and it is really, really funny.
The French tried to remove him from his boat partway across the channel and to blow it up. He told them that since his bathtub was a registered boat, and he was the captain of said boat, that doing so without his permission would constitute an act of war. Since it was true, they had to leave him with his boat.
He didn’t make it due to an injury on his first try, but he did make it upon the second try. He raised 20,000 pounds for a charity, and you can hear him tell his story on The Moth Radio Hour on NPR entitled, “All At Sea”.
What I loved about his story is that he is making his life extraordinary. He received a Royal Navy Commission, he met the Queen, he has written a book about his journey and received international stardom. All because he came up with a crazy idea and then made it happen.
Probably over 95% of you would never have set out to do something so crazy. You would have never believed that any government official would give you the permission. You wouldn’t have reached out to the Navy or the Queen of England. You would have thought, “they will think I am crazy” and not even picked up the phone. They probably did think he was crazy, but the thing is, they supported him anyway.
How many really good ideas have you thought of that you could do, but you let yourself be talked out of it. You told yourself who am I to do this thing? You listened to close friends and relatives that asked you “what are you thinking? Are you crazy?” And so, you let the dream die before it even had a chance to breathe.
Those of you who do reach out to try the crazy idea, usually do so because of a personal crisis in your life. It may be like me that someone close to you was murdered. Or it could be like Candy Lightner, the founder of MADD that your child or husband was killed by a drunk driver. Or it could be like the Susan Komen Foundation that you lost your daughter or wife to breast cancer and set out to find a cure, so that no one else loses a loved one to that dreaded disease.
It could be that because of an accident you were told you would never walk again and be in a wheelchair for the rest of your life. But you decided that would not be your fate and through hard work and determination you found your way to leave the wheelchair behind. It could be that now you are working to help others regain their mobility, whether it is physical, mental or emotional trauma that must be overcome.
Most of you are not quite as crazy as Tim, but you still have the crazy idea that you can make a difference in the world, by transforming your pain into something positive.
I really loved Robin Williams as the professor in Dead Poets Society. I loved the quote that the purpose of education is supposed to help our youth learn to think for themselves, not just recite rote answers. That they should seize the day and make their lives extraordinary.
We need more extraordinary people in our world, because those are the kinds of people that make things happen. They seize the dream out of their hearts, and they keep trying. They realize that even the mistakes they will make along the way can be something wonderful.
So go out today and find your bathtub moment. The crazy idea that you can bring into reality. Like Tim you might find that your crazy idea can be done, and along the way you might just meet the Queen of England and get a Royal Navy Commission. Who knows what just might be possible?
Every day we have a choice. We can live in fear or move forward in faith.
– Billy Cox
What does it take to realize the visions and dreams our of soul? It takes faith as Billy said, but it also takes making that faith become real with a solid belief. That belief then needs to move us forward. It takes action to start implementing steps that move us forward with the faith, that we can make it a reality. As we take action, we develop practices and habits to change from where we started. These actions propel us forward to where we want to go.
Reach high, for stars lie hidden in your soul. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal.
– Pamela Vaull Starr
Dreams create transformation in our life. As we bring our dreams into reality, it requires change. Some changes come about from letting go of what no longer serves us. Some changes come about by stripping away who we thought we were, to become who we really are. As the saying goes, “How does one become a butterfly? You have to want to fly so much, that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar.”
Dreams are . . . illustrations from the book your soul is writing about you.
Since the road of life is not a long flat road, but has hills and valleys, it also will take perseverance. This is because we will run across obstacles on our road. Some things we can take a detour around; some things we will have to break out the tools to build a bridge over; and some things will require that we climb up and down the mountain. So to perseverance of not giving up, we also need to add in patience and time, because at least for me everything takes longer than I think it will.
Your dream doesn’t have an expiration date. Take a deep breath, try again.
All of these things are required, because at every turn and obstacle fear is going to try to tell us to stop. That this is not working. That this dream is too big, too much for us to accomplish. That look how far we have come – we can rest now and this will be good enough. Fear will try everything it has to get us to just be happy right where we are.
Carl Jung adds another piece to the picture that we are painting about dreams.
Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside dreams; who looks inside, awakes.
– Carl Jung
Daydreams are outside dreams. What they call “pipe dreams”, because they are so untethered. Pipe dreams mesmerize us, as they float by. They keep us asleep.
