Posted in Inspiration, self reflection, Transparency

Been Down, But Not Out

Expressed by: Cassandra Dennis

WOW!! Okay, where do I start? Well, I’ll begin with the rudder, the catalyst, the straw on the camels back that began to stir and steer me in a new direction in my life.

I attended an “Own Your Shit” workshop a week ago. The intention of my attendance was to support the Facilitator, @MariannaSousa. I ended up in a safe environment that began the path of healing me of events from my past. Although the events occurred in the past I now understand the reason for my alter persona, Miss Nice Nasty. I separated myself from this persona a few years ago, but she still lives within me causing an internal conflict between who I truly desire to be and who I and others want me to be for the sake of my ego and their entertainment. In this workshop @MariannaSousa led me through the connections between that little girl, who experienced trauma in her life to my current mindset and actions. You know I hear healing direction such as this and say, “I know this” or “that has no bearings on who I am now.” Bullshit!! Unless I have truly healed from those events, not swept them under the dirty, shag carpet or buried it in the deep dark corners of my mind, but truly healed from events of my life they are playing an active part in my current mindset and actions.

The key is not to dwell there or to continue to carry the burden of someone else’s words or actions, it is to OWN my healing from those events by following that sometimes invisible thread from then to now and understanding why I am making the decision not to wear my “Big Girl Panties” and choosing to live out the actions of that hurt and misunderstood little girl. In this workshop I wrote out two questions and one exclamation to ask myself and others before automatically defaulting to Miss Nice Nasty.

  1. Is it true? Is the information being presented true, not my and any one else’s opinion, but is it factual? Then decide if I even what to act upon that fact.
  2. Does it align with my goals or passion? If I don’t set my own standards and goals, someone else will and I will live my life for others and not for God and me.
  3. I am worthy of more! Stop settling for less because I am growing weary in my pursuit of my goals and passion. Strengthen my endurance level physically and emotionally and cease the “I quit” mentality.

All of this seems simple and it can be if I had not decided to live a compromised life. It is the rudders (the small things) of life that can steer you to triumph or destruction. I realized as I grew older and my children no longer needed me, I began to exist (living out who others want me to be) instead of reaching back and updated past goals and renewing my passion. To be honest, I still don’t know what my passion is, but I do know I enjoy sharing my life experiences with others. Which leads me to why I am sharing this with you. I want you to know, no matter the stage of our life we can always hit the RESET button and renew, refocus and heal; that power is always within us and is completely up to us. After all my life is my own, there is no one else on this earth that can live out the true, transparent, AUTHENTIC me.

Therefore, I encourage you to be empowered, be authentic and be TRIUMPHANTLY you.

Posted in Evaluate, Goals, Inspiration, self reflection, Transparency

So Tell Me My Sister

Author:  Cassandra Dennis

So tell me my Sister, what are your dreams, your fantasies, your goals to achieve?  Your purpose, your mission, your plan to weave?

What are your core values?  You know what I mean.

What defines your character, your worth?  You know those values that consistently redeem your moral compass, that under-girds your passion, that inspire and empower you to dream ABOVE average, to think ABOVE average and to live ABOVE average.

Crickets…. I can’t hear you my Sister.  Come out of the well of your mind, return to the light, follow my voice, explore, evaluate and retrieve your life.

Tell me, tell me, tell me my Sister, what happened in your life that depleted you, defeated you and embittered your mind to all mankind?

It is not my fault, I’m only extending a hand, but I will ask for forgiveness as I stand in the place of the One’s who hurt you.

My Sister STOP!

Don’t focus on the darkness.  Inside the bowels of your mind can be a slippery slope, which has the ability to envelope you into an abyss of no return.  Hear my voice, seek the footprints on the path that has already been laid out for your journey.  Focus on the intermittent lights that represent multiple hands of opportunity to redeem, renew and restore you.  Don’t pass that up for the land of self pity, for what has that land done for you lately?

I’m here my Sister.

Your life is YOURS to explore, YOURS to evaluate, YOURS to retrieve and YOURS to LIVE; but the choice to act is YOURS.

So Tell Me My Sister, what do you choose?

Posted in Goals, Inspiration, renew, self reflection

What’s Your Mantra?

Expressed by: Cassandra Dennis

What’s your mantra: your hymn, your incantation, your psalm, your SHOUT? You know the repetitive chant or poem or quote or song  or combination of them all, that keeps you inspired, motivated and keeps you in forward motion on your journey? For NIKE it’s #justdoit, they also promote Kevin Durant’s #risegrindshineagain.

