Monthly Archives: July 2020

My 10 Second Rule by Franky Van Den Berg

We often lose focus on what truly matters in this life. The fast pace of life, along with an increasing need for everything to be rushed and to be constantly improved. This can place tremendous pressure on one and we are often entirely focused on the task and requirements at hand and in the process we place our well-being, opinions and health at the end of our list of priorities.

I too was trapped by this unhealthy way of living until my health caved and forced me to reconsider my ways. Since my wake-up call I have had many hours reflecting on my past daily routines, how I handled work, stress (or rather, the lack thereof), attending to my daily eating habits, quality sleep (or rather: too little thereof) and equality as important, if not more so, the people I allowed in my social life and the treatment from them I allowed and brushed off.

I’ve learned much during the long period of thoroughly attending to getting my health back on track, lessons that have changed my life (and health) for the better and it is these lessons I want to share with the aim of preventing others from going through the same experiences as I by providing insight to others. I have processed the information in a manner that enables effortless application.

  1. The majority of communication you have is the internal dialogue you have with yourself. Therefor, it is of great importance to pay attention to the thoughts you allow in your mind. The relationship/communication you have with yourself can be just as abusive as an abusive relationship with another person. Moreover, the treatment you allow your internal dialogue to have with yourself is subconsciously the type of treatment you are likely to allow from others.
  2. Time management. By planning your day you can set time aside for essential tasks including snack breaks (ensuring you have a sufficient eating and hydration routine), time to give your mind and body a break (maybe go for a quick jog instead of continuously sitting behind your desktop) and allow for sufficient time to unwind before going to bed, which may improve the quality and quantity of sleep you get.
  3. Failure to plan is planning to fail. Keeping a daily journal and planner will allow you to allocate time more effectively, keep track of time and allow for proper breaks and identify longer term habits: you can only effectively address habits that is sub-optimal for your health, wellness and wealth if you properly identify and track your true habits. Plan your snacks for the say instead of grabbing anything that is in the fridge when you are beside yourself with hunger and risk overeating, eating too little or having an unbalanced diet. By setting a particular diet that is best suited for you which can improve your mental and physical health and energy, support you in reaching a healthy weight (if that is a goal of yours).
  4. Be reasonable with yourself. Rome wasn’t build in a single day and expecting yourself to move mountains is unreasonable. Putting yourself under a tremendous amount of pressure to perform won’t only affect your work progress and quality negatively, but it will harm you in a physical and emotional aspect. Setting out a reasonable amount of work to be completed daily will not only improve your self-esteem, but it will also enable you to make consistent progress instead of spending hours stressing and bullying yourself about the work you haven’t done and experiencing the consequences of the stress.
  5. Upon countering a challenging situation or a situation prevoking strong emotions I have a ten second rule. First, I turn around close my eyes and count to ten while taking deep, focused breaths. Then, I compile facts about the situation. If there are other people involved ask them for their perspective first, before reaching a conclusion. Put all emotions aside (I know it seems difficult, but you’ll improve with practice) and establish your priorities regarding the situation. I operate better by writing my thought process down in a notebook and often list the pro’s and con’s of the situation. Identify the best plan of action in order to achieve your priority.

If this article has helped you, please comment below.

Our Ego by Ada Den Hollander

It cannot be true, it was still allowed yesterday. Where is this going? Gone is my holiday. It will take months, I am sure about that. Why can’t I touch you. We don’t deserve this. I am angry. I can not take it anymore. I’m right, but no one sees that. The politicians are all criminals, focussed on their own interest. We are gradually living in a police state. It drives me crazy.

Our ego is talking here. The ego likes drama, being dissatisfied, feeling unhappy, blaming others and complaining. If we let ourselves be guided by our ego, we live in the illusion of the past (everything was better yesterday) or the future (where is this going?). The past nor the future have anything to do with reality (I will write more about that sometime), with the now, the present. When we live in the now, our ego no longer plays a role. ‘It is as it is,’ we then say. ‘How could it be any different than it is?’ , we then conclude. If we are aware, living consciously, we see the possibilities of any situation, not the obstacle. We accept what is and by doing so we silence our ego.

I am the last one to say that this is easy. I have been struggling in recent days with the hypocrisy and unethical behaviour of our government, regarding the ban on cigarette sales.

