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How to Make Your Dreams A Reality

What is a dream? No not the thing that you do when you sleep. I am talking about the thing that you hope one day may come to pass. The want. To get married, start a family, start a business, that car you imagine yourself in every day, being debt free; just to name a few. A dream is that thing in the far-off ether.

You can see it, but you cannot reach it. Maybe you have had glimpses of it before – a test drive if you will. But like a strip tease or internet pornography, the in the moment sensation does not compare to what that thing would actually be like if it was your reality. The real touch. Owning the keys and not giving them back. Being okay and not just saying you’re okay.

How do you close that gap in your life? The space between where you would like to be and where you actually are. For some of you, you may have what is called a pipe dream. Something that for all intents and purposes will never come to pass. Before we can discuss the manifestation of a dream, or the lack thereof, it is important to understand why dreams are important.

One of the Key Components of a Dream is Hope

Hope is the momentum of life. It is the reason you get out of bed in the morning. Some people think that they wake up to go to work. The reality is most people only go to work for the money.

Ask yourself this: if you did not have to support you or your family would you spend your life energy in time – working for the fabricated concept that we call money?

Governments create currency. The only reason that it [money] is real, is because we make it real. 68% of people are disengaged at work. That means that the majority of employees would rather be doing something else with their life energy (time). What gets you out of bed in the morning is not your job. Your job may be the reason, but the motivation is your dreams.

Everyone needs capital. That is just the way life was designed to operate. But for not necessarily all people, though I would argue a plurality, their capital is only as valuable as what they can do with it.

The Bible says that the love of money is the root of all evil. I think your average person does not necessarily love money, but they do love their family. They do love being able to put gas in their car. And they do love going to the store and getting everything that they need.

Dreams VS “Real Life”

The difficulty in relation to needing money to live, and the concept of dreams, is that a dream is diametrically opposed to reality. One directly impacts you, while the other for most people is a pleasant distraction at best. Nevertheless, your dreams are still important; Because without something to motivate you, life feels empty.

So, what is the value of a dream – whether it be one that you are working towards, or one that just passes your mind on occasion? They represent life. Think of a heart monitor. Your dreams are the proverbial pulse of your life. If you allow your dreams to flat line, yes you will still technically be living, but to quote a famous rapper: to live does not mean that you are alive.

Since dreams are the essence of a meaningful life, then the question that you should be asking yourself daily is, how am I pursuing my dreams in my reality?

In this way, it is possible to have your cake and eat it too. That being said, it may not be the flavor of cake that you want – but pick your battles. This is where the process of making your dreams a reality begins.

Most of us will Never get 100% of Exactly what we Want

In life, there is this thing called compromise. Compromise is when two or more parties are willing to make concessions so that a mutual agreement can be met. It is not that your dreams cannot become reality, it’s that you have to be willing to accept the reality of your dreams regardless of the form that they come in.

To use my own life for example, where I thought I would be in life versus where I am, is different in presentation, but the same in direction. Growing up I thought I was going to become a psychologist. Go to school for 10+ years, start a private practice, conduct groundbreaking research, have a house, a wife, and kids, be an active member in a local church, mentor young people, and maybe even hold some sort of public office.

That was the dream.

The reality is I am an entrepreneur, an author, unmarried with no intentions of becoming so, not active in my community, and while I lean heavily on what I learned in school from receiving my master’s in Psychology, I am not conducting experiments or writing grant proposals.

My life is not any less impactful, it is just not what I thought it would be. And guess what, that is A-okay. The truth is, you must make peace with your reality before you can begin to try to manipulate it.

Dreams, Potential, and You

Another word that can be used in relation to your dreams is potential. The word potential intrinsically means absolutely nothing. It’s what could be. And a fact of life is anything could be. When you dream, essentially you are imagining what could be for your life.

How this ultimately works with your reality is: your life is your canvas, the resources that you have available to you are your paint and brushes, and what you ultimately decide to paint is a reflection of what you see in relation to your dreams.  

One woman, beautiful female painter artist painting on lavender field outdoors on a sunny day.

When you paint a portrait of something what you are doing is translating on to canvas whatever it is that you see in front of you. There are a multitude of confounding variables in relation to this: are you a painter, what is your paint style, what angle are you seeing what you are painting from, etcetera.

In the same way, when you are trying to make your dream a reality, your dream is the thing that you are painting. How you interpret that thing on to the canvas of your life is influenced by life itself.

Life Wants to Happen For You not To You

The number one obstacle in making your dreams a reality is you fighting against your reality. The only reason why this happens is because you are living counterintuitively to who you are. Here at Life with Ken we call this living out of alignment.

Living in alignment means that the totality of your being is going in the same direction. Once you learn how to do that, then, and only then, can you begin to manifest your dreams into your reality.

Once that happens you will begin to realize your fullest potential, meaning, that while you may not bring to fruition the exact dream that you envisioned, what will come to pass will be better because it will be authentically you.

Do not fight the direction that life wants to take you. Go where you are being led. Follow your instincts and the rest will come. Making your dreams a reality is a combination of putting in effort, being willing to compromise, accepting who you really are, and accepting what life is presenting to you.

To dream is fundamentally a good thing. Trying to force your will on your dreams will never work. What God has for you is for you. It is not a matter of whether or not your dream will come to pass, as much as, it is a matter of whether or not you will receive it when it does – regardless and however different the manifestation is from the vision.

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How to Deal with Grief and Loss

Originally Published April 24, 2020

We are currently towards the end of week 5/6 depending on location, of the coronavirus quarantine. It feels like we can finally start to see some light at the end of the tunnel. As a society however, there are challenges that we should be gearing up to face as guidelines begin to ease.

Statistically, by the end of all of this, you will have come in contact with the Coronavirus either directly or indirectly. With such a widespread impact, losing a loved one may be inevitable.

In the last two months my family has experienced five deaths seemingly in succession; two of which were coronavirus related. Because of the timing of the passing’s, we did not have an opportunity to properly grieve everyone.

The few memorial services that are being held, are being done with strict social distancing guidelines. Families are being left without the typical outlet of a proper funeral to facilitate their grieving process. In these extenuating circumstances, there is value in knowing what we can go through while grieving. As well as how we may be able to better facilitate the process for ourselves.

The Five Stages of Grief

Psychiatrist Elizabeth Kubler Ross developed the five stages of grief model. It explains what it is we experience when we go through loss. Her model identifies denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance as the main stages or phases we go through while grieving. Keep in mind that the grieving process, is a healing process.

Denial

This stage helps us to survive the loss. We deny our reality. We numb ourselves to what we are experiencing and try to carry on business as usual. The goal in this stage is to just get through each day. Ross believed that this stage is nature’s way of helping you cope, by not allowing you to get overwhelmed.

Anger

Anger is an essential part of the healing process. You get through your anger at the loss of someone by leaning into the fact that you are angry. We must be willing to feel our anger. Your anger during this stage can express itself in a variety of different ways that can be unique.

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We may find ourselves projecting; putting our feelings on to someone or something else. We may also find ourselves getting upset over things that normally would not elicit a vitriol response. Anger is a response to the pain someone begins to feel once the denial wears off; and reality starts to sink in. Do not be afraid to be upset. Real healing comes when you allow yourself to properly experience the emotions that come with your anger.

Bargaining

Bargaining presents itself as a desired escape from reality. We wrestle with “if then” and “what if” statements and try to quantify the loss in deeds. It is almost a state of delusion.

We long for a return to normal; and run through scenarios in our mind that we think would have potentially prevented our loved one from passing. You may vacillate through the other stages while bargaining, as well as bear the weight of guilt. While bargaining, all we want is for the hurting to stop.

Depression

Depression is normal when grieving a loss and should be treated as such. It is just a phase, and no matter how long it takes for you to get through it… you will.

It is important that while in this stage, you allow yourself the time necessary to explore and understand your depression; and not be ostracized by it.

depression, anger, acceptance, grieving
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Acceptance

Acceptance is you finally acknowledging your new reality. This is when you learn to live with your new life. The adjustment may be difficult at first, but we learn to manage. This does not mean that we do not miss our loved one(s); But we learn how to live and miss them at the same time.

This will most likely be a gradual process as you must acclimate to a new normal. Do not neglect your needs during this time. Its important to be in tune with your feelings and be able to process them reasonably. This can look like anything from more private time, joining support groups, therapy, or leaning into already existing relationships.

How to Grieve Well

Typically, a funeral can usher us in and or through these stages of grief. It is important that if we find ourselves experiencing a loss, that we can acknowledge our grief. Do not be afraid to ask yourself: “Am and grieving and ehat stage of grief am I in?”.

By knowing what you are experiencing, you are recognizing your emotions and mental state of being. By knowing where we are, we can begin to change how we are. You may want to ask yourself instead of what stage of grief am I in; what stage of healing am I in? Controlling the narrative can be a good way to self-manage and facilitate personal healing.

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Grieving well requires that we be honest with ourselves and our loved ones. It means that we are willing to express, but also challenge our emotions. It also means that we do not rush through our process.

I know for me, when I grieve, historically I tend to spend a lot of time in the denial and depression stages. By pinpointing where I am, I allow myself to be found.

That is what grieving well is: acknowledging that you need time to heal. And putting yourself in a position that gives both the time and resources necessary to do so.

Grief and loss is a part of life; and has been magnified by the coronavirus pandemic. Knowing what to expect while grieving and being able to grieve well by knowing one’s self while going through the stages, will allow for a better more fulfilling healing process.

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What the Heck is Resurrection Power Anyway?

Happy Holy Week! The Easter season is here, and Resurrection Sunday is fast approaching. I love this time of year – Jesus is the reason for the season! Around the world people celebrate Jesus doing the literal impossible and rising from the dead.

I do not know about you, but admittedly, I have never witnessed anything like that before. Its a natural phenomenon.

Miracles happen every day, and as a recipient of many miracles I am not saying it is not possible. There are several stories of someone being brought back to life on a hospital bed. CPR and defibrillation are examples of how we resurrect in the natural. What I am implying however, is most dead things do not just come back to life.

What do you do in a season that represents things coming back to life, while the things that were once important to you, lie dormant and dead? These are the types of things I think about in this season because, how many times have you cared for something, only to watch it die?

I can personally attest to this scenario.

Maybe you had a vision to start a business, or get married, or to move to a different state/country. Maybe you have always wanted kids, but that area of your life has remained perpetually barren. Eventually, after all of your trying you get tired and ultimately you give up. What was once an aspiration becomes a pipe dream. There is no chance that it will come to pass, and even if it does at this point in your life… you rather resent the thought.

I do not know about you, but after I have given up hope, the last thing I want is someone to encourage me to believe again. It hurts to believe. Its difficult to presuppose something that evidently is never going to happen. I do not want to have faith for something that my life says will never happen. I see it as a waste of my time, and would rather put my energy to things that are more realistic, make sense, and are not idealistic in nature.

This is truly a predicament.

Where does resurrection power come into play in this situation? Jesus was only dead for 3 days; your dream(s) may have been dead now for over 30 years. I do not wish to be accused of being the person that causes you to believe again; however, within this context, I think it’s important for us to learn from someone who lived out this exact scenario.

Sarah was the wife of Abraham in the book of Genesis in the Bible. Sarah and Abraham were near 100 years old when the Lord appeared to them and said that Sarah would give birth to a son. That idea was so outlandish, that Sarah laughed at God. Sarah thought that there was no way.