Dreams are answers to questions we haven’t figured out how to ask.
The dreams of your soul are a totally different kind of dream. They are the DNA of your soul, the blueprint of what you have been divinely gifted with to achieve in this lifetime. But in order for us to birth these dreams, and raise them up into the reality of this world, we have to wake up. We have to become aware. That is when our life starts to have true meaning. When we awake to our life’s true purpose. God speaks to us in dreams. Dreams of the whispers of the soul.
Dreams are the guiding words of the soul.
– Carl Jung
That is what made Martin Luther King Jr. speech about “I have a dream” so powerful. The moment he put down his notes and spoke from his heart, the dream he had been given by the divine came through with such crystal clear clarity that it grabbed the soul of the world. It was a powerful dream and even though he has passed on from this world, every year we remember this dream. And even though he is not here to bring it into the full reality of what it can and will be, it is still progressing. This dream has perseverance. It keeps on going and it will keep going until it comes into full reality.
Trust in dreams for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.
– Kahlil Gibran
We all have a dream inside of us that is just as powerful and just as necessary to this world. Please, please don’t let the dream die with you. Bring it out of your heart. Add the faith, the belief to know that you can change into who you need to be in order to make it a reality. Know that it will take perseverance, that it will take patience and time, but you can become the person that you need to be to make it happen.
Reach high, for stars lie hidden in your soul. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal.
– Mother Teresa
I look at my own journey with LemonadeMakers and I can tell you that this dream has changed my life. That it is constantly challenging me to make more changes to become the person who can not only hold this vision and dream, but to become the person who can shout it from the mountain tops and be heard around the world. If we all join hands, and collaborate together to change ourselves, we will change the world.
So many dreams at first seem impossible. And then they seem improbable. And then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.
– Christopher Reeves
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“We find comfort among those who agree with us – growth among those who don’t” – Frank A. Clark
It is interesting how as a human you tend to want everyone to think just like you do. In my family, we like to have “conversations”. When my grandmother was alive it was so interesting to listen to all of the adults after dinner. She would usually introduce a topic that she knew some of my aunts or uncles wouldn’t agree on.
Then she would come at that topic in several different directions. She was a researcher, and in her past had taught school in a country school with all the grades together. She was really smart and if you were going to come at another viewpoint than hers, you had better know your stuff.
I grew up with it being normal to have conversations with others about conflicting viewpoints. There never were any fights or loud voices. No one was ever judged as wrong, just different.
So, raising my kids, we would also talk about things that we don’t agree with each other on. My youngest son and I are on opposite sides of the political spectrum. We all give each other a hard time, but it is with a joke encapsulating it.
No name calling or escalating into arguments. Because whatever your viewpoint is about something, if you have an open mind, you can find some good points in almost any viewpoint that you can agree on.
He is pro guns and very conservative. I am the “hippy” who still believes that someday we will really be a global civilization and get along.
What is so interesting is that we both have examples of the others’ beliefs that we can poke fun at, and we have lots of stuff that we are totally on the same page about. The reason it works for us, is that we realize that as we grow and shift and transform, sometimes those viewpoints that we have held to for years, also change. What you felt strongly about at 5 yrs. old; at 15 yrs. old; at 25 yrs. old; at 50 yrs. old will not be the same things.
“Freethinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their own customs, privileges, or beliefs. This state of mind is not common, but it is essential for right thinking. Where is it absent, discussion is apt to become worse than useless” – Leo Tolstoy
You don’t have to compromise your convictions to be kind to one another. You don’t need to buy into being in fear of others, just because they are different.
People are not meant to be matching bookends to you. It really doesn’t matter what your political viewpoint is; what your skin color is; what your culture is; what sexual orientation that you identify with. It doesn’t matter what your religion is.
Imagine if you were to sit down and fill out a survey about any of the important things in life. Things like being able to feed your family; having a safe place for them to live; having adequate medical care; equality – both for racial relations and work wages.
I think that the survey would reflect you could agree on all of those things universally viewed as being important. You might differ in how you think it should happen, but those small differences should never escalate into hatred and violence.
Have you ever become best friends with someone that you didn’t agree with? It is possible to love someone that you totally disagree with about certain issues. My husband and I have been married for almost 49 years. Our politics are on the opposite side of the spectrums, and our religious views are not the same. But in comparison to how much we had in common, those things don’t interfere with our loving each other.
