Category Archives: social issues

I Believed. Now For Love.

Believe.

That was my primary oneword365.com focus for 2016.  As I went to remove my 2016 wall calendar, I couldn’t help but smile when I read December’s message: “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” A reminder that the journey is mostly mental.

The word “believe” served me well throughout the year. I learned to believe that I could trust myself again and I watched as incredible opportunities surfaced. Even when I wavered, deep inside, I understood that waiting, impatiently, was just a manifestation of not being able to control the Universe’s timing.  Like clockwork, an inanimate reminder of the word, on a pillow or wall plaque at Home Goods, or a quote on social media would draw my attention back. Believe. One word. A simple idea with boundless application.

But alas, it’s time is almost up.  A new year, a new beginning. I tuck the word away in my memory portal as the new arrival gently beckons for my attention. I curate a new word, just four letters, and I welcome its debut.

“Hello 2017; you look so inviting. This year will be all about ‘LOVE.’”

51 Weeks To Go and Counting

BELIEVEWith one full week of 2016 in the bag, I’ve noticed the trend in my social media circles to claim one “power word” rather than resolutions.  It actually makes a lot of sense to me, and hopefully to you, too.

With good intention, people make resolutions they plan to commit to in a new year. But once the holiday season is done and people get back into their daily grinds, resolutions can often fall by the wayside. Some people have become so disappointed with making resolutions, that they don’t even make them anymore; they just roll into the new year hoping for the best.

As my 23-year-old son pointed out to me, “People can resolve to improve at any time of the year, so it’s not a big thing.”  Responding with Mother Wisdom, I told him, “Yes, young wise one but the new year is like an automatic reset for many people to try again to accomplish something meaningful.”  Then I shared with him the trend of the Power Words, and he actually agreed with me that doing this seems more intentional, purposeful, and easier to commit.

The thing with identifying a Power Word is it can transcend any moment or area of your life.  For instance, if you choose “Thrive” as your power word, it can apply to goals for eating healthier and exercise.  Even if you messed up on a diet, your power word can be a constant reminder that any small accomplishment, like walking the stairs, is a move in the right direction. Thrive may even mean seeking a better paying job because you learned a new skill, or spending more time with a loved one just because.  It’s all thriving and you set the bar for what that means in your life.

So I picked two words that resonated with my spirit, BELIEVE (for the good that flows all around me) and FREEDOM (from anything that doesn’t serve me).  It is my intention and purpose to believe in the possibility of whatever my heart desires, because I know it’s poimg_2317ssible, and to be free from ANY thing, person, idea or thought that doesn’t serve my highest and best. Ironically, after I christened my words as part of my 2016 mantra, the word “BELIEVE” surfaced immediately in an image that adequately expressed my sentiments.

So what is your Power Word for 2016?  It’s never too late to pick one, or even change or add words. It’s for your personal edification to serve as a “compass that directs your decisions and guides your steps,” according to the One Word 365 community.  I recently learned about this social media community as I began to research the purpose behind the movement, and am sharing for anyone who may be interested (preview at http://oneword365.com/).

So here’s to your highest and best throughout 2016, to live with intention and purpose ALWAYS.

It’s Not a Debate: We’re All Going to Die

R.I.P. Brittany Maynard Photo credit: Direct URL Link to People Magazine

As mid-term campaigning winds down for this week’s election, I am reminded of how public debates can be divisive and subjective, with people taking sides and having strong opinions. But the public debate that most caught my attention was not who would be the next U.S. Senator or local influential politician, but was the story of Brittany Maynard’s “Death With Dignity” decision. Initially, I read a blog post about Ms. Maynard’s decision to end her life after through medical intervention after being diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and six months to live.  The post questioned whether Ms. Maynard’s decision was a sin. Since I initially read that post, Ms. Maynard reserved her right to delay her decision because “it doesn’t seem like the right time right now.” And ultimately, she did make the decision on November 1 to die with dignity, according to People Magazine.

For me, Ms. Brittany’s decisions showed courage and bravery because she chose to experience the fullness of her life and began to intently pay attention to the small details in life.  She did not sidestep the conversation about death but put a face on it and opened up her life for the world to experience her very personal, unscripted reality on national television.  I make no judgments for or against her decision but instead respect that she took a stand that she believed in and helped to create national exposure about something that we all are going to experience in some form or another:  DEATH.

