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.

This is the way the world endsThis is the way the world endsThis is the way the world endsNot with a bang but a whimper.1

Challenge Day 29: Dare to Want

One more day to go and suddenly I am incredibly exhausted.  I’d rather nap than blog.  The only thing that keeps me going is my promise.  Good thing I made one, otherwise I wouldn’t have continued.  Thank you for the strength you give me by reading and witnessing my journey.

The last few moments before the end of a grueling marathon can be the worst.  It is in those moments that your mind, body, being resolve whether to finish or to curl up in a ball right there.  The next challenge is important for me to keep going.  Come run with me.

Today’s challenge: Dare to want…wantonly.  Allow yourself to want for no reason.  Want things you’ve never wanted before.  Want until you want no more.  Write it all down.  Change your mind if you need to.  Keep going until you see what you say you want and match that to what you really want.  Write that list about ideal mate that you’ve resisted writing for years.  Go ahead, write it.  Want him and everything.  Go!

Wanting is such a odd thing.  Most of us don’t allow ourselves to want things fearing that wanting things that don’t manifest may kill us or be close to dying.  We treat our wants as if we will never have them and work to push them away.  In turn, we end up yearning those things that we deny.

We suffer when we live as if wanting is a reminder of our inadequacy.  We are stuck believing that we’re not enough to deserve or earn our wants.  What if wanting was a normal part of your day as simple and constant as brushing your teeth?  What if wanting was a tool that you use to design your life?  Today’s challenge is my opportunity to dream to the point of incredulousness, dance into the impossible and shed suffering.  So I will be writing that list and collaging my vision of heart-thumping future.  What have you not dared to want?

Today’s victory: I spent a wonderful weekend failing and winning at most of my challenges.  When I missed the challenge mark, I made sure I went back and hit it dead on.  That looked like heated discussions, impasses and, finally, peaceful resolution.  I’m glad I have these tools working actively in my life.

Gratitude: I am grateful for the incredible community that surrounds, supports and fuels my dreams.

On the horizon: The scoreboard

Challenge Day 27: Lose Wait & Late

This next challenge is one I put off as long as I absolutely could.  In fact, I cheated to make sure it was one of the last challenges I did this month!  Rather than avoiding it any more to the point of further egregiousness, I’m biting the bullet and going for it for these next few days.

Today’s challenge: Give up procrastination and lateness.  For the rest of the month, do not live as if there’s tomorrow or that you have a right or an out that makes it ok to be late.  Lose wait.  Lose late. Go!

Oh, that time thing is one of my biggest issues and it’s closely bound to my procrastination.  Since this challenge is incredibly difficult for me, I had mercy on myself and am practicing it for a few days as a start.  I will challenge myself to 21 days straight of no procrastination or lateness in the next few months.  In the meantime, baby steps.

To come to terms with how detrimental procrastination and lateness have been in my life, I turn to a trusty passage:

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

~Shakespeare, Macbeth Act 5, Scene 5

There’s but so much time in this life.  There is no tomorrow.  It’s gone in a blink.  Why wait?

As for being late, it’s my m.o. all over the place…except for movies.  I am fanatically early for movies–at least an hour or 45 minutes early to shows.  I am committed to getting great seats, no stress finding seating and an overall enjoyable experience at the movies for which I am never, ever late.  Ever.  Odd for a person who is pretty much late for everything else.  I will attempt to apply such dedication to the rest of my life.

Being late, while it may seem innocuous to me since I really intend no harm, chips away at friendships and networks, constantly disappointing and creating mediocre expectations and strained acceptance of “that’s how she is”.

For the next few days, I will honor my friends, networks, commitments and myself by practicing a new-found awareness of and respect for time.  So no more 11th hour blogging and other transgressions…I need all the support I can get so my friends, countrymen/women lend me your encouragement.  It’ll take all that and then some for me to be successful.  My stomach flips at the thought but I’m ready to dive!

Today’s victory: Today’s victory was very simple.  I kept a promise that involved time, my usual nemesis.  Every time I meet the demands of time and promises without avoidance, it’s a huge win.

Gratitude: I am grateful for how much more free I become with each day.  Every day I grow.  I know that every new day presents a new opportunity for breakthrough.  For that I am utterly grateful.

On the horizon: Doing what comes naturally

Challenge Day 24: Let It Go

A new day brings a new challenge.  Now that the Four Agreements are out of the way, I’m left with a week’s worth of challenges to dream up.  I dedicate the next seven challenges to things that I find the most difficult.  Today’s is something I have to keep practicing because it just never sticks.

Today’s challenge: Let things go.  Practice letting go as often as you can.  Let go of people, things, grudges, disappointments.  You name it.  Let it go.  Become a master of unburdening yourself.

