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 #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.