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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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. Do not ask me why because I would not be able to give a full in-depth answer at this point in my life however, Jesus is the reason for the season! This coming Sunday people around the world will celebrate Jesus doing the literal impossible and getting up from a death bed.

I do not know about you, but admittedly, I have never witnessed a human being that looks like me, eats food like me, uses the restroom like me, feels like me, and breathes air through their nose and sends it to their lungs the same way that I and the other 8 billion people on this floating rock do; Die, and then suddenly, while their blood is coagulating, their skin is growing pale, and their body is starting to stink, just get up and pretend like they were taking a nap.

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 here today however is, there are some things in our lives that are dead, and we simply cannot just jump start them like a car.

What do you do when we are in a season that represents things coming back to life, but those things that you once had faith for still lie dormant and dead? You see, the only way for something to come back to life is if at some point in its existence that something once lived. These are the types of things I think about in this season because if we were honest with ourselves for a minute, how many times have you worked for something only for it to die anyway?

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, and you have tried and tried and tried but that area of your life has remained perpetually barren. Eventually, after all of your trying you get tired and ultimately you give up. When that happens, 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 was never predestined. I do not want to have faith for something that my life says will never happen and is a waste of my time. I rather put that energy to good use and think about things that are more realistic, make sense, and is not a pie-in-the-sky idea.

This is truly a predicament.

Where does resurrection power come into play in this situation? Jesus was only dead for 3 days; your dream may have been dead now for over 30 years. It’s not much, nor do I wish to be accused of being the person that caused you to believe again however, within this context, I think it’s important for us to visit/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 well into their 100s 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 that she just could not shake; and so, once she was able to finally move past that failure in her life, the last thing she probably wanted to hear or believe from someone 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.

But it’s 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 to the point where it had never known life and under normal circumstances would never know life again. 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 commanded.

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, the only son of Abraham and Sarah meaning, the only way God’s plan was going to work, was the father of Jacob who became Israel, who 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.

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.

the Simple Blessings of God

The human body is marvelous. The Bible says that its fearfully and wonderfully made. When I think about the beauty of expression, I am captivated by its simplicity. A small gesture can have a gigantic impact. All of us breathe without much conscious thought about it.

When we break down and conceptualize breathing, we find that what is actually happening when we inhale and exhale is, our bodies take in oxygen molecules to energize our cells so that we may conduct ‘normal human functions’. Something as simple as breathing – that we tend not to consider, is the vitality of our lives. You can find this principle playing out in various areas of your life: Sometimes the smallest things have the biggest impact.

It’s important to understand this because without an appreciation for the small things, the big things wont mean anything. Some of the best movies I have ever watched started with a seemingly inconsequential series of events, that ended up playing out an entire plot. Our lives are merely a compilation of small “events” (used loosely).

You cannot appreciate the wins of your life if you never had any losses. You can only really appreciate a good meal after you know what its like to have gone without one. It’s the small things that give life its meaning.  

The Interrelationship Between Dragon Ball Z and the Black Community

The year was 2005, it was 5pm EST and the Toonami block on Cartoon Network was about to premier. The Toonami block was when all of the “cool” cartoons would come on. I’m talking Sailor Moon, Duel Masters, Rave Master, One Piece, Pokémon Chronicles, Immortal Grand Prix (IGPX), and of course Naruto! But among all of those epic shows, none was more epic than Akira Toriyama’s Dragon Ball Z.

Dragon Ball Z is a story about a Saiyan boy from Planet Vegeta that escapes from his home in a space pod; before it [his home] is destroyed by Frieza — the emperor of space. Frieza destroys Planet Vegeta out of a relentless racism toward the Saiyan race and a fear of the potential of one becoming strong enough, to over throw him/his empire [transform into a Super Saiyan]. Goku [Kakarrot], the Saiyan boy who escaped, his space ship crash landed on earth, where he was found and raised by his adoptive grandfather Gohan; And he grew up to become a martial artist.

This show above all the others was what I looked forward to watching the most. Dragon Ball Z for whatever reason resonated with me. To its own credit DBZ (Dragon Ball Z) revolutionized a whole genre of anime for decades after its inception. I just liked the fighting, the destructiveness of the villains, the severity of the situations that the Z-fighters found themselves in.