Letting go is beyond difficult for me.  I tend to hoard memories and things.  I hold onto data, ideas and what we did last week.  I never forget how you hurt me or how you misunderstood me.  Even my home holds things I refuse to let go.  My favorite poem highlights how letting go feels like losing:

One Art
by Elizabeth Bishop

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

–Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied.  It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

Letting go can feel like dying–if we really know how that feels.  It’s a trick that the familiar plays so that you can continue on the same path.  Notice that when you let go, the bottom does NOT fall out of the world.  If fact the world opens up even more for you.

I can hold onto things that hurt me and keep me from moving forward or I can take a risk to see what will show up once I clear out the space.  For the next few days, I’m going to practice shedding thoughts and things, especially the unnecessary.  I’ll take it even further by letting go of the things I hold onto that seem crucial yet haven’t been useful.  I’ll get rid of those items so that I will room for something new.

So it is with heavy heart that I let go of that one that I want to love me so much that my memories overshadow the present.  I’m letting go of the past to make room for an unrecognizable future.  I will do this every chance I get for the rest of this month.  I wonder what I’ll do with all the space I create.

Today’s victory: I literally let go of something today and I feel great!




I let go of a whole lot of hair today (If only you could see the front!) Chopped!  I feel like a new woman.  Letting go can sometimes be fun.  Who knew? Let the games begin!

Gratitude: I am grateful for the delicious that always finds me.

On the horizon: Lightening my heart

Challenge Day 21: It’s Not Personal

Yesterday’s challenge was to be impeccable with my word, the first of don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements.  I have taken on these agreements in the past and done relatively well.  They have been very helpful but not lasting.  I have to keep reminding myself to keep doing them or they disappear.

This time was no less difficult.  I’m very clear that the words that come out of my mouth shape my world and give me the life that I have, but that doesn’t remove the inclination to grumble, exaggerate and use words to fuel dissatisfaction instead of staving it.  Most of this month’s challenges have had some element of being mindful of what I say and think.  Being impeccable with my word requires a vigilance that is not my norm.

As usual, I did well until I came across a situation where my upset trumped my commitment to an extraordinary life.  In those cases, I’ve had to go back and apologize and restore my word.  I’ve been doing a lot of apologizing this month and I’m happier for it.  Restoration is the flavor of the month.  Today’s challenge will help in those situations as well.

Today’s challenge: Take on the second of the Four Agreements.  Don’t take anything personally.  Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

This, by far, is the most difficult agreement for me to work on.  Actually, it’s the most difficult challenge for me this month.  I take everything personally.  I’m sure that you/he/they tweeted that, said that, did that knowing that it would hurt my feelings.  Of course it was about me and meant to disparage me.  Right?

What does taking things personally do for me other than create opportunities for suffering?  If I considered that people do what they do without targeting me, what would that look like?

I’d have less anxiety if I wasn’t trying to figure out people’s motives.  I could let them be.  I could let me be.  I’d have more energy for the things I love to do.  Without of the burden of perceived judgment or rejection, I’d be free to dance through life.  I am the source of suffering in my world.  I get to say whether it can stay or go.  I promise to do my best these next few days to actively remind myself that it’s not personal.

Today’s victory: I was able to dig deep into my network across continents to assist someone I love and respect. I am more powerful and influential than I imagine.  I can make a difference in places and ways that I never thought of.  You are too.

Gratitude: I am grateful for the talents and abilities that I’ve been blessed with that I often take for granted or assume everyone else possesses.  I understand that these gifts are mine own.   For that, I am beyond grateful.

On the horizon: When ducks aren’t ducks.

Challenge Day 17: Exquisite Revisited

I remember when I took on practicing an act of exquisite self-care every day back in June.  The idea of taking a stand to do something to really honor myself each day put a tremor in my heart then.  I could barely conceive doing something solely for me every day and I did my best to maintain that it month.  I did not quite make it through all those days and I did not track my experience here (to the chagrin of many who were anticipating the stories and victories after reading the challenge).  My apologies to you all.

Since I challenged myself to finish things this month, I think it’s time to revisit June’s challenge and tell you a little bit about how it went.  But before that, let’s lay out today’s challenge.

Today’s challenge: Practice an extraordinary act of self-care every day.

What this challenge entails is best expressed in what I wrote those months back:

What is exquisite self-care?  What isn’t?

Exquisite self-care calls for me to put myself in front of friends, family, work, love at least once a day and do something that makes me happy, has my heart singing, making me my own beloved…every day.  It involves doing the things I stopped doing for myself because they kept getting in the way of results.  Exquisite self-care isn’t about shirking responsibility or foregoing promises.  It is not being lazy and avoiding life and things.  It isn’t easy.  It is me finally going the distance to be my own hero and save the day for myself.

