Tag Archives: empowerment

Silence Broken through Artistic Expression


Fresh Start for Women LogoOftentimes people hear about or see the evidence and may even be sympathetic to the woman with visible scars from the abuse she has endured. There will be those willing to help if she has become disfigured because of the trauma. A broken arm can mend. A scar from scalding water will eventually heal. A bloody nose can also heal. But what about the scars you don’t see? Don’t they require attention as well? Shouldn’t effort be made to help one overcome those scars?

There are many who believe wrongly that it’s just something you have to get over and move on. This is not an easy task and Fresh Start for Women’s 12 years in the trenches can attest to this statement. Even more damaging is the toll it takes on our young girls before they’ve even fully developed into young women and future leaders.If you have a daughter, niece, granddaughter or even a great-granddaughter make plans to attend Silence Broken through Artistic Expression on October 16th at the 444 Theatre.

Think about it. A woman or girl whose self-esteem has been reduced to lower than dirt needs healing. The woman or child who flinches when a raised voice is heard needs healing. The eyes that look out upon the world without light in them need healing.

The person you observe who never looks you in the eye, speaks softly and shrink within themselves needs healing. The soul, mind and spirit need attention just as much and sometimes even more so. A kind word, a smile, a soft touch all can serve as healing balm. A listening ear without judgment carries a lot of power. Use it wisely.

This year Fresh Start for Women is endeavoring to shed light on the various forms of domestic violence and the impact it has on a woman’s or girl’s life.  Silence Broken through Artistic Expression: The Real Effects of Domestic Violence is a talent showcase that will not only entertain but educate and hopefully inspire you to make a difference.

The arts are a great way to learn in a non-threatening yet caring environment. You’ll be regaled with spoken word artists, singers, dancers and actors. So mark your calendar, get your tickets and come walk the purple carpet, network and make a powerful difference.

Fresh Start for Women believes you will come away from this event with the power to help one who has been made to feel powerless to begin to heal and overcome. Learn more at www.freshstartforwomen.org. Someone needs you now.

Respecting Your Mamas Wisdom About Relationships


womencircle

I know, it’s hard to believe that our mamas actually had a bit of wisdom to pass along to us. It seems that once we reached those teen years suddenly we knew more than she did. Or so we believed.

But if you take time to really examine that perception you know without a shadow of doubt that we were full of ourselves and discrediting the wisdom that resided in the woman who birthed us.

So lt me as a couple of questions and I hope you’ll take time to really think about your answer before you respond. After all the person it benefits the most is….YOU.

First, are you finding yourself repeating a familiar yet uncomfortable cycle in your relationships?
Secondly, when it’s just you and your heart is broken again, do you quietly say to yourself…”Mama Said”?

Remember you must be honest. Besides I will if you will. Over the years as I’ve gone through relationships my Mama’s words have come back to haunt me. Had I taken her nuggets of wisdom to heart I know I could have avoided a lot of disappointment and would not have had to deal with:

Low Self-Worth

  • Low-Self-Esteem
  • Physical and Emotional Abuse
  • Embarrassment
  • Frustration

I can readily admit that when I reached my teen years I suddenly woke up one morning and decided my Mama didn’t know what she was talking about. Besides it had been a long time since she was a teenager. Mama’s advice for avoiding unhealthy relationships was old-fashioned I thought. The rules she lived by didn’t apply to me. How wrong was I!

Mama’s advice for avoiding unhealthy relationships was given because she wanted me to not experience some of the things she had. She wanted me to learn from her…

 Now that I’m a mother and a grandmother, I find myself in her same position. I’m sure my children and grandchildren have those moments when they think to themselves, ‘Mama Said’ or ‘Grandma Said’.

Yes, it’s true that we all have to live our own lives, however, if we take the time to really listen to what our Mamas tried to teach us about avoiding unhealthy relationships we could have avoided so much pain.

Sometimes it seems like we’ve learned from the “school of hard knocks”!