Even though we are in different political parties, I can acknowledge the good in his viewpoints. We agree that we can have our own religious views and still love one another.
I think it is part of what has made us successful in our marriage. We are best friends even though we don’t have the same beliefs about every single subject.
The more we can see the humanity in one another, the harder it is to hate someone. No one should ever be judged wrong, just because someone else doesn’t agree with every word they say.
You don’t know what is going on in someone else’s life. Something as simple as a smile has turned a stranger who was walking down the street away from suicide.
If you could just be kind to everyone you meet, that simple act of kindness could save a life. Be a heart that listens, and throw kindness around like confetti! Be aware of opportunities around you to be kind.
I love the video called Life Vests Inside – Kindness Boomerang’s – One Day. You can watch it on “YouTube”. https://youtu.be/nwAYpLVyeFU
It starts off with a young boy falling off his skate board. A man with a orange vest like a road worker helps him up. Then the boy sees an elderly lady crossing the street and having trouble holding on to her bags of groceries, so he puts down his skate board to help her. Then the elderly lady sees a young woman trying to find coins for a parking meter and hands her some coins, and it continues on to end back up with the road worker being given a cold glass of water. What I loved about it is that they included young and elderly; men and women; white, black, brown races; rich business man and homeless man. Everyone had a chance to both give and receive kindness.
The growth comes from really understanding that there can be different perspectives. From understanding how what has happened in another person’s background could create a different belief system.
We have this idea that someone has to be wrong and someone has to be right. You should never judge another’s choices unless you have a thorough understanding of their reasons for making those choices.
This thinking would mean that in almost all cases, there is room in your world for more than one belief. Obviously we are not talking about harmful conduct.
“The best ideas emerge when very different perspectives meet” – Frank Johannsson
The analogy of the map and directions fits here. If you are going to San Fernando Valley from Ventura, CA, you might take the 101 to the valley or you might take the 101 to the 23, which becomes the 118.
Which way you go, would depend on where in the valley you were going and what traffic was like. The 101 tends to be tied up with traffic more often and the 23/118 would probably be faster, again depending on where in the valley you were driving to.
I could argue for one and you could argue for the other. I could have experienced a faster time one day, and you could have experienced a faster time the other way on a different day. Depending on the circumstances the wrong or right answer would change.
Most things in life are that way – it all depends on the circumstances and the perspective you are currently viewing life through.
Regardless of which view you had, you could still be kind. You could still show respect. You could still hold yourself to a higher standard of grace and elegance when having a discussion. You could still try to achieve the same goal, getting to San Fernando Valley.
So be kind. Be compassionate. Be respectful. Express your beliefs with grace and tolerance. Spread #love, spread #peace.
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“Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts” – Winston Churchill
This is so true. You tell yourself a story within every challenge, that is partially a lie. You tell yourself as soon as you climb this hill; as soon as you cross that river; as soon as you build a bridge across that ravine, then you will be wealthy, or famous, or a hero, whatever being a success means to you. You will live happily ever after.
That isn’t completely true though is it? Life will continue to give you more hills to climb. rivers to cross and bridges to build. It is not just one success, instead “it’s a series of both successes and failures“.
As a metaphor, you don’t transform from a caterpillar to a butterfly just once. Each time it is time to grow, you again need to transform.
In order to transform you need to let go of some “truth” that you believe, some story that is part of who you are. The reason you have to let go of it, is because it is not really 100% truth. It is a mixture of truth and lies that you have told yourself in order to get through a previous transformation process.
Now it is time to clean up the debris from that transformation, time to recycle the old cocoon, and make space for the new one.
It is time to face the inner darkness, release the lies (aka “the Kraken”), and embrace a fuller truth.
With the situation in the world at this moment, you and I find ourselves in this space of growth and transformation once more. The world is changing and the world we knew last year will not be the world we know in the coming months.
The entire world is wrestling with the darkness in regards the physical, mental and emotional health as well as the economic situation. The shadows are being revealed and contained within each shadow is a gem that you can release and learn from.
“You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself” – Alan Alda
There has been more than one time in my life when the shadows overtook my life. One happened after my mother passed away. There were secrets about her life that came out.
Secrets the depth of finding out that one of my sisters had a different father than we had been told all of our lives. There were a series of truly devastating secrets that came out.