No one really wants to talk about death; it makes us uncomfortable. At least until we are faced with it and have no choice but to deal with it. I imagine that Brittany and her family experienced many different emotions, but what was even clearer to Brittany was the physical and emotional pain she was feeling. Her body was shutting down, and to the extent that she wanted to experience some peace about dying, she found comfort in a manner that suited her best.  It may not be the most popular decision, but it was her decision, nonetheless.

Of course, her choice made her life fair game for open, public debate and criticism about the right to die, death with dignity, suicide and, of course, sin.  But were the debates for selfish purposes, like proving a religious viewpoint or perhaps in hopes of creating healthy dialogue about end of life decisions? Because this is what we really do know: we are all going to die one day!  Hopefully, for us it will occur naturally and peacefully, but it could happen terminally or tragically. We just don’t know how death will confront us, and that’s something that can’t be debated. Instead, what we could individually consider debating is whether our marker will read “Lived intently and with courage” or “Lived in fear and with regret.”

How will your marker read?

Love is a Magnifier

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© Nbvf | Dreamstime.com – Word Love Under The Magnifier Isolated Photo

Love is a funny thing because there exists such a wide range of emotions to describe the concept yet what remains constant about love is that it is needed, actually, required for human life to survive and thrive.  The example I present today is the wellspring of love radiating from the family of 13 year-old Jahi McMath, who continues to show the world what love, conscious resolve, and a lot of determination can do.

If you are not familiar with the story of Jahi, she is the young girl who was declared brain dead following complications from from a surgical procedure.  The family disagreed with this and fought to have Jahi to remain on life support, which ultimately resulted in Jahi being moved from her home state of California to New Jersey.  While a death certificate was issued in California, the family has recently released video of Jahi appearing to make movements with her feet and hands at the sound of her Mother’s voice.  You can view videos here for yourself…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jsSeM0RVKuA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yh4YC-XjG9k

Now, when I watch this, I feel and experience a Mother’s love and determination that is incomparable to any other type of love.  I don’t know or care what the medical textbooks may or may not say about Jahi’s condition because what I just witnessed was a young girl who can hear her Mom’s voice and she is responding to it.  It reminds me of a few times when I was in a deep sleep but I guess partially asleep when I could hear people talking but I couldn’t wake up.  I was fighting so hard in my sleep to wake up and it took a lot of work and energy.  One time I was able to wake up and thought that experience was the weirdest thing but afraid to discuss it with anyone because surely I didn’t think they would believe me. Another time, I couldn’t wake myself up and remember falling back into sleep feeling defeated that I couldn’t wake myself up.  Now, I am a healthy adult and know what that felt like and it was very scary to even be in that kind of state and actually witness it but not able to do anything about it.  I can’t even imagine what is happening with Jahi and her hearing voices, no less, her Mom’s voice, and she is trying hard to respond.  Now let me interject, I in know way am trying to compare my dream-state experience with what has tragically happened to Jahi, but my goal is to paint a picture of being in a place of helplessness and needing help but no one knows that you need help or even how to help.

In watching these videos, I profess that this is what real love looks like (to me).  You never give up no matter what the odds are.  While my goal for this post is not to stir up any debates about life support and the state of being brain dead, or quality of life, I would like to share the story of unconditional, uncompromising, steadfast love.  We can talk about the different types of love and suggest that a parent’s love is different than the love of a man and woman.  But is there really a difference? Say’s who? When real, genuine love exists in your heart,  it is like a faucet that can’t be turned off.  You respond to love in kind with love and it’s a force that can’t be stopped.

So my message is to never give up on love. The emotion may have to shift in intensity at times, and the timing and proper perspective should guide the intensity of love, but the power and resoluteness of love should never be questioned.  It is definitely something that every human should unequivocally experience. Jahi is so blessed and fortunate to have that type of love that surrounds her, encourages her and keeps her elevated in a realm that we will never be able to understand. While truly none of us really knows what is going on with Jahi and should refrain from judgment and politicizing something very sensitive and real for her family, we cannot deny that love is truly a magnifier that reveals that all things are possible, and it’s okay to be believe in miracles.

