Weekend Whimsy

Saturday, April 23, 2011 10:00 AM

             

The soul that sees beauty may sometimes walk alone. ~Johann von Goethe










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Quitting Has Never Gotten Me Anywhere

Wednesday, April 20, 2011 9:00 AM

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Love her doe eyes!! 

In mid-2010, I set a length goal. In summary, I set this goal for the following reasons:
*To practice discipline, faith and resilience
*To have a testimony to inspire others
*To have the kind of hair you don't see everyday i.e. differentiate myself
*To change a destructive pattern that I've struggled with for a long time (quitting!)

The first three reasons all support the fourth development goal to break hindering patterns in my life. I've been equally afraid of success and failure for as long as I can remember. I have sabotaged and talked myself out of so many things with my destructive behavior and negative thinking. The health and length goals I have for my hair and the corresponding requirements are teaching me so much about myself. Historically, when I'd see some growth, I'd gradually start slacking off with my routine. Why do we stop doing things when we clearly see that they are working?? Well, sometimes we're afraid that we won't be able to maintain a consistent, high level of success. It's like being in a relationship where things are good, and it scares us so we sabotage it by acting up before something bad happens. Somehow we feel that we'd rather be in control by ruining it ourselves rather than something outside of our control ruining it. It's backwards, but for many of us, it's a standard method of operation.

Many times when we quit, we don't admit to ourselves that we've quit. We just stop doing the things we need to do. We fall back into old habits and tell ourselves that things will be different this time. We tell ourselves that we're not ready. We have all the excuses in the world. What's changed for me is that I've bumped my head up against the wall for so long trying to make progress with nothing but defeat on my mind, that I have no other choice but to acknowledge that quitting doesn't work for me. It doesn't boost my self-esteem; it damages it. It doesn't make me feel safe anymore; it scares me. Quitting scares me more than failure. I'll take failure any day because it means that I'm alive and I'm making the most of my life and I'm trying. I don't want to just exist, and I don't want my movements through life to be fearful and/or oblivious. Give me determination, patience and purpose.

Hey, maybe that's it. Maybe purpose is what makes the difference. When you're truly passionate about something, you simply can't quit. The pathway can take unexpected turns, and you can end up here instead of there but that purpose remains. Purpose is the only juice you need to keep going.

While I used to believe that it was a long shot for me to ever grow my hair to my lower back, I now have no doubt in my mind that I will reach that goal this year. It's only a matter of time and discipline.

Do you find yourself quitting before you can succeed or fail? Try to adjust your thinking in these ways:

*Remember that everything you set your intention to do is about your experiences along the way, not the end result.

*Only commit yourself to things that you believe in with your heart and soul.

*Everytime you make a decision about what to do next, ask yourself if this is the same thing the "old you" would have done. If it is, do the opposite.

*If you fall off, don't abort the whole mission. Pick right back up where you left off as if you never fell off in the first place. For example, if you ate poorly on Monday, don't use it as excuse to not stick to your diet on Tuesday. Get right back on track.

*Visualize. Not just the end result, but also visualize what you want to get out of the experience and imagine the feelings you will feel when you see things through.

What else? What advice or testimony do you have about overcoming the urge to give up?

What Does Your Hair Mean to You?

Monday, April 18, 2011 3:09 PM

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When I was a little girl, I discovered that I could get attention with my hair. Good attention, bad attention - it didn't matter. People always had something to say about it. I was never the coolest, best dressed, or the prettiest - but my hair was always a distinguishing characteristic. So, I became very attached to it.

And to some extent, I still am. It's a security blanket. My favorite accessory. My flair. If I were a flower and my body was a stem with leaves then my hair would be the petals. In this post, I express my desire to often hide behind my hair. I'm a work in progress and despite my most earnest efforts to love myself without conditions, it's not effortless for me. I still feel inclined to rely on certain physical traits to make me feel beautiful. So, I ask myself - what if there was no hair to hide behind? I could lose all my hair for any number of reasons and then what? Would I no longer feel beautiful? Would I feel like a flower with no petals?

