The Power Walk

“I have a trail I want to show you. Will you go walking with me?”

Admittedly I’ve put on a few pounds. The thought of walking didn’t sound as appealing as drinks and appetizers. However, my mother is a ridiculously busy person and we never get to spend time together so I accepted her invitation. She’s one of those people who “have it together.” The reliable conservative type.

“Maybe if I walk with her, her sense of order will rub off on me because I definitely didn’t get it genetically.”

When I got home from work, I informed my husband I was going for a power walk with my mom. I know him. He probably immediately envisioned old ladies at the mall with pink dumbbells in their hands with walkmans and black Sony headphones. He’s a runner. He runs at least 6 miles a day so walking makes no sense to him. When I came out the bathroom in my hot pink Miami souvenir t-shirt and my psychedelic Hot Soxx and tights, he gave me a quizzical look. “You’re not going to burn any calories. Why are you dressed like that?” I smiled, kissed him and the kids and left.

The truth? I was genuinely excited. I needed a break. Just a moment to decompress. An hour to reassess the tasks on my mental “to do” list. I have colleagues who “unplug” weekly. They do not tend to their phones, social media or personal email for a day or two. An old friend of mine has a rule that neither she nor her spouse can answer their cellular phones after 9pm. When the kids are asleep and it’s just the two of them it becomes time to unplug from everyone else and recharge their union. It sounds corny but there is validity to it.

“When I came here before, all these trees had no leaves. Some of the flowers looked dead like they’d never bloom again. Now they’re all green.”

The power walk was a physical reminder that life is just a meandering trail that we haven’t seen before. We don’t know what comes next. We can fret over bugs. Or maybe at night someone will jump out of the darkness and attack us. A tree branch may break and fall on your head. No matter what happens there is also a strong possibility it will be scenic, pedagogical and best of all you may find company so you don’t have to walk alone.

The older I get, the more I value the friend that will pray with you. It’s like singing your favorite song and someone just jumping on the hook and harmonizing with you. That’s powerful!

The trail may be unique to you but someone else has already walked it. Seek counsel from wise elders, mentors, or even blog communities. There are people who have been through what you’ve been through or they are going through it right now with class and ease. They’re making it look easy!! While you’re panicking, they’re strategizing and preparing for the next blow.

After the walk we went to Wendy’s (I did get a salad at least) but regardless of what I ate I felt lighter. I shed some stress. I was a little more content with the lack of control that humanity sometimes requires. It really was a power walk.

By Shaun Liriano

Shut Ya Mouth and Pray -The Journey

image

Today I almost forgot.  I run around a lot. Always trying to squeeze everything in. It’s necessary and it’s important. I love the feeling at the end of the day that I did everything I am capable of for that day.

I have to take a moment and reflect on the tremendous, tumultuous, joyous, romance filled, cinematic, and dramatic journey I’ve taken. I did not take that journey alone. I have a good, patient, supportive, strong minded, wonderful, challenging, friend and husband. I have always rushed around trying to keep up or catch up. I now have a life partner to help me take the lead.

Father,
We take the time today to say thank you for our friends, lovers, and loved ones who keep us company on our journey. We thank you for giving us a life with purpose. We shower You with gratitude. We ask that you help us reach our full potential. We thank you in advance for the increase you are about to touch our lives with.
Amen

By:SML

#Shutyamouthandpray Power Within

image

Did it all happen quickly? Minutes turned into hours? Time never cooperates with your expectations. Are you frustrated?  Are you staying the same and your surroundings are changing?

Yea.

What are you doing about it?

Find an accountability partner and put your ass in gear. It doesn’t matter if its perfect. It matters that it’s done and you aren’t wasting your time and talents.

Father:
Help us push and push harder than we ever have. Help us dig into undiscovered parts of our potential. Help us not to gauge our success by the success of others. Help us to have self esteem that is only controlled by ourselves and not weighed by others opinions of us. Help us to see passed the selfishness and sometimes oblivion of our loved ones. Help us stay strong enough to fight the fight even if it means shadowboxing with ourselves and slap boxing with Jesus. God please stay with us and strengthen us when we feel weak.
Amen

Before Its Over…(ShutYaMouthAndPray)

wpid-2015-10-25-22.08.52.png.pngAlthough it may seem cliché. I wanted to use the last 5 minutes of Sunday’s ShutYaMouthAndPray to be thankful. We often complain and are sometimes dissatisfied with aspects of our lives that are unsatisfactory to us but would be great blessings to someone else. Be grateful for your employment, be grateful for your hooptie, be grateful for your loved ones (even the ones who get on your nerves.) Each day will present new challenges, you just have to recognize what they are and rise to them.

