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.
I looked in my rear view mirror and rolled my eyes. At that time another car pulled around the bus coming through the intersection and swerved into the lane…
Expressed by: Cassandra Dennis
Early one morning I approached a traffic light in Avondale Estates at about 6 am. I stopped at the red light as oncoming traffic with the right of way proceeded through the intersection. Once the intersection was clear, before I turned right, I looked both ways and made sure there was no sign that said, No Turn On Red. I saw a bus in the short distance and I was trying to see if the bus was going to make another stop or if I could make my turn before the bus proceeded through the intersection. While I was going through this process a car pulled up behind me and blew the horn. It startled me a little and I almost pulled out into the intersection. Instead, I looked in my rear view mirror and rolled my eyes. At that time another car pulled around the bus coming through the intersection and swerved into the lane I would have been in if I had allowed the impatience of the car behind me to invoke me to move against my better judgement. The car behind me wasn’t in a position to see the bus coming, and neither one of us saw the car behind the bus until it was in the intersection.
Sometimes life is just like that. We are evaluating what is the better decision based upon our view, timing, finances, and taking into consideration the risks to ourselves and possibly others. When someone else who does not have skin in the game, the same view as we do or who does not have all the information comes along and attempts to push their opinion or perspective upon us; not based upon any factual knowledge or even personal experience but only their opinion or feelings. If we disregard our own perspective and act out of fear or upon the ill advice of a random person, we sometimes place ourselves and others in situations that could have been avoided. If we had just been confident with the information we researched or wisdom we received from a mentor or our inner core relationships the outcome could have been different.
That early morning experience made me think beyond the intersection, it made me realize sometimes I act like the person in the car that was behind me. I allow my impatience and emotions about another persons decision get me all riled up. Why am I upset over someone else’s decision? I don’t know their back story, I am not standing in their shoes nor experiencing what they are experiencing or even see what they see. Did THEIR decision even impact me? Yet I want to comment or share my opinion about THEIR decision.
Comment: a verbal or written remark expressing an opinion or reaction.
Opinion: a view or judgement formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.
I’m learning to evaluate my emotions prior to me verbalizing or acting upon them.
- Am I privy to factual information regarding that person, even if I am is it my place to share it?
- Since I’m not standing in their shoes, I am not privy to their view of the situation, nor am I privy to any information they may have which impacted their decision.
- Did their decision negatively impact me or close loved ones personally?
- Since I believe in God and His word is true, He uses me to bring light to darkness, He goes before us to make crooked paths straight, and His second great commandment didn’t change, I still must love my neighbor as myself, no matter what decisions either of us make in life, sounds good, but it’s hard sometimes, at least for me. (Matthew 5:16, Isaiah 45:2, Matthew 22:39-40)
In this day of active social media blasts, we have access to the reality of other people’s lives in real-time. However, with anything in life it has its pros and cons. I believe we must be careful with our comments and evaluate why we are reacting to the decisions of others as though it is life ending or cannot be altered or in such as way that we would not want to be on the reciprocating end of our own judgement.
We begin to easily judge and form an opinion…
Expressed by: Cassandra Dennis
Root: a base or support; a primary source; an origin; an essential part or element.
When we see a tree that’s been uprooted for whatever reason, the many roots that were securing the tree in the ground are exposed. The roots unlike the trunk, branches and foliage of the tree aren’t pretty or uniquely designed; they are caked with mud, soil, insects and even the roots or vines of other nearby trees may have intertwined with that tree, but they serve a great purpose. It is the roots of a tree that invades nearby areas to create a strong foundation for the trunk of a tree that may grow to over 100 feet tall and support the weight of several branches and foliage. The roots are also responsible for feeding the tree with the nutrients from the surrounding environment.
Our lives as humans are like the tree. How we were raised, our environment as a child and our experiences are our roots. It is those roots that feed how we perceive or understand the words or actions of another human being. It is those roots that mold who we are, how we respond verbally, physically and emotionally.