The various power boosts and transformations — and the explosions from massive kai blasts! I would do the Kamehameha with sound effects and at the same cadence as Goku. I’m not too proud to admit that I have tried going ‘Super Saiyan’ before, and to set the record straight: Vegito is stronger than Gogeta.

I was a fan boy of DBZ for at least 10 years of my life. its not until last year that my perspective changed towards DBZ and I decided to implement a personal boycott. You see, Dragon Ball Z has an innumerably large black fan base and while I do not believe the anime was mal in intent in and of itself — I have reason to believe that the anime has promoted negative stigmas within the black community, specially among black boys that are now becoming and are already black men, and their outlook towards one another.

In the early episodes of the anime, there was an arc that focused on a Saiyan invasion on earth in search of the Dragon Balls. Throughout this invasion we are introduced to Goku’s elder brother: Raddits, and who would soon become an antagonist turned co-protagonist Vegeta. These two encounters in the early episodes of the anime sowed the seeds of rivalry. Here we see Saiyans, the last of their people, fighting and competing against one another — albeit the circumstance of their encounter.

This rivalry is perpetuated throughout the series as Vegeta — Prince of all Saiyans, cements his role in the series. Now you may say how could something that simple have any innuendo on the black community, and in a certain sense you are right it should and probably does not to detriment however; we are products of our consumption, meaning, what we take in we become. I just finished fawning over my experience with DBZ. If this show had that much of an impact on me, I can guarantee there are a multitude of black men as impacted if not more so from this series — some of them were my friends. I say this to say, those seeds of contentiousness that had the opportunity to take root at an early age and were watered regularly through affirmation can and does eventually influence one’s subconscious behavior towards another person/or people group…

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5 Ways to Relieve Stress and Anxiety

As 2021 gets underway, amid the aroma of excitement and new possibilities that a new year brings, people across the world are facing unprecedented scenarios that are only short of maddening. The start of 2021 has been all but peaceful and relaxing to say the least. I do not know about you, but Christmas through New Year’s vacation did not feel like much of a vacation. Over the last month or so now, I have had more anxiety attacks than ever before. To put that in context, before this last stent of attacks (four in the last three weeks), the last one that I had prior to was never.

The abnormality of this experience encouraged me to write this article on ways to reduce and hopefully relieve any anxiety that you may be experiencing at this time as well. I included stress in the title because feelings of anxiety are derivatives of a stressor(s) and the same techniques to help soothe a person’s anxiety can also help in managing their stress levels.

Unfortunately, there is an abundance of things for people to allow themselves to be stressed about. In addition to the Covid-19 vaccine dissemination debacle in the United States, there is also: the now three new strain variants of Covid, the failed disgraceful Coup attempt and siege on the United Sates Capitol, the multitude of American families facing financial ruin as unemployment numbers tick higher and more and more small businesses close indefinitely. There are millions of people around the world facing more aggressive lockdown orders and restrictions, and the political environment is becoming less and less favorable towards everyday people.

On the flip side of that coin, people are also rightfully concerned and anxious about their own wellbeing. If you are like me, then the top of a new year is a time to reflect and plan and set the trajectory for the course of your year. This can be an anxious endeavor in and of itself (it was for me), even more so when you consider the degree of ambiguity, we have all been forced to live with going into this year.

Anxiety stems from an incessant worrying. When your stressors become greater than your capacity to handle them, they will begin to weigh you down. This will take the shape of worry, uneasiness, nervousness, and apprehension. If these symptoms persist and exacerbate, they can lead to even greater symptoms such as restlessness, fatigue, loss of concentration, irritability, muscle tension, and sleep disturbances (difficulty falling or staying asleep) – symptoms more aligned with an anxiety disorder, or a panic disorder/attack. A preventative measure for combating anxiety and avoiding these symptoms is by monitoring your stress levels.

