Season 2 – epiBLOG 3:

What a crazy world! There have been many scary and horrific, yet avoidable catastrophic events in recent times. Events that make you question humanity, be a little more loving towards loved ones, and pushing you to live each day to its fullest… hopefully.

Whatever you do, just don’t ever let fear stop you from moving forward with anything…

I do NOT want to turn my blog series into some political corner for spewing my political stance on the world. It’s not what I’m about. However, I will say this: NOT every White police officer is a racist. I am willing to bet that the majority of cops are good people who just want to do their jobs, protect their community, and financially support their families. NOT every Black person is some uneducated and ghetto criminal. As a matter of fact, most of the Black people that I know have college degrees, have never been to prison, and are functioning, productive members of society. I am one of them and so are my parents and brother. (Additionally, I’m NOT criticizing those Black people who do not have a college degree and accusing them of being criminals for not furthering their education). NOT every Muslim wants to shoot up a night club or fly an airplane into a building. Again, I am willing to bet that the majority of Muslims are a peaceful people who just want to have the right to practice their religious beliefs without having to apologize for it.

I’m not sure why we group segments of the population into one category and then begin every negative sentence with the words “They all…” when we speak about these “other” groups. How do you know what ALL police officers do? What all Black people do? What all Muslims do? What all Mexicans do? What all White people do…?

The truth is, we don’t know every single individual on this earth in order to make a blanket decision, or statement, about an entire group of people. Treat people according to your specific experiences with them on an individual basis. If everyone chose to do this, innocent people would stop getting killed. I’m sickened by the events in Falcon Heights, Minnesota; Nice, France; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Dallas, Texas; Orlando, Florida; unfortunately, this list can go on for multiple lines on this page, beginning with today’s date and tracing back until a little over a year ago in June of 2015 when 9 people were brutally murdered inside of a church. My heart and warm wishes go out to every person who has been the victim of these senseless acts of violence, as well as to their families.

The thing is… we still have freedom in this country, although I’m sure it feels like it’s threatened daily during these tumultuous times. But we can’t live in fear. As I mentioned at the beginning of today’s blog, hopefully these events are pushing you to live each day to its fullest.

You have the freedom to think and dream about whatever you want to think and dream about. Your mind isn’t gone, and therefore, there is always hope.

As many of you know, I’ve been reading Jack Canfield’s book The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be. It’s taking me forever to read because I usually read for 15 minutes a day (sometimes more), but it’s also taking me a while to read because I do all of his exercises that he suggests in order to make leaps and bounds within my own self-improvement efforts.

Jack said that whenever you’re endeavoring to do something new, it’s always easy to think about all of the times you’ve failed in life and to compare that past negative experience with the goal and dreams that you’re wanting to achieve currently. He was right. I do that a lot. And think about how challenging it is to focus on dreams, goals, and rewards with all of the negative things that are taking place globally. It can be overwhelming.

So to combat thinking about failure and negative thoughts as you move forward, he said to consider all of the accomplishments that you’ve experienced in your life and see how that gives you a different mindset. He didn’t stop there, however. He advises you to write everything down and to divide your life into three different categories (or time periods) based upon your age. For example, if you’re 60 years old, you would divide your life in twenty year increments. One category would be labeled “Birth – 20 years of age,” “20-40 years of age,” and finally “40-60 years of age.” I’m not 60 years old, by the way, but I did divide the three segments of my life based upon my age, and the experience was revelatory.

It was hard to think about a lot of accomplishments from my early childhood, but they were there. Like learning to play the Alto Saxophone, an instrument I learned to play in 4th grade.  Then it came time to list the middle part of my life and I got so excited when I thought about running Track and playing Basketball back in high school, and the medals that I earned because of the achievements that I made in each sport respectively. It made my heart smile again. It was during this segment of my life that I graduated from high school, got paid to write a script for the very time, this is when I got my Bachelor’s degree from Loyola University, and gave birth to my son. There were many other accomplishments that I don’t need to mention here.  However, the point is that completing that exercise reminded me that I can achieve great things. And as I’m moving forward with my current opportunities, the accomplishments from the past are small reminders that I can achieve whatever it is that I want in the future.

Today’s LESSON is no matter what your circumstances are, the freedom to think, to remember, and to dream is what will carry you through the obstacles and challenges. Cherish this freedom and continue to move forward even when it seems like it’s a waste of time to keep going.

FUN ASSIGNMENT: I suggest you do Jack Canfield’s Blast from the Past (that’s not what he calls it, by the way) by: (1) taking your age and dividing it by 3, (2) create three segments of time in your life based upon your age on a sheet of paper, and (3) write a list of your past accomplishments that you’ve achieved during each segment of time. (WARNING: Doing this exercise may cause you to smile. Thanks, Jack!)

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