On #NationalSelfieDay – I Wish

If you could take a ‘selfie’ of your inner self, would it be beautiful?

It is such a great feeling to be back on this blog. When I noticed that today was National Selfie Day, I smiled at the thought of everyone celebrating. In 2016 that’s pretty much a daily celebration, with some people being down right experts.  Me…I take horrible selfies so I’ll be sitting this one out.  My next thought was more introspective. What if the selfie picture showed your true “inside” self? Sounds like a modern day Twilight Zone episode. (If you don’t know what that is, you may be too young. 😊)

I believe that if selfies had a “true you” filter, taking them would be exceptionally rare. The filter would show doubts, fears, regrets, insecurities, pride, jealousy, hate, anger, loneliness and countless other hidden colors of that persons heart. Some would post pictures of compassion, patience, dreams, pain, and some level of disappointment. It would be great if cameras had an ‘internal selfie’ filter because it would open up an opportunity for personal reflection. 

My selfie today would show a “what if”. Not a strong as regret because I’m breathing and able to pick up the trail if I think that path is really worth the journey.  While I were in college I had to take a number of “arts” courses to fulfill my requirements. Everyone that journeyed the collegiate road had a few of those sessions of forced education. At the time I was deeply focused Accounting/Economics and Systems Information to finalize my career choice. I’ve always loved the Arts, but for this part of my life it was an interruption. I believe I took that stance because I had to take the classes. I filled my 2 years with one year of vocal, one semester of Jazz Piano, and a semester of Art Appreciation. I pushed through the classes with an outward resistance, but in the inside I really enjoyed digging deeper into my artistic side. I hadn’t tackled the piano since I was a child. I took to it again naturally and did far better than I should have considering that I never took reasonable time to practice. I remember my professor threatening to fail me if I didn’t ace the final. He was a local musician that also had National credits. Being born with a disability, he’d overcome huge obstacles to master his craft. Our final assignment was to compose an original jazz piece. I could see the absolute frustration on his face when I completed the piece with excellence on my last day. In hindsight, I’d give myself the same look of disappointment. What if I’d taken the time to actually practice?

The next what if I came from the vocal class. What I’ve completed my rendition of the classic song,  Summertime, our vocal Professor asked if I would be continuing into Ensemble. I had the nerve to somewhat smugly answer, no. In the first class I had completed the semester with a rendition of God Bless the Child. I channeled my inner Billie Holiday and had a lot of fun with it. I didn’t hate going into the second semester but I still feel that I had more important classes to take. So the answer that I gave her was not intended to be condescending but instead reflective of the fact that, in my mind, I had better things to do. She did ask me to think about it, complementing my smokey vocal tones and nice range. Fast forward to a day when someone that I really admire gave me their professional opinion about my ability to lead a small group of singers. It wasn’t the type of activities that required strong skill, just the ability to follow notes and coordinate vocal parts. I listen to his critique and had a “what if” reflection. What if I was more vocal about the fact that I had saying that ground on a Grammy award-winning album? What if I shared with him that I had years of experience by then singing in choir stand leading songs? What if I had followed the suggestion and moved on to Ensemble where I could have traveled and performed? What if I didn’t smugly push one talent to the side to prioritize the one that I assumed would make my life complete? I didn’t waste the semester of Art Appreciation as one that could be of benefit in the corporate world and higher end cultural circles. It’s the only the one that doesn’t cause me to wonder “what if”.

Those what-ifs have the threatening ability to become regrets. As I look at my selfie I need to determine if it’s just a passing thought or a dream to pursue. It’s not that I’ve ever had the aspirations to perform in front of an audience. But there is a place where just being able to reach standard of excellence for yourself matters. I do feel that I want that for this talent as well. Why let something so awesome go to waste when everyone didn’t get it. It doesn’t matter if it means anyone else’s standard. It just needs to meet my satisfaction.

Ultimately, the best selfie anyone can take is an inside reflection. It’s time today to look into your heart and mind see what’s inside that you need to make better for your life.

The better you live, the better you give.

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Former President of Trader Joe’s Opens “Daily Table” Nonprofit Grocery Store

A decent meal is so vital to children for living, learning, and loving. More of these can make a difference in our collective strength as a stronger America.

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Daily Table founder Doug Rauch greets Latoya Rush after she walks into the store. Jesse Costa/WBUR Daily Table founder Doug Rauch greets Latoya Rush after she walks into the store.
Jesse Costa/WBUR

Daily Table opened its doors Thursday with shelves full of surplus and aging food.

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Every child has the ability to succeed,

Every child has the ability to succeed, don’t let a Foster Child go unnoticed. Help us by donating. http://ow.ly/NFaC2

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http://ow.ly/NNpLA

http://ow.ly/NNpLA

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Don’t let your awareness end simply bec

Don’t let your awareness end simply because #FosterCareMonth is over. Many Foster Children still need your support. http://ow.ly/NFavg

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The Greatest of These – #Love is #Happiness #WorthIt

“Until ‘you’ FULLY embrace who ‘you are’, no amount of money, no person or external things will EVER make you happy or bring you peace.”  ~ Yvonne Pierre, The Day My Soul Cried: A Memoir

What did you get yourself for Valentine’s Day? I hope it was something special. Maybe you got yourself something nice enough to share it with your family or that special person.