She and Abraham had been married for a long time by the time God gave them this promise, and all Sarah ever wanted was to give Abraham a child. So much so, that she made one of her maids sleep with Abraham so that they may have a child together.

Giving birth was a desire in Sarah’s heart. So, once she was able to finally move past that failure in her life, the last thing she probably wanted to hear or believe was that she was going to have a child. What do you do, when God tells you something contrary to your life circumstances? Sarah laughed.

It is not Sarah’s laughter that should encourage us today, it’s God’s response. When God noticed Sarah laughing, he said: “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Genesis 18:14). At this point, Sarah had stopped menstruating for at least 50 years.

For all intent and purposes Sarah’s womb was dead. It had never known life and under normal circumstances would never know life.

But God declared that she would yet bare a child and in a year’s time.

The story ends with Sarah having a child and her and Abraham naming the boy Isaac just as God had said.

God resurrected Sarah’s womb long after she had given up on it. Are there things in your life that you have “given up” on, but you still have a desire for? This Easter, I believe God wants us to experience His Resurrection Power. The interesting implication of resurrection is that what rises from the dead, is the same thing that was buried.

After Jesus was buried after being crucified, when He rose from the dead [resurrected] on the third day, He was exactly the same. He still had the piercings in His hands and feet, and He still had the pierced side. He was the same, but at the same time He was not. When Jesus rose from the dead, he said in Matthew 28:18: “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”. Resurrection is not about old life being restored to an old vessel; it’s about new life being given to an old vessel.

If something has died in your life that you once had a real desire for; it’s not because it was never meant to live, but rather, it’s because God wants it to live differently.    

What was so significant about Isaac’s life, that God was determined to bring him forth through Abraham and Sarah? God’s intention through Abraham and Sarah was to build a nation. Isaac was the only son of Abraham and Sarah, and was the father of Jacob who became Israel. Israel (Jacob) had 12 sons that all had families and became the “Nation of Israel”.

If it was not for this first resurrection in Sarah’s womb, there would have been no resurrection of Jesus from His death on the cross. This is resurrection power! This is what the Easter season is really all about – bringing dead things back to life to fulfill a new purpose.

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The Value of Work

Labor is a cornerstone of the human experience. To live is to work. No matter what you do whatever you do can be classified within a category of work. When God created Adam, the first thing that He did was employ him. Work is a definitive part of who we are. When/if you socialize one of the most commonly asked questions is: “what do you do?” – implying an explanation of your occupation.

If you have been a reader of mine for a while, then you know that ‘I do not believe in work’. I used to think work was a bad thing because of its inherent fruitlessness. The Bible in the same story of Adam and Eve says that we [humans] are to eat what we cause the ground to produce, and that it – the ground, will produce thorns (Genesis 3:17-19). To understand the significance of this and why this scarred my view of work for so long, you must appreciate the context of the word “ground” and the implications thereof in the twenty first century.

What does it mean to “work the ground”? Well back when this portion of The Bible was written it would have been used in a literal sense meaning; animal raising and agricultural work. Adam was technically a farmer after all. Today, the “ground” could be the company you work for, the store you work at, or the business you are part of. We all toil in some way to produce, so that we may sustain our individual quality of life.

Imagine quitting your job tomorrow with no back up plan. How are you going to pay your rent/mortgage? What about food? And let’s not overlook your extracurricular activity spending. You may be able to get by a month or two on savings; But what happens on the third month when the well runs dry? Work has woven itself into society in a way that can be burdensome.

This is not a denunciation or repudiation of work. Rather I am setting the record straight by saying, that while I do not approve of all work; work in general, does have redeeming qualities that gives us insight into the human condition.

To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’

“Cursed is the ground because of you;
    through painful toil you will eat food from it
    all the days of your life.
18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
    and you will eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your brow
    you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
    since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
    and to dust you will return.”

Genesis 3:17-19


The current structure of work is that we do it to survive. If you or I do not work, we do not get paid. If neither of us get paid, then none of our responsibilities get taken care of. And if as humans we do not have responsibilities, then we do not have meaning.

Not to beat the bill analogy to death, but the only reason some people get out of bed in the morning is because they have bills to pay. The work we do produces thorns. What are thorns in the twenty first century? A Netflix subscription. Paying too much for your internet and phone. That shopping spree that you know you did not need to go on. Work breeds responsibility. You will not be [feel] responsible for something you did not work for.

Growing up, when I first started wearing contacts, I would always lose them. Once I started paying for them with my own money however, I made sure to never lose a lens again. I felt responsible for the lenses because, I felt the pain of having to pay for them with the money I just finished earning by selling forty hours of my entire existence to someone.

You see, when you put work in perspective, the act of work is a good thing in and of itself; the problem is the ground. Sometimes where you toil is more important than what you toil for.

To go back to our agricultural example, it is a lot easier to grow crops in nutrient rich soil than it is to do in soil that has lost all of its nutrients. In the same way, it is better for you and I to make sure that we are working ground that is suitable for what we are trying to produce in our lives. Here is a secret that might break your paradigm: work is not just work. What you do [your work], is an extension of who you are.

Show me what you do for a living and I will tell you the kind of person you are. No this does not mean that you have to like your job; you give yourself away by what you tolerate.

The Bible says that what we approve of is approved and what we disapprove of is disapproved (Matthew 18:18). As this relates to our lives – specifically our work lives, you may not like your job, but what you are willing to put up with at your place of work says something about your character.

What this all means is: If your work is unproductive, it is possible that it is because your environment is unproductive. After cursing the ground and telling us to toil over it, God declares that we [humans] will “eat from the fruits of our labor”. Is your labor producing fruit? Is your work yielding you are return, or are you toiling in vain?  

Sometimes the ground is just bad. Regardless of the work that you do, it will be arduous, there is no getting around that; but at some point in our lives, we should come to a place of wanting to work smarter not harder. The smarter you work, the harder it will make you want to work. What do I mean? For example, as my writing intellect has grown, the caliber of my written content has grown with it.

There is a degree of confidence associated with smart work that makes you want to produce at an excellent quality level. The easier you can do something, the less someone else will appreciate it. But a smart worker knows, that the ease is in the expertise.

Is the ground that you are toiling over producing good food, or are you constantly growing sour apples? Sometimes it’s not our labor, but rather where we are laboring at. Yes, there will be thorns no matter where you plant: you will not always like your boss, you may not get along with every co-worker, or you could be in on the lower end of a higher income tax bracket.

I stand by my belief that work sucks however, I want us to get that work was designed to produce responsibility. And the way we handle responsibility is in direct relation with our character development. If what you are doing is not doing something for you, then maybe it’s time for you to find some new ground.

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Take Control of your Imagination

When did you stop using your imagination? Kind of a weird question I know, but if you were to take a moment to reflect, at what point did you decide that you no longer had any room for your imagination? The reason why I ask this is because a lot of us suffer from imagination deprivation.

What I mean is, at some point in our lives it becomes “uncool” or unbecoming for us to use our imagination. A lot of times this happens as we age and mature. We think that only kids can use their imagination, and that there is no room for it in adulthood. I am here to let you know that, that line of thinking is erroneous.

You see, you are a spiritual being having a physical experience. The majority of your life is not lived on the physical plane. On the first page and in the first sentence of the Bible it says that “in the beginning God created”. This is an essential revelation because we are all derived from the same universal source.

What that means is, not only were we created by God/the universe, but we ourselves are creative beings. Creativity is a human’s superpower. Do not believe me? Look no further than our technological advances.

It took some of the world’s most creative minds to get us to a place where nearly every person on the planet has a computer in their pocket.

Any and all art is an expression of creativity. From your favorite song to the most unique painting, it all is a product of creativity. The writing process is a creative process. Your favorite movie director is a creative. A chef is a creator. Whatever skill, job, or ability you can think of, it is rooted in creativity.

The source of your creative ability is grounded in your imagination. If you find yourself having a limited life experience might I suggest it is because you have put a limit on your imagination.

One of the unique attributes of children is their ability to engage with their imagination. Children can have fun doing almost anything. To them the world is limitless; they do not concern themselves with what they do not have, but rather, they immerse themselves in what they do have.

boy in white long sleeve shirt and green pants sitting on floor beside girl in red
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As we get older however, we begin to adopt a limited mindset that we call ‘realism’ and ‘pragmatism’. Now neither of these thought processes are disingenuous in and of themselves however, people tend to use them as a crutch as opposed to applying them as a perspective.

The clearest way you may see this play out in your life is when you think about all of the things that you cannot do. It is real easy for someone to say why they cannot do something and provide surface level legitimacy. The problem is, there is no intrinsic reason why people cannot do something aside from unbelief.

The fact of the matter is we only receive what we believe we are worthy of receiving. Too many people lack vision for themselves and operate on a seeing is believing agenda. What are you believing for if you are not seeing anything? Where there is no vision the people perish; if you cannot activate your creativity through imagination you literally stunt your own growth.

What happens is, people focus on the wrong questions. Stop asking yourself what if it does not happen and start asking yourself what if it does. Instead of listing why you cannot, ask yourself why not you and why not now?   

The key to taking control of your imagination is to suspend your unbelief. Instead of believing that something will not/cannot happen; trick yourself for a moment and consider that thing actually happening.

Can you imagine an amazing life for yourself or is that too much of a task?

shallow focus photography of man wearing red polo shirt
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Do you dwell in the desires of your heart or are they distant dreams that only come up in casual conversation? The word desire means of the father in other words, that thing that you want, the universe wants you to have it. Life is conspiring on your behalf.

To tap into this truth, you must imagine what it looks like. We are co-creators with God. He wants to express himself through us, and the way he does that is through our creative abilities. God gives us the vision, but we form it. That is why my motto is from the soapbox to the stage. Success and fame have been put on my heart as an aspiration and desire. I cultivate that dream through the way in which I choose to pursue it.

Some people actively engage in not pursuing their dream because they believe it is unrealistic. The truth is however, the dream would not have been given to you if it was not meant to be fulfilled through you. when you use your imagination and engage with your creativity, you are living out the fullness of your life. This is why I created Re-Alignment Boot Camp. I believe each and every one of us has the right to live out the totality of our lives.

When you suspend your unbelief, for a moment you transplant yourself into your desires. Regardless of whether it has yet to manifest in your life, the value is in the feeling.
cheerful woman on grass lawn in countryside
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Level two of living your dream life is embodying it. Just for a moment, what would it feel like to have all the money you could ever want? What would it mean to you to have that significant other enter your life today? How much better would your life be if your business took off by the time you finish reading this post?

Suspending your unbelief does not mean neglecting your reality, it means that even if just for a moment, you allow your mind to defy your reality. 95% of brain activity is unconscious meaning that, most of our waking experience is a by product of a deeply rooted subconscious belief.  

What if you could change your mind? How would that impact your behavior? What imprint would that leave on your spirit? This is what living in alignment is all about – having fidelity to yourself. Living in such a way that your mind body and spirit are in total synchronicity.

It all starts with your imagination. If you can take back control of your imagination you can tap into your creativity which will in turn, lead you to live out your desires. Stop allowing the world to dictate what you can and cannot believe. Most of your life is not even what you experience physically; What you experience physically reflects how you process things internally.