I found myself in more grief and anger about the lies, than I had suffered over her passing away from the cancer. I was mad at her, mad at God, mad at everyone and everything. I cleaned up the mess the best I could, and began the process of forgiveness and putting my life back together.
I told myself that why I forgave an unbearable hurt from the exposed lies of another living family member was from compassion. But in reality this was only partially true.
I did forgive from that place, but a bigger piece of the truth was that I couldn’t face losing anything more, and it was easier to forgive than it was to permanently end that relationship.
“Fearlessness may be a gift but perhaps more precious is the courage . . . , that comes from cultivating the habit of refusing to let fear dictate one’s actions” – Aung San Suu Kyi
Now when it feels like this darkness is coming up for me around fears of what is happening in the world, I am so grateful and thankful that I had the wisdom to surround myself with strong courageous wise women.
You can gather together with members of your soul tribe, and remind each other of the truths that you already know. The truth is that you have many choices.
Sometimes you can fall into the trap of thinking that you have this choice or that choice on how to proceed. You might find that you do that to yourself a lot. A black or white choice, always looking at only the either this or that.
The truth is it isn’t simply black or white – you have the whole color spectrum. You just don’t see it because of your limited thinking – the blinders that you have on.
You might be thinking that you can’t continue to grow and transform, dragging this weight behind you. Yet as the same time you want to avoid the hurt that will happen if you leave the baggage behind you.
The truth might be that you don’t like either of those choices and want different ones. The truth is that you have a large number of choices, and you should be asking yourself, “and what else is possible?”
Good friends can help you light the candle of courage. They can help you to hold it up high to shine the light all around. While they can’t and shouldn’t make your decisions, they can hold the space protectively around you while you make your own choices.
The truth is that these wonderful women will support whatever choice you make, as being the best choice that can be made at this time.
“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I’ve ended up where I needed to be” – Douglas Adams
There is a story which really fits the challenges you face in your life, every time you reach a moment of transformation. In the Bio-Dome experiment they planted trees. At first they were really excited because the trees were growing so fast and seemed so healthy.
Then something happened when the trees reached a certain height. They would topple over and die. Without the wind blowing against the trees, the roots did not grow big enough and deep enough to handle the weight of the tree as it grew.
Maybe you have wished in the past that you had been raised as the “silver spoon” baby with every need met and no trouble in your life. You imagine the perfect family, with the perfect life.
Such a life would actually be harmful to you, because there would be no transformation. No growing from life’s experiences. No strength and no courage.
“May the stars carry your sadness away, May the flowers fill your heart with beauty, May hope forever wipe away your tears, and, above all, May silence make you strong” – Chief Dan George
It is time to let go of what was, and create the future you desire. It is time to release the night of darkness and welcome a bright morning sunrise.
“Talent hits a target no one else can hit. Genius hits a target no one else can see” – Arthur Schopenhauer
As children you learned this lesson: “do as your told; don’t make waves; be a good girl/boy; be quiet; sit still”; and the rules go on forever. You learned to trade in everything you wanted to do, for the smile of happiness on someone else’s face. The smile that is the proof that they love you, but only when you do as they say.
“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first” – Jim Morrison
So you became an expert on putting on the mask. You squeezed yourself into the mold provided and hoped that no one noticed how much you spilled over the sides of it. Adults thought that they were molding your character, which may be true. What they might not realize is that they are also compressing who you are in reality.
“God has plucked you out of eternity, positioned you in time, and given you gifts and talents to serve him in this generation” – Christine Caine
Your brain keeps you in this same position with self doubt and fears. These doubts and fears tell you that you don’t have a personal genius. It tells you that you don’t have what it takes, or that you will have to walk away from everyone that you love as a sacrifice to achieve your personal goals. It keeps you framed into a small picture of who and what you are. You are walled away from your self confidence. It takes a daring attitude, and tremendous tenacity, to free your personal genius. You MUST break out of the frame of limitations.
“My method is different. I do not rush into actual work. When I get a new idea, I start at once building it up in my imagination, and make improvements and operate the device in my mind. When I have gone so far as to embody everything in my invention, every possible improvement I can think of, and when I see no fault anywhere, I put into concrete form the final product of my brain” – Nikola Tesla
Nikola Tesla took a truly different route to access his personal genius. He didn’t let his ideas escape his imagination. He let the possibilities run wild, then he put in structure and form and tested it. Only then did he take his idea to completion. That way his brain couldn’t attack it and destroy it while it only existed on the drawing board. By keeping it inside, in his imagination, the mind couldn’t attack it until he had worked out all of the possible kinks it might have had. He fenced out limitations, and allowed his spark of brilliance to cascade until he achieved a solid plan for that invention.
