“Yes, Filter”

Have you ever had a conversation with someone and felt emotionally drained after?
You listened to them complain and complain and eventually you felt worse than them?
Or let’s get even more real.
Have you ever walked into your job or any place, and had to talk to a certain someone and it’s almost as though immediately there was a dark cloud over you?
That’s called picking up unwanted energies.

I find that lately there has been too many moments where I’ve had to work super hard to protect my energy. I don’t watch the news much. Not because I don’t like what’s on it, but I just don’t watch TV much period. Especially not at 7pm, or 11pm, or whatever time the news comes on lol. I watched it the other night; it kind of just happened, and honestly, I felt emotionally drained after. From hearing the latest of our current administration’s agenda to literally rip away civil liberties, freedoms, and the rights of people who occupy this already “great” America. To the unresolved situation with the young girl from Chicago, Kenneka Jenkins. Then on to visuals of the damage caused by the recent hurricane disasters, all piled in with your everyday violence.
In this hour long news reporting I can only recall maybe one uplifting segment.
All I could think to myself is “What is this? A horror show??”

I went from sad, to angry, to over it, to angry, to sad again, and I couldn’t shake it. It’s an eye opening experience to watch all of these occurrences from the comfort of my own home and think “This could be my cousin. This could be my sister, my brother, a friend……Could this be me??” and it becomes unexplainable how the possibility of something like that makes you feel. You hear the victim’s families talk about how much of a great person the victim was, or how the entire situation was a “wrong place, wrong time” occurrence, and it really finds a way to hit home.

It reminded me why I never really care to watch the news.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to “block out” all of the bad news of the world, that’s most likely impossible. I make sure to stay up on current events and topics worldwide.
I just filter.
I consciously monitor what I am taking in and putting out emotionally and mentally.

You know how “No filter” is one of the OG veterans of Instagram captions?
In my life I say “YES filter”. I filter out negative conversations, negative thoughts, and I release anything that does not serve me well. I filter IN love, mantras, optimism, happiness, shared laughter, positive affirmations, positive people, positive situations, and anything that makes me smile.

I was not always in the place I am today. I have had to let go of many people and many things I used to enjoy partaking in along the way….casualties of the filter. I had to be dedicated to being my own life’s gatekeeper. Watching the news a few nights ago, I felt pity and helpless seeing some of the situations I was watching. I was filtering it in, in a negative way; which is something I used to do (and still sometimes do) naturally; take on everyone’s issues as my own instead of finding productive ways to help with them.
I took in these transferred unwanted energies and let it plant its seeds and grow.

Now when I think of protecting spiritual and mental energies, I use these analogies:

  1. Only light gets rid of darkness. Picture yourself as a huge lighthouse sending out positive light and love in all directions, everywhere you go, to everyone you meet, to every space you occupy, near and far.
  2. Stop being a negativity sponge, soaking it all up, allowing it to bloat you, and then waiting to either dry up or be squeezed out aggressively.

So instead of allowing the news, or anything else for that matter, depress me or dim my light, I think of ways to send love and positivity. Lighthouses help people find their way, help them feel safe and guided. When someone is experience darkness you do not go dark with them, you help them see light. Someone is unable to tell their family they love them today, I’ll make sure to tell mine. Someone is unable to hug their friend or sleep in a warm bed, I’ll be sure to be thankful and grateful every day, and pour love and happiness back into everyone and everything I can.

What’s in your life that you know you should have cut ties with a long time ago yet still haven’t? Filter out grudges, animosity, complaining, self-doubt, negative beliefs and comments about others, and instead filter in all things positive. Fill your mind with encouraging and loving words. The best way to protect yourself from negative energy is to be a source of positive energy yourself. My counseling professor said in class last week “Anytime you are talking about someone, speak as though they are standing right behind you” and it really put into perspective some things for me. It affirmed my belief that having the right mindset will serve as it’s own filter for what you put out into the universe.

It’s very important to create a foundation of awareness of the energy we’re encountering on a daily basis in our lives. We need to use our filter to cleanse, ground, and protect us from energies that are darker, heavier, and more negative.The better our filter is working, the more we become the people we strive to be; our best selves, living our best lives. If you don’t believe me, try it, watch your life blossom baby!

 

Dear Summer….Hasta Luego

I’m packing my summer up in a crate until next year. As I sit here reflecting on these past two months, my intention for this post was to say “omg what summer? Blah blah” but then I went on Instagram and coincidentally saw my girl Stef’s post and she said:

“Dear summer, instead of focusing on how quickly you came and went, I will make the BetterLifeChoice to celebrate all of the amazing moments your presence allowed me to have”.

So ok you win Stefanie! I won’t say that the summer TRIED it with its “sneak peek/ trailer/ coming to theaters soon near you” behavior……and how this whole time I was thinking this was just the free trial. A test run. A tryout. A sample. An intro. A pre-game. Ok ok I’m done lol, I won’t say any of it.