Our bodies tell [warn] us when something is not right with it. Your body reacts to the amount of stress that it is undertaking. By knowing your body and how it communicates with you, you can begin to identify when your stress levels may be high, and take the proper steps necessary to address the trigger(s) causing the destabilization of your equilibrium. Some high stress level indicators include: acne, headaches, getting sick easily/frequently, noticeable [drastic] change in diet, decreased sex drive, depleted energy, and digestive difficulties.

From my experiences, the last attacks that I have had were rooted in worry and apprehension. Over the last three weeks I was writing my life and business plans for the coming year; and at various points throughout that process, I allowed the stress of the prospects of my future (or lack thereof) to overwhelm me to the point of heart palpitations, mental and physical fatigue, and body temperature irregularities. The first time this happened, because of my mental health background, I was able to immediately identify that I was experiencing an anxiety attack, and I was able to lean on my knowledge of the subject to alleviate my disturbed mental state.

The following are my five ways [techniques] to relieve stress and anxiety: 

1. Take Deep Breaths

man wearing black cap with eyes closed under cloudy sky
Photo by Kelvin Valerio on

There is a myriad of benefits associated with taking deep breaths. Specifically, however, as it relates to relieving stress and anxiety, taking deep breaths is a game changer. No matter who you are, everyone at some point ‘needs a moment’. Taking a moment can mean anything that includes whatever it takes to return your body and mind to a state of equilibrium. This is not limited to deep breaths but rather, deep breathing is foundational in its purposes of helping to alleviate stress from various triggers.

When you take a moment to breathe you are signaling to your brain to slow your body down including your heart rate. Deep breaths allow for more oxygen to flow into your blood cells which equates to an optimization of your body’s functions. Think of taking a deep breath like restarting a slow computer, deleting corrupt files, or running a virus scan and removal program – the purpose is ultimately to help you “run” better.

Do not pish-posh this technique as it is both simple yet essential. Everyone breathes. I personally have yet to meet a living thing that does not breathe (part and parcel to the arduous efforts of scientists’ pursuit of the creation of artificial life – which while is arguably technically alive, does not in fact inhale or exhale oxygen, carbon dioxide, or anything of the sort). Breathing is so necessitous to the lived experience, that most of us do so on an automatic basis. It takes more conscious effort for us to hold our breath than it does for us to continuously inhale and exhale throughout a normal 24-hour period.   

Such being the case, by taking a moment to focus on your breathing when you are feeling anxious or stressed, you are intentionally changing the state of your body. Think of an aircraft (or a Tesla) and autopilot versus manual control. When something is on autopilot or cruise control, it is set to function at a certain level – meeting the needs of the moment and environment in which it is being used. When our breathing is automatic, we typically do not pay attention to it because it is serving the purpose of helping us function on a higher [sentient] level.

Manual control however requires a literal hands-on approach and is necessary for crucial aspects of any trip by flight, ship, car, or otherwise. in the same way, when we intentionally focus on our breathing, we put ourselves in the driver seat of the everyday working condition of our body. This is important because just like an airplane takes off and lands, or a car speeds up, slows down, and parks, people also need to be able to regulate [control] their breathing during various courses of their day, so that they can ‘self-optimize’ for the purpose of meeting the needs of whatever moment they may find themselves in.

A practice that works well with deep breathing is meditation. Meditation is the process through which a person can naturally relax and calm their mind body and spirit through focused time and attention on deep breathing, mental clarity, and spiritual connectivity. This can be done by creating an intentionally peaceful space for the purpose of allowing focused time to sit quietly (or with ambient music playing), and be at ease by closing your eyes, taking synchronized deep breaths, and allowing your existence to experience tranquility.

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All I want for Christmas [is Empathy]

As the Christmas season quickly rolls through, I want to take a moment to be intentional in addressing the vulnerability of this season. I do not know about you, but I have learned a lot over the last 12 months; About myself, about others, about God – and I have come to the conclusion that while none of those things are necessarily like the other directly, we all have inherent similarities that make us relatable to one another. It is in our relatability that we are relatable – meaning, what we go through and how we experience it, brings us closer together with each other when we are willing to express it. I get better because of what you go and have gone through and are willing to share. Likewise, you get better because of what I have gone through and am going through, and what I am willing to share.