“You cannot discover your own genius if you set personal limitations that soothe everyone else around you. The spark of brilliance does not exist because of expectations. It (genius) sets the standard” – Amy Larson
Not being a slave to the ordinary is the only way to access personal genius. In school you learn that if you want to be an A student, you give them the answers that they want. They may not be the right answers in your own mind, but you can’t argue or reason with them. They only want the answers they are looking for. They stay safely framed in a society that wants you to be small, to live in a fully interpreted world that makes being creative something you do when you have “free time” as a hobby.
“Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary” – Cecil Beaton
Personal genius happens when you leave that world behind you. We see examples of business disrupters where someone comes in with an idea that totally changes how things are done. The Internet was a huge business disrupter. It changed how communication happened; it changed how businesses did their business. There isn’t any part of society that hasn’t been affected. When you go outside the “normal” this is how it has always been done – programmed response or behavior, you discover that you can have your own experiences. Experiences that allow you to figure out for yourself what it means to you personally.
“We will discover the nature of our particular genius when we stop trying to conform to our own or others peoples models, learn to be ourselves, and allow our natural channel to open” – Shakti Gawain
The thing that seems so easy to you is your God given talent, your gift(s). You’re certain anyone could do it, that you are not anything special. But if you take off that mask and expose your limiting beliefs in yourself and your talent(s), you will discover that you are in fact special, a genius in many ways . Unleash the imagination. Explore the possibilities of everything in life.
Each one of us has all the wisdom and knowledge we ever need right within us. It is available to us through our intuitive mind, which is our connection with universal intelligence” – Shakti Gawain
There bound up in chains and buried in a deep hole is your personal genius. It is time to look into your magic mirror, your looking glass, and see another reality. Assert your integrity of purpose and become a visionary around this gift. Your future has been waiting for you to break free. Don’t let anyone put try to put it back into that limiting frame. Set yourself free, be free to become who you were meant to be.
Come join us on March 7th for our next monthly free webinar on how to live your life with 20/20 focus. How to face the fears that are keeping you locked out of your destiny. How to unlock your chains and break free. Use those divine gifts with purpose to not only shift and change your world, but the entire world. Come and renew yourself. Find your voice and propel your life forward.
In 1952 Florence Chadwick, who had swum the English Channel, tried to swim from Catalina Island to the California coastline. After about 15 hours a thick fog set in and she didn’t think that she could make it. After another hour she asked to be pulled into the boat, giving up. She found out she had stopped one mile from her destination. She later swam the Catalina Channel several times. To face the doubt down, you just have to keep going.
When she looked at how far she had left to go in her imagination, (since the fog prohibited her from seeing the coastline in front of her) it was easy to get discouraged and quit. When you want to quit you start thinking and saying ” I have given all I have”. “No one could do more”. “This far is good enough”. “This is all I can take or handle”.
“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength” – Arnold Schwarzenegger
Something important was discovered in the experiment of the biosphere, in regards to trees. When they first planted the trees they were really excited to see the growth of the trees and how healthy they seemed. But what they discovered was that without the winds creating resistance for the trees as they grew, their root systems were very shallow and they couldn’t support their upward growth. They all eventually fell down because the roots couldn’t hold the tree upright. The same is true for us.
Have you seen the death crawl scene in the movie, “Facing the Giants”? The high school football player is blindfolded so that he can’t see. Then another player is placed on the football players back. He has to crawl on his hands and knees with the weight of that player. The purpose of the blindfold is so that he can’t see how far he has gone. When you can see how far you have gone, the tendency is to discount it. You start looking for reasons to quit, because it is too hard. It epitomizes the strength that you have hidden inside of you. The strength you hide from yourself, so that you don’t know that it’s even there.
“Real courage is when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what” – Harper Lee
When you see a big goal way down the field and what you have to go through to get there, your mind will start in with the negative chatter. Your mind will find a million reasons, perfect logical reasons, why you can’t do it. All words describing how it is impossible. Your friends and family will probably jump on the bandwagon saying that you would be crazy to even attempt it. Why start something doomed to failure?