Instead of choosing to only see what is possible, start believing in what seems impossible. This is where the road to change starts; It is the difference between what you currently see, and what you believe could be.
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Why it is important to be resilient

Resilience is my superpower. It is the one thing that when all else fails that I can fall back on. Its like if you have ever done a trust fall; you fall back and there someone is to catch you. That someone for me is resilience.

Being resilient means being elastic. Its toughness. I bend but I do not break. My grandmother use to say: “Take a licking and keep on ticking”. Its emotional strength, conviction. Its grit. It is a decided belief that you cannot and will not fail.

You need to be resilient because one of the inevitabilities of life is coming up against opposition. You will have challenges. As long as you are alive something somewhere that is unfavorable will rear its ugly head. What are you going to do when your problems come for you?

It is important that I talk about this because while I focus on being healthy and having the right mindset primarily, life can sometimes be unforgiving. What do you do when things are not going in your direction? Despite your best efforts it seems as if God is conspiring against you.  

Welcome to the story of my life.

One of my biggest pitfalls is that I am incredibly competitive. This is not really a problem for me as much as it can be an issue for those I am around; however, having a competitive mindset is how I have been able to get where I am in life today. I have had no other option but to be resilient.

I will be the first to tell you that I was not dealt the best hand in life. A lot of people are not; but the difference is, I refused to fold. Failure is not a permanent condition; and I refused to give away my labeling power.

The bible says that the first job God gave Adam was to name all the animals. You have the power to dictate to/label things in your life. Who do you call you? What do you label yourself as? I have never found it comforting identifying as a failure.

Resilience is having passion and perseverance. I am passionate about success and am willing to persevere for it. Typically, people have passion, but they do not have the perseverance. Passion is what gets you started, but perseverance is what keeps you going.

You must learn to be able to endure. This comes from having resolve. Anyone who does not stand for anything will fall for everything. Where is your proverbial line in the sand? What is the thing that you are unwilling to capitulate on?

In an anime called Naruto they call it their ‘ninja way’.

It is the reason why they do what they do. Who you are is more important than what you do however; what you do should be informed by who you are.  

Does who you are dictate to what you are doing? Resilient people label their circumstances – not allowing themselves to be labeled by them. This is called having a growth mindset. I may have failed at something, but I myself am not a failure.

Do you believe that about yourself? What do you do in the face of opposition? How can you become more resilient?

The truth is, these are things that we have to develop as individuals. What has worked for me may not work for you; The verdict is till out on a uniform way to build up resolve. One thing I will say is this, you must at the very least, hold yourself in high regard.

Are you accountable, and do you have follow through power? My credo is that I am a man of my word. I say what I mean and mean what I say. That is what drives me to persevere. One sure way to build resilience in yourself is to commit to yourself.

You are a spiritual being having a physical experience meaning, you are not tethered to your reality. What you see is not all that is. That is why the most important person that can speak life into your situation is you. Only you can make you better.

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3 Ways to Improve your Self-esteem

Ah, the ever-elusive self-esteem. Everyone talks about it, but what is it exactly? You cannot seem to pinpoint it on a map, yet everyone is out to get it. It is like a real life One Piece that we are all pursuing, so that we can be Kings and Queens in our own lives. But why is this commodity in self-esteem so valuable?

self-esteem, confidence, one piece
One Piece is an anime about a young man – Luffy, who sets off on a journey to find the titular treasure and proclaim himself the King of the Pirates.

Self-esteem is self-respect. What is the value in self-respect? Well, if you do not respect you, how can you expect others to respect you? having respect means having a deep adoration and holding someone or something in high regard. When people talk about having a low self-esteem, they are essentially saying that they do not hold themselves in high regard.

The question for that person then becomes: “who told you that you are less than?”. The biggest lie that you were ever told was that you are purposeless. At some point in our lives we all come across that person or persons who’s only mission in life is to sow a bad seed in us.

This person will tell you that you cannot accomplish something, or they will undermine your talents, or they might even plot against you. depending on when you come across these bad actors in your life (and if you have not yet, you will) their influence can have a profoundly negative impact.

As these bad seeds take root in your mind, you begin to perpetuate those lies that you were told. Then all of a sudden, your confirmation bias kicks in and now your environment begins to reverberate those negative sentiments. This is where depression can start to settle in because now not only do you have an unfavorable thought about yourself floating in your head; but also, everything around you is saying that renegade thought is true.

I have been through this cycle several times, and it is debilitating. Who wants to push forward when they feel as though they are constantly fighting against themselves?… Self-esteem is the solution to this predicament. The only thing holding you back from the life you want to live is your belief in whether or not you are worthy of living it.

How do we make sure that renegade thoughts do not ruin our lives? And how do we hold ourselves in high regard so that we can be who we are no matter where we are?

Here are 3 ways to improve your self-esteem:

1. Confidence

self-esteem, confidence

Having confidence in yourself means being loyal to yourself. Con-fidence meaning with fidelity; or being in alignment with your convictions.  Confidence comes from living a life that reflects who you believe you are. This is an important part of a high self-esteem because when you are confident in who you are and what you do, you will put value on yourself which will cause you to have respect for yourself.

It takes individuality to be confident. Confidence is a muscle: we must use it for it to get stronger. Our current society teaches us to be clones and cogs in a machine. That actually strips us of our individuality which in turn, forces us to live a life counter to who we are which ultimately, has a negative impact on our confidence.

The best thing I ever did for my confidence is become a content creator. I lived my life for a long time under the oppression of being someone I was not. That life looks like having a low morale, being timid in social situations, being a follower as opposed to a leader, and feeling under achieved.

There were many nights when I would talk to God and ask: “is this really all that life has to offer?”. I was asking those questions because I was living a life that did not reflect who I was. I thought being politically correct, working my way up the corporate ladder, and collecting business cards was what my life was going to be. And while it was not all bad it was also unfulfilling.

When I started blogging, my confidence skyrocketed because I felt as though I was finally doing something that I was meant to do.  Does your life satisfy your spirit self? We are all spiritual beings having a physical experience. Does your life echo what is in your spirit?

When it does you put yourself in alignment with your purpose. And when you are doing what you were created to do, you strengthen your confidence because you are tapping into your reservoir of individualism. It is impossible to be confident in who you are when you are trying to be like everybody else.  Chameleons change their colors to hide themselves, not to be themselves.

2. Self-improvement

The second way to improve your self-esteem is to improve yourself. What steps are you taking daily to become a better person? This is key with self-esteem because growing people are learning people; and part of having a high self-esteem is continually growing and getting better.

The more you do something, the better you get at it, and the higher you hold yourself in regard because you have grown in that area. This is the most challenging part of improving your self-esteem because it requires consistent action.

People will allow themselves to burnout before they see the results of the work they put into something. This kills self-esteem because you are literally perpetuating a notion of failure in your life. How can you hold someone in high regard who never commits to anything?

Self-improvement is about moving forward in your life; whatever that looks like. We often expect or look for big opportunities to arrive before we decide to act. The truth is, however, that those big opportunities are not common, and if you are not in a position to capitalize on them you will miss out.

Getting better is a daily activity not a one-off opportunity. Growing daily can be capitalized on by reading for 30 minutes a day or sparking a conversation with someone different than you. Getting a coach/mentor to challenge you and help you reach your goals or engaging with your creativity and trying something new.

3. Connect with the Right People

This tip is essential. Having the right people in your life is so important for your self-esteem because just like there are those with malicious intent towards you, there are those out there who want to see you grow and prosper and be all that you were made to be.

These people speak life into you and want to see you succeed. It is so valuable to get around people who have a capacity for you. I know what it is like to feel unsupported; it feels as though you are walking up a steep hill and there are people at the top chucking boulders down at you.

You need people who will be by your side and not just along for the ride. When you are in this type of space and community, everyone flourishes because everyone is adding value to one another.

self-esteem, confidence

We have all heard the saying: “show me your friends and I will show you your future”. Get around people who are excelling at what you want to be doing. Find people who live out their passion and go on a journey with them. A sure-fire way to develop your self-esteem is to be around people who have, and help others who want to.

Self-esteem is about having self-respect, which is about holding yourself in high regard. People pursue it because it allows them to be themselves regardless of where they are in life. Having a high self-esteem is about having a fidelity with yourself, improving your skills, and connecting with the right people.

When these things are done in tandem you begin to build up your resolve. Your resolve is what enables you to stand up in the face of adversity. Our self-esteem gets impacted when we allow ourselves to believe things about ourselves that are not true.

You cannot believe in something you do not believe in. This is called cognitive dissonance, when two conflicting thoughts take up residence in our minds. As this relates to improved self-esteem, your voice as an individual has to be louder than the voice of others. That is how you improve your self-esteem; by being less of what others think you are, and more of who you know you are.

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How to Overcome the Biggest Lie you were ever Told

What is the Biggest lie ever told to and about people (and possibly you)? care to take a guess? Well let me ask you:

Has anyone ever told you that you could not be successful? Has anyone ever told you that you would not amount to anything, or that it is pointless to pursue your dreams?

The way I heard it said was: There is no reason to make plans for yourself, because we make plans and God laughs at us.

All those statements could not be further from the truth. The people who said those things to you have a fixed mindset. They are incapable of perceiving life from a place of possibility and opportunity.

Lie, road, decision
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Maybe, you are the one who has been lying to yourself and telling yourself things like: ‘I’m not good enough’, ‘my life is useless’, or ‘I cannot get better’. A lie is something that is not rooted in truth. If you have been allowing yourself to be influenced by this type of messaging, then you have been lied to, because it is simply not true.

This is something that we can all experience at some point in our lives. It was not until I became an adult that I was able to understand that the things that other people told me to believe about myself were invalid.

Who is anyone to tell you that you are a mistake, can only mess up, and are not special? For 20 years of my life I had to live with this type of negative messaging constantly swirling around me; and I thank God I had enough resolve to combat those falsehoods.

Here is the truth

The truth is, You are special, you have purpose, you are fearfully and wonderfully made. Your life has meaning, you are on this earth to accomplish great things, and you can do more than you can even imagine.

The human being is powerful. The problem is people sometimes harness their power in the wrong way. The number one way we wield our power is through our words.

lie, self, worth
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What you say to yourself and what you allow others to impart into you, can drastically influence the trajectory of your life.

I want to help you see that the capacity for your life is bigger than your circumstance. People will say things for the sole purpose of hindering your progress. You must be determined enough to know, who you are is greater than what others say you are.

Do not limit your life to the box that some other person put you in.

They do not have your dreams, they do not have your vision, they do not have your intentionality. Do not allow people with nothing to contribute to your life to influence it.

The best way to overcome the lies of inadequacy is to stop telling them to yourself and stop allowing others to tell them to you. Seems like a pretty straight forward concept, right? That is because it is.

Start seeing yourself the way in which you want to be seen, not the way other people see you.

lie, see, self
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This level of thinking comes from having confidence in yourself. Confidence meaning ‘with fidelity’.  You have to develop an unwavering conviction about who you are.

Are you loyal to yourself?

Consider a good best friend. A close friend supports you in your endeavors. As this relates to having confidence, do you support you? Are you your own best friend?

When you have value yourself, you won’t lie to yourself, nor will you allow others to lie to you.

How do we value ourselves?

Create a plan. This is about life management. What does your lifestyle reflect about you. If you are someone who just goes through the motions of life, then that is all you will ever be.