This line of thinking helps me to put it all in perspective. While my hair is an outward expression of my love for myself and the temple that God has given me, it's a temporary fancy. What will always remain, however, is the wisdom and self-knowledge that I gain from expressing myself through my hair. So, however you choose to express yourself - remember that it's not about the thing itself. It's about what you learn from committing to be authentic in your efforts and detached from the need for approval.

So, what does your hair mean to you? What do beauty and style mean to you? In your efforts to "feel pretty", how do you ensure that you don't lose sight of what's really important?

Weekend Whimsy

Saturday, April 16, 2011 10:00 AM

                                         
                 

Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson









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"If You Surrender to the Wind, You Can Ride It."

Friday, April 15, 2011 6:10 PM

Reblogged from msulookbook
Loving this tumblr featuring my alma mater!

Welcome, Friday. I've thought about you all week and your presentation did not disappoint: 60 degrees, sunny and pleasant. April is a very demanding month at work, so I'm living for the weekends to catch my breath and leave the 9 to 5 up on the shelf.

Thanks Eryn from Hair2Toe Beauty for the Lovely Blog Award! Part of the requirement of being chosen for the award is that I have to share 7 facts about myself, so I tried to think of things that you wouldn't already know. Here it goes:
*I'm 5'9" and have really long arms, legs, feet, fingers and toes. Really long.
*I sleep with a blanket that I've had since I was a baby.
*I've never been in a fight before - not a physical one anyway.
*I danced my whole life from the age of three through college.
*I eat sweet potatoes and tuna a lot. Not necessarily together.  I think I could live off of those two things.
*I love movies about supernatural things and the end of the world. Love.
*I went to Morgan State University and majored in Marketing, partying and making life long friends (not in that order).

I didn't prepare any links for this week's wrap up, but I wanted to share some of the things I read that were not on the web. I love to save affirmations, excerpts, quotes, scriptures, and any and everything that inspires me or triggers a significant train of thought. I keep a notepad with me and I also use a notes app on my phone. It's a great way to stay inspired and make sure you don't forget those spontaneous ideas that pop up.

Here are some things I captured this week:

"You know when you listen to music playing from another room? And you're singing along because it's a tune that you really love? When a door closes or a train passes by so you can't hear the music anymore, but you sing along anyway...then, no matter how much time passes, when you hear the music again, you're still in the exact same time with it. That's what love is like." ~Found this written in an old journal.  I don't know who wrote it made me smile.

"Many of us squander precious natural resources - time, creative energy, emotion - comparing the size of our talents to those of others. Today, ask Spirit to call forth your authentic gifts, so that you might know them, acknowledge them, and own them. Do you want to live more abundantly? Have you buried your talents? How can we live richer, deeper, and more passionately if we aren't willing to invest in ourselves? Many of us have played it safe for too long and wonder why we are miserable. Playing it safe is the riskiest choice we can ever make."
~Simple Abundance, Sarah Ban Breathnach

"Discovering who I was and what made me tick also required that I listen to people's criticisms. You can imagine how easy that was for me. Normally, when someone criticized me, I'd feel bad and run around trying to get people to see things my way. In the process, I didn't always tell the truth about what the person said in the first place, which eventually got back to that person and then I'd be in a whole great big mess. When I was afraid that someone wasn't going to like me or was going to be mad at me or leave me, I'd lie. I'd say whatever I thought I needed to say to keep someone from being angry with me or from leaving me. I didn't know it then, but now I understand that I did these things out of fear."
~Doorways of Support and Inspiration, Iyanla Vanzant

How was your week?  What are you doing with your hair this weekend??  I'm overdue for a henna treatment, but I don't think it's going to happen this weekend.  I've worn my hair down for the last two weeks, so I'll probably wash, deep condition and bun for next week.  We'll see.  Talk to you soon!  xoxo

Reality Check: Are You in Your Own Way?

Thursday, April 14, 2011 9:00 AM



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Periodically, take a moment to check your own pulse.  Do you know anyone who seems completely out of touch with themselves?  Blissfully (or miserably) ignorant to their role in creating their circumstances?  In order to avoid becoming that person, we all need to check ourselves occasionally.  Awareness is everything.  We can't change overnight, but we can see where we've come from, visualize where we want to go and understand that the only thing that can stop us is ourselves.