This past week I just hit my 100th like on WordPress. Since blogging now for over a year and a half I just got to the point where 100 people like my content! That reality is a mixed bag of emotions for me partly because, I thought I would be further along in this journey by now, and because, I am starting to see the value I bring to my niche. I am willing to be open in this post by saying that I have taken some time off, not from working, but from building.

What I mean is, I have put a lot of effort into this website, and no one wants to open a store that no one wants anything from. Over the last few weeks, I had gotten to a place where I was working from the perspective of keeping busy, maintaining, and cultivating new content, but I was not building from the perspective of cultivating relationships, building trust, trying to grow my viewership, or any of the other business aspects of blogging that I am really into. I was not even going to share this story but, I thought about quitting and giving up this year. Not to get too heavy on you, but I honestly did not know how valuable what I was providing really was.

There are plenty of holistic/manifestation/fitness/Christian bloggers out there – the market is saturated with opinion. Sometimes you can think your opinion matters all day long, but if no one is acknowledging it, who are you talking to? A leader can only be a leader if he/she has followers. A content creators’ content is only as valuable as its palatability. I can write the best post ever with all the value I can possibly put into it, but to use a food analogy, why would I make a feast with no dinner guests?

Sometimes this life journey can feel like one that you are on all by yourself. Especially as a business owner, and especially this year in particular; we need to feel supported and encouraged sometimes in order to continue and press forward. So many small businesses have gone out of business in America and throughout the world for various reasons this year, and it is because their spirits were crushed. The severity of oppression of creativity that took place this year was enough for a lot of people to throw in the towel, or at least consider it. Showing your appreciation for someone is the true essence of life and the true essence of Christmas. The best way we can appreciate others is to consider where they have come from and where they are right now.

I bring this up, because I think one of the best things, we can do in this season is empathize with each other. The next two weeks are going to fly by, and before you know it, it will be January 2021. I do not want myself, or any of my readers to miss out on this moment to be intentional in sowing good seeds in this short window of opportunity. What I mean is, while compassion is in the air, I would encourage you to be intentional about being compassionate.

This is what I would consider a rare breakthrough opportunity for someone to be able to launch themselves further into their compelling future by doing something with a reverberating impact. How you love on others, how you are willing to bless others, and how you are willing to express care for others in this season in particular, will set you up for that same type of love, blessing, and care to flow back into your life at a later point in time.

I just think that empathy is needed in this season. Not sympathy, empathy. The difference is this: sympathy says “I feel bad for you”, while empathy says “I can connect to what it is you are experiencing”. The distinction is important because you can sympathize from a distance. You do not have to know a person to feel bad for them. You do not have to welcome being uncomfortable into your life when you are looking down at someone. As long as you are judging others you will not have time to reflect on yourself. The Bible says that before we are to address the speck in someone else’s eye, we are to address the log in our own. Among other things, this means becoming more relatable.

The more I live through, the more I learn. And the more I am willing to share what I learn, the more relatable I become. The more relatable I am the more empathy I can have. Relatability produces empathy because while the experience may vary, the emotion will be the same. The emotion is important because emotion produces reality. If you are upset you will be upset. If you are happy you will be happy. Your emotions are what you embody. They are how you manipulate your kinetic life energy.

The root word for empathy is emotion – your path to understanding is through emotions. The root word for sympathy is symbolic – your path to understanding is through symbolism. I do not mean to give sympathy a bad rap, but symbolism is not always relatable.

A couple weeks ago, I grabbed a meal with a few associates, and we were having a conversation about outer space. Anyone who has been a reader of mine for any length of time knows I have an affinity for cartoon and animation; So, talking about stars and planets are somewhat right up my alley. In an effort to relate a point to the conversation however, I made a Steven Universe reference without fully considering my audience, and while the reference was accurate [agreeable], it did not land with everyone because it was not relatable (I know, not everyone has watched Steven Universe, who would have thought? Not me!). When you can only sympathize and not empathize, you are not being the most relatable to the person you are supposedly expressing your compassion towards.

Something that I have been doing for the last several months is, I have been interacting with every one who interacts with me on my website. So, if someone likes and or comments on one of my posts, I have been intentionally looking for ways to interact with them as well. I have been doing this because I like to interact with people, but also because I wanted more people to start interacting with me too. Ultimately it looks like it is paying off, but the essence behind the action is a compassion and empathy for the craft.