In the movie, when the football player goes past the 50 yard line the coach gets excited. Like a good coach he sees that the player has the strength to go further. He starts crawling in front of him, saying 10 more steps, 10 more steps until the player collapses saying he can’t go farther and it must be that he is at the 50-yard line. In fact, he is in the end zone and just carried another player on his back the entire football field. Something that everyone, the coach, the other players and the boy would have said was impossible.
“Sometimes it is not the lack of ability, but the lack of confidence that prevents us from achieving what we really want. Sometimes it’s doable, but self-doubt makes it impossible” – QuotesEmpire.com
You have amazing strength inside of you. You need to carry inside yourself something inspirational that feeds your soul and spirit to keep going. It could be a past victory. There are many inspirational movies, Rudy, The Rocky Series, this film and I am sure you have your own list that you could continue with. It could be looking at the miles you have already traveled. It could be the story of a family member. Everyone needs the positive thinking of “I Can”, “I Will”, “I AM”, to shove aside the doubts and keep going forward into the end zone.
Next time you’re stressed, take a step back, inhale and laugh. There is something about the breath that can disconnect you from strong emotions. The old adage, count to 10 works for this reason.
“Whenever you find yourself doubting how far you can go, just remember how far you have come. Remember everything you have faced, all the battles you have won, and all the fears you have overcome” – Unknown
What gives us the courage to keep trying and stretching? It has to do with your ability to change and transform. It has to do with your attitude and definitions are around what transformation really means.
“Do you have the patience to wait until your mud settles and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving until the right action arises by itself?” – Lao Tzu
See the death crawl video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sUKoKQlEC4
“Running away from your problems is a race that you will never win.” Unknown.
Be brave. Fight for what you believe in, and make your dreams a reality. You are the only one who can. We are who we are, based on the choices that we make.
What is the difference between leaving something that doesn’t serve you and running away? I think it is several things. The realization that there is nothing that you can do to change the situation. You can only change yourself, and if the situation doesn’t change when you do, then it is time to ask yourself “why am I still here?”
Years ago I had interviewed for a new job and was hired. The first hour of my first day at the new job, I knew that I had made a mistake. The owner of the company had a lot of issues with anger and how he treated his employees. He wasn’t the person that I had interviewed with, and when I interviewed he wasn’t in the office. If he had been, I would not have accepted the position. As an example, when he would walk through the office, he would pull out the fax machine paper trays and if the paper wasn’t completely full, he would start yelling and swearing at the receptionist – even if she had filled them up just five minutes before.
The Saturday of my first week there, I had come in the office to set up my desk with the various underwriting guidelines they used for several companies. While I was there, the owner of the company came in and we started talking. I had already worked for an owner like him, and I had sworn I would never allow someone to treat me like that again. So I told him very clearly that the first time he yelled and swore at me, like I had seen him do with others, would be the day I quit.
The day eventually came when it happened. I went into the storage area and grabbed a box, and started putting my personal things in the box. Shocked, he asked me what I was doing. I reminded him of that conversation and said I was quitting. As far as I know, I was the first person that he ever apologized to for his bad behavior, and he never yelled or swore at me again.
Now I needed that job to support my family. But I had made a promise to myself to never let anyone demean me again. It took a tremendous amount of courage to go and grab that box. I was determined to be true to my word to myself. I chose to love myself, over fear of losing the job and income needed to support my family.
So many of us stay in bad relationships – with our employment, our family, our spouse, our friends. We tell ourselves that we have no choice but to stay. But we always have choices. Our happiness starts with us, and how we not only treat ourselves, but how we give permission to others to treat us. I could only make that choice because I loved myself, and trusted that doing the right thing would work out in the end.
The job, the relationships with friends and family, this is not what makes us happy or unhappy. It is how we treat ourselves with our inner voice inside our heads. The way we talk to and about ourselves, is how we give unconscious permission for others to treat us.
Words like, “you are so sensitive, can’t you take a joke?”, or “how stupid can I be?” or, “how naive and gullible you are”, or “You are making things worse, this is all your fault”. “I am always that last choice, never good enough.”
You have to believe that when you leave the wrong people or situations in your life, that the right things will start happening. The only way to get that kind of trust, is to just leap in faith that it will work out. It is like the chicken or the egg scenario, they both happen at the same time.