The five nuggets of wisdom that my Mama tried to share and I was too stubborn to hear:

Nugget #1 – Know You Better than Others Do and Know Your Worth

Nugget #2 – Carry Yourself with Dignity & Respect

Nugget #3 – Education is Important for Success

Nugget #4 – You Can’t Change another Human Being

Nugget # 5 – “No” is Not a Bad Word

The interesting thing is that we don’t have to always learn things the hard way. I’m grateful that before my Mama passed she knew I’d learned the above lessons. I hope you’ll acknowledge the wisdom of the Mamas and Mothers in your life. It’s never too late to put it into practice. So go ahead give her a hug and a kiss and say thank you Mama. Hopefully, one day if you’re blessed to have a daughter of your own you too can pass on your nuggets of wisdom.

Share Your Story


Share your story and help someone else. All of us have a story to tell and those stories can actually help someone else. Have you overcome an illness, tragedy, near death experience, loss of a job or any number of other adversities? Then share your story. Tell it as only you can. It could save a life or give someone hope who’s been feeling hopeless.

This past Saturday September 25th I had the opportunity to share my story along with 5 other beautiful ladies at the Don’t Just Survive T. H. R. I. V. E. Women’s Conference in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This event the brainchild of Ms. Darlene Sheardon of NURevelations LLC truly touched the hearts of those in attendance.

From comments I heard afterwards I believe there are some that will not look at domestic violence, abuse or sexual assault the same way. For me I was humbled in the presence of some really awesome woman who with God’s Grace are able to bare open parts of themselves others may seek to hide.  Our common bond makes us sisters and we love and care for each other.

Our stories of not just surviving but thriving can only help others who may feel they are all alone with no where to turn. I believe we have dispelled that myth and put those in need on a path to healing and thriving.

If you’re reading this today and need to get to safety for yourself and/or your children be certain to have a plan. For help on developing that plan a great resource can be found at  Transforming Junk Into Jewels .  There you can get your free copy of Exit Action Plan: 10 Steps for Leaving an Abusive Relationship. In it you’ll find helpful tools and tips for you to follow. And once you’ve made that transition please seek help. There are groups and individual counseling available to help you move forward and leave the baggage of the past behind. Then share your story so that another can find the courage and be inspired to move from darkness to light.

 

Why Me?


That’s a question all of us at one time or another has uttered. Ironically It’s rarely if ever done so when good things happen. So why is that? Have we somehow convinced ourselves that we should be insulated from tragedy, discord, unhappiness, strife or change?

Before I matured I counted myself in this group as well. There were times I wondered why did I have to endure the pain of rape, shame, betrayal, divorce, loss of my parents and other loved ones. Now that I’m a mature individual (not age but understanding) I get it.

All of it has combined to play a significant role in the person I have become, I’m more patient, empathetic, giving, trusting, forgiving and nurturing. In addition I’ve become outspoken on issues I hold dear to me. This not only includes domestic violence but also cancer (breast cancer), child abuse and healthy living just to name a few.

As I think of these I can recall an incident in my history in which I was personally affected by them and these experiences molded me to be the person I am today. As much as there’s a part of me that wishes I had not had to go through them the other part of me is grateful for it has given me a reason to be vigilant and think about others instead of thinking the world revolves around me.

If you dig deep enough you too can find meaning, lessons and uncover a passion as a direct result of your experiences. As long as you’re a part of this big world called the human race instead of lamenting, “Why me?”, let today be the day your say, “Why Not me?”

While Renewing the Inside Don’t Forget the Outside


We’ve spent a lot of time focusing on the inside. Reviving your spirit, letting go of things you’ve held on to that have caused you pain and harm has been our task for several weeks now. I encourage you to continue with all the good you’re doing for in the end the new you that emerges will be strong, powerful, positive, and determined. But in all this transformation don’t forget about the outside.

It’s easy to overlook because you may think “well there’s nothing wrong with the way I look”. Are you sure? Let me ask a few questions and then you decide.

1. When you give yourself that one last look in the mirror before you walk out the door are you smiling?

2. Do you look with excitement and anticipation to the day ahead?

3. Do the clothes you wear reflect the new you you’ve been working on?

4. Do you look up and not down when you’re going about your business.?

5. Do you greet people with a smile and/or a nod of hello?

6. Does the physical you reflect a person focused on being healthy as well?

I ask these questions because if there’s been a transformation on the inside it should reach the outside as well. The new you should exhibit an air of confidence and assurance that you know exactly who you are. At first it may seem strange and out of character bit why should it? Haven’t you worked hard to let go of things that have weighed you down? Then your new walk should reflect your new air of lightness. There should be a sense of purpose in every step and a determination that lights up your face.