Are limiting thoughts sneaking back into your mind?
Are you spending your time and energy worrying about what other people think about you?
Are you playing the victim; blaming someone or something for your problems?
Are you doubting your future success because of past mistakes?
Are you loving yourself the way you want to be loved?
Are you happy or just barely making it?
Change your thoughts and change your life.

Consider the following:

You will never accrue the wealth, experience the success, do the things you really want to do as long as you worry about it. Chances are you are thinking in terms of what you do not have and cannot do. Your good cannot get to you if your mind is filled with lack. You have no room for blessings if your words are laced with limitations. You will not notice or be open to new experiences if you are stuck in the old ones. What you want may be totally new to you. It may be way beyond your highest expectations. How can it get to you if you keep getting in the way? It's time for you to move, realizing that the thing you are seeking is also seeking you. If not, you wouldn't want it. That is the law of compensation, what you give out will be returned to you. Get rid of your bad thoughts, inferior attitudes and limited behaviors and good will be attracted to you. It's not easy. It's not magic. But it works, miraculously. - Author unknown


Today, take some quiet time - as little or as much as you can - and make sure you're on the right track.  This is not a time to beat up on yourself but a time to evaluate and reposition where necessary - always with love.   xoxo

How Do You Frame Your Face With Your Natural Hair?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011 12:00 PM

This is how I used to wear my hair most of the time when it was relaxed.
One of the things I really needed to adjust to when learning how to style my natural hair is that it doesn't frame my face the way my relaxed hair did. I have a big forehead that I have an on-again off-again relationship with, so I always relied on "the swoop" to cover it up when I didn't feel like looking at it. The problem with that now is that I my hair doesn't lay down the same way (obviously). So, I've had to make amends with my forehead and get over how overbearing it can be to the rest of my face. And I've also been forced to consider other ways to frame my face with my hair. I know there are much bigger problems in the world, trust me. I'm just having an obsessive interlude, as we all do from time to time.  So, anyway...

I can't very well walk around with my head cocked to the side like this can I? 

It's particularly challenging for me because the top of my hair doesn't really have much of a curl pattern. It's just fuzzy. My strands are fine and it doesn't stick straight up but it also doesn't lay down. I often find myself unsure of what to do with the top/front - you know, the bang section and the crown of my hair. Sometimes I'll braid it and put it to the side. Other times I'll just put it straight back. Hello forehead.  When it's straight back, all of the bigness goes to the back and all I see from the front is...face.


But I still love the mystery and drama of wearing my hair towards my face! My skin doesn't like it very much, and it's not very practical (especially when it's hot!). But it's fun. I also would love to be able to wear bangs when I feel like it, but I don't want to cut them. Everytime in my life that I have cut bangs, I got tired of them quickly and grew them out so I'm not going to be trying that again anytime soon.

Have you also had to adjust to how your hair frames your face or how it lays (or sticks up) differently? Any tips to share?? Give me the deets in the comments.

Dispelling the Myth: "I am not a creative person."

Monday, April 11, 2011 10:00 AM



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Every artist dips his brush in his own soul,
and paints his own nature into his pictures.
~Henry Ward Beecher



Do you think of yourself as a creative person? An artist, even? Well, you should. Your life is your art. How you interact with people, how you solve problems, how you exude happiness and sadness - all of these things are products of your creativity. Whether we choose to acknowledge the artistry in these things or not, our unique approach to life is indeed art in its most fundamental form.

Perhaps you're like me and you've spent most your life telling yourself that you are not a creative person. This limiting thought can hinder your ability to find your purpose in this life. For me, it was a defense mechanism. I didn't feel like I had anything particularly brilliant to add to the world, so I told myself in a most repetitive, self-defeating fashion that I was not creative. How could I call myself creative and put myself in the same category with distinguished artists who lived and died by their craft?

But didn't we all start off as curious children whose realities were vividly commingled with imagination? We didn't understand all of the complications of life, so we created our own perspectives that were just as natural and uninhibited as our bodily functions.