Here are some of the things I did and learned during my earlier foray into the world of exquisite self-care:

  • Because I work from home, the boundaries between work and personal time blur and I made a greater effort to delineate the two
  • I requested that my workday start at a particular time and no earlier
  • I made sure my workday ended at a set time and did not spill into my personal time
  • I made sure that I took care of all my needs before working: showering, eating, taking a moment to myself
  • I made sure that the people that I work with were completely taken care of when I sent them out on sales calls.  There was nothing they could desire.  It was an honor to provide for them, exquisitely
  • I realized that when I stood up for exquisite self-care for myself, I stood up for the same for others
  • Exquisite self-care arises in the strangest places and I need varying levels of gentleness and drive to carry it out each day
  • When people know what you stand for, taking care of yourself honorably and unequivocally, people give you space to make that happen and it is as if they are doing the same for themselves when they give you space
  • An exquisitely-cared-for-me is a delight to be around
  • An exquisitely-cared-for-me needs nothing from anyone–what a breath of fresh air!

Taking time just for me provides infinite benefits for me and others.  Imagine if everyone in the world took a moment each day to do something delightful for themselves for no reason.  Imagine what they would be able to do for others.

It is less daunting this time around as become expert in adding challenge after challenge.  Also since I attempted this already, I know it works and enhances my life.  It’s easier for me to commit to because these last few days of challenges have been a for of exquisite self-care in some way.

For the next 2 weeks, I will do something to honor and delight myself each and every day for no other reason than because I promised myself.  As always, please join me.

Today’s victory: I let a friend who requested space just be.  I didn’t make her wrong or condemn her to being denied my friendship when she reaches out again.  I trust that our friendship will withstand this bump.  Faith flows through me particularly in this situation–very different than I would have been in the past.

Gratitude: I am grateful for the wonderful men I have loved and what I have learned about life and myself from them.  Each one has taught me what I want and need.  Bless them!

On the horizon: That time thing

Challenge Day 16: Say it IS So

16 days in and I realize that every day I have to remind myself why I chose to embark on this month of challenges. I want something new–something beyond the status quo. This is the month I give my life a jolt.

I can’t keep shocking myself into transformation so, today, I began searching for what sustains change. One of the answers is today’s challenge.

Today’s challenge: Start every day with an affirmation that will give you wings through your day and pull you towards dreams. Look in the mirror and say it at least 3 times. Do the same thing every night, before bed.

Affirmations work, if you believe in them. Mind over matter. Say something enough times and watch it manifest. Be mindful of what and why you’re saying and go for it. They are what sustain and maintain the transformation you seek in your life by reminding you of what you’re reaching for.

Adding a practice of speaking the same affirmation 3 times at the beginning and end of my day enhances this challenge experience. It allows me to push for creation.

I really believe that what we say gives us our lives. I am mindful of the detrimental things that might spill out of my mouth these days and do my best to keep them at a minimum. Besides avoiding negative statements, I am committing to reshaping my world with words that feed my dreams, morning and night. With that, surely I cannot lose. Join me.

Today’s victory: My relationship with my brother has blossomed into something wonderful and loving that I previously could not conceive when we were breaking each other’s hearts and spirits with arguments. I have him back through challenging myself to this month’s practices of giving up being right and being peaceful. I’m glad. I missed him.

Gratitude: I am grateful for all my adventures and serendipity.

On the horizon: Contagious delight

Challenge Day 10: Celebrate Great

As of yesterday’s post, I’ve broken my record of the most posts in 1 month (9 in April when I first started blogging).  In spite of technical difficulties uploading posts at times, I have written every day since I started my challenge.

10 days into my 30 days of challenges and I feel a bit lost.  Although I’ve had major breakthroughs, I’m fixated on the instances where I fall short.  Eight victories have no power over one glaring failure or two.  While I know, conceptually, that these shortcomings can and will be converted to successes, it sure doesn’t feel like that right now and I’m ready to spend the rest of the month under my blankie.  Who came up with the idea of challenging yourself every day this month?  Let me speak to her supervisor…

After my latest fit of discomfort, all I can do is read this month’s entries. I read about each challenge and I’m assured of the intention of this journey: create an unrecognizable life. I have not been perfect but I’ve been in action. I notice that each day, I’ve done something that made a difference. The challenge today is clear.

Today’s challenge: Celebrate something great every day no matter how seemingly mundane.

Save the self-criticism and perfection for when you’re working on your triple axel for the next Winter Olympics.  For everyday life, find something great in you and celebrate.  It’s pretty easy to go over the day and think of the things that you wish you could fix.  You can’t go back and change a thing.

Go ahead and note what you need to improve but don’t stop there.  Don’t end a day without acknowledging the awesome things about you that you take for granted.  Stop being numb to the incredible things you do in a blink that can be difficult for most people.  Take a moment and simply celebrate.

I will celebrate and use it as fuel for my tomorrows.  I will store celebration to sip on when I get stuck.

Today’s victory:  Posting here consistently past where I usually stop.

Gratitude: I am grateful for the clean slate of every day and the strength to give it my all.

On the horizon: Tying loose ends


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.