I always talk about how much blogging means and has meant to me, and part of expressing that appreciation is by showing it to and for someone else. I love to see new comments and engagements and want to share that value and experience with others by commenting and engaging with their content. And I can relate as a content creator and businessman; that the true testament to your creative ability is the community you create around it and the people who engage with it.

As we look forward to Christmas this year, all I want for you and me is empathy. I want everyone to be able to care for what the people around them are going through. Be willing to wear your neighbor’s shoes. Yes, they may look uncomfortable, you wear a size 8 while your neighbor wears a size 6 however, a shoe is a shoe. You do not need to put a shoe on to see if its comfortable or functional. Some of the people around you may be wearing uncomfortable shoes with no choice in the matter. You can play your role this holiday season by showing compassion for what others may be experiencing. It may not be the same as your struggle, but if you are in a position to help, put yourself in a posture of willing to do so.

What good is could, if could has no will to do so. In other words, you being able to help, and you actually helping are two totally different things. Make sure your intentionality matches your ability. Give the best you can, and not the least. I believe that if you are willing to lean into being more compassionate and empathetic specifically as this year closes out, you will be sowing seeds that will bare much fruit!

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How to Compartmentalize

With all the things going on in our world today sometimes it can be hard to find time for a break. Our minds are being constantly stimulated, more so now at this time of year. If you are not cognizant of your own needs for stability you can run the risk of burnout or sheer mental exhaustion. One way to keep yourself from being overwhelmed this season is to develop your compartmentalization skills.

To compartmentalize means to divide something up into different categories. Think of it like a house with different rooms in it, only in this case, the house would be your mind, and the different rooms would be the things that you allow yourself to give attention to.

Think of your life like a busy street that you are walking down. Ultimately, you decide whether or not you pay attention to the cars passing buy, the shops around you, or the people you could potentially bump into. You could also choose to solely focus on getting to your destination. So is the case with compartmentalizing; You are choosing to give the totality of your focus to the various moments of your life that matter.

This is an important skill to have on a myriad of levels. It shows you what you consider valuable in your life, it helps with problem solving, it can improve your interpersonal relationships, makes you more productive, and it helps you live in alignment. I know it can be a struggle to separate work from home these days, especially because for a lot of us work is home, however, with this skill, and these techniques, you can begin to improve your quality of life where ever you are.

1. Know your Triggers

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What gets you upset? What makes you uncomfortable? Are there things that you are actively concerned about? Often times these things can be reoccurring, they can stem from a certain place or environment, or they can pop up in a real time situation. Your triggers are the first thing you need to identify because they cause distress.

Your goal in trying to progress through your day should be not tripping over any obstacles. That is not to say that obstacles will not appear, but rather, when they do you have the ability to overcome them. Now, let’s be real for a moment, sometimes overcoming a road block means going the other way – and that’s okay, you do not have to scale every mountain; The purpose here is about being intentional in the ones that you do.

2. Prioritize

Are your priorities in order? After handling your trigger(s) the next thing that you should be looking to do is the thing that will progress your day to the next point. Your priorities should be things that matter to you and have a clear and distinct order of importance.

Your priorities reflect what you value, and what you value is reflected in where and how you spend your time. Time of course, is your most important commodity. So essentially, you should be giving your time to things that matter most in descending order.

Another valuable thing to do is to develop a routine around your priorities. Most of us have a core group of activities that we do consistently throughout the week. Building a regimen around those essential activities helps you to transition through your day smoothly. It also becomes a fail safe for you to be able to revert to the next part of your ‘routine’ to help you continue through your day. 

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3. Be Adaptable

One thing to always keep in the back of your mind is the fact that life happens. Sometimes things will take place that are out of your control. When that happens keep a cool head about you. Remember the Serenity Prayer:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.

Being able to meet the needs of the moment is a survival skill. You have to be able to identify direction. Do you know where you are going? If you know your purpose, then the way you get there is not as important. Living in alignment is about doing what meets your present need, the way you do that is through adapting. Being able to address the needs of your life and adapt to them will make you more effective and impactful.