Many of us lose that healthy appetite to create our own environment as we get older. Sometimes it is smothered by our desire to fit in, or maybe it's the restrictions of formal education. Sometimes the harsh realities of life just hit us so hard that we stop creating something for the soul out of every experience. And that is what art is about - creating something meaningful and authentic out of every experience.

As you create your life - your home, work, relationships, attitude, family, projects, problems, goals, dreams - remember that you are an artist. Your greatest work is your life and how you use the unique gifts that God has given you. Mastering these gifts is as simple as putting more you, more soul, more spirit into everything you do and tending to the details of life as a painter would tend to the details of his masterpiece.

Are you acknowledging the presence of art in your life and the importance of your creativity?

"We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle our inner spirit."

Friday, April 8, 2011 6:58 PM


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Most of us don't like problems, but who knows what we'd do without them.  How would we appreciate a good friend getting into the weeds with us to figure something out?  How would we differentiate between those who ask us how we are doing and those who really want to hear the answer?  I was reminded this week of the difference a true friend can make.  I had brunch with a bestie last weekend.  I'd gone in with plenty of things I wanted to vent and complain about, and I came out with a brighter perspective.  When she and I get together, it's like everything that was hurting now has a band-aid on it.  Just like children, we know that the wound is still under there, but somehow the loving care of that band-aid being placed on it makes it seem to feel better.

Painfully, just as problems can reveal the light in people, it can also reveal the darkness.  And I've lost friends, too.  It's not necessarily a darkness in them that I was unaware of; it's more often been a darkness that THEY were and are unaware of - and one should always be careful when letting anyone into your heart who is unaware and unwilling to see themselves.  Without sounding too cryptic, let's just say that no one can give to you what they are unable to give to themselves.  So, it's important to recognize when it's time to let go.
Are you hanging on to friendships/relationships that don't rekindle your spirit and lift you up? 

This week I found a fun blog, Fashion for Writers. I love quirky blogs whose authors write as if they are talking to me, are unapologetically honest AND if some hair and fashion is thrown in as well, then I'm sold. Speaking of unapologetic writers, if you are a fan of Apricot Tea , then you already know that Ev'Yan has a new blog called Sex, Love & Liberation. If you're into vulnerability and self-acceptance sprinkled with some sex therapy, then you'll love her new project.  I certainly do.

I've fallen for two more tumblrs - Polishing The Crown and Sweet Gems.  Created by two of my tweeps, I love when I find that someone I follow has a tumblr because it's just another way for me to get a peek into their creativity and their spirit.  I'm a voyeur that way.  A spirit voyeur.

By the way, I successfully cleaned out my closet last weekend and ended up with two big bags of goodies for the Goodwill. My PLPT co-conspirator and bestie, Kim, wrote a great piece this week that really put into words how I've been feeling about my closet lately. It's time for my closet to "grow up" and reflect the wisdom and simplicity that is growing within me. She also sent me this link for more great advice on how to ensure that you only have items in your closet that you love and actually wear.   Thanks chica.  Friends don't let friends hate their clothes.

This week, I want to leave you all (and myself) with some inspiration because there's just so much chaos and distraction in the the world right now. I don't watch much news for this very reason. Sometimes this makes me feel at a disadvantage in certain social environments, but I do what I have to do (and don't do) to maintain my peace of mind and sanity.

So this is for all of you, who like me, could use some beauty and lightheartedness to balance out the weight of the world and its wars, nuclear meltdowns, federal shutdowns and senseless violence:

Maybe we should develop a Crayola bomb as our next secret weapon. A happiness weapon. A beauty bomb. And every time a crisis developed, we would launch one. It would explode high in the air - explode softly - and send thousands, millions, of little parachutes into the air. Floating down to earth - boxes of Crayolas. And we wouldn't go cheap, either - not little boxes of eight. Boxes of sixty-four, with the sharpener built right in. With silver and gold and copper, magenta and peach and lime, amber and umber and all the rest. And people would smile and get a little funny look on their faces and cover the world with imagination. ~Robert Fulghum


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Sinners Have Soul Too

Thursday, April 7, 2011 5:31 PM

  
I have no tolerance for self-righteous people.