Especially because of the minister’s conflict of interest with criminals who make millions with illegal cigarette trade. Such people are in charge and can determine whether or not you light a cigarette, after all, they are our government, it makes you go ballistic.

‘Yes,’ our ego whispers, ‘go ahead’.

But then you may suddenly realise that these people and many politicians with them are not aware, they are living in the illusion of power and an even richer future for themselves. You ponder on what Jesus said on the cross: Forgive them Father for they know not what they do. He was referring here to his accusers, the high priests, the Pharisees and the people.

Nothing has changed. It is an excellent example of how the ego takes over and we thereby completely loose sight of reality.

In the case of Jesus it is the so called collective ego we are dealing with. The crowd follows the leaders without thinking for themselves. The ones who shout the loudest get the votes. ‘They know what’s best for us’, is what people think if at all.

The collective ego of countries on a bigger scale, as another example, creates the completely meaningless wars (we are right, we will fight and destroy them).

Back to the moment when you realise that this means there is no presence of awareness. You meditate or you just sit still and look around you. A smile appears on your face. You anchor yourself, you become aware, you are completely in the now, far away from all the distractions around you. You reach your essence, you realise that you are free, that nothing or no one can control you or do you any harm, because your essence is intangible and untouchable. (thanks to Loraine for this last realisation).

Another example of an ego playing up is when people rage on Twitter at someone they’ve never met, but whose opinion they don’t share. Foul language all over the place. These people are furious and far from conscious, totally captivated by the illusion that the world will be a better place if everyone acknowledges that they are right and the other is wrong. Or maybe they lack attention in real life and try to get that in the virtual world? Whatever the case, they are not in the now, but in the illusion of the future (you have to listen to me, only then I feel better).

Who are we? A question which we may think about more now than in normal circumstances. Our ego knows how to answer this and eagerly gives us a few options. ‘I am so and so and have a good profitable company,’ it says. ‘I’m a good mother,’ ‘I look good,’ ‘Look what a beautiful car I have,’ or ‘I did very well at university.’ All appearances with which we identify ourselves, but which have nothing to do with our essence, with who we really are. What we find important when we are not living consciously. When we are aware, aware of our essence and therefore living in the now, we immediately notice how different we feel. We can more easily be at peace with ourselves and with what is going on, there is calm and no more fighting.

So, the right answer to the question is awareness. Aware of being aware. We have a body and a brain in which that endless flow of thoughts arises, but we are consciousness.

Scientists are still not sure where to find that in the body. No wonder. It’s nowhere, we are that. And in that consciousness we are all one. Maybe more about that in another blog.

After we have been disappointed many, many times we may finally realise that our ego does not help us, on the contrary, but also that it is still a long way towards awareness. So you actually could say that our ego does help in a sense, it keeps shaking us until we wake up and become aware.

You often hear that prisoners get a better understanding of who they are after being locked up for a long time, that their awareness is activated and that they therefore become a different, better person.

As humanity, we have suddenly become prisoners.

Let’s be still, reflect and thank our ego for the good service, but let’s say farewell to it. Perhaps a better humanity will emerge, a humanity which lives from the heart.

I conclude with the wise words of Mooji, a spiritual teacher, to whom I often listen:

All over the world there are problems. Everyone has a problem. But I tell you this; there is only one problem and it is caused by ego. Ego is the one source of all problems. It’s a form of ignorance. It’s just a distraction that prevents you from discovering who you really are.

~ Mooji

Is Happiness a Choice? Karin Kelly Lawrenz Transformation Coach

I seem to wonder if it’s to a large extent, inaccurate, not to mention and perhaps unfair to the millions of people that then presume they’re doing something wrong because no matter how hard they try they can’t seem to simply up their happiness levels at will.

The bad news is, the latest research suggests that about 50% of your happiness levels are predetermined by your genetics.

Therefore, if you are genetically predisposed to be a worrier, it’s going to take a lot more work reversing that trend because that will always be the easiest route for your unconscious to take.

The good news is that it can be done and there is enough wiggle room in the 50% that you can influence to make you as happy as a pig in mud. However, to achieve that, it takes perseverance, commitment and a belief that you can change.

And the last part, belief, as is often the case, is probably the key. A brilliant blog which Mark Tyrell wrote on “steps to self-belief” using the Dumbo story.