However, if you are someone who believes life is about taking the bull by the horns so to speak, then that is what will reverberate through you.

A dream without a plan is just a wish. Stop wishing for stuff and start planning. We abdicate our responsibility as a human being when we decide to not do anything with our lives.

photo of person writing on paper
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Humans are creators. That is our number one superpower: we create. If as a creator you say to yourself, ‘I cannot do anything with my life’, then you are literally creating an unproductive life for yourself.

The difference between the person who lives a fulfilled life, and the one that does not, is the one who does, planned for it.

If you do not stand for anything, you will fall for everything.

What is your life about?

Do not believe the lie that your only purpose is to be purposeless. If that was the case, there would be no point in living. Valuing yourself means living with passion and living on purpose. It is about pursuing your compelling future no matter what.

Stop letting others rob you with good intentions. Actions speak louder than words; If someone cannot add immense value to you, they should not be the ones in the war room of your life, helping you plan out your decisions. The only place they can direct you to is hell.

Anyone who says do not plan your life, you will never amount to anything, or that you were a mistake, is lying to you. You overcome that lie by being confident and valuing yourself. Become confident in your self-worth by creating a life that is planned and is in alignment with who you are.

You do not have to conform to the ways of lifeless people; You can transform yourself by changing the way you think. Think better, do better, become better. That can be the life you live if you want it to be.

You have so much potential. But potential means nothing if it is not applied. Use what you have and make the most of it.

Life does not have to only happen to you; in fact, if you position yourself correctly through proper planning; life can happen for you.

Take the first step to changing the narrative of your life and leave a comment below if you found value in this post.

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How to Create the Life that you Want

Are you tired? Has life had the last laugh at every pivotal point? Are you disgruntled at your job, in your relationships, with the state of the world? Now more than ever the opportunity to be the person you have always wanted to be is manifesting all around you.

The thing keeping you from where you want to be is mindset. Here is a simple trick on how to change your life and create your ideal reality:

Change your mind, Change your life.

Yup. That’s it. No long elaborated bullets points or top 5 hacks. Simply, Change your mind, change your life.

At this point It should be no secret that I am a fan of Jay Z and Kanye West. These two billionaires that I identify with on multiple levels are pinnacles of success for me. As such, they have become my “mentors”.

Jay Z and Kanye introduced me into the world of manifestation. Over the course of this pandemic, I have engaged in thought therapy and have put myself in alignment with the life that I want.

What does that mean you ask?

It means that I learned how to stop fighting against life, and against myself. I have become a co-creator of my life and not just someone along for the ride.

This starts with your mindset. Are your thoughts in alignment with your situation or your desires?

Our desires are unrelenting. When you know what you want – you know what you want. Our circumstances however, are on a constant swivel. The strength of one’s mindset is in how tenaciously it clings to one’s desires, and not their circumstance.

The Law of Attraction

The Law of Attraction is described as:

The ability to attract into our lives whatever we are focusing on.

It is the idea that we are what we think.

Many people including myself, have been applying the law of attraction but just not in a way that yields the results that we want. The Bible says that life and death is in the power of the tongue. I use to speak very negatively over myself, friends and family, romantic relationships, my career path, and more.

What we do not realize is that what get’s repeated gets remembered, and what get’s remembered gets done. There was no fruit in those areas of my life because I kept telling myself subconsciously that I was not worthy of my desires.

Effective application of the law of attraction looks like shifting your subconscious and allowing your expectations to create our reality.

In other words, once I shifted my focus from my circumstance to my desires, I put myself in the path of what I really want.

The Law of Vibration

Everything has its own vibrational frequency. Everything around us is in constant motion. Even stationary objects are at constant motion vibrating at higher frequencies.

Image from spiritualjourney17.com

Since everything vibrates, including humans, we are essentially frequency conductors. We attract to us whatever frequency we are on.

Have you ever wanted something so bad, and one day the right opportunity came along seemingly out of no where? What you were doing was raising your vibrations to be in alignment with that thing you wanted.

Statistically, 42% of people are more likely to complete their goals when they write them down. This is a pragmatic practice of manifestation. When you get on the same vibrational frequency of what you want, you put yourself in a position for it to actually manifest.

An Attractive Mindset

Our biggest obstacle is our mind, and our Achilles heel is our confirmation bias. If we can learn to think better, we become better.

The challenge with thinking better is it requires us to change how we think about what we think.

That thing that you think about when you are not thinking must change; because that is what determines the trajectory of your life.

Our subconscious drives us, and our confirmation bias is the GPS. As humans we are always looking for things to affirm what we already believe.

The simplest example of this is, if you have ever wanted a certain type of care before, then all of the sudden you start seeing that same car all around your neighborhood. This happens because your mind looks for things in and around your life that affirm what you believe.

In the same way, our confirmation bias can allow negative thoughts to perpetuate in our mind. Every day we shape our reality because we naturally gravitate towards – attract to ourselves what we already believe.    

Can you Believe Better?

Life, Believe, Think
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The real question is, can you believe better?

The answer is yes, but it takes effort. The draw back to believing in something, is that there will always be opposition. What we choose to focus on should be set with clear intentions. You need to know what you want as if it is already yours.

If we can be resolute in what we believe the opposition does not matter, because we are focused, and that thing that we are focused on is being affirmed in our lives every single day.

Your circumstance may tell you that you cannot have what you want. But what you believe must be truer than what you see or hear. You cannot allow the noise of the world to drown out your desires.

Originally published May 5th 2020

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Tips and Tricks to Stay Motivated, Keep Engaged, and be a High Performer

Staying motivated can be a challenge. One day you are high off life: checking off all your boxes on your to do list, being accountable to others, and staying on top of your responsibilities. The next, you find that there are not enough hours in a day, you are only halfway through your list, and do not feel like doing much of anything. These types of swings in activity can be detrimental because an unmotivated person is an unproductive person – and that can be a slippery slope.

There are several reasons why your fire may dwindle and the first thing to note is, that is a human quality. Fatigue happens to everyone. Becoming unmotivated is not the issue, the problem is around how one re-motivates themselves.

This is a concern because as mentioned, becoming unmotivated can be a slippery slope. An hour can turn into a day can turn into a week of opportunities that we allow to pass us by, all because we were not energized to get after them. You can see how this can be a dilemma.

While staying motivated can be a difficulty for some, it is a worthy opponent worth facing head on. Once you learn how to stay motivated setbacks will become setups for major comebacks.  

Here are some tips and tricks on how to stay motivated, keep engaged, and be a high performer:

Review your Goals

What is it that you set out to accomplish this week, this month, this year? It is imperative to not only set goals for yourself but to also review them constantly. I have goals for this year that I review daily, monthly goals that I review bi-weekly, and daily goals that I review on a moment to moment basis.

The number of goals and the amount of times that you review them is not important, but what is important is having that check and balance in place.

A goal gives you a direction, and reviewing it regularly helps you to stay on the right path. Every good motivator has a driving factor, something that makes a person want to push forward. A goal is great for this because a good goal has intrinsic value.

The better the goal the more important it is to a person, the more that person will strive for it.

If you are having troubles getting motivated by your goals it is likely because that goal is not big enough. The true value of a goal is in its ability to help you grow. If your goal is easily achievable try dreaming bigger.

Get around people with a vision big enough to include you. Allow yourself to consider your deepest desires, then ask yourself: why not me, why not now? Doing these things will help you make better goals for yourself, keeping you motivated.

Remember your Why

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Why are you doing what you are doing in the first place? What is your calling/passion, and is your life in alignment with it?

One of the biggest demotivators is doing something purposelessly. Every one of us has a reason to be alive, and it is for that reason that we live. Sometimes the mundanity of life can strip us of our meaning causing us to fall into a motivation vacuum.

Consider a motivation vacuum as living aimlessly. A lifeless lifestyle that leads nowhere. This is how a lot of people live today: drained of their virility and creativity because of life circumstances.

When what you do is out of alignment with who you are, motivational destitution can ensue because you feel meaningless.

Knowing your why combats these negative emotions because it is a failsafe. Your why is your center. As long as I know why I am doing something, the what of what I am doing is not as important. Your why should be a barometer to measure the trajectory of your life.

Have an A1 Support System

Your support system can make or break you. It is important to have discernment in whom you allow to tend to the garden of your life. Growing up I use to hear the phrase: show me who your friends are, and I will show you your future.

This concept is as true today as it has ever been. You must have an A1 support system. These are people or a person who encourages you, speaks life over you, and sees more in you than you may see in yourself. This person(s) is a visionary and can see life’s potential for you.

four women in front of green bushes
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A good support system show’s their support through their actions. Do you have anyone who is willing to act on your behalf? Someone that can provide structural support but can also Identify potential problem areas.

This type of help is such a motivation booster because someone is willing to invest their time into your cause. These are people willing to do life with you whether it be for the duration of it, or for a season.

There is also the value that comes from having an accountability partner in these types of interactions. Do not underestimate the power of a check in. Having someone regularly check in on you can make a world of difference when it comes to staying motivated.

The last thing anyone ever wants is to feel as though they have let someone they care about down. Having a strong support system that is invested in your wellbeing will make you want to do and be better, if for no other reason for the purpose of not letting them down.

Look for Affirmations

The last tip I want to share on how to stay motivated, is to look for affirmations. Affirmations are fact-based encouragements. These are things that on the surface may not have any significant meaning, but they are significant to you. An example of this is if you have ever identified a car that you wanted/liked, then out of nowhere that car started popping up every time you left your house.

Does that mean, there was an influx of these cars in your neighborhood? Probably not. More likely what it actually means is you were looking for something to affirm what you believe. You had a shift in your focus.

Affirmations are so valuable because they are like breadcrumbs leading to a desired destination. It is a small yet poignant way to measure progress. Affirmations put you in alignment with what you want to enter your life.

We engage in this motivational skill by looking for things that resemble what we desire.

woman in gray sweater drinking coffee
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This tip is all about progress: Is it gauge-able and what does it mean?

One can also engage in verbal affirmations. This is when we speak what we believe about ourselves over ourselves. This has a similar affect in that by speaking affirmations over yourself you start influencing your subconscious.

You can essentially reprogram the way the world interacts with you by speaking and invoking what you want. No this is not magic, what you want is not just going to appear. However, by looking for and speaking affirmations in and over your life, you change your vibrational frequency to allow certain things to naturally come to you.

This is great for staying motivated because of what it does to your mind. Affirmations literally reprogram your mind to be able to perceive and receive the very things you want it to.

When My Black Perspective first started growing, I would constantly say ‘I am a 6-figure blogger’. It is an important goal of mine to have a successful blog, so I started affirming what a successful blog is to me. That affirmation encouraged me to be persistent about my blogging, which has brought this website leaps and bounds from where it was a year ago.

I could give other examples, but the point of this tip is to encourage yourself to take actionable steps.

Staying motivated can be difficult but it is not impossible. If you have a tenacious why, dynamic goals, an A1 support system, and can encourage yourself every now and again, keeping your fire lit will be a pleasure not a chore.

How do you manage feeling unmotivated? What is your why and how does it drive you?

Join the conversation and share your perspective in the comment section below!

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Does God Compromise?

A compromise is the coming to agreed terms among two parties. It is a settled negotiation for the purpose of mutual benefit. The bible tells us that: No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other (Matthew 6:24).

