Gratitude Day 18

On Day 18 of 30 Days of Tessism gratitude grows from within.

Gratitude:  Today I am grateful for the strength to keep moving forward no matter how many times I stumble or get knocked down.  Theoretically, failure is a very necessary step toward success.  The faster you fail, the sooner you can learn your lesson and move onto success.  The only problem is that failure just doesn’t feel good.  Well at least not to me.  Maybe that’s something I should work on.

It hurts and many times, I’d rather just retreat somewhere and never have to deal with it again.  Yet somewhere, the strength bubbles up in me to keep at it in spite of the discomfort.  I am clear this is not all self-generated but comes equally from the support of people who truly believe in me.  I am grateful for all these things that converge to keep me pushing past “nos” and “impossibles” to create this extraordinary life.

Gratitude Day 17

Day 17 of 30 Days of Tessism finds gratitude in something obvious and sometimes overlooked until it is too late.

Gratitude: Today I am grateful for my health and vigor.  That is something that most of us don’t notice until it is compromised.  Now, while I am healthy, I especially need to be thankful.  I am ache and disease-free.  I can and have pushed my body to the limit in with athletic challenges.  It rewards me time and again.  It surprises me by doing things I never knew it could do.  It shows me that I have not reached my peak yet.

I have been told that your 30s are insurance for your the rest of your life.  Well, I’m glad I’ve been making deposits in my health bank at the gym and yoga studio.  I can only do my best and see how far that gets me.  In the meantime, I remain grateful for the vitality my health continues to grant me.

Challenge Day 30: Score!

I swear I have the 30-day challenge blues.  After pushing day after day, I’m pretty sad that there is no more challenge left and that sucks the wind out of my sails.  Funny since I expected Day 30 to be the day to end all days where I would stand atop the mountain of my achievement and look out with puffed chest congratulating myself for daring the impossible.

I’m sure that I have the blues.  Now that there is no challenge each day, what will I do with myself?  Haha!  Anything and everything. The interesting thing about challenges is that they beget challenges–a sort of challenge-addiction.  Tomorrow or later this week, I’ll ruminate about lessons learned.  In the meantime, let’s get on with our last challenge!

Today’s challenge: Take stock of the last 30 days.  How did you do?  What did you do well?  What did you not do well?  What would you like to continue to work on?  How did it go?  What did you learn?
I’ll be sorting through the lessons learned on this journey for days to come but in the meantime, here are the stats of what I attempted this month:

My closest friends can attest to the wonderful peace I gained in these 30 days as well as the struggle it was to complete these last few days.  I know I couldn’t have done it without them or you.  I also know that I’m not quite done yet.

While I was able to challenge myself to different things each day, I haven’t gained mastery over anything new.  I have an experience of what it is like to live a revolutionary life but I still have work to do.  Each day of these 30 days of challenges revealed so much about myself to me.

The greatest revelation is that this month was a buffet of challenges for me to choose from and work on extensively in the near future.  All the challenges have been interrelated.  They are all pulling for the same transformed, galvanized life.  The next step for me is mastery.

Gratitude: I am grateful for that I could complete this month of challenges when I’ve done nothing like this ever before

On the horizon: More results, lessons and mastery…the journey – to be continued.

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Challenge Day 25: For-Give

It would be very obvious to post today about giving thanks since it is Thanksgiving after all–Happy Thanksgiving, by the way.   But I’ve been giving thanks all month and that would not be a challenge for me.   Instead, today is about another type of giving.

Today’s challenge: Practice forgiving. Wherever you can let someone or something off the hook.  Even better, let yourself off the hook and see where that leaves you.

Forgiveness is an interesting concept.  Many people feel that forgiveness is something that you give to others and often withhold it to punish others for transgressions.  Consider that forgiveness is a gift that you give yourself.

Punishing others is like taking poison & hoping someone else will die.  When you forgive, you release yourself from prison.  You don’t have to keep living in the transgression or the reaction to it.

This a practice that I have to concentrate on since, unchecked, I can hold a grudge.  Forever.  I have to remind myself of what life was like without the burden of upset.  To keep up this practice, I’ll have to literally keep my eye on the prize, constantly reminding myself of the life I want to live and what I have to shed to live it.  I’ll do what it takes.