Here is a snippet from an article:

“The crowd waits. Surely he’s going to die. How can he survive a dive from such a massive height into a tiny pool of water? But he can fly! – Only he doesn’t yet believe it. He’s been shunned all his life as a freak with gigantic ears. He’s lost his ‘magic feather’ and thinks that without it he can’t fly. Timothy mouse desperately, frantically tells him:
“It’s not the feather, it’s you! You can fly. Forget the feather. It’s time to dive.”
He falls. The crowd gasps. But just as he’s about to smash into the shallow water, Timothy’s words come back to him: “It’s you, Dumbo, not the feather!”
At last he flies! He doesn’t need the feather.
Finally truly believing in himself, he escapes the captive circus.

Some people believe so strongly that their map of the world is the map of the world that they never try and change because they think change is impossible, and so to try would be a waste of time.

But let’s presume that you aren’t one of those people and that you’d really like some more happiness in your life and believe it’s possible. What can you do?

The starting point is diligently monitoring and screening everything that enters your body, and I really do mean everything.

  • I am without doubt one of those people that has a predisposition to being overwhelmed (not often), when taking on too much that I suppress my real feelings sending me on a spiral of self-doubt and everything gets too much which puts my mind shift in not a happy place. I really have to work hard at not letting that get the better of me and I do it by trying to remove as much toxicity as possible from my life.

Toxic People
I actually dislike this phrase and I am guilty of it as well because let’s be honest …. I happen to think ‘toxic’ people are struggling with their own lives and are dealing with their own circumstances and insecurities in the only way they know how.

Unfortunately, their way of dealing with things often manifests as a desire to undermine others in an attempt to feel better about themselves.
For the most part, and presuming you cannot help them, it’s best to slowly phase these people out of your life.

Unfortunately, sometimes the people that fit into this category are family or close friends and they’re not easy to remove from our lives, even if we wanted to. The only advice I can offer if you’re trapped in such a relationship is to take control of the way you view it.

Be curious and empathetic as to why they are how they are rather than being judgmental about their behaviours and actions. Be thankful you’re not like that and learn to reframe any of the rubbish that comes your way.

Toxic Food
When I said monitor what you put in to your body, I did say I meant everything.

If you put diesel into a car designed to run on petrol it’s going to cease up.
Yet millions of people every day do something similar with their bodies and the results are no more than to be expected.

Toxic News
Watching TV news …. TV news deals in fear. It wants to scare and intimidate you into watching and hopes you’ll cling on to the belief that you need to watch to be well informed.

Think about it. You can start feeling cheesed off even angry about something that was completely and utterly out of your control.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be well informed. But if you want to up your happiness levels, and you tend to get upset, angry and negative with your surroundings, I doubt a diet loaded with news in any of its guises will help up your happiness.

Toxic Thoughts
These are tricky suckers to spot and almost a decade into my own self-development journey I still catch myself thinking toxic thoughts from time to time.

The specifics will vary from person to person, but any repetitive thoughts you have that put you down are toxic and need to be erased forthwith if you are going to maximise on your happiness levels.
It’s a cliché I know, but you shouldn’t be saying anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to a loved one.

Toxic Lethargy
Exercise is probably the best mood enhancer known to mankind that isn’t going to cost you a fortune. Exercise doesn’t just help you get fit, look good and keep the weight down, it also floods your body with beta-endorphins that raise your mood and self-esteem.

I start Friday cycling as I convert my bike to be used indoors (practice what you preach Karin )

If you really can’t be arsed to exercise you could try meditation so I have been advised from a friend, (or better still, double the benefits and do both!). Whereas you won’t develop a 6-pack, meditation can supply similar mood enhancing effects as well as lowering stress levels which leads to an improvement in health and thus happiness.

And finally .…
We know that helping other people lights up the same part of the brain that taking stimulant drugs like amphetamines and cocaine does, so why not increase your happiness levels by giving back.

I’d love to hear your tips on happiness. Have you done any of the above or maybe something completely different. Please let me know in the comments.