In my “pack tha summer up” crate I’m throwing in bodak yellow, the show Power, Woodland Restaurant weekend brunches, frozen strawberry margaritas, cat eye sunglasses, rooftop happy hour, and late night patio moon watching. I’m also throwing in my cousin’s’ wedding, BBQs, restaurant outdoor seating (which I LIVE and DIE for), Nike slides with fresh white pedis, off the shoulder everything, rolled ice cream, my birthday (Aug 19th Leo Nation baby!), the eclipse, some things I shouldn’t say on the internet LOL, and Venti Starbucks pink drink; My “All summer 17” essentials.

I DID play myself though because I haven’t been to the beach OR a pool all summer but it’s been real y’all. I enjoyed it. I’ll tell you what I did take some time to do though.

I worked a lot.

Working on some of the relationships in my life.

I worked on my relationship with ME.

I stopped criticizing myself and stressing scales.

Stopped avoiding crop tops and spaghetti straps.

I stopped holding my head down and avoiding conversation and social media when I had an acne flare up because I decided that slice of pizza was looking too right and calling my name.

I started listening.

I said no…and didn’t feel guilty.

I slowed down.

So I could see, feel, hear,  notice,

Be present.

I stood in front a room of 30 plus people last Thursday facilitating mindfulness and I asked “When’s the last time you just sat and just stared up at the sky and the moon?” Only me and a few other people had our hands up.

This summer I took time to acknowledge and thank the sun, moon, and stars for doing it’s job everyday and never calling out of work like we do every now and again lol. 

As we wrap the summer up it brings up these nostalgic feelings of being out with your friends, family, bae, having your toes out, all that good stuff. Good music, good food, just vibez all around. So like Stef, I’m gonna celebrate all of the amazing moments summer allowed me to have, all of the beautiful memories I’m packing up in the crate. I hope the summer was good to you mi amors because it was great to me.

Until we meet again 90 plus degrees!

 

P.S In case you didn’t know, it’s National Encouragement day.

https://nationaldaycalendar.com/national-day-of-encouragement/

Send a text to or call people you love today.

Especially those you haven’t spoken to in a while,

or someone whom the ways of the world may be hitting home for them right now…that surprise love is EVERYTHANG.

Tell them you love them, encourage them to keep going.

Sometimes those two words are exactly what someone needs right at the moment you bless them with it.

….Keep Going. love ya

Be Grateful…..Sit Down

The Hurricane Harvey devastation in Houston really hit home for me last week. The Summer of 1999, me and my siblings were across the street with my mom at her friend’s house where we normally spent our days. My mom and her friend were in the kitchen gossiping and laughing. Me and her friends granddaughters playing in the living room making sure we were “where they could see us” lol. The phone rang, my mom picked up, and next thing we saw she was running across the street.

Our house was on fire!

In less than 20 minutes our lives had flipped upside down and a new version of reality set in. We had nothing. Nothing but the clothes on our backs and everything else was destroyed; either by the fire, or the water the firemen hosed in. With no idea what the next steps were, I understood what just happened, but was still too young to really UNDERSTAND.

With 3 kids, one of them just one year old, I can’t imagine what that moment was like for my mother. So I asked her..

Meet Rachel, 56 year old dimepiece, vintage gem, and mother of 5. My mother. The best woman, best person I’ve ever known, and someone whom I’m unquestionably the luckiest person in the world to be around daily. *cues applause*

Me: When you got the call that the apartment was on fire what was your initial reaction?
Mom: Well you remember my mother and father were in that house. She’s the one who called me. She said “Rae there’s a fire here!”. I don’t know why she called me but didn’t leave out of the house (laughs). So I ran over there immediately to make sure they were ok and see how bad it was. I opened the door and the smoke was so bad I couldn’t go in. I yelled into the apartment for my mother and father to come out. That was my immediate concern, my parents.

Me: I remember they were in there. So once things settled what were your thoughts?
Mom: Once everything calmed down I went in to see if anything could be salvaged. I had just finished purchasing all the school supplies for you guys. I had your book bags, everything, but everything was soaking wet. I said Oh god, well that was it. My children and I have nowhere to stay. I’ve lost everything. There’s not much to think about but you know, we’re alive. You don’t know where you’re gonna stay but things, things you can get back, I was glad we were ok.

Me:Who did you lean on through this process?
Mom: It was just us and God. Just me and him. I had to do what I had to do. It was hard, of course it was.I wasn’t working and I had you guys depending on me.

Me: If you could go back to that moment and encourage yourself in that moment what would you tell yourself?
Mom: Everybody’s ok. As long as there’s life…there’s hope. We gonna be alright…and that’s what I always say to myself every time.

Me:What are your feelings about Houston right now?
Mom: It’s devastating because it’s a natural disaster, it isn’t anyone’s fault. It’s hard when things are out of your control. They will recover, that I know. Life is a process of struggle and overcoming. To the ones that have lost their loved ones, I wouldn’t even say “they’re in a better place” because I don’t think that helps anyone. Time heals all wounds and the only thing you can do is stay strong to make it. You can get everything else material back but you can’t get life back. Once there’s life there’s hope, they’re gonna be alright. Once you have life, you have just about everything you need to continue on. Life is motivation.