Come on you have one, SHOUT IT OUT, except if you are in the library or church, then just whisper it.  You know the mantra that keeps you focused, that reminds you that strategic action is required to accomplish your goals and to move from one stage and level of life to the next.

I have several depending on what I need to persevere that day, but my main mantra is, “Life:Own it Don’t Blame it.”  See my life is my own.  No matter what decisions I make, good or bad; no matter what has been done to me or what I allowed or what I have done to others, my life is mine and only I can shape it to truly be what I want it to be.  At the end of the day no matter what I portray on social media, does my life truly represent the words I speak?  For me, yes and no, because I’m consistently striving to be the best me.  Although, I live a life of transparency, there are some aspects of my life, where I am faking it until I make it.  Yep, I wear a mask sometimes, not to hide my weaknesses but to hide the ugliness of an intimate part of my journey.  It is during this time that I may be purging and layers of the old me are being peeled away so that the revived, creative, reborn me can press in on the path I am traveling.  It is definitely during these times that I rely on my mantra or a song or my favorite poem to empower me through the challenge, strengthen my resolve, and learn my lesson(s) for the next level of my life.   After all in the words of Oscar Wilde, “I must be myself, everyone else is already taken.”

If you don’t have a mantra, what are you using to empower yourself on those days where you want to give up?  What or Who reminds you not to be easily distracted or encourages you to stare fear in the face and steam-roll that devil.

If you are at a point in your life where you are spinning your wheels, revamp your plan, set a path and commit to it; no matter the costs or sacrifices.  If it’s what you truly desire then the costs and sacrifices will be worth it; and the experiences along the way will be priceless.  Sooooooo, what’s your mantra?  Share it in the comments below.  You never know; your transparency may help someone else.

The song that’s pumping me up for what I need to accomplish today is, “We Livin”, by Tina Campbell.   I’M PUMPED!!! WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Posted in Goals, Inspiration

Hold Your Head Up…

Expressed by:  Cassandra Dennis

Hold your head up, know your worth, pursue your dreams.

Hold your head up, know your worth, pursue your dreams, in spite of fear.

Hold your head up, know your worth, pursue your dreams, without the support of others.

Hold your head up, know your worth, pursue your dreams, regardless of resources.

Hold your head up, know your worth, pursue your dreams, there is never a perfect time.

Hold your head up, know your worth, pursue your dreams because…

  • as you walk out your dream you will steam roll fear;
  • as you gain and apply knowledge, the naysayers will become your followers or your clients;
  • as you formulate, negotiate and barter to manifest your dream it strengthens & reveals the resources already available within you;
  • as your dream manifests you realize the missteps were not lessons in perfect timing, but in learning that opportunities avail at the point of preparation.

For these reasons, don’t allow your current circumstance distract you from the bigger picture.  After all it is temporary, that is if you decide to make it temporary.

So Hold your head up > Establish your worth > pursue, accomplish, manifest your dreams.

You got this.  Life: Own it, Don’t Blame it.

Posted in Unity

That’s Right Neighborly of You

Expressed by: Cassandra Dennis

What was right neighborly?

  • Taking our laundry off the clothes line before it rained?
  • Mowing my lawn because my mower is kaput?
  • Walking my kids home from school because I was running late?
  • Cooking a meal for my family because we were ill or had death in the family?
  • Inviting my sons to play ball with you and your sons?
  • Asking me to carpool with you so we both save money?
  • Stopping by to check on me?
  • Checking our mail while we were on vacation?
  • Bringing us a Welcome to the Neighborhood basket?
  • Helping us pack and load the truck when we moved? Well this might have been because you were glad to see us go. Smile with a wink

This is how I grew up; with neighbors who became friends, then became family.

Do you remember the neighborhood block parties?  When we lived in the city limits our house was the block party house.  My Parents invited the neighbors over for food, good old school music and plenty of board games or outdoor sport activities.  We all got to know each other, which made it easier for us to check on one another.

If there was bullying, the parents addressed it with each another, then with the kids and stopped it in its tracks.  Communication was key.  We were not afraid to talk to, laugh with or even disagree with each other.  It seems this is a distant memory.  Is “neighbor” a bad word now?  Seriously, is it?

I know things have changed, but I believe the heart of communities is still the love neighbors have for one another.  Help me disprove this fleeting thought of mine by sharing your BEST NEIGHBOR story in the comments below.