Karin Kelly Lawrenz
Transformation Coach

Inspired by St Francis of Assisi Prayer by Catherine Glennie

O Great Force of Love Divine make me an instrument of your peace, even if it requires expressing my power – and stirring up trouble
Where there is upset, let me bring wisdom – knowing that upset is actually an invitation to heal
Where there is hatred, let me bring love especially self-love – as it is secretly myself I hate most
Where there is discord, let me bring unity by not seeing separation – in me or the cosmos
Where there is judgement let me access stillness – knowing that as I embrace what is, I give permission to the holy flow of life
Where there is error let me bring truth – not a convenient truth but raw love-driven honesty
Where there is desire let me not judge wanting – but remember that desire is the Soul tapping on the window of my life
Where there is doubt let me bring faith, especially that everything done serves a higher purpose
Where there is despair let me bring hope, a holy energy that changes ones relationship with life

Oh great and Infinite Wisdom let me seek not to always be focused on the ‘I’, rather to see and speak to the ‘we’
Let me seek not to be understood but to understand that this crazy world is an illusion and to the extent that I know I am dreaming is the extent to which consciousness is raised
Let me seek not to be loved but rather to express the love that I truly am
For it is in giving that one becomes one with the abundance of the universe
And it is in self forgetting that one finds the true connection with you O Love Divine
(And oh Lord, please let this go viral.)

Inner Child by Kim Michelle Hewitt

Connect with your inner child and the wise adult soul self …

Your soul mission is no longer just to go through the motions of surviving from one day to the next.

This wonderful journey of soul self, is a necessary path we all seek. Tap into your soul’s blueprint and use it in re-discovering your soul aspect.

In this section experienced consultants assist in unravelling deep seated issues. They help you to utilise your gifts, talents, abilities and skills. They guide you, to live your potential and life to the fullest.

They smile as you T H R I V E.

Joy is your destiny !

Father’s Day by Grazia Martienssen

Dad 7/7/1928 – 30/6/1992 (†)

As I did for Mother’s Day, I have also decided to do for Father’s Day, and share a bit about my dad.

He was born in Guardia, Sicily, the younger of two siblings. He lost his mom when he was 18 months old and his dad when he was 14. He lived partly by his nonna (granny) and partly at the convent where he went to school with monks. He applied for work as a barber as he used to cut the monks hair, which he learned from his father. His potential employer asked him to take a bucket and go wash a wall. He placed it under a running tap and walked away. After his father died in World War II, He successfully applied to re-open his dad’s barber shop which allowed him to earn a living and take care of himself and his sister. At school he achieved matric (or the equivalent thereof.) He later got a bursary to study hairdressing in Milan. While exploring in his spare time he visited Dervio in Lake Como where he met mom. Two years later they got married.

Jack of all Trades

Although he was a hairdresser and a barber by trade, he was also a Jack of all trades. People would call him to fix their appliances, for which he refused to take money. He made beautiful chandeliers for the house and many other things. He also had “out the box” ideas for recycling things e.g. a curtain rail became the top of a railway type gate for our driveway. I could give many other examples. He always wanted to learn new things. He did an art class and even a navigation course, as he was building a yacht and wanted to sail. Despite his poor English he managed to pass the courses.

He played piano accordion and used to play at weddings back in Sicily. He taught my brothers to play piano accordion and guitar. He used to make us kites and take us to fly them. Throughout the years he was also sickly with heart problems and had a valve put in at Groote Schuur hospital. He was extremely generous with his money even though he worked very hard. E.g. he paid for two of his aunts and one uncle to come visit us. He spoilt them with new clothes etc. He did not believe in being attached to material things, and just gave things away e.g. he used to go to the army base to cut people’s hair.

At the base he had bought a beautiful painting which hung in the lounge. Some visitors said they liked it, so he took it down and gave it to them. When he opened his salon in Bellville, he used to stay up late making posters to advertise and came up with all kinds of advertising ideas. However, for personal reasons he left the salon some years later, leaving it to two partners. He then opened a salon in Parow, where things did not go well, and he worked from 9am to 9pm.

​After mom’s death dad deteriorated fast and sold the salon. He was bound to a wheelchair; sadly died in hospital. R.I.P dad.

Speaking a Truth that Hurts by Karin Kelly Lawrenz (Transformation Coach)

Mustering the Courage to Give Direct Feedback

Is it helpful?
Is it necessary?
Is it kind?

Whether you are typically cautious or assertive when it comes to stating your opinions without being asked, it is likely you shy away from telling a friend, colleague or family member something that you fear could hurt.

We are humans who depend on relationships to survive. As adults, we rarely choose to deliberately do something that will hurt people we know. We especially avoid sharing a truth face-to-face that could embarrass, offend or wound someone we like.