Today’s victory: I spent time with a friend who I’ve had a tough time forgiving and I began to let go and was gracious with her.

Gratitude: I am grateful for the open hearts, home, family, food and welcome I experience this Thanksgiving Day.

On the horizon: Flowing

Challenge Day 13: Once More, with Passion

As I reach the arch of this month of challenges, I wonder how long will the momentum last.  When will I run out of steam?  Challenging myself to meditate every day is great way to center and refuel and, with today’s challenge, I’m injecting a much needed fuel enhancer into my month.

Today’s challenge: Find passion in all that you do.  Don’t just do it.  Do it with passion.  If you can’t find the passion, don’t do it or find a way to find your passion.  Live each day, moment with a dose of passion, big or small.

Going through the motions is sufficient for an adequate life.  It falls pretty short for the extraordinary, unrecognizable one that I’m aiming for this month.  I’m not going to do my challenges because I said so and don’t want to be disappointed if I don’t make it.  I’m doing these challenges because my life is at stake.  Without them, I’ll end up drowning in the numbing mediocre.

In choosing this month’s challenges, I’m working areas that are quite important to me.  Since my life depends on this, why not put my life’s energy into the rest of the challenge days?  If I cannot do a thing with passion then I won’t challenge myself to it.  Going even further, if something is not worth putting my whole self into it, I won’t do it.  Laundry gets done because clean clothes elevate me.  Writing is an honor I give myself.  The mundane, the extravagant, the minuscule–all of it will be done with passion.  It’s time for me to go with passion or go away.  I’m here to stay and feel and marvel at each moment while I’m at it.  How about you?

Today’s victory: I managed to haul 6 bags of sensitive documents to the Upper East Side Shred-a-thon as promised on Day 8.  My shreddables became a thing of the past when a lovely gentleman dumped the bags into a huge bin that his ProShred truck swallowed.

My knight-in-shredding-armor from ProShred

I watched my documents transform in this nifty monitor.

Papers go bye-bye hi-tech

The paper will be recycled into industrial paper.  New life for my clutter.  That feels good.

Gratitude: I am grateful for my uncanny good luck!

On the horizon: Making room for something new

Challenge Day 7: Do Not Give Up

Ah yes.  Another day.  Another challenge…and all the pressure to find a meaningful challenge to write about.   Today’s challenge is dedicated to the incredible people that ran in today’s ING New York City Marathon but I’ll get to that a little later.

Yesterday, I challenged myself to giving up being right.  It has proven to be the challenge that keeps challenging.  As I get more comfortable with the previous challenges, shedding rightness keeps throwing me off balance.  I go in and out of wanting to know how I can be or think about anything if I’m not right?

Then I have to remind myself that being right works in some cases.  I cross on green and not on red.  It doesn’t guarantee my safety but for the most part, it works.  As I challenge myself, I’m learning being right butts into being connected.  There’s something isolating about viewpoints when we care more about them than the people in our lives.  It works for official debates but it doesn’t work if you’re interested in life with the person(s) you’re speaking with past that conversation.  I’d go so far as to say that even giving up being right with strangers I’ll never speak to again enhances my closest relationships because it requires me to practice that habit everywhere.

Today was tough because being right is intoxicating.  It’s an addiction I’ve had longer than anything else and I just keep stumbling.  Many times, in conversations with my one person who seemed to be positioned to challenge me ALL day, I didn’t get that I needed give up.  I had to keep trying, releasing, and failing until finally, I got it.  And they got it.  We finally won.  Together.

Failing and going ahead anyway is key to all 30 days of my challenge. Today’s challenge is much needed fuel for the rest of the month.

Today’s challenge: Do not give up

Paulo Coehlo tweeted this today:

That is my challenge today–to keep going even when I mess up.  I have attempted to blog daily here before and that failed.  I’m doing it again.  Even if I’m tired or the computer hiccups, I’ll keep writing every day.  I will not give up on myself as I normally do.