 

Posted in Humanity, Unity

Gratitude

Expressed by: Cassandra Dennis

Each year as we get closer to Thanksgiving and Christmas, our hearts soften, and we become aware of how grateful we should be.  However, throughout these past couple of years I’ve noticed how we have encouraged one another, provided a shoulder to cry on, a helping hand, finances, a story, a smile, a hug, our homes, our vehicles, donated our blood, shared a laugh and so much more all while going through our own challenges.  We’ve shown we don’t need to wait for the last 2 months of each year to look beyond our own circumstances and provide support and strength to our fellow human being.

Our world continues to show how we are . . .

Grateful for our journey, the good and bad experiences which fray and mend many areas of our lives,

Recognize our similarities, and

Appreciate our differences.  We are

Thankful for the little things in life, as well as

Identify the sometimes valley flowing emotions that

Transcends the core of our being.  We yield to

Understanding, compassion, love, laughter, generosity and forgiveness; as we

Discover the

Enjoyment of being the hands and feet for our neighbors, when in need.

 

 

 

Posted in #relationships, Evaluate, Goals, Humanity, self reflection, Transparency

“A hard head makes a soft…”

 

Expressed by: Cassandra Dennis

I see the smirk on my Mom’s face and her index finger on her right hand wagging at me as she exclaims, “Oh, you gone learn, oh you gone learn, because a hard head makes a soft behind, Cassandra!”  Of course, I had this deer in headlights expression on my face like, “What? Me? What did I do now?”  If my acting game was on par, then I might even drop an innocent tear or two to sell my case.  But, my Mother never fell for the okie doke.

The expression, A hard head makes a soft behind refers to a person who insists on learning things the hard way or prefers to make their own mistakes, instead of adhering to the advice of someone who has overcome what they are experiencing.

So, why is that?  Why do we choose the hard ways of life, instead of listening to the wisdom of others?  I know I would have avoided many pitfalls when I was younger if I had stopped trying to be Miss Know-It-All or Miss I’m Grown-You Can’t Tell Me Anything.  There are times we don’t realize our poor decisions also affects those around us.  I know my decisions affected my family and my children, who I brought into the world at the age of 17.

One decision from 30 years ago still lingers with me.  I’ll share a brief snapshot.

After catching 3 buses and 2 rail lines to get home from work, I walked to the babysitter’s apartment who kept my 18-month-old sons from 6:00 pm to 6:30 pm, after the daycare center closed (and before you comment, yes, I researched her before I allowed her to keep my sons, spoke with other parents whose children she kept and made sure she didn’t have any record for abusing her own children).  I walked in to see one of my sons had scratch marks all over his face and upon further inspection I found whip marks on his back and legs. I was confused, angry, hurt and devastated.  I asked the neighbor coming home from work to call the police and my roommate called my parents.  I know sometimes things happen beyond our control, but let’s follow this thread of my decision back to the beginning.

  1. I made an adult decision at 17 to have unprotected sex.
  2. I made the decision to bring my sons into this world, care for and protect them, even though I only had $3k in the bank and at the time of their premature birth, no job.
  3. I made the decision to place my sons in the care of that babysitter.

My sons don’t remember this occurrence but it resonates with me because I failed to protect them both from experiencing the physical and psychological abuse.  Sometimes, we make decisions without knowing or understanding the full scope of what that decision entails.

My parents made the decision that they would care for my sons from that point forward when I needed them to.   As I worked 2 jobs and attended my college courses, my parents took my sons on family vacations with them, along with my two sisters.  My parents helped me nurse my sons when they were extremely ill, all while they continued to work as well.  My sons and my family experienced the growing pains of me maturing and learning how to be a mother, a provider and protector.

Our world is full of hard heads with soft behinds, but unfortunately, many of the behinds have gotten numb to the hard lessons of life.  It is my prayer that we all observe and learn from the experiences of others, and seek advice from those who gained wisdom from their experience.  This is one of the ways for us to empower each other to live a more productive and purpose driven life.

This journey called life continues to teach each of us, we are never to old to learn something new or to receive wisdom.   It is a fool who ignores wisdom, to erroneously justify that their age quantifies them as an adult that knows everything.

What have my life experiences taught me thus far?

  1.  Don’t allow my pride to keep me from obtaining wisdom from others.
  2. Don’t allow my mouth to write a check my behind can’t cash.  (Another good ole saying)!!  In other words, it’s easy to make a decision, but am I able to survive or live with the consequences of my decision.
  3. My support tribe (safety nets) don’t abandon me, but I can wear out my safety nets by abusing them.
  4. My Life is mine, so I choose to own it and not blame it away.
Posted in Evaluate, Goals, Humanity, renew, self reflection, Transparency

Living inside my mind

Painting: A Bug Free Mind

Expressed by:  Cassandra Dennis

Living inside my mind can be exhilarating and dangerous.