The next time you are anxious about sharing an observation that could hurt, first ask yourself if what you are about to share will help the person in the future or not. Consider that you might have been judging the person out of your own need to be noticed or right. Then, if you believe your intent is truly to help the person, contemplate these suggestions:

  1. Trust your inner voice. Your brain is masterful at talking you out of creating uncomfortable situations. Yet your nagging inner voice wants you to speak up. Quiet your brain to hear your voice.
  2. Question your fear. What is the worst that could happen? Consider the level of angst you feel now. Could living with the consequences of speaking up be easier than living with your fear? Is it your own embarrassment you are avoiding more than theirs? If you can, choose to be brave. Then keep your intent of helping in mind as you speak.
  3. Be strategic. Unless you are simply informing someone about a clothing, food or make-up slip, consider logistics as well as your words. Look for a comfortable and quiet place to talk. Limiting the distractions will help you express care and compassion as you speak. When you share your observation, be clear about the desired outcome now and in the future. Let the person know you are sharing your thoughts because you desire to help them to have something you know is important to them such as their professional future, collegial respect, friendship and love.
  4. Ask permission. Before you launch into your speech, you might ask the person if they would be interested and open to some observations you have had. If you sense their reluctance, you could ask if they would prefer a different time. Don’t use their rebuff as an excuse to back down. Agree on a time in the near future to talk.
  5. Clearly describe the impact of their specific oversight or behaviour. A person might disagree with your interpretation of their behaviour, but it will be harder for them to dispute the impact they are having on you or other people.

If appropriate, share your intent. Let the person know why you care they have a more positive impact or outcome. Why are you sharing? What do you want for them as a result?

Don’t question your value. If you are being honest and helpful, don’t beat yourself up if the person responds negatively. In the long run, you are developing your personal power as you become more comfortable with giving direct feedback.

I end off by saying again:

Is it helpful?
Is it necessary?
Is it kind?

Coping With Mental Illness by Deborah Jordaan

Good day to our readers, If it were not for you we would have no platform to voice ourselves, Thank you for supporting our blog, I’d like to write on Depression as I know there are many different forms of it and hopefully by writing my personal thoughts down it could motivate someone or even one of you have some advice for me in my time of mental turmoil. I was diagnosed in 2005 with bipolar mental disorder but as time has gone on they said I could have borderline disorder. Years ago I coped by self mutilating. I tried to hang myself. Numerous overdoses. After all that I’m still here and a better person for the experiences.

What I’m questioning these days is – Am I responsible for personal and family relationships going wrong or do people just not know how to support me? I really try my best to have a relationship with a partner but it gets to a stage where I become withdrawn and think that it’s him not understanding me – so I go quiet. Is it me rejecting people because I’m antisocial or is my tolerance level reaching boiling point? I know in my logical mind that it could be me rejecting them because of things happening in the relationship. My mind tells me to say how I feel. I do that then all hell breaks loose. People tend to judge me before trying to understand me. So as I always say to myself – the less people I talk to the less I need to impress. Is that a coping mechanism? I don’t know. I’ve learnt from my psychologist to let go of toxic people in my life. Did that. I’m past the point of trying to be alright if I’m not feeling alright.

I know I should’nt default on my medicine but sometimes I’m tired of depending on chemicals to make me smile. I’d like to smile from within without taking medicine to make me happy for the day. The only humans that can get me to some happiness are my two daughters and my beautiful grandsons. Just being in the space changes my mood naturally. Is it the covid 19 making it much worse by social distancing rules? Partly so but having a mental health problem we have bouts of high and low moods. It takes one small thing to push us over the edge and how we cope with that is so important. I’m good at helping others but helping myself is so difficult and at this stage all I’m doing these days is sleeping. Forcing myself to do daily chores and my night and day have changed. I’m up all night – sleep half my day away. Get energy in the afternoon and the routine goes from there. Obviously this is not a good time. I tell myself to pick myself up and that I have more than some people have. I must be grateful for food. A bed.

Healthy children and grandkids. I’m lucky to have support from my mental health clinic at my local hospital. At any given time I can walk in their door and get the support I need. Like many people I’m not currently working and that is making it worse.