 

Love…Date…Relate…

An OnlinLove rocke Radio Talk Show

Join me as I host a relationship talk show called Love, Date and Relate with Ask A Love Goddess, an online relationship advice resource, along with Ms. B, a licensed professional and national board certified counselor, life and relationship coach and author, and Blu.J, a relationship expert with TarotBound.

Recent Broadcasts

To preview recent broadcasts, visit http://www.askalovegoddess.com/love-date-relate-radio-broadcast.html. We are still working out the format and during the show’s pilot phase, we are broadcasting live on Sunday evenings with topic guests and co-hosts and uploading to Blog Talk Radio as well as to the Ask A Love Goddess website.  Eventually, the show will become more interactive and welcome live guests to participate with questions and commentaries.

Engage Audience Participation

In the meantime, if you have questions or topics of interest related to love, dating and relationships, please email them to my attention at divaninawrites@gmail.com for consideration as discussion topics.  As well, we are always seeking interesting love and romance stories to highlight and share on the website.

Follow the Show

Lastly, follow our show on Twitter at @askalovegoddess using the hashtag #finding4reallove, and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/askalovegoddess?ref=hl.

#RIPRobinWilliams 1951-2014 #NanoNano

Robin Williams was one of those zany comedians and Oscar winning actors that I grew up watching on television (Mork & Mindy) as a teenager and found him to be quite funny and entertaining.  As I got older, my humor tastes grew so my repertoire of comedians Robin Williams pichas changed but Robin Williams is someone that I always liked and enjoyed his acting performances in movies like Good Morning Vietnam, Dead Poets Society, Mrs. Doubtfire, Good Will Hunting, and World’s Greatest Dad.  So when I learned that he passed and possibly of suicide, of course, like other fans of his, I was taken aback.  Obviously, death is imminent for us all but when someone’s life is publicly visible, you feel like you know them.  Or do you?

The death of a notable person like Robin Williams’ creates conversations about mental health, public health, depression and suicide.  People may open up more about personal pain and their battle with depression.  Whenever I read or learn of someone who committed suicide and suffered from depression, it makes me sad and I automatically think of my mom, Marcia.  She committed suicide when I was 15 years old but the depth of her actions did not impact me until I was in my mid-20s.  I always thought if someone had taken her concerns seriously, a stranger said an encouraging word, or something, that maybe she would be alive today and I could buy her gifts for Mother’s Day and tell her how much I love her.  However, because of the stigma associated with depression and suicide, my family didn’t talk about it or her much, not even to this day.  And that’s the problem with depression.

Many people really don’t think it’s a disease or don’t like that it is associated with mental health.  Licensed and national board certified counselor Ms. Bahiyya Amh-Shere of YOUniversal Change, Inc. says depression is real and “that It is easier to associate a person with being weak-minded or can’t handle pressure than to acknowledge that there may be a real medical problem, like heart disease.  We have to change our mindset about mental illness and its role in society today.”  Personally, I’ve known enough people in my adult life who I have witnessed struggling with depression, as well as a few people who have committed suicide.  And what I saw was people who were in pain and deep turmoil that they felt they had to hide from others in fear of judgment so that they could be accepted.  And let me tell you, it never gets easy to ever understand the how or why of suicide as a result of depression.  It just hurts to know that someone was hurting that bad to make that kind of a permanent life decision.

I remember at a place of employment where a senior vice president was found hung in her office over the weekend.  Employees were shocked and couldn’t believe it.  She seemed so happy and had it all together.  But what we saw was her public mask; the one she wore to keep from being judged.  The real person, was in some type of unbearable emotional pain, and she could not see what everyone else saw in her.  She only felt her pain. As a journalism college student, i interviewed a prominent campus administrator for a school assignment, only to find out a week later that he was hospitalized for a self-administered gunshot wound. My instructor came to me and told me she understood if I wanted to re-do the assignment on someone else. I didn’t.  He had some positive information he shared about getting a college education and that’s the person that I wanted people to know.

marcia

My mom, Marcia, getting her party on, lol, lol with family . This had to be the early 70s judging by the attire. Anyway, she did try to have some fun, it seems, in spite of her sadness.