Love YourselfThe important thing is that you woke up with you as your first love.

The second most important thing is understanding what true self love is about. In a world of selfies and looking out for number one, it is easy for people to mistake narcissistic behaviors such as these for self love. That’s not so say that putting yourself first or taking a selfie are always neurotic behaviors. The press of this thought is thought is that true self love is deeper. It goes drastically deeper than the shallow things that other people can see.

True self love seeks light, in spite of the appearance of darkness in your life. True self love is a firm and stable foundation to support your mission in life. You can’t reach your life destiny without a well lit path.  Loving yourself honestly creates the light of achievement.

There are wealthy, well dressed, famous, influential people that haven’t learned to love themselves. That reality is just not as obvious. We speak poorly of the young woman or man that disrespects themselves in their dress code, appearing look more like a prostitute or homeless person than a person that is due respect. We can see externally that they need to love themselves better. There are the obvious examples of people that use drugs, sex, or alcohol to numb their heart and mind so they won’t have to feel the hurt of not having their first love. There are even the people that have felt so much pain from abuse or not having an example of love that they have no idea how to love themselves. But just as sad are the people that were given cash and material goods in lieu of love. They spend their life walking in that dark definition of love and always knowing that they are missing something. They seek happiness in a lifestyle, the approval of others, or bullied respect. But when they find themselves alone, after the selfies and self promotion, they find emptiness.  They are often lonely in crowds and alone surrounded by people.

Self Love – The Greatest Love of All – gives you internal strength. It gives you joy whether or not you are having a good day. It is the single element that takes all of those motivational speeches and inspirational quotes to the next level of internalizing and achievement. Self Love doesn’t regard the physical appearance and looks as the greatest asset. Time will change the external, but internal love and strength is timeless.

When you love yourself, your greatest asset is self appreciation. You know that life itself is the greatest gift. So no matter if your family life was tremendous or a tragedy, the presence of life is the presence of hope. When you love yourself you understand that your existence matters. You are created with purpose and when you fulfill your purpose, you take your rightful place in the beauty of human achievement. When you love yourself, you look at everyone first with a heart of compassion. When you love yourself you can not be defined by anyone else. You take the strength of faith and hope to build yourself. You accomplish things.

If you find yourself in a cycle of disappoint, unhappiness, or unrest – maybe the thing that’s missing is love – TRULY LOVING – yourself. You are worth it.

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Assassinate the #Positive – The #Joy Factor of #Success

You cannot have a positive life and a negative mind. ~Joyce Meyer

I feel one of the most shameful traits of modern society is the widespread acceptance of Positivity Assassination. What do I mean by that?

  • You see public figures doing a good deed. They are actually doing something that has a verifiable positive impact on an issue or community. The immediate response by far too many is to bring up every thing in their past to prove “their not that good”.
  • A teen is highlighted for a great accomplishment. Rather than take the time to recognize and celebrate that one teen, the shortcomings of many others is made more public, inadvertently teaching young people that this IS what we expect of your generation.
  • A greater and personal example – Foster and At-Risk Youth. The bar to positive expectations is set very low. A great number of people have a base expectation of academic and career failure. When you rise above the expectation there are the Assassins ready to remind you that your start wasn’t great – therefore you can not become great. They sometimes even go as far as to attempt to victimize your mind with the pains of your past.

NO!   The understanding of a developed positive mindset opens your mind and spirit to joy and self-determination.  It start with the unapologetic commitment to follow your own productive path to personal fulfillment. Not selfishness…just “putting the mask on yourself” so you’re whole and able to be effective in your contribution to others. Positive and secure enough in your own growth and independence that it doesn’t even occur to your to respond with a negative comment or thought when you observe a productive act.

THE CHALLENGE: Catch yourself. The heart of that behavior is jealousy. hate or self-reflection. Jealousy: In this situation, feeling like someone else’s accomplishment will get them attention that you crave. Hate: No matter how much love and positivity is introduced into the world, hate will never be fully conquered. Out of hate, many people will put in work to discredit anything positive that comes from the target of their poison. Self-Reflection: Sometimes, it is the guilt when someone knows that they can and should be doing more. Rather than take the rise of excellence or positive living, they resort to the destruction of another person castle. The best that you can do is make sure that your castle isn’t built of sand. Be Genuine. Be Strong. Be Positive!

“Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact.” ~William James


Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate The Positive ~ Johnny Mercer (click to hear)

You’ve got to accentuate the positive

Eliminate the negative

Latch on to the affirmative

Don’t mess with Mister In-Between

You’ve got to spread joy up to the maximum

Bring gloom down to the minimum

Have faith or pandemonium

Liable to walk upon the scene

The best resources you have for positive living in your heart and mind.

The best resources you have for positive living are your heart and mind.

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