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Getting my spirit right – How to make the first steps to change your life

I am realizing now that for the last few years my spirit has been all wrong. If you asked my then though, I would have said it was in the right place.

As hard as it is to admit, this time last year I was arrogant (because I was entering an MBA program), I was scared (because I was entering an MBA program), I was jealous (I was always comparing others lives to mine), I was mean (using my power to hurt others if I felt like I was wronged), I was depressed ( I was in a toxic relationship with a person who was lost too), and I was constantly filled with anxiety (I always consumed myself with thoughts of the future and what was going to happen to me). I thought I was a good person but in reality I was lost and bound to the person society said I should be (looking at the way black women are portrayed in the media, I was fitting in very well with that mold). It took me some time and some bad incidences to realize that something in my life had to change. I could no longer keep waking up with a deep aching feeling inside of my chest and having the occasional cry in my car just to “let things out”. I needed more, a lot more. And that is when I decided that I was going to push myself and seek out God.

Now that I am on a spiritual journey and rediscovering Christ I realized that I had to turn away from A LOT. In order to do so I had to sit and really think about the things I needed to eliminate in order to get to where I’m was trying to be. Below are a few things I’ve changed:

1. Decreasing my time spent on social media – this is a hard one but a necessary one. I haven’t given it up cold turkey but I did delete my Instagram app. I was spending hours looking at what everyone else was doing in their lives and would begin feeling depression or envy. In order to combat this I deleted my app to decrease my accessibility to those thoughts and feelings.

2. Reading my Bible, watching sermons – it’s amazing how the things we go through today are written about in the Bible. God has provided us with the blueprint to properly navigate through our lives, all we have to do is read what’s in his word.

3. Forcing myself to think positively– I was told that if you force yourself to think positively, it trains your brain, over time, to think positively. This is important in combating negative feelings that may be weighing you down. I have really made a point to do this daily and I have already been feeling a massive difference

4. Talking to someone – whether it be a counselor, a therapist, a pastor or a life coach, talking to a professional on the regular will help with trying to change your life. And no I’m not talking about your best friend who is probably just as lost, hurt and broken as you, but a real professional who knows what they are talking about and who can give you techniques to strive and get better.

5. Changing what I eat – believe it or not what you eat actually affects your mood and behavior. You eat junk, you’re going to get junk. Changing up my diet is still something I’m working on but I have decreased the amount of junk foods in my diet. Though it’s hard being a college student and not eating out, this is essential in turning things around.

I have a lot more tips that I will save for another post but these are just a few that I have started with to help me down the right path. So far, just a few weeks in to my journey and with these changes I have already been able to FEEL a really big change!

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My Journey Of Rediscovering Christ

I haven’t always been the most spiritual person. I grew up in a religious family but I always found church boring and unnecessary. It seemed like such a major task. One that I was not willing to take part in, so around the age of 14, I stopped going to church and stopped praying. I wouldn’t say that I stopped believing but my faith was not where it needed to be.

All throughout high school and college I walked a faithless walk. I did what I wanted to do and really didn’t care much about building a real relationship with God. It wasn’t until I was 24 years old and I went through my first real heartbreak that I realized I needed to do something else to heal the pain I was in. At this time I moved to Dallas in an attempt to make myself feel better. When that didn’t work I decided to turn to God. During that time period, I was in a lot of pain but I found comfort in God. It was an amazing feeling and I had never felt more peace than when I was in his presence. I would pray a lot and seek God in the times of turmoil. But unfortunately as I built up this relationship with God, I began to backslide as soon as I moved back on the east coast. There were a number of reasons for this, but mostly because I was surrounded by none believers who did nothing to help my spirit.

Since then it has been a constant up and down of me always promising to get back in the church and to read my Bible and not actually doing it. Being in an MBA program is so hard that after your week is completed you sometimes want to use the whole weekend to decompress, but I’ve been feeling like there is something missing from my life. I’ve tried to fill the void with a number of things. I would even say that coming back to school was an attempt to do as such but the emptiness still persisted. I finally realized that what I was missing was a relationship with Christ.

It is not easy to just pick back up where you left off and some times it can seem scary trying to take the steps needed to find Jesus but I built a plan for myself to take baby steps to where I need to be. I have tried to come back hundreds of times but this time I am determined to will myself back into His presence. I have decided to start with prayer and daily reading of His word. I have set up a series of reminders to do so, as well as, have told close friends about my journey so they can hold me accountable. I have begun bringing my Bible places with me to ensure I read a little each day. I signed up for daily devotional emails and have made an effort to talk about Christ to my Christian friends. My goal is to sharpen my faith muscles by surrounding myself by His word. I want to rebuild my foundation so that the pains of this world can stop having such an affect on me.