It’s funny how most of my previous challenges have been about giving up something and today’s is about never giving up.  How does that work?  It’s simple.  Give up what needs to be given up and don’t give up on doing that.  Let go of things that don’t work and don’t give up on yourself while you’re doing it because you will definitely fail.  Accept imperfection at the onset and little-engine-that-could your way to the end.

Like many who ran in today’s marathon whether they finished or not, I’m doing something I don’t normally do and it’s quite uncomfortable.  It takes something to finish the race.  It takes something to return to the race when you didn’t finish the last time.  Today’s challenge is simply my directive, after a week of challenging myself, to go on past the ego-burns and energy-cramps this string of challenges keeps causing.

Note to self:  This does not mean stubbornly sticking to things that are no good for me.  It means once I, in my discernment, choose something that inspires me and commit to challenging myself with it, I will keep at it, int this month of all months.  Let’s go!

Today’s victory: If at first you don’t succeed, give up, give up again.  Today I won at failing miserably and jumping back into the fray.  My challenges had no chance.  The conversation I was having had no chance.  I hung up.  I called again.  I failed.  I tried again.  I gave up some more and something made sense.  Finally.

Gratitude: I am grateful for people in my life who never give up on me.

On the horizon: A week of goodies and insights

Why This?

As someone who blogs quite sporadically, I’ve had to take a moment or two and contemplate why I do this.  Why do I write and why here?

I write so that I don’t become one of the dull-eyed people, nodding nearly to the ground that you see all over this city.  Some are obvious addicts who just got a hit but there are many who touch no drugs but find themselves deadening to make it through.  I choose neither, so I write.

I write because my pen still loves you.  It holds onto our memories more steadfastly than my cluttered mind.  It strokes the side of your face to life and dips into your kisses for ink.  The pen never lets that dream disintegrate.  I can visit again and again begging for one more.  The pen always complies, so I continue to write.

I write because I often choke on my truth.  It burns my chest seeking its release.   I write of the permanent stain left without a glimpse back.  Somewhere someone reads and it may not be that who but someone knows.  In the writing, there is that solace.

I write to be known.  To be held here in some way.   To be had here in that way. To have here in this way.  Here, someone can almost hear me scream, laugh, sigh and may care.  I write here because breathing is not enough.


Church @ CCC w/Pastor A.R. Bernard a few weeks ago provided an abundance of inspiration that I’d like to share:

Lesson: Plant Seeds Now

“He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.”  (Ecclesiastes 11:4)

Don’t wait for ideal conditions.  Only sowers reap. That is the antidote to my chronic procrastination of which I may never be cured.  Whenever the procrastination shows up, I can hold this verse up against it and melt it away.

Lesson: Determination

“Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.  And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.  But he answered her not a word.  And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.  But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.   Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.  But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.  And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.  Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt.  And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.” (Matthew 15:21-28)

When your faith is strong, no adversity, unkind word or gesture will turn you from your plea. No pride. Nothing.  Just faith.  It doesn’t matter what people think.  Doesn’t matter if they push you aside.

Determination and resolution are keys to success.  Successful people are willing to take risks.  Successful people accept failure.  They do not avoid it.  They review and examine failure and adjust to see how they can win.  If you are afraid of failure and, especially, rejection, you will never experience success.

People who are easily offended are not truly successful.  Imagine how distracting the naysayers would be as you climb to your pinnacle if you actually listened.  You wouldn’t make it.

At the end of your life, God would rather see the cluttered pages of your trying rather than the blank pages of your giving up.  Life is a fight for territory.  When you stop fighting for what you want, what you don’t want will take its place.  What will you let inhabit the territory in your life?

Live by faith.  Take action in the face of no agreement and adversity and claim the success that is your BIRTHRIGHT.

So right here, in front of every-none, I claim YOU.  I claim you exactly as my birthright and yours demands.  And YOU I claim exactly as I dreamed you.  And THAT exactly as I need it.  And EVERYTHING exactly as I hoped, dreamed, prayed for.

That is my birthright.  Success is MY birthright awaiting my claim.

This is not simple, wishy-washy, hopeful positive thinking.  This is my declaration, the promise of a Naija warrior, child of lights, survivor, conqueror.  Count on this.  Mark my words.