My grandma on my fathers side had mental illness and i read it could be hereditory. My hope is that my daughters nor my grandsons not have it. It’s an illness I would not even wish on my worst enemy. I envy people that can be normal. Cope with life – how wonderful would that be? To feel happy and content. Thank you for letting me write my thoughts. I have never discussed my thoughts with so many strangers at one time. I know you will not be judgemental. Hopefully you think I am brave to open up to you – the reader. Trusting you with my insecurities and hoping I can get some understanding.

Be blessed.

Finding Voices in Sunlight By Vanessa Anderson

When I was a child I spent a great deal of time alone, thinking, it was definitely a time when I was more mindful, less rushed by the expectations of life and the noise around me. It was certainly a different time, things appeared more black and white, complex issues seemed more easily digestible, those that weren’t were not a problem because I had more time to apply my mind to it.

Then we went into lock down and the hustle and bustle of normal life ground to a halt, suddenly I have more time to sit and think. It reminds me that I have always said I would love to be a cat, stretched out in the sun – a cozy warmth of sunlight blanketing me from the elements and life outside the window. As I sit here at my desk, a space that I have more suitably settled into now that my position on working from home seems more probable into the near and distant future – it occurs to me how cat like I have become. Seeking solace and finding my strength as I stretch my toes against the sun-drenched window pane.

It feels comforting to feel the silence creep across my thoughts and I wonder if this is what meditation feels like, something I cannot do very well as I tend to fall asleep. It is as if the constructed time and purpose of meditation renders itself moot unless I stumble across it when I least expect it – at least that is how it is for me. But give me sunshine and a warm spot to sit and my mind does a wondrous thing, it makes sense of it all, everything.

I remember lying cold against the paving in our backyard, a pre-teen, soaking in the sun, spending time alone, eyes closed but aware of the blue skies above and the clouds above my head. I remember reaching up, stretching as high as I could to reach the sky, I remember the feel of the clouds on my fingers, the subtle change of sensation in the atmosphere. I believed I could touch the clouds, I believed I was touching the clouds and I remember asking if this is real?

The answer, if that is what you would call it was an overwhelming sense of life, that this was what everything felt like, how it was all made up, time and space colliding, this was the meaning of it all, like some mathematical precision that I knew would never make sense if I opened my eyes, but for just that moment, at that precise time, it made sense. It could not be captured, or explained and even if it could – it would not make sense to anyone else because that translation was for me.

I have missed those moments, they have not happened often enough, definitely not since forever in my recent recollections. The world I live in is now ruled by time, deadlines and expectations and it has felt like my purpose has been in composing the chords of each of these elements, just right so that the song remains. But that balance depends on a constant, me, and if I can no longer feel safe and warm and have a sense of it all, then those chords will never stay on key.

I know this observation has flaws, I am not responsible for all the notes or all the chords and if I don’t take the time to hear, to really listen, then what am I really achieving. Everything else if white noise, meant to drown out the beating of your own soul, its meant to distract and refract our truth.

I have learnt something recently about music, something that upsets me and my analogy to ‘beating of your soul’, to the rhythm of life and to really listening are not a simple embellishment to help you walk the path I have paved, it is a link to this think about music that I have learnt.

In popular music, there is a tool that is used to enhance the listener’s acceptance of the song, to grab their attention, it is called ‘the hook’. You don’t have acknowledge it, you even like it that much, it is just there, lulling and coddling and you find yourself tapping your feet, singling along. It does not ask your opinion and it does not anticipate further exploration, in fact it doesn’t expect anything from you. That can be comforting in a demanding world, it can be downright welcoming, but it serves only to add to our own disenfranchisement.

I am hearing the same hook in many other places and it becomes more and more evident to me the more time I spend reading commentary on social media, that is lives there too. There are more and more people looking for that comfort in the validation of others, not taking the time taken research and read information themselves (I too have stopped myself from doing this time and again), looking for their answers in the opinion of others, using what other people think and feel to draft their own narrative and my question is, if we are all doing this – then who is writing the original narrative and why have we become so complacent in our acceptance of other voices?

We trusted our own voices once, maybe not so long ago for some as it was for me, but we did listen and we debated and reasoned and decided on a stance and we lived it or lived with it, without fear of public criticism or personal vindication. We embraced our own voices and kept our own council, honoring it amongst others. I can’t say I have never succumbed to the hook, be it in popular music or in the opinions of others but I am learning to sit back, stretch my toes in the sun and listen.

If it’s been a while, and this resonates with you, grab a pillow, make yourself comfortable and join me in the sunlight.