Living inside my mind intertwines you within my brilliant thoughts and stories or can envelope you in my perversion (altering something from its original course or meaning) and fears of the “what ifs” of life.

Living inside my mind exposes me; my strengths unrecognized, my weaknesses exploited, the untapped gifts I refuse to share because of fear.

Living inside my mind keeps the true me secluded, isolated, untransformed without a renewed mind.

Living inside my mind takes you on a ride that no roller coaster in this world could compare.

Living inside my mind – STOP! STOP living inside my mind!  I want it.  I want more than the pseudo life, the unclaimed life I have lived inside my mind.  The life of possibilities unrealized because there was no effort applied to make them a reality.

I peaked outside of my mind one day and saw a glimpse of my heart.  A vital organ created to supply my body with oxygen and nutrients was showing signs of failure because I filled my vessel with the toxins of deferred hope and untruths by existing in a state of laziness and fear in my mind.

My desire to actively participate in my journey began to grow again as I began to speak my truth, know my worth, expand my knowledge, gain understanding and live my experiences out loud instead of cowering behind them in silence.  I take steps daily toward living instead of existing.

Life, my life is to be lived in motion, not on canvas; and I’ve realized my smiles, tears and fears are to create a living story of my failures and successes, weaknesses and strengths, the empowerment to overcome fear even while struggling with it.  Renewing my mind and taking an intentional step daily allows me to live freely, to love and like me; and that my friend is liberating.

Posted in Evaluate, Goals

And we’re off…

Expressed by: Cassandra Dennis

We are 120 days into 2017 and many of us are off and running with our new year resolutions.  Many have started businesses, joined gyms, opened investment accounts, applied for a passport, working on being debt free, downloaded self-help books and so much more.

Or some of us have lost our motivation and given up or started and stopped so many times that we are disappointed with ourselves.  We must remember, this is not a race and we all proceed at our own pace.  The reasons for setting out to accomplish our goals this year must be personal to us; not because someone believes or feels we should do something.  Our motivation must come from within.

Go back to your goal or get it done list and do this for me:

  1. Review your list and decide is this something you want to accomplish or something someone else wanted you to accomplish, and strike through those goals that you know you will not put forth the effort to accomplish.
  2. For the goals left on your list write out to the side your reason for wanting to accomplish this goal, and write out empowering key words or quotes, build a musical play list or audio books or inspirational speeches to listen to when your’re running out of steam.
  3. Write out a mini plan for obtaining that goal.  Remember, without a plan you have already planned to fail.
  4. Place a picture next to each goal.  If it’s losing weight, put a leaner picture of you or a particular outfit you want to get into; if it’s a trip put a picture of that place and your passport next to it, now you get the picture.
  5. Each day refer to your “get it done list” and encourage yourself with what you have written and your visual aids.

Now, get moving we both have work to do.

Posted in Evaluate

But…

Expressed by:  Cassandra Dennis

My dreams are beyond images, because I’ve made them tangible.

My inventions are no longer day dreams, because I now hold the patents.

The characters in my head are no longer invisible playmates, because they are now vital roles in my books, plays, movies and television shows.

The rhythm in my head is now noted on paper and being expressed through various instruments.

The body movement and flow I see has danced its way out of my conscious and is now a choreographed number for a major musical.

The good I see in others I’ve now transformed into a movement of #humanitylovinghumanity.

I’m surrounded by so many who are living an imagery of dreams and success, but, yet we have one regret.  You see, we never actually filled the world with our dreams and ideas; but we had good reasons…

  • But I don’t have enough time.
  • But I don’t know how.
  • But I’m afraid.
  • But what if I fail.
  • But it costs too much.

Along the way, the events of life brought us together, and some of us had people to mourn us, but they mourned the wrong thing.  They mourned the loss of the physical body, instead they should have mourned what was loss long ago; dreams not fulfilled, paths not taken, voids we left, stories untold and journeys cut short.

We took time for granted, allowed fear, selfishness, laziness and lack of knowledge to stop us in our tracks, long before death did.  So, our message to you from our final resting place: “The end of your dream is already woven into a beautiful ending, but it can’t happen until you take a step and put in the work to obtain the result you envision. Don’t let that dash between your birth and death become a mournful “but” for those you leave behind.”