I am curious to see my transformation as I continue to study the word and delve deeper into my relationship with Christ. I am excited to see the person I am with broken chains and deliverance. I know this won’t be easy but I am ready and willing to put in the work to ensure that my spirit is right moving forward.

2018 Resolutions

I had to take some time to really think about what my New Years resolution would be. Initially when I decided to write this post I was rushing to write down things and I found that my resolutions were somewhat cliche and unauthentic. So it took me 15 days into January to really figure out what I wanted to work on this year and how I want to improve in life. So here it is:

  1. No more self silencing – A lot of times I have self silenced myself in fear of what others may think or fear of hurting another persons feelings. This has caused a lot of issues in my life because I find myself doing things that I don’t necessarily want to do. Then I beat myself up for not speaking up.
  2. No More Comparing – This is something that I didn’t even realize that I did until I forced myself to sit back and take time to think about my flaws. I don’t think that most women would admit it (but I’m going to be real here), but I realized that this is something that I did so much that I didn’t even realize I was doing it.
  3. Self Preservation– I realized that this HAD to be on my list. I need to practice self preservation of my mind, body and soul. I want to do more to preserve my physical by eating healthier, drinking more water, and working out. I also want to make sure to do things like getting facials and focusing more on my hair health. I want to go to church more to feed my mind and soul. And take the time to sit, pray, be quiet, and meditate to feed my mental!
  4. Using Social Media Less –  This ties in to my #2. I believe that with me going on social media and clicking on others pages and thinking negative comments about others, or thinking negative comments about myself, I am in turn doing more damage to myself than I realize. By forcing myself to use social media less, stay away from certain peoples pages (lets admit, we all go on peoples pages that we don’t follow and or even like), and spending more time and energy to improving myself will allow me to really improve in 2018.
  5. No complaining, Positive Outlooks Only – This is the key to living a better happy life, in my opinion. It will improve my daily mood, my daily outlook, and my overall success in life.
  6. Be more prepared – Being that I am in school, I need to get way better at being more prepared. I need to stop waiting until the last minute to study, to do assignments.
  7. Work Harder – I work hard but there is always room to work harder and nap less.

At Peace

I think this is literally the first time in my life I have been at PEACE. I am a person who deals with a lot of anxiety and some times I make myself cray thinking about the things that I can not change and control. This year I decided that all of that was going to stop and that I would no longer live my life as such. I started off my year being the same old me with all of my anxiety and so on but one day I got down on my knees and decided to pray. The prayer that I prayed was for God to help me with my anxiety, and allow me to be more grateful for the things that I have and STOP harboring over the things that I don’t have. I also asked God to help me be more positive in all situations and always find the good in anything that is thrown my way. I also promised to stop looking at what other people were doing in their lives and just focus on myself.

My goal in 2018 is to put 110% energy, mental and physical, into myself. Ever since I have prayed this prayer and really been trying to be more positive, my whole attitude has been totally different. I have never felt better before. I am so at peace with myself and my life than I have ever been in my life. It has only been about a week since I prayed this prayer, but when I tell you that since that week I have been thrown some curve balls (including me getting robbed in Trinidad)…I have been thrown some massive curve balls that were meant to take me down. BUT someway, somehow I haven’t felt anxiety or depression rather just Peace and Joy!!!

I say this to say, that being at Peace isn’t something that you can’t have too. You need to strive for it and really work on it. You need to identify and eliminate the things that is causing you not to have peace in your life. A habit, a person or a place that you’re in, whatever it is, nip it in the bud immediately. And last but not least, pray with an honest and open heart for peace and stillness.

Oversharing

 

I recently had an epiphany. In a world of sharing, perhaps there are some things that are better left unshared.

Of course with each one of my milestones and accomplishments I want to let the world know about what I’ve done, but it occurred to me that perhaps I was doing all of these things to gain some type of validation from the outside world.

I mean, is it not enough to tell my close family and friends about my accomplishments, receive a congrats text, and just be happy with that? Must I update my FB status telling all my FB friends (most of whom are people from high school that I don’t even talk to anymore) that I have done something awesome in my life? Must I put everything that I have done in my instagram bio? Must I post every picture that me and the guy that Im dating at that time online so that the world knows who I am seeing? Must I post things riddled with hashtags so people can see who I am??? (#blackgirlMagic, #RoadToMBA, #blacknomad).