I’ll never forget the time last year when the months of February through July were not kind to me. I was in a lot of physical pain and there were more than one day when it took everything I had to get up in the morning and make it to work. I had an ankle that put me in the hospital for three days only to still not resolve the issue. I’ll never forget the day I was at work and when I got up to go to the restroom I could barely move. A co-worker actually pushed me in my office chair to the restroom. Instead of feeling embarrassed I joked about it and laughed but made sure to thank her for her kindness.

I can remember what used to take me an hour to get dressed and ready now took an hour because with a shattered left wrist and a right side that was swollen, black, blue and green from a horrible car accident I struggled to do simple things like put on a bra or pull up my pants.  I was blessed to have a wonderful husband who helped me get through it all. Not only did he help me to get dressed but we went through my clothes to find things to wear that would require the least amount of effort. Then he’d take me to work and pick me up in the evenings, fighting Atlanta traffic 4 times a day.

During this time I had clients depending on me to encourage them as they made decisions to be safe and happy and in healthy relationships so I didn’t have time to feel sorry for myself. I think the fact that I had so much to pay attention to helped me from falling into deep despair. Don’t get me wrong there were days I wasn’t sure I could make it but I was determined to not give in. So the outer person I presented to the world had to reflect that determination I had on the inside.

MY clothes were clean, even if I had to wear them more than once, my hair was always together and most important of all I wore a smile and it was one that reached my eyes as well. But it wasn’t just my smile; I have been accused of having a larger than life laugh and it served me well during my healing.

Why am I sharing this? Because I want all of you to prosper so if your thoughts and actions have changed then be sure to let the physical reflect the new you as well.  In other words if you used to dress provocatively but your inside is transformed then that dress code no longer works with the new you. Put it down and take on a new look.

If complaining, and feeling sorry for yourself used to be the norm but now you’re hopeful and full of joy then let shine in the new words you use and the new way you approach a problem or any situation. The old way is poison  don’t let it infect the new you.

Okay don’t worry, I’m not about to get on a soapbox as the older generation would say and start preaching but I am going to encourage you to do a few things:

1. Get some exercise – walk, bike or join a gym if you can afford it, either way don’t let money or the lack of money keep you from improving your physical health.

2. Eat more fruits and vegetables and drink lots of water while cutting down on sugar and empty calories.

3. Get a new wardrobe one that reflects the new you and again don’t let money or lack thereof prevent you from making a change. Use your creativity, you’ll be surprised what you can do.

4. Let the joy on the inside be reflected in the face you present to the world. Smile more and often, and greet people with a genuine look. Don’t be surprised if you get them back in return.

5. Make a promise to yourself to love you enough to give the above a real try.

Today is the last holiday of the summer enjoy it with family, friends and loved ones. Most of all I encourage you to enjoy it with the new you you’re creating from the inside out.

 

The Road to Forgiveness


This is actually a repeat with additional information about a very important topic: Forgiveness. I wanted to do it again as I’ve been running into a lot of women who have major struggles with it. I hope this additional information is of a benefit.

“I’m healed.” I’ve heard those words so many times, yet they don’t always ring true. I understand the need to say them after all you don’t want to feel as if you’re continuing to give someone else power over you. But the most important thing about those words is that you must truly mean them. How else do you hope to heal? Words alone won’t make it true. You’re going to have to do some work and it starts with you.

You can put a brave face on and present that to the world. Oh sure it’ll work for a while but in the end you’ll know and those close to you and who love you will know the truth as well. Healing from disappoint, regret, hurt, betrayal and most of all abuse whether it’s emotional or physical requires time and in some cases counseling.

You can’t turn a blind eye to it because it will affect all future relationships and I believe deep in my heart you don’t want that to be the case. You’ll never fully be healed until you’ve faced the results and, acknowledged the affect they’ve produced and then make a conscious effort to move forward.

So, how can you accomplish this?

  • Don’t gloss it over – you don’t have to be brave. It’s okay to be vulnerable with those you love so they can help you. Overcoming the past takes effort.