A compromise is a depiction of devotion. A compromise says: I am willing to let go of this thing, because I care more about that thing.

The most evident place that we recognize compromise in our lives is in our relationships. Whether it be a familial, romantic, or business relationship, there is always some degree of compromise.

This is because as people we each come with different values and motives that are important to us. And sometimes those agendas can clash resulting in potentially detrimental disputes.

A compromise resolves/prevents those disputes. We compromise on things all the time whether it be money, time, travel plans, or food. We can also compromise our spirits (James 4:17), as we are to live in the world but not of it (1 John 2:15-17).

Spiritual Compromise

One of the essential components of a compromise is capitulation. You must be willing to give up something. But what you give up is just as if not more important than what you take on.

We compromise our spirits by tolerating things that are not life giving. This is where our convictions come into question.

What are you committed to? What are you not willing to give any ground on?

Having unshakable core values is called having a standard. The level of your standards impacts your quality of life. If you do not stand for anything, you fall for everything.

God has a standard; it is called holiness, and He wants us to live up to it. He wants us to live up to it because that is who He is (Leviticus 11:44).

We live up to God’s standard by avoiding negative spiritual compromises. The simplest way to explain negative spiritual compromise, is idolatry. Where you put your treasure so shall your heart be. What you surrender to will influence you.

When we idolize something, we invite that thing to take up residence in our spirits. God wants us to compromise on what we allow to influence our lives. He wants to be the one to reside in us (Ephesians 2:22).

Why does God want you to Compromise for Him?

God cannot be seen. It would literally kill us if we were to see his face (Exodus 33:20). That being said, He still wants to have a relationship with us. He does that by living in our hearts through the Holy Spirit.

It is the job the Holy Spirit to be the standard barer in our lives. Holiness is the standard and everything else falls short.

God holds us to the standard of Holiness because of the agreement He made with us. He agreed to dwell with us as long as we agreed to dwell with Him, this is called a covenant (Hebrews 13:5, Psalm 37:25).

A covenant is a contract, it outlines the parameters of a relationship, and the consequences if the agreement is broken. The perfect example of this is marriage.

Marriage is a covenant between two people. A marriage only works however, if the two individuals in union agree to the terms and conditions of that union. It is a compromise. So is the case with God, we go into relationship with Him when we compromise our values for His.

So, Does God Compromise?

The short answer is no, but the long answer is yes; let me give you both.

On one hand no, God does not compromise on His holiness standard. He cannot even be in the presence of unholiness (Psalm 5:4). And while he does want us to live up to that standard he also recognizes that it is not easy for us to do so.

On the other hand, He did already, in the form of Jesus. Jesus was God’s compromise with humanity. After realizing that not only was it impossible for humans to live up to the holiness standard by ourselves, but that it was also unfair because we did not know how; he sent Jesus.

Jesus is God’s son. 100% God in Spirit 100% Human in flesh. Instead of giving up on us, He showed us how committed to our covenant with Him He is.

Not only did Jesus keep the holiness standard, showing us that it is possible, but then he took it a step further and lowered the standard.

In the Torah there are over 600 rules and regulations associated with being holy. In Jesus’ lifetime he took all those rules and turned them into two:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.

Mark 12:30-31

The cost of our holiness was so immense that God allowed His son to die for it. That is how valuable we are. That is how determined God was to keep his covenant with us.

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Stretching is Changing my Life, It can Change your’s too

Over the last few weeks I have been stretching regularly and it has been amazing! What a lot of us in the western world do not realize is that a good amount of our every day life is not geared towards our health and wealth. From the way we sit, to what we eat, to what we watch/read.

We are inundated with things that are not good for us.

I got into stretching because I have been on a health kick recently. As part of my holistic approach to health, wealth, freedom, and prosperity, Health is Wealth. We are not our best selves when we are bogged down by consuming bad things. 

Everything you do should be geared towards your overall sense of contentment.  Stretching and working out in general is something that I actively incorporate in my regimen because my health is essential to my effectiveness. 

Benefits of stretching

Some of the benefits from stretching include: increased range of motion, better physical performance, better flexion, increased blood flow, and improved posture. Over the last three weeks I have noticed an increase in energy and more pliability. 

Your muscular system is what allows your body to move. It is also what protects and insulates your skeletal structure. We strengthen our muscles through the contracting of our muscle fibers (exercising).

When you stretch, your muscle fibers contract, and you activate the surrounding connective tissue. When that happens you allow your body to realign any disorganized fibers. These disorganized fibers are what cause tension in our body. Realigning them rehabilitates scarred connective tissue.

Throughout your life you will incur damage that will cause tension in your body. For some of us, our environments can be the catalyst for that tension. It is this tension that causes our bodies to lock up. Stretching allows us to clear that blockage so that we can be at peak performance. 

How I got into Stretching

I have technically been an athlete all my life in terms of physicality; so I was introduced to stretching at an early age. That being said, it was always my least favorite part of any workout. I would always do a physically intensive workout, and then save stretching for if I remembered to do it. 

It would always be in the back of my mind to stretch but it was not a priority for me

A few years ago I got into an nearly fatal car accident. Not only was my car totaled, but my body was in shock. I had to start going to physical therapy, and it helped with my body tension and strengthening my muscles.

From that point forward I became a strong believer in stretching. That being said it still did not have a relevant presence in my life until more recently.

Part of improving your quality of life is improving how you live. Since Covid-19 I have been intentional about improving my quality of life; This has included working out again, and specifically stretching. 

Some of the side affects I have noticed from the last 3 weeks include clarity of mind, increased intentionality, I feel ‘lighter on my feet’ so to speak; and I have a willingness to be more engaged. 

Start your Stretching Habit Today

The following are some stretches you can incorporate into your daily regimen that will only take all of 10 minutes to do: 

Squat

Sitting in a squat is actually our natural state. Sitting upright does not promote positive back or posture health. By sitting in a squat you get full range of motion. Get comfortable with the squat, It’s your friend. 

Butterfly Stretch

The butterfly stretch works your groin and inner thigh. Doing this can improve mobility and flexibility. The butterfly also helps with improving posture.  

Hip Flexors

The hip flexor is one of the better stretches you can do. It’s benefits range from improved posture, and lower back pain alleviation, to an increase in strength and conditioning in your lower body and core. 

There a plenty of other stretches you can do, these are just a few that I enjoy. Developing a stretching habit will do wonders for every area of your life. If you are willing to take 10-15 minutes out of your day for stretching, you too can see how beneficial releasing the tension in your body can be. 

Do you stretch, what kind of benefits do you get from it? How do you promote a healthy lifestyle in your own life? Did you enjoy this post and would you like to see more content like it? 

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5 Essentials to a Success Mindset

Success like everything else comes at a cost. There is obligation associated with recognition. Successful people have responsibility. They must take charge, have a vision, and seize an opportunity. Subjectively, success looks differently for everyone, but objectively, it is made up of the same substance. Success is proper preparation for an optimal opportunity. Here are my 5 essentials to developing a Success Mindset.

1. Hard Work

The most successful people become so not because they are better but because they worked harder. Hard work beats talent when talent does not work hard. Michael Jordan is the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) in basketball not because he was naturally great which he was, but because of how hard he worked.

Mindset, money, success, essential

The same has to become true in your own life when cultivating a success mindset. What are your habits? What are your building blocks?

Success is a laid foundation.

I am successful because I built my life around it. That is not braggadocios that is a fact. You develop a success mindset by constantly seeking success. That means being willing to fail every day.

2. Know Your Why

Successful people embrace failure. Failure is an opportunity to grow, not an excuse to quit. Quitting is the only true form of failure. Every time we fall it is our responsibility to get back up. The second way to develop your success mindset is to have a reason to get back up. In business this is called “knowing your why”.

The concept is as simple as it sounds: Why do you do what you do/want what you want. You have to have a reason to get out of bed in the morning, and I hate to break it to you, but money is not a sufficient enough reason. People who win the lottery statistically do not lead better lives, in some cases, their life ends up worse.

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When money is your why, you instantly lose.

Passion reverberates, but Paper is passionless. The only good that comes from money is in how it is used. That is why those same lottery winners tend to go broke within 3-5 years of winning, because all the money in the world cannot buy happiness.

When you know your why you become unhindered by the inconveniences that life throws at you, because you know you are living for a higher purpose. An authentic why should be rooted in one’s true desires because our desires are universal gifts unique to each one of us.

3. Ask for What you Want

People with a well-developed success mindset know exactly what they want, and they act on it. Part of taking action is being willing to ask the universe for what it is you want.

Words have power and by claiming what you want by speaking it out loud, you begin to align yourself with the resources necessary to achieve that goal. I am a businessman and entrepreneur because that lifestyle is my heart’s desire, I work hard at my craft, and I specifically ask God for those type of opportunities to manifest in my life.

Mindset, money, success, essential
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People with a success mindset are also granular about what they want. They can tell you almost every detail about what they want because they see it every day. You must visualize your success before it starts materializing.

Directionless people are helpless people. Imagine being lost in a remote part of the world and your phone dies. So now not only do you not know where you are, but you also do not have a GPS to help you find your way. People without vision or direction are the exact same way, lost in their own wilderness.

4. Reassess the People in your Life

An eagle can fly over 10,000 feet in the air. The average bird stays at around 500 feet in the air. People with success mindsets are eagles. In addition to flying high eagles tend to also fly alone. With altitude comes separation. Sometimes your success will cause you to isolate yourself.

Is your why worth maybe having to take the road less traveled? If it is not, then it probably is not a big enough why. A success mindset rooted in an emotional conviction and is uncompromising.

Would the people around you respect and support successful you?  People with a success mindset evaluate the space they are in and determine whether that space and its inhabitants are benefiting their growth or hindering it.

5. Humility

The last essential to a success mindset is humility. The world systems that we live in teaches us to value another person based on what they have, social status, and position. In reality, none of that means anything.

We are all people, we all bleed the same, and we are all made up of 70% water. The only true determinant among individuals is the state of their soul and not the number of zeros in their bank account.

Mindset, money, success, essential
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Humility teaches us to be expectant of new opportunities and to be receptive of different viewpoints.

Respect should not be predicated on the potency and effectiveness of a person’s resolve. Just because a successful person worked harder than someone less successful does not mean that they are exempt from the challenges associated with being a human.

People with a success mindset look for ways to give back to those less fortunate. Successful people with a true why want to proliferate their success and do their part to make their corner of the world a better place.

Do you exemplify these five characteristics, if so how, and if not why? What is your “Why”, tell us  in the comment section below?

Join the conversation and share your perspective in the comment section below!

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How to Survive the Coronavirus Quarantine

This coronavirus pandemic is draining. It feels as though no matter where we turn, the coronavirus scourge has permeated every single part of our lives. One cannot even go outside without being impacted by the eeriness of the atmosphere. And what was once a quick trip in going to a store, has now become a hassle and a production for individuals and families alike.

Most of the world is going into week six of quarantine and staying at home is becoming an arduous task in and of itself. A lot of us are starting to experience cabin fever, and as a result may also be experiencing diminished mental health. I know for me personally, last week in particular was like pulling teeth in terms of mustering up energy to be and stay productive.

Additionally, the isolation is starting to set in if it has not already. Because of how the virus has interrupted the business of our lives, we are being forced to spend more alone time with our thoughts. People who are not physically isolated may also be starting to experience an increasingly hostile home environment.

