What We've Learned In 2011

This is the last three days in December (yipes) and I swear I could blink and it was a year ago and we were about the start 2011. Instead 2012 is but a mere breath away. Doesn’t it feel as if time is speeding up? It’s like Daylight Savings when the sun sets by 5pm and it’s still dark at 7am – unless you’re close to Greenwich Mean Time where it gets dark around 330pm! Anyway, the point is the days are shorter and you have to make the most of your time if you’re trying to do significant things.

These changes don’t have to come from a big splash of activity or a sense of foreboding from carrying heavy mental loads about how serious things are. Except if you’re in any type of physically tenuous situation [living in an unsafe neighborhood or health concerns], then take care of yourself! We can literally spend 15 minutes a day doing things unemotionally, by rote, with consistency and be able to look back months from now and notice the huge shifts in whatever direction we had pointed to.

For me 2011 has only been slightly less painful than 2010 was. The difference is realizing this huge discomfort has literally forced me to consider several options and to pay attention. Some people are willing to spend their entire lives asleep at the wheel. Failure is a part of life. It means you tried something. Timing or execution may not always synch, but the alternative is settling. If you have options why not go for it?

For black women in particular this is a full circle moment. Those who position themselves can reap the benefits from previous generations’ sacrifices and create opportunities in larger numbers and with greater ease than what may have been available to others. We need a return on our investments.

Women have made so many gains in the past two generations, interpersonal relationships are harder to categorize. It is more important than ever to not just be politically savvy, but cultivate goodwill. Functioning men need to know there’s still a prominent place for them to provide, protect, problem-solve and produce. It’s up to us to consider extending an olive branch where necessary to address imbalances.

One conversation with a stranger shifted my focus in ways that are still being revealed and I’m walking down a completely different path than what I knew existed. I still have fears about taking certain risks because I know I can’t control the outcome. I’m getting more comfortable in trusting that the point is to not focus on a specific outcome at a particular time, but trusting in the process itself that it will yield satisfactory results..eventually. That lack of control kills me, but ultimately it’s freeing!

I’m working my way through the idea of that we’re co-creators with God and the Universe will provide when we ease into a flow and stop trying to make things happen with lists of do’s and don’ts. Changing one’s mind about something can take a looong time. 

After having written nearly 1,000 posts with a few dozen yet to be published, I’ve seen patterns emerge. I realize that starting this forum put me in touch with all of you and while I have learned a great deal, my core values were already there. Doing this work and letting the insight inform me only honed many things into shape and polished hidden gems.

I don’t like to reveal too much personal stuff because this is the WORLD WIDE WEB, but I have always discussed inner motivations, desires and plans for a brighter future – even when I was complaining about something. I’ve finally figured out that focusing on the problem (beyond general assessment) only magnifies it, so I will now key in on what happens after the worm becomes a butterfly and work my way from the place of arrival and what that’s like.

Think about one of your ‘impossibilities’ and how it would feel to be there. How you’d go about your day. What it would look like. This is not the time for realism. Fantasize away! The bigger the better. You don’t need to labor at being positive, hopeful or accept it – not yet. This is about adding new options.

I’ve had dreams with no specific time-frame attached to it, yet to unfold, so I can see that’s something I need to adjust. I’m straddling hopefulness with discouragement and frustration right now, because we can mistake activity with progress or stillness with laziness. There’s just that little turn at the corner where everything comes together. I think the only people who feel 100% confident or in control all the time aren’t real!

I’m thinking about relationships. Significant personal ones, meaningful professional ones and poignant temporary ones. 2012 is the year of making connections, although I will not be tied to focusing on controlling their scope or length of time, I do want them to have meaning. 

We can’t change our pasts. We can’t make the “facts”, conditions or circumstances of our lives disappear. Where we are today may already be set in motion. We do NOT have to carry those “facts” into tomorrow, or the next day or the rest of our lives if we decide we want new “facts”, conditions and circumstances to take precedence. Don’t let what we don’t want DOMINATE us.

Put a time-stamp date on your dreams. Don’t worry about whether you will get there and don’t let that one date be your make or break it moment. This isn’t about faking it. We can begin trusting in God and the Universe to have our backs incrementally. Much of what we discuss at this forum is to promote higher purpose living which requires more insight and awareness. There’s no more hitting the snooze button of life.

I am working on many of these things as I share what I’m continually learning with you. I’ve seen the outcome as a few of you have applied new thoughts, taken baby steps and accomplished fantastic things. From the reader who married in less than one year (not from reading this forum exclusively but it was a reinforced message across several blogs, coupled with its application) to the reader who went abroad and participated in one of the programs I highlighted, it can be done! I’ve already drafted a follow-up to that which will post in January.

This isn’t about being perfect, cured from ‘defect’ or released from fear. We may not have inertia just yet. We have to be willing to keep at it. As long as we’re alive we still have time.

THANK YOU Blogging Audience for your participation. Your donations help keep the forum active. I’m looking forward to our continued connections in 2012 and beyond. Here’s a few of the posts that made the pan sizzle.

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My 30-Day OM Challenge

Why I’m Not A Feminist: An Economics Lesson

Why You Should Ignore the Critics and Give Colombiana A Chance

Note to Hipster Misogynists: Time to Put Your Big Girl Panties On!

Why Is Thinking About Your Needs First So Difficult For Black Women?

Have You Spent Your Nest Egg On Crap?

AA Legacy Series Spotlight

The “F” Word: Femininity v. Feminism Battle For Dominance In Women’s Lives

Have You Read the Holstee Manifesto?

The Way To Help People Out Of Mediocrity Is To Make Them Uncomfortable With It

Drop The Religiosity & Get Your “Love Boat” In Order

Let’s Remember To Use A Little Common Sense Where Men Are Concerned, Okay?

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