Bless!

Shut Ya Mouth and Pray (For the children) Pt 1

http://www.cnn.com/2015/11/05/us/chicago-tyshawn-lee-shooting/

The above link was sent to me by a friend in a text messaging group chat. After reading, my heart dropped into the pit of my stomach. I could walk on the ocean floor. Someone blew out the light of the sun. The stars were unplugged from God’s socket. All I could think was, “How do you execute a helpless child?”

This is not a hood movie classic. This is life.

As a parent, I don’t know how the parents are functioning. The father must be blaming himself. My prayers immediately went out to the grieving family. This is not a race issue. This isn’t even evidence to support gun control arguments. This is about a life that was extinguished. Someone’s baby is gone.

Every Sunday  (I’ll try to be consistent) I will post a prayer reflection.  No matter what your spiritual path or doctrine you identify with, please join me as a prayer warrior and make a change in this world. We can’t just talk about it. Prayer is action. Shut Ya Mouth and Pray. Open your heart.

image

This song always encourages me

To Our Creator:
Please protect our children. Please let us cherish every moment we have with them. They are our chance at a righteous future for this world. Protect their innocence. Build their self esteem. Show them their value. Keep them safe.
Help us to forgive our enemies. Help us to move forward and heal. Help us to pray when we feel weak. Amen.

By:SMN

Replenish! #Shutyamouthandpraysundays

image

3

Every Sunday (for awhile) I will ask you to journey with me in understanding of self. A journey in the acceptance of growth. We will build a BS barrier and become more resilient together. I am NO life coach. That is not my aim. I am a writer. However,  all journeys are more fun with company. Most advice you give should also be directed at yourself. Sometimes we need to follow our own instructions. Sometimes we need to diagnose ourselves.
Being relatable is a gift and one that draws positivity.

This Sunday I took the kids to church at noon. We cleaned the house top to bottom prior to that. We ate an awesome breakfast. We danced. We loved. Most importantly we talked. I remembered how important it is to sit straight up, look in their eyes and focus. Listen. Today was a good day.

Day 8 of the self esteem challenge :
Are you comfortable with accepting compliments? Why or why not?
(Courtesy of life and magic in Wyoming at wordpress )
I am not always comfortable. There are things I know are above average and compliments on those assets I graciously accept. You have to believe something yourself before others will believe in it.

Day 9: What do other people say is sexy about you?
This is tough! I have heard different things. Mostly its my command. In a comfortable situation I take full command if a leadership position is needed in order for a task to be completed. I’m resolution oriented. So I just like things to be fixed quickly. I’ve been told my smile is sexy.

Nachos and Cheese [Cold Sweat Series]

image

I walked in and I heard music. It was faint but it wasn’t gospel like I expected. It was all melody, all instrumental, no words. He said words complicate things. The floors shone. They weren’t wood. They weren’t marble. They weren’t glass. They weren’t concrete. You could feel something solid under your feet but you couldn’t see anything. It was like walking on water.

When I saw him I was surprised. He was thin. He was small. He was wearing a Polo t-shirt and some linen shorts with white slippers embroidered with the initials “J.C.” He said, “I heard you had some grievances. Come sit with me.” When I looked in the direction He was pointing in, I immediately knew where I was. There was the loft bed my parents bought me when I was 14. My old karaoke radio was on my old dresser with my old word processor on my old desk. There were roses from my dad on my desk and a looney tunes tweety bird figurine.

We climbed the ladder to the bed and He sat at the head and I sat at the foot. I didn’t hesitate. I said, “What’s going on? !”

     Why am I on a constant uphill battle?
     Why do the rich get richer and the
     poor get poorer?
     Why is there war?
     Why do babies die?

He sighed in exasperation. He rolled his eyes and sucked his teeth. Then he kicked his slippers over the bed and replaced them with gold leather moccasins with his first initial engraved on the sole. He waved his hand over his head and his cherry wood locks transformed to a baldie. I stared in amazement. I reached for his head subconsciously but he politely bobbed and weaved out of my grasp. He said, “No one touches the fresh cut. Not even my mom.” Then he said, “What do you really want to know?”