4. Be intentional

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The idea here is that you want to do things on purpose with purpose. Intentionality is an essence. It is a concern about your passion. A compassion about your plight and the plight of others. It should cause you to want to act in a way that will make a situation better.

The purpose for intentionality is understanding. People do not pay attention to what they do not value. What is important to you? Discovering whether or not you are intentional in a certain activity will reveal what is valuable to you. Once you have learned what matters to you the next step is to do that activity with diligence and excellence.

You want to be present. Doing something with purpose means doing it for a reason. The goal of compartmentalization is to help you get through your day while reducing the probability for unhealthy stress. There has to be a need and perceived solution. That perceived solution can change, remember, the vehicle does not matter. The function of what you do however, should be to get you to an end destination.

Do not do stuff just to do it. Not only is compartmentalization unhelpful in that lifestyle, but also there are only two directions you can go in life: forward or nowhere. Actively choosing not to progress is counter intuitive to the design of life – and to progress you must be going towards something, not meandering.

5. Keep your Eye on the Prize

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What are your goals? A goal is something you hope for- A reason to get out of bed in the morning. The value in having goals is that they help you direct your life. The Bible says that without vision the people perish. You must be able to see the mountain top, the car, the millions of dollars, the new home, the beautiful family, whatever it is. And it does not have to be that deep, sometimes your goal could be just to make it back to your bed in one piece by the end of the day. That is okay too.

A goal just gives you something to strive for. I think people do not strive for enough in their life. Or, they allow their dreams to die, settling for what they already have. You are a spiritual being having a physical experience meaning, that your desires would not have been put in you if they were not meant to be fulfilled through you. When you have a prize big enough on display, you cannot help but to notice it every day. A true goal/passion will play through your head like a movie on constant rerun. You should be infatuated with the promise on your life. In doing so you motivate yourself to be better today than you were the day before.

Compartmentalization is a great skill to develop in your life. It keeps you on track, helps you navigate your world, and it helps you navigate yourself. The idea behind this skill is that you are giving yourself over to what needs you in the moment. This does not mean you become distracted and wishy washy, quite the opposite; When you compartmentalize you become more effective because you choose with intention what you give your attention to. You allow your priorities to inform the narrative of your day.

Through identifying and confronting the road blocks in your life, having your priorities in order, being able to adapt to whatever life may throw at you; Doing things on purpose with purpose, and keeping your eye on the prize; you can develop your own compartmentalization skills.

I want to hear from you! Leave a comment below if you found value in this post.

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What will Happen on November 4th?

It is pretty obvious at this point that this year’s United States Presidential election is one of the most consequential in our nation’s history. On one hand you have a sitting President that is completely uncouth in his holding of the office; And on the other you have a doddering old man that is “profoundly decent”.

The boat for change has sailed both literally and metaphorically. The ‘Change’ candidate of 2008 in the form of Barack Obama has come and gone having served two full presidential terms. A hope for change has also passed us by in that in addition to not having a woman at the top of either ticket, our choices have been boiled down to two white men over the age of 70.

Aside from the ideology of these two men, I want to take a moment to draw your attention to the subconscious statement being made by the country as a whole. Specifically, as it relates to the Democrats and Joe Biden, he became the nominee via an unusual turn of events to say the least.

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How to Shift Your View on Success and Obtain it Regularly

Success is the process of failing forward. For you to want to be successful you must be willing to fail. While there are varying degrees of success, the common denominator in the lives of successful people are the lessons’ learned and the application of that experience.

Do you have limiting beliefs that are inhibiting your ability to be the person you want to be? Have you ever wished that you had the same level of courage as someone else who is doing what you would like to be doing?

You can attain the level of success you desire. The word ‘des-ire’ means ‘of the Father’ meaning, that your desires would not have been put in you if they were not meant to be fulfilled through you.

You must overcome your mental barriers. Anything worth having is worth pursuing. The only way to fail is to quit. Suspend your unbelief and start asking yourself “why not me and why not now?”. Can you envision your compelling future? This is about living in the fullness of yourself and allowing your passions to inform your identity.

