Let it Be

This blog was requested by Rev. Gaylon McDowell, based on the word: Beatitude.

Are you pursuing freedom?  Love? Peace? Doing all you can to be happy?

The word Beatitude comes from the Latin term meaning happiness.
It is a state of joy.  When you research Jesus’ use of them, it’s indicated that he speaks of the condition of the listener, and what would result from that condition.

Each statement is structured: “Blessed are the… for they will…”

There it is. Your state of being determines your result. Not what you do but who you are.

Why chase something you already have?

I’ve seen the word written “be-attitude”. That’s the key. That’s where your connection to happiness lies. No matter what your condition, if you remain confident that who you are is enough,  the result will show the grace of the Divine.

Happiness needs no doing. It is your being.

When I was a little girl, my grandmother had a little trivet that I loved to look at while I waited for her to cut my grapefruit half and put sugar on it. I memorized the words even when I had no idea what they meant because I liked the butterfly on it.

It said this: “Happiness is like a butterfly, which when pursued is always just beyond your grasp, but if you sit quietly, will alight upon you.”

Blessed Be.


The Surprising Reason You’re Sick

Yuck. Sick again? Photo credit: Andriana Mereuta

Yuck. Sick again?
Photo credit: Andriana Mereuta

Recently, I’ve been sick. Being both an entrepreneur and a teacher, illness is no joke.

In my spiritual practice, it’s even more serious. Our bodies’ natural tendency is toward health and growth. You see that in nature. Grass, plants and trees have to be cut to maintain a certain look, and even then, they must be cut on a continual basis. If you’re sick, you’ve wandered away from a consciousness of God.

Your immunity is your body’s system of resilience. Immunity is “exemption from obligation, service, duty or liability; being insusceptible to disease or punishment.” It is your body’s way of maintaining integrity in the face of anything that is contrary to what you are supposed to be.

Now, you can take this one of two ways:

1) A compromised immunity can be a punishment from God: you’re sick because you forgot you were God’s child. If I feel I’m a smart person, then that could be embarrassing. People who believe this don’t show up for Sunday service when they’re sick, and they stay away from our Bible studies and prayer meetings.


2) A compromised immunity is a warning from your heart: you’re sick because you’ve taken on obligations, duties and liabilities that weren’t yours to begin with. Your energy is being spent on the wrong things, and it’s time to make some choices. In that case, you reach out to your circle of friends, spiritual partners and spiritual teachers for support, and you look within for guidance. You practice extreme self-care and enter what I call a “no-guilt zone.”

I chose the latter.

My sickness reminded me so much of my natural state of being that I looked through everything in my life that I felt obligated to, uneasy about, punished by and liable for. Anything that wasn’t true to who I am called to be was up for debate. Anything that didn’t contribute to my bliss didn’t make the cut. Even while sick, I wrote my blogs, and I taught my classes. I mentored and planned events. I went to the beach and spent time with people I love.

We can’t fear sickness. Sickness is a tool for growth. A tree with damaged limbs must be pruned so it can bear fruit. (Like this quote? Click here to share it on Twitter.)

If you’re sick, don’t just recommit to your physical health. Use the time of self-care to look at the mental, emotional and relational obligations that compromise your integrity. Then, choose joy. Even if your physical healing isn’t immediate, your true healing will begin.

What about you? Do you muddle through sickness, or is it a time of self-reflection?

The Steadman Principle (while you #banbossy)

(with apologies to the Winfrey camp)

Men love us! Credit: Banbossy.com Campaign

Men love us!
Credit: Banbossy.com Campaign

Those who remember Janet Jackson’s hard-core days, when she dressed in all black and was part of the Rhythm Nation, may recall her song, “The Pleasure Principle”.

She was on to something.

We serial entrepreneurs and world-changers find ourselves in a quandary. We may still want the hot, masculine man to take care of our most fun needs—but the world needs us too.  So we also need a sensitive man who understands carbon footprints, the entrepreneur’s lifestyle AND our want to mentor that young girl who acts all hard-core but still loves stickers.

Where is that perfect mix of The Rock and Jai Rodriguez from Queer Eye?

He’s out there, sistren. He’s just not going to show up the way we expect.

We leaders are the new species of woman.  So, there’s a new species of man.

The old paradigm had men as our charismatic breadwinners, setting the vision for the household. Now the vision comes from us.

Who is the helpmate to the visionary, socially conscious woman?

A wonderfully sensitive, supportive and grounded man.

He is the Steadman to your Oprah.

Follow me a bit here.

I know you, visionary powerhouse, are looking for another dynamo so that you can be evenly yoked. He’s out there. And he wants to build a life with your awesomeness.

What kind of man is going to be patient with his own needs while you’re out knocking down barriers of injustice?

A spiritual partner. The “even yoke” is not material.

Being spiritually matched doesn’t mean your practical, daily needs aren’t met. In fact, they’re met easier. The right partner will challenge you to remain balanced.

Did you know Meryl Streep is married with children? Most people forget that, and that’s exactly what she wants. A beautifully fulfilling, relatively normal private life—and the right partner made that happen. Sparks may fly with other powerhouses, but who is going to tend your flames?

And really, let’s be frank: would Oprah and Steve Jobs have been compatible in a long-term relationship?

Women who lead are complemented by men who support. When we #banbossy, we can embrace love too. Help the women and girls in your circle do both.