Week by week it seems as if the coronavirus is constantly changing our lives specifically: how we engage with others and how we engage with ourselves. As such, now is a great time to revisit the survival tool kit and see if there is anything we should be adding to our repertoire.

Focus on Yourself

Being forced to spend time with ourselves is a scary prospect for some. Some purposefully create a life that avoids them having to spend too much time with themselves.

Some of us have a hard time dealing with ourselves. We have traumas, moments in life that we may not be proud of, things about ourselves that we do not like, or a Pandora’s box of memories that we rather not open.

Regardless of how we may feel towards ourselves, the reality of our existence is, that no matter where we go, we always have to bring ourselves. The idea of self is pretty oxymoronic of a traditional interpretation in this time, where we are self-isolating and social distancing as a precaution for others.

coronavirus, focus, survival, quarentine
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(Join the newsletter today for more on mental health topics)

I would assert however, that in the same way that we are exercising social restraints for the benefit of each other, we should also be taking the time to work on ourselves for the same reason.

If we get better, the people around us can get better.

Now is a great time for us to work on ourselves. The implication behind this is a necessity to engage with ourselves, and to do so well.

How do you engage with yourself when we are not being over stimulated? Are those engagements healthy or self deprecating?

Now is a good time for us to ask ourselves: How a I growing as a person, and do I like who I am becoming?

Spend your Time Well

A major concern for everyone is time. The one thing that no one seems to have enough of is time. It is the only thing that we cannot buy more of; as such it is important that we value our time while under quarantine.

With most of us locked away in our homes it is easy for us to waste time watching television, and procrastinating; But what if we used this newfound gift of extra time on hour hands to do something constructive.

We will never find ourselves in this exact situation again where we have the majority of our time to ourselves. This is a unique circumstance with unique opportunities. Politicians like to say “never let a crisis go waste”; meaning, do not let this unique opportunity pass without getting something important on the agenda accomplished.

If some of us have been, now is the time to stop letting letting this crisis go to waste. We need to accomplish those things that are important to us that under normal circumstances, we would allow ourselves to put on the back burner.

Read that book, finish that project, complete that application, prepare that business plan, whatever it is; before this window of opportunity closes we should make sure we are capitalizing on this time.

Our time is more valuable now than ever before.

Invest

Now is a superb time to invest in the intangible, to invest in our relationships.

We all have the opportunity to have more accesses to our loved ones than usual. Speak regularly with friends and family. Social media as our primary mode of engagement is not going to cut it during this time of isolation.

No matter how disconnected we become with the advent of technology, at our core humans are social beings and its important for us to never forget that. Since being quarantined, I communicate with my close friends and family several times a week. I’ve even challenged myself to reach out to new people each week.

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It is equally essential that we manage our investment portfolio well:

Do you have a regimen in place?

How do you spend your 24 hours and how is that benefiting you?

What is the desired ROI on your time after all of this is over?

All of these things are important and something that we would not normally take time to consider. I’ve been consistently working out at home, spending more time to take care of my health, and leaning into some of my favorite hobbies like cooking.

We have become use to allowing our schedules dictate our lives; but now is a good time to turn the auto pilot off and get back in control of our lives as best we can.

Protect your Mental Health

Depression and anxiety are two of the biggest mental health challenges most of us are facing right now. Social Isolation can take a huge toll on one’s mental health. Another side effect of social distancing is a lot of us are staying inside for most of our day.

Sunlight is thought to increase levels of serotonin in people while a lack of sunlight decreases it. A decrease in serotonin can contribute to depression.

Additionally, the 24-hour news cycle has become the 24/7 coronavirus live stream. While it is important for us to stay informed with what is going on regarding this virus, the news is also constantly exposing us to negative information that undoubtedly has a negative impact on our mental health.

We have to be disciplined enough to take care of our mental health because our current state of being is not conducive to positive mental health.

What we put into us influences what comes out of us. Avoid energy vampires. Do not allow someone else’s negativity to impact you in any way.

Depression can be insidious, and anxiety can be treacherous. I would encourage each of us in this time to identify mental health struggles that we may be facing and find the proper help.

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(Here are articles on battling anxiety and depression.)

We are experiencing unprecedented times and we are not out of the woods yet. It is important that we do what we have to do to take care of ourselves, our loved ones, and those in need.

If we are not in a good place we cannot help others get to a better one.

Knowing how to survive this quarantine is essential and the benefits of doing even a portion of what is in this post will outlast immediate satisfaction and gratification. I implore each one of us to work on ourselves in this time so that we are all able to come out of this pandemic better then how we entered.  

Originally posted March 26 2020

How to Prevent Burnout

Picture this: you are working your job diligently and faithfully, not skipping a beat. Suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, it’s like you smack a brick wall. Now, when your alarm goes off, you are rolling over to the other side of the bed – instead of jumping up bright eyed and bushy tailed singing your morning song. You take your time getting to work not really concerned if you are late today because hey, you have been working yourself to the bone for your company and have earned yourself at least five minutes.

While on the job, you are completing your tasks as usual, but admittedly you are dragging your feet. This may go on for a few days or maybe even a few weeks. Eventually the negative impact that being over worked is having on you becomes insurmountable and starts overflowing into your personal life. Now, you do not enjoy the things that you used to. You are a bit of a downer, and despite how much sleep you get, you still wake up tired, and end the day exhausted.

What I just described is the cycle of burnout. Burnout is essentially stress induced exhaustion that becomes overwhelming. It is when the details of your life begin to wear you out. The source of the stress does not have to come from one place, but the resulting burnout may manifest itself in one area of your life more than another.

Not all stress is bad. Basically, everything that we do produces some level of stress. Some of the benefits of “healthy stress” includes a work ethic, cognitive development, a sense of responsibility, and self-satisfaction. Burnout is not a technical term. It in and of itself is not necessarily a real thing; but the impact of being/feeling overworked, spent, or drained, can lead to serious consequences. Preventing yourself from being burnt out is imperative because if you do not, the stress could literally kill you.

The first thing to realize is that it is not you, it is what you are doing. All work and no play will make anyone a dull person. in protecting yourself from becoming depleted, it is important to consider where you are putting your energy to, and how much of your energy that activity is consuming. To your benefit you are not the energizer bunny. The Bible says that even God rested. Everyone needs to replenish themselves. The challenge is that sometimes there is not a one to one exchange in the thing that tires you versus the thing that restores you.

A good example of this is the sedentary lifestyle that one in four Americans live. If you are sitting in front of a computer all day for work, and then as a way to decompress or relax you watch television; that is not necessarily an equivalent exchange in relation to energy spent versus energy restored. If the primary contributor to your exhaustion drains you faster than the things that you do to replenish yourself, that is a perfect storm for becoming burnt out. This is one of the reasons why vacations are a great thing.

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How to Manifest more Money into your Life

Originally published August 28 2020

Everyone values having money in their life. It is a necessary resource. We need it to be contributors to civil society. As a tool nothing trumps money. 

Notice what I said there, “as a tool”. It is important that you understand your relationship with money.

This is the problem that people have when it comes to manifesting more money into their life. They have a poor money mindset.

What you need to realize is, money operates on its own vibrational frequency.

What Flows out of you Flows to you

For a long time, I believed that it was wrong to want to have money in my life. It did not feel right, and I thought I was a bad person for it. Ultimately this came from having an unhealthy perspective of money.

I also perpetuated scarcity in my life by saying and doing things that were counter to living abundantly.

I was out of alignment with money and that reflected in my bank account. The Law of Vibration states that everything is moving at its own vibrational frequency.

Therefore, because everything is made up of molecules, everything is in constant motion. Even solid objects are constantly moving; they are just vibrating at a higher frequency. As this relates to you and money, as a human you are like a cell phone tower; sending and receiving various signals out into the world.

Money by itself is just paper. Money in and of itself has no intrinsic value. You add value to money, by the way in which you think about it and use it. The Bible says that where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

The clog in your pipeline to manifesting more money into your life is how you identify with it. All money is, is a reflection of you. Money does not change you; it amplifies you.

How to Manifest more Money into your Life

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To manifest more money in your life you have to get on its vibrational frequency. This can be done by having an abundant mindset. Living from a place of abundance means that you believe you always have everything you need.

Your thought life impacts your real life. If you are constantly concerned about not having enough, you will never have enough.

You also must become a good money manager. How do you treat your money, do you care about it? This one literally boils down to whether you crumble your money or keep it nice and neat. You have to give money the respect that its due.

Once you start living abundantly and treating your money properly; the next thing for you to do is start attracting it into your life.

Are you Ready to Receive Money?

Money likes to travel as a pack. When it comes to you it comes in vast quantity. When is the last time you ever received a check or payment for a single dollar? Or one cent? It is not common.

How do you talk about money? Start speaking and thinking positively about your money. This will put you on the same vibrational frequency as money. The secret ingredient to all of this is sincerity.

If what you are doing, saying, and thinking is out of alignment with what you believe, then you will actually be working against the law of attraction.

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You are a Spiritual Being having a Physical Experience

You project out into the world what you want to come to you – You vibrate at your own vibrational frequency. As this relates to money, you must believe that it is your right to be rich.

Financial freedom must be an innate part of who you are and not just a box to check on your proverbial to-do list. You must develop a money mindset and belief system that is authentic to what you want from the money that comes into your life.

Is your money in your life just to keep you living above poverty? Or are you generous with your money, wise with how you use it, and intentional about being financially successful?

Change your State

This is what other people will not tell you about money: it is about having a state change. Is your mind, body, and spirit in alignment with having more money in your life?

It is of my prerogative to add immense value into your life and that includes in your finances. If you can work with yourself instead of against yourself in every area of your life that matters, you can become unstoppable. Success is a way of life not a one-off experience.

If you want to start manifesting more money into your life, consider the role money plays in your life. Live from a place of abundance and not scarcity.

Affirm your relationship with money and give it the respect that it is due. Do not to idolize money. Money itself is just paper. What you should value is all the good you can do with it. It is about the usefulness of the resource, and not the resource itself.

Understanding My Creative Process

Originally published August 17 2019

I believe that all of us are creatives. In fact, the Bible tells us we are creative beings within the first verse of the book:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth

Genesis 1:1

As beings who were first created (Genesis 1:26-27) then formed (Genesis 2:7), for the purpose of ruling over our creator’s creation, as a believer in Jesus Christ, it is safe to assume that human beings are creative beings, a power gifted to us from our heavenly father solely because of who He is.

I have come a long way since my first few posts. Now, I want to take inventory of the impact that this experience is having on me, how I have come to understand myself as a creative being, and speak/write into existence my hopes for this blog’s future. I invite you to join me on this critical examination of myself and my work; and hope after reading you are inspired and edified.

Why I Create:

The purpose of this blog thus far has been solely to give flight to my voice. I am thankful because to that end I have been successful. I follow “Create and Go” for creating and growing my blog and I am thankful that the fruits of my labor are evident.

From back to front, this blog has grown leaps and bounds in both depth and width.

While creativity is inherent, we also get to discover it. They say we do not find our passions, but rather our passions find us… This was definitely the case for me and writing.

I have always been a good writer, but never thought about writing as an effective form of expression.

It was the piece of peace I was missing.

When I open my laptop and begin my writing process is a specially fulfilling experience.