The Power of a Breakthrough

It is so important for us to position ourselves in a place where success is drawn to us. In challenging times it can be tough for us to see the light at the end of the tunnel, however, it’s important that we know that there is one there.

Here is an excerpt from a personal journal that I wrote at the beginning of Covid-19:

…I am starting to put those necessary fail safes in place however, it was a challenge for some time. The main contributing factor to that is because I wanted to do too much.

Between work, applying to school, a recent whirlwind of family issues, aspirations of maintaining the little bit of a social life I currently have, and other miscellaneous personal things that take of my time, I found myself being spread too thin.

I allowed myself to lose my joy. I forgot my why.

I know pretty drab right? Well there is a lot of truth in this excerpt. Who has not felt weighed down by the weight of the world before? Sometimes the challenge we have in our pursuit of success is that we cannot see the forest for the trees. We get so caught up in our day to day that we can lose our drive for the bigger prize.

This is because we allow ourselves lose focus. In that journal entry I talked about losing my why. Your why is your motivation it is your hope; The reason you get out of bed every day. Me saying I lost my why was me saying I lost my way on this journey called life. In that moment I could not identify the value in why I was doing what i was doing.

This pandemic has uprooted all of our lives at varying degrees. Even so, it is your responsibility to yourself to see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Your setbacks are just setups for your comebacks.

In those instances, you are in position to have a breakthrough!

A breakthrough is a sudden circumstance change in your favor. What was once impeding you is no longer opposition for you. Sometimes a breakthrough can materialize and sometimes it is a change in perspective. The value in a breakthrough is the impact it has on your perception. A breakthrough will renew your hope.

My breakthrough was realizing I had my number one commodity back in time after being laid off due to covid, and that I never wanted to sell my time for less than what it is worth ever again.

What is that thing that you want to attain? And are you in a place to receive it? We shift our view on success by giving ourselves the right to be successful.

The Value of Gratitude

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We have to want ourselves to achieve something. And that thing that we want to achieve should be in consideration of others. Gratitude is a key ingredient in perpetuating success.

Success is not money or things. Success is a character trait.

I have become increasingly more thankful for the opportunities that I get to give and provide value to someone else. It’s in doing so that we get to connect with our true selves and put ourselves in a place to not only receive success, but to send it back out as well.

Big victories are not big because of their scale and scope. Big victories are big because of the discipline that comes before the opportunity. The equation to success is hard work plus luck.

When you are engaging in successful habits those habits will make room for you to encounter bigger opportunities to excel and serve others. The reality is success does not come rapidly nor is it always grandiose, but it can come consistently.

Put Yourself in a Position to be Successful

Success is rooted in discipline.

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The most successful people make their bed everyday. As simple as it sounds, making one’s bed every day put’s them in a place to be successful because they will have already accomplished something before the day even starts.

If you can accomplish one task, it will make you more inclined to want to accomplish more.

And while how you quantify your success should not be tethered in your ability to accomplish a task, the value of your success is in the meaning of that task.

Why would one find value in making their bed in morning? Because at the very least, at the end of a long day you know you have a freshly made bed waiting for you.

If you shift your focus from success that is rooted in results, to success that is rooted in disciplined activities and systems that lead to desired results; You will begin to see constant success, and will create for yourself opportunities to be successful on a larger scale.

We engage in generating consistent success for ourselves is by doing things that we are passionate about. If you are passionate about something the success will come.

Live with Passion

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Passion drives motivation, motivation drives discipline, and discipline drives success. I’ve never actively decided to put a system in place for something I had no interest in.

If someone is not willing to get better at something, it’s not a passion, it’s a past time.

Start making small yet intentional behavioral changes. For me that has looked like working out consistently, reading regularly, and creating space for the things I value. I have also utilized accountability partners to assist in keeping me on track and focused on my growth.

Success is available to all of us, and we achieve it by first redefining it, and secondly, by adopting disciplined and intentional actions in areas of our lives that matter.

Let your passions drive you to a place of abundance and gratitude; and position you in a place to both receive and provide breakthrough opportunities.

Remember, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, the question is whether or not you are willing to pursue it.

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Originally Published March 7 2020