3 smart insights to lessen next year’s holiday hangover

This is the tree, and yes, I'm wearing antlers.

This is the tree, and yes, I’m wearing antlers.

I have a humongous Christmas tree in my house this year. It makes me giggle when I look at it every morning, but it also made me wonder if there were other motivations to my getting a big Christmas tree.  As a nation, we overdo it every holiday. Why?

1.        We’re not supposed to give freely during the year.

Giving freely is looked at suspiciously, or with pity. So many movies in New York begin with the main character helping others in the street, wide-eyed and heart open, while muggers look on with glee. The world has been molded to take advantage of givers. If you put it out there for free, why? That’s like the fisherman who gives the fish free bait. It comes with a catch. (ha!)

If you give on a constant basis, people think you’re an easy mark. If you have a business and give without restraint, people think that you don’t have any business sense. But during the holidays, tidings of cheer and good will negate every one of those rules.

If we’re honest with ourselves, giving is an inherent part of our being. It’s unnatural to hoard and be stingy. But when you’re an adult, open displays of love and appreciation are seen as suspect.

When a child runs up and hugs you, there’s an “aww” moment. When an adult runs up and hugs you, we signal for security.

During the holidays, we speak kindly to strangers, we enjoy ourselves and spend more time with the people we love. We can give and overwhelm them with the love we’ve felt for them all year, and no one will think we’re weirdos.

Giving is a part of us we’ve learned to hide and protect. During the holidays, we can give in to the love we’ve hidden all year long. This is why we overdo it for the holidays.

2.    Traditionally, we’re defined by what we do and have, instead who we are.

50 weeks out of the year, most people spend their days in a job defined by a company. That company gives you a salary, benefits and even a community of others working to make sure that everyone is successful (so that you can continue to get paid).

If you work at your own business, your schedule may be 365 days a year. All that time away from your family better be worth it. So we buy a nice house, drive a decent car, and well, during the holidays… we’ve got to make up for it somehow. We even get competitive about it, giving bigger and more things to show that we can keep up with the latest trends and we love our family the most.

The funny thing is, children like the technology and the pretty dolls, but they love your funny stories and affection even more. They settle for what you give them because, well if it’s not the real thing, at least it’s something.

Think about it. We don’t describe our favorite uncle as the dude who always brought the great gifts during Christmas. He’s the one who always listened to you, and told you the stories that ignited your imagination. The people who make the greatest impact on you are the people who shared who they are.

There are pictures of me in my childhood by a Christmas tree. I’m surrounded by paper and boxes, and always, I’m in a fluffy dress. I don’t remember ANY of the presents. Not one. What I do remember is feeling completely surrounded by joy and love. My family was together, music was playing and everyone was telling a story. I couldn’t wait for my favorite aunt because she always hugged me up and chatted with me. She always made you feel like the most special person in the world. She greeted people in the way that they needed and spent time with everyone. I cherished anything she brought because I knew she cared for me.

Which leads me to number 3:

3.        It’s easier to share a gift than it is to share yourself.

Your favorite people are those who willingly share themselves with you. They show you their faults, and they’re honest about how the world has affected them. They have what’s called “character”.

It’s hard to show people you care for them when everyone has been hurt in some way or another.  Being connected and intimate with others makes you vulnerable. Feelings of love are wrapped up in feelings of disappointment and resentment. That complex bundle of emotion can’t be dealt with in a few hours, and that may be the only time we see the people we hate to love.

Instead of bringing Iyanla to fix us, we bring guilt and we bring gifts.

Anything is better than the awkward conversation that comes with trying to heal years of familial misunderstanding. Or you could just wait til this happens and leave.

But it’s like that every year, isn’t it?

Next year, let’s think about giving in to the giving spirit more than once a year. But give fewer things and more of yourself. We follow people like Richard Branson and Marie Forleo not because they have lots of money, but because they freely share themselves in all they do. Not just on special occasions.

Set up some time randomly during the year to hang out with those people you overwhelm with gifts during the holidays. It’s easier, and you’d be surprised how much they appreciate that more.

Do you “binge-give”? Is it worth it? Comment below.

An Empty Shampoo Bottle

I was in the shower the other day.

Well, I take a shower EVERY day, but on this particular day, my favorite hair product was almost finished.

I felt a bit disappointed, and squirted only a little bit out. Now I’ve got a lot of hair, and that little dime-sized portion they talk about just doesn’t cut it.

The Empty Bottle

This is how we live life, y’all.

But then I remembered that I was going to the mall and I could pick up some more easily.

I squirted a healthy portion and got busy styling my hair.

This is how we live life, y’all.

We have a whole lot of love and talent and genius to give to one another. We’re so stingy. We wait for the right moment, the right person or the right opportunity.

God help us if the person we gave our gifts to uses them in a way that we didn’t plan for. Our feathers get ruffled, and we get self-righteous.

That’s because we think we have a limited amount of brilliance and love to share. We hoard it, because we forget how much we continuously have to offer. Your talents don’t disappear. You have more love even when your heart has been broken.

hair, beauty

My Fabulous Healthy Hair with Plenty of Product

And despite reports to the contrary, people still give to great causes. You just need to tell a story that speaks to your givers.

Give inspiration and honesty– don’t hoard yourself– and the right people will respond.