    “Be of good cheer. Do not think of today’s failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow. You have set yourselves a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere; and you will find a joy in overcoming obstacles. Remember, no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost.” ― Helen Keller

  •  Acknowledge the pain – ignoring or pretending it doesn’t matter does a disservice to you and what you’ve experienced. Don’t make light of it. I’m sure you’ve figured it out by now that no matter how much you push things to the back of your mind there’s always that time something triggers the memory and it becomes just as fresh as the day it happened. This is proof that ignoring it is futile.

 

  • Learn from it – even those things that cause us pain have lessons in them. It’s up to us to look beyond the obvious to find the deeper meaning. Once you’ve learned the lesson: Forgive! It’s a powerful tool and one that must be done in order to fully heal. Forgiveness isn’t for the one who did you wrong, it’s for you. Without the forgiveness you are continually giving power over you to someone or something else. Take back your power. Two books I recommend that discusses forgiveness are Forgiveness: Finding Peace Through Letting Go and Forgiveness: Heart Healing Stories for the Stubborn and Hard-Headed. Both will provide useful insights about forgiveness and how you can benefit from it.

 

  • You’ll begin to remember the person you always wanted to be. That person is still there you just have to do some work uncovering the jewels that have been lost for a while. The good news is that on October 19th my online course: From Adversity to Passion: A Guide to Your Divine Destiny and Joy will debut. This 8 week intense course will help you to transform so that you can have a more abundant, fulfilling and joyful life.

 

  • Share your experiences – As you help others you also help you. The best way to tell you’re no longer affected by the events of your past is when you can talk about it and you are not suddenly transported back there. That’s a huge step. Celebrate it!

 

  • Jump in and Make a Splash – If you have the desire to you may want to volunteer your time, write a book or even start a nonprofit so that others can benefit from your experience. Each time you help someone else you are continuing to heal and help yourself.

If you follow the steps above you will be well on your way to being proud of the person you’ve become for when you say the words, “I’m Healed”  you’ll know you really mean it.

 

You Are Your #1 Fan!


Are you a sports fan? Many are, I know I am and I have favorite players in every sport I enjoy watching and following. There may be attributes I like about them when they’re playing and an added bonus is when they have wonderful attributes that go outside their sport into their every day life.

But my favorite player isn’t in a sport, I don’t get to watch them on TV. They don’t have a million dollar salary and make cool commercials. My favorite player is ME, and my playing field is life. And why shouldn’t it be? After all I see ME every morning when I get up, I’m with ME when I brush my teeth, take a shower, get dressed for work and head out the door. I’m with ME as I ride the train and when I get to my office there ME is.

We all should be our own #1 fan. There’s no need to depend on someone else to recognize the great qualities you have or the work ethic you present each day. You don’t need to wait for someone else to tell you you’re beautiful, smart, funny and dependable. You should be able to tell yourself that and repeat it often.

You can laugh at your own jokes, and berate yourself for a mistake yet turn around and be proud of yourself for recognizing your mistake, rectifying the problem and move on. You don’t need anyone else to point out your short-comings after all only you can determine the best way to proceed to make it a positive instead and besides they should be concentrating on their own issues.

In life we will meet all kinds of people, I hope you’re meeting a variety as it will add spice to your life. But none of them can hold a candle to you at being you. Only you can look in your eyes and see the depth of the story you’ve lived. Only you can look at your smile and count the laugh lines and love every one of them. Only you can peer into your heart and see the love you’ve shared and still have to share. Only you can commune with the spirit within you and watch it blossom. Only you can look at your hands and marvel at the work it has performed. Only you have walked in your shoes and traveled along winding roads many taking you to a welcome surprise and at other times sending you on a detour in order to avoid a catastrophe. And only you can continue to walk in your shoes.

Only you can see the real you, so why not be your #1 fan? Why not cheer when you hit a home run. Why not jump for joy when you’ve made a touchdown? Why not get delirious with excitement when you make a winning basket?  Why not pump your fist in triumph when you make that hole in one? Why not shake with giddy anticipation when you’ve swam that last few meters to touch the wall first?

Have I given you enough reasons to be be your #1 fan? I hope so. I got to run now I have to meet my favorite player for some well deserved R and R! Did I tell you who it was, of course I did, ME!