I didn’t know what to say.

He took out a bag of tortilla chips and salsa con queso and he said, “Let’s bond a little. What do you really want to know? What keeps you up at night? Like I know you have a good heart, I made it! But I know you aren’t stressing over war and poverty.”

My palms started to sweat.

“Okay, why did my sister die on July 4th? She was so young. I often wonder what she would be like as an adult.”

He finished the chip in his mouth. He said, “I needed her here. Her strength, her curiosity, her innocence was too good for the world. I needed her here…sorry.”

I asked, “Why don’t I feel beautiful?  Why can’t I see what others see? Why didn’t I get a high round ass…”

I stopped and became flushed with embarrassment. Did I just curse in front of Him?

He laughed heartily and snapped his fingers. A golden toothpick appeared and he picked his tooth with it. Then he snapped his fingers again and it vanished. He said, “Its cool. Proceed…”

“Why isn’t my skin flawless? Why can’t I just wake up perfect?”

“Has it ever occured to you that you are perfect. That everything you want to correct, I purposely placed meticulously just the way I wanted it. You waste so much time trying to be something adverse to what I designed. Frankly it pisses me off!  Just relax. You’re good.”

Then I said, ” SOMETIMES I feel like I am stark booty butt naked, standing in the middle of the street, painted neon green, screaming and people just drive/walk past me. No one looks. No one tweets what they saw. Invisible. No one flinches. Why does everyone save their ‘I love you’s’ for funerals? Why do people wait for occasions to buy flowers? Why don’t people write letters anymore? Why are we so social but completely disconnected????? Its like standing in a storm bone dry. Surrounded by people but no one connects. We’re too busy. We’re too vain. Too busy with selfies and gossip about celebrities we’ll never know.”

I was screaming.

He stopped eating.

He said, “Eat because I don’t want you to say nothing.”

I couldn’t help but laugh.

He was funny. I kinda always knew He would be.

He said,” SOME People have always been ungrateful ungrounded and ungodly. However,  what you’re describing is different. You’re describing a self centered nature. Not to be confused with selfish! They are just absorbed. Too absorbed to see your love,  loyalty or friendship. You’re not exempt by the way. You’re thinking of what you need and how you feel. How do you know there wasn’t a time when they felt the same way and YOU dropped the ball? A call you missed. A visit you never rescheduled, you just cancelled…”

I tried to speak but he politely offered me more dip and said, “Eat.”

“There have been fires, floods, and other sacrifices.”

He showed me the scars on his wrists. He showed me where he was beaten.

“Look for the rainbows. Look for the cycles in life. Wait for the up after the down. Wait for the downhill where you dont have to petal hard, you just coast. If you can’t run down the hill, then just roll but keep moving. I don’t give up on you so you can’t give up on yourself. Forgive. You have to forgive. Forgive the flaky people who never showed up. Forgive the broken promises. Forgive divorce. Forgive addiction. Forgive mistakes no matter how ugly they are. Forgive the things you can’t forget. Let go of the times you zig’d when you should have zag’d. Forgive abandonment. Free yourself from cowardice. Accept loss. Fill the void with hope. Everything cycles. Pain is received and pain is inflicted…”

I began to cry. I whispered, “Please stop.”

He continued, ” The truth cuts with a jagged knife. We can be very self righteous. We can be selective and relative about black and white situations and try to make them gray. Our opinions of people are a glass menagerie but we heavy handedly and clumsily handle our loved ones. We hate what we don’t understand. We flee from the thought that we possibly deserve everything we get.”

“PLEASE STOP” , I yelled.

I jumped out of the bed. Frantically looking for the exit. I always imagined this conversation would be different. I felt alone. I felt misunderstood.

He followed me. I was running. He was walking. I ran and He chased. Most of my life I was chasing answers and He was running from me. He hugged me and said, “This is what you wanted. Why do my brothers and sisters get so frantic when I am giving them what they want?”

I said,  “Can I leave?”

He said, “You have free will.”

As I waited at the gate for the access code to exit, I sobbed silently.

He whispered , “I feel so alone. I feel so misunderstood.”

The gates closed behind me.

By:Shaun Nickens