“A hard head makes a soft…”

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, …

 

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.

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.

But…

You see, we never actually filled the world with our dreams and ideas;

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.”

Stay in Your Lane

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.

  1. Am I privy to factual information regarding that person, even if I am is it my place to share it?
  2. 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.
  3. Did their decision negatively impact me or close loved ones personally?
  4. 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.

Getting beyond the surface..

We begin to easily judge and form an opinion…

Expressed by: Cassandra Dennis

https://getting2therootofit.wordpress.com

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.