Sometimes the many details and distractions of life overwhelm us to the point that we bluntly address the surface issues of ourselves and others. We begin to easily judge and form an opinion (we all have and socially share one these days) about the actions or words of others, because we don’t want to take the time or energy it requires to address what’s below the surface; the beautiful or beastly ideas, disjointed, intertwined, unsubstantiated information, traditions and fears that fuel our thoughts, decisions, words and actions.
At some point in order to bring about continuous healing, growth and a renewed mindset to humanity as a whole we must:
- decide to be transparent with each other
- refocus our words, time, energy and love to find out what’s feeding our behavior
- expose and address the root of the behavior
- ask questions that helps us to evaluate and redirect the unhealthy behavior to a more positive mindset that will lead to productive behavior.
What’s below your surface that may be hindering you from healthy, productive, joyful relationships or from obtaining the goals you seek each year? Get to the root of it with productive help from others.
…there was a season in my life that devastated me…
Expressed by: Cassandra Dennis
As I have discussions with people, scroll through social media and read various articles and books I realize I am not the only one struggling with quitting. I sit down in November or December of each year and I evaluate what I want to accomplish in the upcoming new year and kind of ignore what I didn’t put forth the effort to accomplish in the current year. I have my list of goals, usually a duplicate of years gone by and become excited about the new me I will see in the mirror at the end of the next year. On my list I have:
- a better relationship with God goal,
- of course I have my lose weight goal,
- be debt free goal,
- save money goal,
- grow my business goal,
- be a better wife goal,
- travel goal, etc, etc.
For some of those goals I had a well thought out plan and some I kind of wing it. So, are you able to guess how many goals I was able to accomplish in 2016? I accomplished, 3 out of 10 of my goals. Why? Because I only put actual work and obtained knowledge and understanding behind the plans I laid out for 3 of my goals. The others were my, I’ll wing it goals; so I gave up on many of those goals throughout 2016.
So as I sat down to evaluate where I am in my life, I realize somewhere along the way I began quitting many things I set out to do. When and why did I become a quitter? My inner core relationships know me as the “come back kid.” No matter what life throws my way, I keep coming without hesitation. However, there was a season in my life that devastated me, my divorce. Maybe not the divorce (2009) by itself but the events (2007-2009) that led up to the divorce. It really rocked my world and I let go of so many parts of my character that made me, me and helped me to function and accomplish my goals in my life. Those around me could no longer count on me when I gave my word, heck, I couldn’t count on me. For nine years, I began a cycle of quitting. Other than working and focusing my attention on my grandbabies, I was not dependable for anything else.
This year in 2016, I got tired of being sick and tired and fearful, being a spectator of other peoples lives; so I made the decision to change my direction. I stopped isolating myself, I began to step outside of my comfort zone, I purged some relationships, I surrounded myself with people who were seeking out their passions and acting upon them. I incorporated new ways of doing things, took classes, served others, and leaned on my husband (marriage restored); all of this was through being obedient to the direction from the Holy Spirit and pushing past easy.
Out of the nine years of my quitting journey I learned:
- Change requires decisions, sound decisions and actions.
- I can desire the best out of life, but if I don’t plan and work the plan no matter how hard it gets to have the best, then I never truly desired the best.
- Know me, know my gifts, seek to know and understand my passions.
- Don’t compare my journey to someone else and don’t be distracted by the words or actions of others.
- I must know what I want to achieve. I should not be vague, but be specific enough without being anal retentive in order to create and work a plan. Does it involve training, a mentor, volunteers, a business plan, what’s the cost, etc?
- I must be flexible, in case plan A doesn’t work or needs adjusting I need to have plans B, C, D, E & F already laid out to prevent me from entertaining the idea of quitting.
- I must be willing to purge some unhealthy relationships.
- Have inspirational quotes, stories, music and like minded people around me to encourage me to persevere no matter the challenge.
- Most of all, by implementing the above items I have tools to combat the fear of failure.
My life during that time wasn’t clear until I made the decision to get to the root of why I became a quitter and became tired of existing. This part of my journey led me to a path of truth and transparency. It is that path that is unfolding opportunities and elevating a restored marriage. Want to know more? Keep checking in.