I suppose I should admit to some level of reverse self-righteousness, because I have a tendency to look down on people who have a holier than thou attitude. What can I say? I mean, haven't we all fallen short of our moral standards often enough that it would seem reasonable to just live and let live? Who am I to say that my beliefs are any more real to me than yours are to you? I may not agree with you, but I respect that everyone has a unique upbringing, experiences, and free will choices to make. I can't say what I would believe or how I would feel if I had to walk in someone else's shoes.

I was raised in a Baptist church and I was taught that anyone that doesn't give their life to Christ would go to hell. That's a heavy weight for a child to carry around. I remember at a very young age wondering what would happen to good friends of mine that were not Christian. Would they go to hell? This really distressed me because they were good, caring people. I couldn't understand why there would be all these different religions in the world - just to divide us? What about all the people who were born into another religion and called God a different name and celebrated different holidays? What about little children who died before they had a chance to grow up and dedicate their life to any religion at all? What happened to them? I found it hard to believe that all good people belonged to one religion, creed or class of people.

Because of all these questions and doubts, for years I felt disconnected from religion; but I never felt distant from God. Even when I was really out there, you know? I may have been engaging in all kinds of sin and iniquity, but somewhere deep inside I knew that God hadn't given up on me and that I would find my way. The only thing that sustained me throughout those years of confusion was the strong foundation of Love within me that never wavered, never judged, and never lost faith in me. Many would say that I'm still not living the way I should. No matter what anyone thinks, I've come to terms with my spirituality and I realize that the kingdom of God is within me, it's within you and everyone of us who walks this earth. Why some of us are enlightened to that and others are not is still outside of my understanding and probably always will be - at least in this life. Why some of us are so driven by hate and darkness is a mystery to me, as well.

Instead of trying to impose my ideas of what's right or wrong on anyone through judgment or discrimination, I'd rather earnestly concern myself with my own self-acceptance. If I can accept myself, the light and the dark, then I'm more able to accept the presence of both in the world that I live in.

"Excuse Me For a Moment, I'm in Another World."

Saturday, April 2, 2011 9:00 AM

    
Would you describe yourself as an extrovert or introvert?  It's no surprise that I have a hard time identifying with just one or the other.  I'm very self-reflective - always preoccupied with my dreams, visions and thoughts.  I require a lot of quiet time to myself; otherwise, I start to feel overwhelmed.  And yet, I'm very friendly and outgoing.  I like to connect with good people. I tend to take a leadership role in small groups, albeit more of a quiet, diplomatic type of leadership.  I'm always paying attention to the emotional currents in my environment like  - who was just offended by a comment, who feels uncomfortable to speak but wants to be heard,  who's being overbearing and needs to be buffered, etc.  My conscious naturally seeks to maintain peace and balance wherever I go. Sometimes I'm so busy noticing the energy and the body language around me that I totally tune out of the conversation.    As a result, I often feel like I'm in a different world than everyone else.  I suppose we all feel that way for one reason or another.  What do you think?   What role do you usually play in social environments?

Speaking of social environments, I met some fabulous women at an event at Lettie Gooch boutique in DC last Friday.  Chic Mommy wrote a great recap here. That night, we decided that we're definitely attending Blogalicious 2011 in October.  Are you going???

We had two awesome features on Peace Love and Pretty Things this week!  Jess did a guest post for us about how she came to find her calling.  Here's an excerpt:

"I remember standing still and examining the broken shards of glass that were my life; glistening like diamonds in the sunlight but leaving me wounded, weak and bleeding at closer look. What I had was not happiness, it was complacency. I was working at a job that had excellent benefits, good pay, room for advancement, supportive management, and cooperative coworkers, and I was dying. I heard a long time ago that we only change when it’s a life or death decision; if I never believed it before, at that moment in time I did."  Read more...

Then later in the week, beautiful Kenya shared a story of faith and perserverence that you absolutely must read if you ever have been faced with seemingly impossible odds.  We post At Your Best features every Thursday and we all continue to be inspired by them!   Send me an email if you would like to participate.

Right now I'm feeling:


Super High Buns!
 

Feather earrings

and little feelgooders like these :) 
 
By the way, does anyone know what song the quote in the title is from? 
Maybe I'm just showing my age with that one.
See ya on Monday!! :-P