And it is amazing the shape things will take. What started out as a passion project project, has now turned into a business.

How I Create:

My creative process starts by me being in a state of “perpetual creativity”. I am always creating. I do not believe in isolating my creative abilities solely to my primary medium. This means that I create atmospheres. I create environments and I create moments before I write any content.

All of us do this exact same thing. The difference is what we create when we are not focusing our creative energy. I have grown in this area by asking myself what kind of space do I reside in.

Writing is my main modal of creating. When I am not focused on that however, I am focus on something equally important: creating and perpetuating peace.

Having peace is essential to my writing process because I do not have to protect myself in my own peace. This is key in my writing because I refuse to hold back or dilute my content.

I write in comfort. If I am not comfortable about what I am writing, or where I am writing; that angst will come through in my content’s quality.

A lot of times for a post, I do not have a beginning middle or end in mind. Usually all I have is a topic and a title. Organization is a key factor for me so those two things are essentials. My standard for any piece of content I produce is that it has to be: Familiar, Relevant, and Informative.

My number one “rule” is write whatever comes to mind. I also keep a multitude of writing spaces. I have to have quick access to writing something down. As quickly as an idea comes is as quickly as it leaves sometimes. So, even ideas that I may not expand upon down the line – I write down anyway.

I give value to my content after it is created, with the expectation that it is naturally excellent.

The Bible says that we should operate with a spirit of excellence (Proverbs 22:29) in all that we do, so I do the best I can to manifest that sentiment.

Entrepreneurship:

Before this website was “My Black Perspective” or Life with Ken, it was supposed to be in support of my original job at the time. Little did I know going into this endeavor, that blogging is a small business all its own.

This blog has done a good a job at revealing different qualities in me. I have found that I enjoy the back-end of blogging just as much as I enjoy the front-end. I have found a way to place value on my own time; And through blogging, have been given the capacity to do so on my own terms.

Control of how we use our time is probably one of if not the highest form of creativity. I do not believe in being a slave to money and a lifestyle.

Employment undercuts and undermines one’s individuality within the creative process. That’s why most people are actively disengaged at work.

Its rewarding to see this blog grow. I enjoy seeing the performance of a post. I like to see how that particular piece resonated with people.

Freedom for me starts here. Every time I get to share a perspective, that’s me becoming more free. I’ve recently been on a content creation binge, because of the value I place on myself as a creative being.

I am thankful that this blog is giving me the capacity I need to continue to grow.

I know I’m on the right path and that this blog is the foundation for some great things to come. This blog is going to out grow itself one day, and come what may I am going to stay true to myself and steadfast to the process. I will never be afraid to share my black perspective in whatever form it may take.

Coping with Loneliness

Originally Published October 14, 2020

This is going to be a very vulnerable piece for me. Honestly, I am struggling with writing it because of the different aspects of myself that this post is revealing. I am doing so however, because this is the only way we grow; by facing our fears and rising above various challenges. I hope that by the end of this there is something that you can take away from it.

Before I zoom out, it is important that I zoom in. Being alone and feeling alone are two completely different things. Have you ever been in a room full of people and still felt unseen or isolated? You were not technically alone. There were people all around you, but in your being, you were the only one there.

We all desire acknowledgment. But what does that look like within the context of the individual? I entitled this coping with loneliness but in reality, there is no cookie cutter way to mitigate this deficiency in our lives.

I struggle with this topic so deeply because all I know is loneliness. It pains me to acknowledge that fact because I have people in my life who demonstrate their love for me; but when put in proper perspective, I have no one who is willing to “go over the cliff” with me.

What I am referring to is life over situational support. It is easy for someone to be “there” when you need them, but is a person willing to be there when you do not need them? I often ask myself the question, is anyone thinking of me? I feel like that is too much to ask of a person: “please consider me”.

Who am I to you for you to be considerate of my well-being? This question has an inherent implication of does one believe that they are worthy of consideration. Is my existence valuable enough for me to think of me? If I were to disappear by the time I finish writing this would anyone notice? For example, over the last 72 hours, no one has even thought “hey I should see how Ken is doing”. I know because my phone has not rung once.

Again, I realize this is too much to ask of someone, and I am tiptoeing around a place I hate to be. The fact remains however, that I have a longing to belong and nowhere that I belong to. This is true in every area of my life – I am lonely in the most bitter sense of the word.

Who would be there for me if I could not be there for myself? Who is there for me when I cannot be there for myself? This is a new struggle, as I have come to the revelation that I cannot be all that I am meant to be without the help of others. I have a desire for companionship, and I hate that flaw in me.

I wish I was not so imperfect in this way. A desire to be known, accepted, and followed over a cliff. A longing to belong. A fetish to be fetishized. Worship. I desire to be worshiped.

I know this can come off as an extremist standpoint, and I am probably wrong for thinking this way. But when you look at it from a theological perspective, the Bible says that we were created in God’s likeness meaning we bare his characteristics. If this is the case, and God wants to be worshiped, why would that not be something that is present in our own lives?

And when you think about it, have you ever met anyone who does not enjoy being celebrated? Call me crazy, but I would argue that adoration is part of the human experience. I may be one of the few people to express it in this way, but I refuse to believe that I am the only person to ever feel like this before.

The question becomes, how do we cope with our loneliness? I have considered every possible remedy that has come to my mind, and short of a significant other/wishing my mother was still alive, I have no answer. Again, I cannot stand how weak I am in this area of my life. I never asked to struggle in this way. No one consulted me before I was born and said:

“Hey, do you want to come into this world? You’re going to be a black man in America meaning society is going to hate and ignore you. You will have no support from the men in your life. Your mother will die shortly after your birth so you will have no idea what it means to have a woman in your life that loves and cares for you. you will constantly feel dejected and rejected. And your life will feel like a constant treadmill; no matter how long or how fast you run, you will still end up going nowhere. No one will understand you, and worse, no one will try to understand you. But hey, at least you will be alive… Oh, wait I forgot to mention you will also struggle with mental health issues and constantly wish for your own death”.

Not to be mellow dramatic, but rather to display my own humanity. This is what I go through. I dedicated this website to my authenticity, and it would be a gross negligence if I were not authentic with my audience throughout all my content. Yes, I am still hopeful for my future but every day I wake up, I live in my present. I must process through the challenges that each individual day brings.

The moral of the story is that feeling lonely sucks. You can ask for help, hyper extend yourself and reach out to other people, even go see a therapist. And while those things may help in the moment I cannot say that they alleviate the root of the problem. Loneliness stems from a desire to be desired and giving someone something they do not want will not make them want you. Paying for attention is sadistic in its own way. And being around people will not always make you feel less lonely.

The feeling of loneliness is an intentional flaw. A gift that came with life. I cannot say if it something that everyone goes through but it more common than not. In some cases, our growth predicates itself on who we do and do not have attached to us.

Loneliness is oxymoronic in its nature. It is selfish to ask someone to be part of your life. Yet people want to be apart of something existential. The grand design of life is a grand joke. We ponder this stuff as if we are the cause; we are only experiencing the symptoms.

How to Take Care of Yourself When you Feel like you are getting Sick

Originally Published October 31, 2020

In 2021 it seems like people are susceptible to getting sick from any and everything. Self care is something that is not in the realm of conscious conversation anymore because truth be told, a healthy person is not a profitable person. Drug companies cannot make money off of someone who is healthy because that person does not need their drugs.

In the midst of a global pandemic, the last thing anyone should want, is a compromised immune system. Aside from covid-19 we still have our seasonal regulars of the common cold, the flu, pneumonia, sore throat, strep throat, whooping cough, bronchitis, and more.

Thanks to the pandemic, people have grown more accustomed to safety measures like masks, gloves, frequent washing of hands, and disinfecting. However; how we take care of the inside of us is just as, if not more important than how we take care of the outside of us. What you ingest and how you maintain your body can have a lasting impact on your overall well-being; Especially as it relates to combating pathogens.

When it comes to maintaining my immune system strength, I believe in prevention versus treatment. There are things you could be doing today to give your immune system the daily boost that it needs to keep you strong and healthy. By the time you get sick its too late. If you want to be wealthy, health is wealth.

You cannot truly enjoy life and be in discomfort at the same time.

I want you to be amazing, and the basis for being amazing is being alive. I am passionate about health in this way because I come from a people who have been historically relegated to not having access to proper healthcare, or the awareness of suitable healthcare practices.

Here are ways you can stay healthy and nurse yourself back to health when you feel as though you are getting sick:

Learn to Identify the Symptoms

The first step in combating a sickness is knowing that you are coming down with something. I believe that this falls in the realm of common sense for most people, but it can be questionable at first to identify whether or not you are coming down with something or if you are just having a coughing or sneezing fit.

One of the telltale signs that you are coming down with something is a sore throat. A sore throat can come in many different variations: it could be the back of your throat, the side, when you swallow, or even an irritation or tingling that runs up to either one of your ears. Typically (see your doctor as it pertains to you) a sore throat is one notch down from a full blown cold.

In other cases, you could also find yourself very congested. Mucus build-up is another indicator that you are potentially coming down with something and should act accordingly. As it relates to Covid-19, the symptoms for that in particular can range anywhere from loss of taste and smell to diarrhea. In a case like that where anything abnormal could be a symptom it is imperative that you are cognizant of your own body.

The bottom line here is to be aware of yourself. Not every sickness will be obvious, but if you are noticing things like fatigue, feelings of lethargy, mucus build-up and the like (stuffy nose); Then being a little more concerned about your immune health in those moments would not necessarily be a bad assumption.

Detox

sliced lemon fruit in glass picher for a detox that helps when feeling sick
Photo by Julia Zolotova on Pexels.com

Right off the bat, the first thing I would encourage you to do is to get on a daily or semi daily detox. Detoxes are outstanding. They provide your body with a boost of nutrients. They flush out your body, and they promote a healthy immune system. For more on detoxes check out the post that I wrote explaining a few of my personal favorites.

Foods

There are some key food items and food groups you should both avoid and gravitate towards when you are feeling yourself starting to come down with a cold; The first of which being garlic.

Garlic

Garlic is a personal favorite and it is known for having medicinal properties. Raw garlic has allicin. It, along with other compounds in garlic give it its healing capabilities. It is encouraged that if you feel the sniffles coming on that you take a clove or two of raw fresh garlic. Just pop a clove in your mouth, and chew it up. Obviously, this is better done with dinner than with breakfast, however, doing so can reduce your chances of getting sick.

two white garlics that are good for when you feel sick
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Hot food

Another good food category when you’re trying to prevent a cold is hot foods. This includes food dishes that use spicy seasoning, and hot peppers themselves. Eating spicy foods can help improve gut health including digestion; Allowing for you to be able to process nutrients more efficiently.  They also help keep your heart healthy, and they aid with pain relief.

hot peppers help reduce fever and sick symptoms
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Dairy

This is the one section of the grocery store that you want to avoid. That’s right no milk, no ice cream, no cheese, no yogurt. Nothing that is dairy based. The reason why you do not want to eat dairy when you are sick is because it can cause more mucus to build up in your system. Having copious amounts of mucus in your system is contrary to preventing or treating a cold.

