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We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. As we let our own Light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. – Marianne Williamson

For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf is a choreopoem by Ntozake Shange. One of my favorite poems is called Somebody Almost Walked Off with All of my Stuff. It is a monologue done by a woman who has been in an off and on affair. She realizes that this man has nearly walked away with all “her stuff.”

She wasn’t just talking about her TV, iPad or other material possessions; somewhere in sharing herself with him she almost gave away who she was and what she thought she stood for.

Has someone almost walked away with your stuff?  Was it a co-worker, a parent, a coach, a sibling?

Or did someone actually abscond with your stuff and you’re working to recoup what’s yours?

Either scenario can be disheartening.

Systems can squelch your pro-activity. People can undermine your sense of motivation. The voices inside your own head can give you a million different reasons why you aren’t able to move forward. The decisions involved with plotting your next steps can be dizzying.

How do we reclaim ourselves and re-create ourselves in a trying world?

The purpose of this post is to encourage you; to tell you not to give into the torrents of challenging life circumstances, but to continue to try to seek the unlimited possibilities that are innately yours.  

Call me idealistic, but I believe that everyone in the world has a soul or an essence (call it what you will) that is revealed by our talents and passions. 

The best way that I can explain is that we’re all trolls, not the kind that live under the bridge, but the troll dolls that were popular in my youth. Each one had a special gem in their tummies as proof of their uniqueness and their authenticity. In the same way I believe that there are gifts inside each of us that when well-stewarded become gifts for the world.

So, you see have both a noble and a selfish interest in your self-actualization. Can you imagine if Michael Jackson never discovered his voice, if Toni Morrison never picked up a pen, or if Geoffrey Canada never pursued a Master of Arts in education?

The world would be a bleaker place.

There is no doubt that life is tough. Everyone has their struggles that they must overcome, but why is it that the challenge that builds character in one person will destroy another?   

Dreams also change. How do you pinpoint those dreams that are just a passing fancy and those that are your life blood?

I am not trained psychologist or psychiatrist, but I will say this:

  1. You have to believe that your life is intrinsically valuable and that your life has promise.
  2. You have to understand that everyone is trying to sell you on a dream that may not be your own. It’s up to you to discover what fulfills you.
  3. You have to be willing to fight for your passion and believe in it when it doesn’t make sense to anyone else, because there will be nay-sayers.
  4. You have to cut yourself some slack when you fall short.
  5. You have to know when to ask for help. No one can do everything on their own.
  6. You have to have a plan and keep going back to the drawing board to adapt that plan as circumstances change.
  7. You have to constantly remind yourself that whatever you plan is feasible, in due time.
  8. You have to be as patient as you are persistent.
  9. You have to surround yourself with people who like what’s best about you and are compassionately honest about the things which need a little tweaking.
  10. You have to be bold, a little daring even, and be willing to assume calculated risks to achieve your goals.

Remember, our lot in life is not for us to choose, but our life paths are for us to chart. Good luck.

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