Thank you mom, your strength is unmatched.

In a moment of loss, devastation, and no idea what comes next; what prevails in my mom, the Harvey survivors, and so many others who have gone through traumatic situations is one word: Gratefulness. There is SUPREME power in being grateful. As I followed the hurricane Harvey story I saw devastation and sadness, but you know what I saw as well? I saw appreciation for what they did have. Appreciation for seeing it through, weathering the storm…literally. I saw children playing and splashing in flooded areas like it was a pool, videos of people thanking God for life in the midst of crisis. I saw people finding humor in the midst of it all and people rejoicing that they had been rescued or found shelter and refuge. Video

So before we “all lives matter” Houston because we too have our own real life disasters and issues, I’m challenging you to take more time to be grateful. It’s so important. It shouldn’t take us having to see or hear about someone in an unfortunate situation, or a “feed the children” commercial to be appreciative and to stop being blind to the plethora of gifts the universe has given us.

Please, don’t confuse being grateful as denying you your natural right to be unhappy or dissatisfied in a situation. There are so many people desperately seeking the good in life, and we too may have been in times where gratefulness might not have been the first point on the agenda. And that’s ok. Start with the small things, and gratitude will start to show you more and more of what you do have, when you stop focusing on what you don’t have.

The Friday before Harvey hit Houston, I stared into my over packed fridge and complained about it not having certain things I wanted and had an appetite for at that moment, and I mean I went on and on every time I opened it. “How is the fridge packed but it’s nothing in it? OMG nobody bought me the….” Let me tell you, If I could take that ENTIRE fridge and ship it to Houston right now I would.

Let gratefulness be the most important choice of your day. Start a list today, list ten things you’re grateful for, add to it every chance you get. Put a few  of the things you’re grateful for in the comments now, I’m nosy I’d love to hear 🙂 .

Like a flower, the more you feed it, the more it will grow. We’ll be doing this together. Numero uno on my list: I’m grateful for you reading this.

I LOVE YOU.

This can help you get started 🙂

Major Key Alert!!

Welcome to Fall ‘17! Another semester closer to your degree, push through y’all!
I know we’re all anxious to get our syllabi so we can start to map out what our next few months are going to look like. But first I want you to do something really quickly. Find the nearest clock, or your phone, and take note of the time.
Ok.
Now I want you to take the next 5 minutes to think about or write down (I prefer writing) all the things that make you happy and that make you smile. It can be people, places, things, feelings, whatever…go ahead, I’ll be right here.
I hope you did it and didn’t just keep reading to see where this was going lol.
What are some of the things that took over your mind?
Wasn’t it almost like watching a movie?
My 5 minutes consisted of my family, especially my 6-year-old niece Sanaa who gives me my entire LIFE.
I mean honestly look at this face!!!
I thought of a moment last week where she said she can’t wait to go to college so I can “teach her how to get A’s”. *tear*
I thought of my graduation day in the future, my job, my family, music I listened to on the train this morning, my birthday that just passed, all the moments I’ve made my parents proud, my circle of dope friends, and the fact that I was blessed enough to even wake up today. After the Hurricane Harvey devastation in Texas we witnessed over the weekend, it made me happy and grateful to have a comfortable home to return to later.
Every time I take some time out of my day to self reflect, one of the things that makes me happy in my life is my name: Nefertiti. After a lifetime of horrible mispronunciation and butchering (you can only imagine what middle school was like for me lol) I decided to go by my nickname Neffi. Despite the “adjustment” I’m very happy with my name because of the history it holds and the connection I feel to it. Nefertiti, as you may know, was a powerful Egyptian Queen and ironically my zodiac sign is Leo. So that also connects me to the representation of a lioness which is the queen of the jungle.
Having this name has motivated me to hold myself to a certain standard and I feel proud and honored knowing Nefertiti was a queen. My name and the history behind it is a reflection of the high standards my parents had for me while naming me. My mother says my father told her to give me a name that means Queen.They set that intention in me from birth and that plays as a goal setter in my life daily.
Taking time out to recognize things that make us happy and makes us smile usually makes us feel it in that moment. That moment is where we get to re-charge and motivate ourselves. It can be that shift you need at that right time. Right before you took these 5 minutes maybe you were stressed about something, having an off day, not in the mood, or maybe you just had a lot on your mind. When you start to feel that negative vibe coming on think about times where you almost gave up…what pushed you??
What kept you going?
What motivates you to continue your journey?
Whatever THAT is, that’s your major key. Your “major key” is just what it sounds like..The key to your success. The key to your piece of mind and happiness. The key to you pushing through everyday, especially the hard ones.
As we’re preparing for new challenges that may come with a lot of stress, a heavy workload, time management challenges, long days and sleepless nights; you have to tap into these escapes as often as possible.
Take at least 5 minutes daily to reflect and appreciate yourselves and the things that keep you going. Yes this class or new responsibility may be the death of you but look how far you’ve come. Acknowledge your potential and what you’re capable of. Look at what you’ve accomplished so far, helloooo you got this 🙂
Elevate your mood, elevate your life.