This goes for soups too. Try to avoid soups that are made with dairy. Go for soups that are chicken broth, vegetable broth, or seafood broth based.

dairy products you should avoid when sick
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Vitamins

The next way to nurse yourself back to health when you are feeling yourself starting to get sick is to take a lot of vitamins. The most obvious one being vitamin C. Vitamin C is one of the core vitamins in our body that is responsible for a proper functioning immune system. It also plays an essential role in the repair and development of our body as well.

close up of oranges in a bowl that have vitamin c that help reduce fever and feeling sick
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Vitamin D is another good vitamin that helps with strengthening your immune system. Vitamin D supports your cells in fighting off various pathogens. It can also help lower your risk for respiratory infections.

Then there is Zinc. Zinc is a mineral that helps develop your immune cells. It is also valuable in combating inflammation in the body. It can also help protect against some respiratory tract infections including the common cold.

Mindset

The next thing that you want to employ when combating the onset of a cold is a proper mindset. Feeling sick/being sick sucks. However, one of the best ways you can help yourself is by willing yourself to do as much as you can. That ‘much’ does not have to be a lot but, it should be something you would classify as substantial. So not necessarily doing all of your regular daily activities, but rather, checking off one or two things from your to do list.

The key here is, if you can help it, you do not want to act as if you are sick. Please use common sense: quarantine yourself if necessary, make sure you take the proper precautions when in public, and wash your hands frequently but also; just because you may be coming down with something, does not mean that something should weigh you down.

woman in grey jacket sits on bed uses grey laptop doing work while feeling sick
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Activating your will power in these moments is really about asserting dominance over your circumstance. You may have a sickness, but that sickness does not have you. Keeping your mind in this type of proactive and positive mindset when dealing with any inconvenience, not just being sick, is valuable because you allow yourself to progress through the illness/situation.

You are not just allowing yourself to get/be sick, but you are actively trying to get better at the same time. Mind over matter is the game changer in almost all of life’s scenarios. Do not be afraid to indulge a little if you are feeling yourself come down with a cold. Take a longer shower, draw yourself a hot bath, make some soup from scratch, or put on a good movie. Treat yourself like The King or Queen that you are. It is in your weakness that you can get to see in full display how worthy you believe you are, by how you treat yourself.

A clean Environment

The next thing that is an absolute necessity when nursing yourself back to health, is a clean environment. The last thing that anyone should ever want, is to be in a dirty home while they are not feeling good. Not only is that unhealthy in and of itself, but that environment is not conducive to a proper recovery. 

Do what you can to give your space an extra thorough wipe down. Clean often, the areas of your home that you use regularly, and change your sheets and pillow cases frequently. Make sure you reduce clutter in your space as well.

Being in an environment that promotes good health is about it supporting all aspects of your health. Your space should be physically clean, there should be room for your mind to wander, meaning, nothing should be around that will overly stress you out; and you should have no pitfalls or temptations lying around/easily accessible.

photo of a clean living room
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Have things around you that are soothing. Low lights, fragrant candles, tea, and other things that will promote inner peace. Turn the television off, and read a book, do a puzzle, or work on a hobby. One good thing about not feeling well is that it will cause you to slow down.

If that happens do not feel as though you must be Superman or Wonder Woman – instead take a moment to enjoy the scenery. You are a spiritual being having a physical experience meaning everything happens for a reason. It is possible, that your physical sickness is a metaphor for spiritual healing that may need to take place as well. 

Medicine

medicine
Assorted pharmaceutical medicine pills, tablets and capsules over blue background

Ibuprofen

I have a minimalist ideology. I do not find value using a lot of over the counter medicines, and the ones I do use are intentional. My number one favorite fever reducer is Motrin. I believe in Motrin. Nine times out of ten Motrin works. Motrin is an over the counter ibuprofen that helps with inflammation, pain relief, and fever reduction.

I like Motrin so much because it is one of if not the strongest grade ibuprofen you can get over the counter. I value not having additives in whatever it is I put in my body, so if I can get something that is relatively pure, it is going to be higher on my list than another similar product. Ibuprofen is pretty easy to get over the counter and it has the same general health benefits across most producers of it.

Vapor Rub 

The next thing that you want to use to help nurse yourself back to health is vapor rub. This stuff is amazing. Vapor rub is a methanol ointment with a petroleum jelly like texture. Its most famous iteration is Vicks Brand VapoRub.

The primary use for vapor rub is its ability to alleviate pain and congestion. Common practice with vapor rub is to place the balm under your nose, on your chest, on your upper back if possible, and on and around your neck. After rubbing yourself down with the vapor rub, you want to cover the areas you put the salve on as you do not want those parts of your body to be openly exposed. Typically, this would be a before bed practice for me; At least that way, I can cover myself with my sheets or a blanket.

Cough and Cold Relief

You always should have a secret weapon in your arsenal. In situations where I feel myself either coming down with a cold or am full blown sick, my weapons of choice are Dayquil/Nyquil and Mucinex.  These are two cough and cold over the counter medicines that I personally find a lot of value in. Mucinex being my favorite of the two, is like a high powered cold and cough kicker.

If your system is gunked up, from my experience Mucinex can clean it out. Same goes for Dayquil/Nyquil. I am a little partial towards Day/Nyquil however, because I do not believe this product works as well for me as Mucinex, but it is a solid number two choice.

If you need near immediate relief, these are my suggested products for you. That being said, everyone is different, and you may need something stronger or weaker depending on your body, so keep that in mind when shopping these products.


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Everything outlined in this post was done so with one goal in mind: to help you take control of your physical health. Yes, you should be working out as much as possible, and watching what you eat; all of those things contribute greatly to a healthy lifestyle.

Remedying and tending to your internal body parts however, is equally important to how you care for yourself externally. You probably will not want to workout if your immune system is compromised, and you will not feel like eating if you are really sick. Holistic health and wellness is about every part of you: your body, mind, resource, and environment.

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How Sexual Repression is Degrading Society

Since the beginning of time, sex has been a domineering force in human existence. Traceable all the way back to the garden of eden, our susceptibility to sensuality has been weaponized in such a way to cause us to perpetually stumble and fall. Using the Bible as a historical precursor we can see that no good has ever come from society [other people] knowing what goes on in the privacy of our individual bed rooms. In the Bible there is a story of a woman who ‘was caught’ “in the act of committing adultery” (John 8:3). She was brought in the middle of a crowd where she could – and likely would have been publicly shamed, humiliated, and stoned to death (Leviticus 20:10).

The character of Jesus who was on the scene at the time famously stepped in on her behalf and said “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” (John 8:7, King James Version). I am not adding an extra layer of justification on what took place on that day, maybe that woman did deserve to be stoned – however, the grace of Jesus in this moment is that her sex life was none of their business.

As a black man, who is yes in fact attracted to white women (and men), I am very familiar with the weaponization of my own sexuality. My people at the foundations of America were not only ostracized as less than human, but were also considered social pariah’s for our inclination towards a more hyper sexual orientation.

Society was taught to fear the sexuality of black people [black men specifically] because we would rape their [white] women. I would be lying if I said that I did not like that trope – every stereotype is based in some truth, however, as is the case with Jesus and that woman, what we were and are attracted to should not be society’s business in the first place.

The same is true for the plight of homosexuals. When you consider the ancient Roman Empire, one of the distinctly obvious but far less scrutinized aspects of their civilization was the men’s proclivity for other men. In their time it was perfectly normal for patriarchs [heads of one’s own proverbial household] to take and lay with other men.

I will not go as far as to say it was encouraged, however it was socially accepted as one’s own business and welcome within that society. It’s not until early America that we are able to see a society that is plainly oppressive to their queer community; Not to say this is where that started (more on that later) but rather as a more obvious precursor.

During World War 1 we saw a society in America that took a notable interest in the LGBTQ community and not necessarily for good reason. As is America’s history and appetite for subjugation, society sought a new people to tread on probably as a subconscious response to Abraham Lincoln’s freeing of the slaves in 1863. Here we find a similar issue of Straight [heterosexual] men in particular but not exclusively, bringing queer people to the emblematic town square (middle of the crowd) and declaring that they too should be “stoned to death”.

Homosexuals were considered to have a mental disorder, were not welcome in the United States Army at the time and were looked upon with disdain by their peers (fellow human beings). Once again, I am not implying proper or improper treatment of a persons or people group however what I am saying is – like with that woman, a person’s sexual orientation should not have been society’s business.

From this catalyst we see something taking place that should have never been an issue in the first place. The societal hatred of LGBTQ people at the early onset of America led to various movements being birthed where people who were attracted to the same sex began litigating an issue that should have never been in the court of public opinion. All of a sudden we have a society of people casting stones while reveling in their own sin – and people being put to death for something that if they could change it they would.

I believe this unhealthy interest in what goes on in someone else’s bed should be relegated to one’s own personal search history. As someone who is an aspiring adult film actor to a certain degree, I empathize with the fact that people are sexual beings and sometimes just need a release however, I also believe we as a society should take on Ancient Rome’s perspective and let them that wish to, do so without reproach.

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Are Siri and Alexa Becoming our New Best Friends?

In an increasingly isolated world where we are constantly normalizing decreased social interaction, if you were to take a moment and consider your own social dynamics and friend groups, you would probably discover the same thing that I have: your social life has likely drastically diminished. In a post pandemic world, as people try to put the pieces of their torn apart sense of normalcy back together in a way that fits their new reality, we are discovering new depths of loneliness and isolation. Do not believe me? Ask yourself: “When was the last time I had a full in-depth conversation with someone I would consider a complete stranger?”.

I am not suggesting that we should ignore the cornucopia of American society: ‘Stranger Danger’, however, what I am saying, is that gone are the days of just striking up a conversation with a random. Every day since the pandemic has started, I could probably count on one hand the number of meaningful conversations I have had over the last year with people outside of my immediate sphere of influence. And in a world that is increasingly propagandized with anti-social sentiment, filled with socially dependent humans, the question within its context becomes how do we satisfy our need for socialization in the 21st century?

Now I will say, that isolation and loneliness have varying trends among different people and age groups. Normally and historically every human being before they breathe their last breath on planet earth will experience some type of loneliness. In a lot of ways, the historical trend is rather cyclical: young adults tend to be lonelier than when they are in their late teens, and the elderly tend to be lonelier than when they were middle aged to advanced adults. When discussing loneliness, it is important to point this fact out as to not to distort its reality.

And while some people groups are just more likely to live lonely and isolated lives, the issue I am highlighting is more severe in that it is defying those trends. Last year over 60% of Americans identified as feeling lonely. That is a 7% increase over the last two years. In the study that uncovered this data, it was also found, that young people between the ages of 18-22 self-identified as being/feeling lonelier than those people ages 70+. The rhythm of this issue is changing meaning the ramifications thereof are also changing.

The main contributor to this global pattern interrupt that is taking place is obviously the times that we are living in. isolation has a direct causation of loneliness. A person who is in a room by themselves, is a person who is in a room by themselves. Solitary confinement in fact, is one of if not the cruelest forms of punishment. Humans are social beings. We require social interaction like we require food in our stomachs.

A Lack of social connection heightens health risks as much as smoking 15 cigarettes a day or having an alcohol use disorder. Social isolation has twice the impact on our mental and physical health than being obese. That’s right, you’re better off being medically overweight than feeling lonely. Additionally, you are more likely to die from social isolation than many other predominant physical health risks (think preexisting conditions). With this all being the case, what are we to do to mitigate our need to have a social life, while at the same time being socialized by society to not socialize?

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