Paulo Coelho said, “If you’re brave to say “good bye”. life will reward you with a new “hello”. He also said, “You are what you believe yourself to be.” If that is true, what not believe yourself to be brave? Be the person that you are afraid to be, the one that doesn’t fit in, the misfit, the strange one. The words to the song, “Renegades” “long live the pioneers, rebels and mutineers, go forth and have no fears.”
The only way to discover what you are truly capable of, is to take leaps of faith across the chasms and up into the heights of trees. It is what is necessary to push out the boundaries of your comfort zone, or to decrease the size of your tolerance zone, as the case may be.
Refuse to be confined in accepting a mere existence for a life. Existence isn’t real security, but is instead an cage. May your heart be brave, your mind be fierce, and your spirit be free.
I wrote this poem on a Sunday (see it at the bottom). It had been banging around in my head for a while wanting to be released. So, I took some quiet time while everyone was asleep and let it out. The entire poem is printed at the end of the post.
There is no growth without change. You’ve got to let go of some old stuff. And that can hurt. Often when I’m in the most pain, I realize it’s coming from my trying to control everything. Or resisting the changes that come with the progress. But you see that light . . ., that beautiful next level . . ., and that’s what you have to focus on – Ali Brown
I found the quote by Ali after I wrote the poem and was struck by how much of what I am trying to express in the poem is in her quote.
You have to release what no longer serves you. That could be the story that you have been telling yourself that holds you in chains of fear about success and failure. It could be the story that you tell yourself that you are not capable of being more. The stories you could be telling yourself go on and on. They are varied and unending, depending on what your life has been about so far.
This control is when you stand up on the ship of your own destiny and release the anchor holding you to your stories. You drop the weight that holds you in place. You open to the winds of change. You drop all of the baggage of blaming the world for where you are at this moment in time. You decide to take your control back – control of how you think, how you react.
You can’t calm the storm, so stop trying. What you can do is calm yourself. The storm will pass – Thimber Hawkeye
It takes a lot of courage to stand up to the storm of fears and doubts. To realize that as you set sail on your ship, that there will be those who you leave behind, because they are still chained to their own stories.
When I thought deeply about this I thought of Pompeii. The volcano was going to erupt. It had been giving signs of the coming destruction for months. The people who were awake and listening, left the island behind. But so many of the people didn’t believe what they were seeing on a day-to-day basis. And they left fleeing to safety too late.
I am sure that they fully believed the lies they were telling themselves, the false stories about how safety lay in staying – not in fleeing with nothing to their names, to untold dangers. No, for them staying was the only smart thing to do.
You, however, face your fears of not knowing how you will steer the ship, or even where the next safe harbor will be. You have the courage to face the fears of the unknown, to face the lies that you told yourself and make the right decision – to face and live through the changes that are coming.
There comes a time when you just have to listen to the music of your soul and set sail to the unknown. And so the journey begins.
Storms without a name whip the seas into a fury, winds screaming through torrents of rain.
Waves crashing against the shore, bring in lost and forgotten debris.
Stand tall on the deck of your ship, as the birds scatter beneath the howling winds,
Let it blow away what no longer serves you.
You feel the backlash of empty words with no truth, the shadows are winning.
No sunlight, every battle lost, and shadow is winning. No rescue.
The lack of love, the hunger for life is insatiable, an open mouth that wails to be fed.
You can’t undo what has been done, it doesn’t serve you.
Thunder rolls and lightning flashes exposing what still needs to be released.
Let it go out the door, don’t run after it as if falls off the deck and into the sea.
Feel the weight of the past, as the sounds of the anchor being lifted vibrate through your body,
The anchor being lifted from the bottom of the sea, the sound of your journey echoing onward.
Change, the anchor of our soul, it both drops into the sea, and is pulled back up into the ship,
Change moves us ever forward on the journey, unearthing the destination clue by clue, star by star.
Change reveals the next adventure, the next treasure that we are seeking,
Change reveals the next harbor in which to rest our soul
Bright morning stars, as day breaks open the dawn releasing the light, as it climbs the clear sky,
Light breezes blow as it fills the sails, with the dust blown clear, we see what has been done.
Every color sparkles as it plays upon the sea, as we awaken, transformed once more,
We hear the music of our soul, whispering as the journey begins again, echoing ever onward.