These are just some of the questions that I began asking myself and I realized that moving forward I want to dial back what I show to the world and the manner in which I discuss my accomplishments.

Am I proud of myself? Yes. Do I want people to be just as excited and happy as I am about me moving forward in my life? Yes. But there is a fine line between sharing and bragging and I don’t want to cross that line.

So with that being said I went on my instagram and cleared out my bio. I deleted any pictures of me and any significant other and I decided to just keep the photos that I felt relayed a message of happiness, joy, and fun.

Every living moment of my life doesn’t have to be put on display and some precious moments are better left to those that are close to me.

 

 

South Africa Part 10: The Return Back Home

The last thing that was a big treat for us was that  my boyfriend and I got a free upgrade to business class during our layover in Dubai.

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Us in business class. Can you see how excited we were to be there!

The amount of excitement that we were filled with was that of a child being able to eat ice cream and cake for dinner!  Don’t get me wrong coach on Emirates Airways is really great but Business Class takes your flying experience to a whole other level.

For instance, business class is located on the top floor of the plane (Yes, this plane has two levels). As soon as we got to our seats we saw how big of a difference it was flying business class. The biggest thing were seats that could be laid out horizontally with a push of a button so that one could sleep on the flight the same way that you sleep in your bed. This was so BOMB!

The second major difference was the food. Though the food in coach was delicious, the food in business class was much better. The food seemed fresher as though it was cooked by a chef on the plane (although I know it had not) and as soon as we sat down we were given a choice of champagne, and mimosas before take off. Oh and did I mention that they had premium alcohol in business class.

In business class they feed you, LITERALLY, all through out the flight. I thought we were pretty well feed in coach, but in business class they come around with many different things such as: warm croissants, pastries, and warm nuts.  There is also a lounge area in the back of the plane and a fully stocked bar! My boyfriend and I took this as a chance to try some expensive alcohol that we probably will never buy with our own money! In the lounge they had even more snacks for us to munch on during the flight  including cheese, small cakes, and crackers. And yes we did get fed three meals while in business class, so all the extra snacks were just an added bonus! Flight attendants also  laid out linen table clothes for each person before we ate. We also had actual glasses and silverware in business class that made you feel a little bit more at home.

Because our seats converted to beds I slept way more on this leg of the trip than I did when I went to South Africa. I am not sure when I will ever get an opportunity to fly in business class again (considering for one leg on Emirates it can cost you upwards to 5k for a business class ticket), but I sure did enjoy my 13 hour flight from Dubai back to the United States!

South Africa Part 9: Our last day in Cape Town

Our last day in Cape Town we spent the day at Green Market Square. The day before we had asked one of our servers  where was a good place for us to purchase South African souvenirs at a cheaper price. He said Green Market Square was the place to go. Since we only had a few more hours left in Cape Town until we departed, we ate a small breakfast and made our way to Green Market Square. We called an Uber and he dropped us off right by the square

Once we walked up, there were several different vendors and most of them were selling the same things. Initially I thought that each vendor had hand crafted, painted or sewn each item, but as I walked around I realized that they all had the same exact items. But this was not that big of a deal to me because the items were very nice nonetheless.

What is good about Green Market Square is that you can negotiate prices with the vendors. What is bad about Green Market Square is that you can negotiate prices with the vendors. What do I mean? Well first off it is always a good thing when you can talk down a price but some times this can lead to vendors haggling you, giving you their life story about how much they are struggling or even you feeling guilty that you asked for a cheap price on an item (this was my case, I felt really bad asking for lower prices). It was a bit overwhelming when we were walking around the different booths trying to decide what to get. I wanted to get everything, but of course I could not. It was also overwhelming because as soon as I would go up to look at an item more closely I was then bombarded with the vendor asking me a ton of questions or saying things to me to try and make me buy it. I mean I get it. This is how people make their living and as a person from a third world myself I respect the hustle, but sometimes I just want to browse and decide on my own.

Nonetheless we ended up getting some real good items to bring back to America. Some of the vendors actually take credit cards, but most only take cash. We ran out of cash at one point in time so we had to go to a local ATM to get some more. Since Green Market Square is in a busy part of Cape Town finding an ATM was not hard at all.

 We purchased kente clothe bags, necklaces, cups, dashikis, key chains, and so much more. Here are just some of the items that we purchased. Unfortunately I did not think to take any pictures of Green Market Square myself (still trying to get use to documenting everything) but I went ahead and googled some images of the square so that you could get the idea of what it was like.