But this is what I believe:  No one would consciously take their life knowing they are leaving behind people who love them and care for them. No one would just give up a bright and promising future or pretend to have feelings of sadness and worthlessness.  Sometimes it’s not that simple as mind or matter, just pray it away.  It really is a medical problem resulting from a chemical imbalance that should be properly diagnosed by a doctor.  It IS something that is treatable with the right diagnosis and medicine.  There are even herbal and natural medicines that might work. The key is taking it seriously when a person shows symptoms of depression.  You never know when a person is experiencing their own private hell and may ultimately make a deadly decision.  While it’s their decision, it’s one that is preventable.

If there is someone you love that you know or think may be struggling, please show compassion and offer encouragement when suggesting that they seek medical help.  Even offer to go with them. To learn more about the signs of depression, visit http://www.webmd.com/depression/.

In closing, stay eternally blessed and be grateful for your life and good health. Life is worth living no matter how bad it seems or feels; it’s a temporary moment in time that will pass. Make sure you sincerely share this message today, and please call or go hug a loved one and let them know you love them and that their life DOES matter.

Peace…

The Great Debate

Justice Ginsburg2

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Our human society has been well groomed to focus on and perpetuate the anatomical and emotional differences of women and men versus our spiritual and divine presence as creators, collaborators, and thought leaders. I bring this up not for a nasty debate but sharing a personal viewpoint after reading the Yahoo News interview by Katie Couric with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in which she shares that she believes the male Supreme Court justices who voted against her in the Hobby Lobby contraceptive ruling had a “blind spot” when it comes to women’s concerns.

From what I gather from the interview and article is that the Hobby Lobby court ruling makes it possible for employers to deny insurance coverage of contraceptives to female workers on religious grounds, which Justice Ginsburg believes they do not have a constitutional right to impose their religious beliefs on their employees who do not necessarily share the same views.  Justice Ginsburg likened the ruling to a previous decision to an old Supreme Court ruling that discrimination against pregnant women was legal.

Hopeful for Evolving Mindset

While disappointed, Justice Ginsburg is not bitter, but rather graciously hopeful that the blind spot about women’s issues that she believes her male colleagues have will be removed with time. She especially believes that her male colleague’s perceptions can change when viewing those types of scenarios from a father’s (and husband’s) lens of his daughter’s (and wife’s) experiences.  This reminds me of a scenario that was related to me about an elected official who was against funding cancer research but then learned that his wife was diagnosed with terminal cancer.  After seeing her health rapidly decline and the pain she was experiencing, his viewpoints changed about funding the research. His heart was softened because he was personally affected. That is what love does, it softens the heart.

So one takeaway that I have from Justice Ginsburg’s interview is that our daughters (and I include our considerate sons) of the Millenials are our possible great hope for gender equality and equal rights because they appear to see and approach the world so much differently than previous generations; maybe not so much through the Matrix lens.  They are not necessarily bound by traditional and social beliefs and mindsets about gender roles but have a greater respect for understanding and developing meaningful relationships.  When I listen to my college-educated son and his peers talk about life and their goals, I see the possibilities, too. Hopefully, they do not become jaded through unfair life experiences and turn cynical about the real possibilities of equality and fairness in life and relationships.

We’re in it Together

Maybe one day the male–female debate will not hinge on a dominant versus weaker sex but an evolved thinking that we are all in this together and have to work together to make it work, not against one another. At some point we all have to hold one another up, believes Ginsburg.  Citing her 56 year marriage, she says that her now deceased husband respected her brain and valued her work as much as he did his, and that made all of the difference in their relationship and respect for one another.

Maybe one day that type of respect mindset will become the norm for all types of relationships.   Call me overly optimistic, but maybe one day men will have a respect for women’s reproductive rights and understand why they shouldn’t feel comfortable making those types of decisions for women.  Maybe one day women won’t feel the need to fight to be respected as a human being.  Even at the age of 81, Justice Ginsburg sees and knows that it is possible.  The better question is , do we believe that it is possible?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.