Daily Treats

From Monday to sunday I have a TREAT for everyone. This is one of the ones you don’t want to miss

Motivational Monday “Your History Is Whatever You Choose to Tell About Yourself”

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No matter what you’ve been through, it can become beautiful in the retelling.
By Elizabeth Gilbert

Everybody in my family is a talented storyteller. We can’t play team sports, we have a tiny little problem with drinking and we’re all pretty dysfunctional about money—but man oh man, can we tell a good story.

I spent my childhood watching narratives get spun, twisted and renegotiated as family events were transformed from incidents into stories. There’s a big difference, it turns out, between the two. An incident is an event that happens in real time, with real consequences, usually involving real (and raw) human emotion. A story is what you make out of it later. Incidents are wild and dangerous; stories are controlled and reassuring. In the process of building a story, you sand down the sharp edges of an incident, buffing away all the pain and immediacy and urgency, creating something you can carry around safely in your pocket. A story is a magnificent thing because it puts you back in control.

Growing up, my grandfather used to tell the tale of his cousin who had a habit, back in the 1950s, of getting drunk late at night and then going for nude swims in the Erie Canal, all alone. One night this poor fellow locked himself out of his truck—which contained his clothing. He was forced to walk home, several miles along the one main road of his hometown, wet and naked.

But it gets better! My grandfather’s cousin had found a tiny washcloth in the bed of his pickup truck—the only thing he could use to hide his nakedness. As he walked home, whenever he saw a car approaching from the front, he would use the washcloth to cover his private parts. Whenever he heard a car approaching from the back, he would cover his bottom. Inevitably, of course, two cars approached from both directions at exactly the same time. Should he cover his privates or his bottom?

“So I asked him,” my grandfather said, “‘What did you do?'”

And the cousin shook his head ruefully and replied, “All I can say is this: I’ve always hoped that I made the right decision.”

God, how I loved that story!

Of course, as an adult, I can see that it might not have been so hilarious back when it was actually occurring—back when it was an incident. But my grandfather’s cousin had taken that unhappy incident and crafted it into a really good story, which he then gave as a gift to his family. He may have exaggerated some of the funnier details while editing out some of the sadder ones. My grandfather himself, over time, probably embellished the story even more. I may have just embellished it myself, retelling it here. Some may have a problem with this. They might say we are obscuring the truth. But I think it’s fine. I even think it’s humane. The truth is hard enough when it’s happening.

Here’s another example: From 2001 to 2003, I went through an awful divorce. This was an unhappy incident, indeed. I was miserable, depressed, shamed. At the time, a well-meaning friend said, “Hey, you’re a writer! Someday you’ll write about this!” I was offended, thinking it impossible that I could exploit my own pain for a story.

But I did transform my incident into a story. I had no choice, really—it’s my inheritance. Not that writing Eat, Pray, Love was easy. Figuring out how to make a good story out of an unpleasant incident never is. What should I leave in, what should I take out? The choices matter because your history is whatever you choose to tell about yourself. I thought, “Which private parts of myself should I cover up, and which private parts should I reveal?” It was intense. The emotional stakes were high. It felt like traffic was coming in both directions and the only thing I had to protect myself was a tiny little washcloth of words. All I can say is this: I’ve always hoped I made the right decision.

Truthful Tuesday The 5 Pieces of Advice Gynecologists Wish You Knew

Found this piece on Oprah.com and had no choice but to share. We need this info, even men need to know this so they can understand how to better relate with their female partners as their bodies experience changes.
All women are supposed to visit their gynecologist once a year, but we aren’t always comfortable asking the questions our doctors wish we would. Here our experts give you answers to the questions they wish you asked them.

Beauty Is Such An Illusion It’s Ridiculous

This is not an issue of race, more like an issue of ridiculousness and the illusion that we have been thought as individuals. More like brainwashed into accepting or believing. The images you see below continues to confirm why there has to be a radical change in how we think, act, see ourselves and see others. Dark skinned individuals have no way of deciding before birth (used lightly) what color their skins are to be. The idea that black skinned individuals have to somehow prove their worth with their education, bank accounts and or outfits makes it the most ridiculous thing ever!
Then the idea behind a black female nursing her child and a white female doing the same. Are we to apologize for our ancestors being slaves 200 years ago? Share your thoughts

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What Foundation Taught Me About True Beauty

After she bought foundation to “correct” her skin tone, Maya Rupert saw herself in a gorgeous new light.

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On this week’s truthful Thursday, I m sharing a story my publicist emailed me. She knows the sort of things I like to read. I loved this story so much I had to share it with you guys. Isn’t it funny what we call beautiful? Scratch that- what one person calls beautiful and another doesn’t? Or how we have been thought to see beauty in only one light that it has confused our minds to the point where we are not even sure what beauty really is? This short story will inspire you and encourage you to love yourself just the way you are;
I was 27 years old when a clerk at a cosmetics counter told me I was looking at the wrong shade of foundation. Instead of the color I had worn for the last several years, which matched my skin tone, she encouraged me to get one that was actually two shades lighter. Registering skepticism, she explained that I should try to go as light as I could get away with because with my complexion, she said, “you wouldn’t want to get any darker.”

There was no question in her voice. She didn’t say it as if she were stating a preference, but rather a fact, the same way she would have advised me on how best to apply blush or find a base that wouldn’t dry out my skin. I was humiliated by her assumption that it was an unspoken understanding between us: that obviously, if given the choice, I would change this thing about the way I looked.

As a black woman with dark skin, it wasn’t the first time I had been told—subtly and often not so subtly—that my complexion was a deficit I had to overcome to be beautiful. But the fact that the saleswoman, who was white, said it not out of malice, but seemingly with genuine concern, made me feel worse. I didn’t think she was criticizing me; she was trying to help me. And I was terrified that she—an expert—knew something I didn’t. I bought the foundation.

At home, I dipped the sponge in the compact and covered my face with the powder. I couldn’t bring myself to look in the mirror as I applied it.

When I finally did look, I was horrified: I had to admit that I looked prettier than I’d ever remembered. I had to admit that my dark skin was unattractive, and that being lighter really did mean being more attractive.

I wept. Then I went to wash my face. But the makeup wouldn’t come off. I scrubbed hard; still nothing. That’s when I looked at the compact and realized I hadn’t pulled off the protective paper. In fact, I hadn’t been wearing any makeup at all.

After seven years and countless applications of the right shade of makeup, that moment has stayed with me. Whenever I question whether my complexion is beautiful (which is more often than I should, but less often than I might), I think back to that moment when I saw my face—my bare face—and thought it was so beautiful, it made me cry.

A Refuge When Nobody Understands Your Loss

From left to right: Dara Kosberg, 36, chief community builder; Carla Fernandez, 27, and Lennon Flowers, 29, cofounders, The Dinner Party, Los Angeles

From left to right: Dara Kosberg, 36, chief community builder; Carla Fernandez, 27, and Lennon Flowers, 29, cofounders, The Dinner Party, Los Angeles

In October 2010, on a backyard deck in Los Angeles lit with string lights and flickering votives, Carla Fernandez served a pan of paella while four of her friends, strangers to one another, sipped from glasses of Tempranillo. The guests had something unusual in common. In recent years, each had lost a parent, an experience that brought alienation on top of grief: Few of their 20- and 30-something peers had a clue what it was like to have a parent die.

“Often when you talk about death, people give you that deer-in-the-headlights look,” says Fernandez, whose father passed away five years ago. “That didn’t happen at this dinner. There was an instant bond. We stayed up way past bedtime talking about loss, how it had woven its way into our lives.” The group realized there must be young people in the same situation all over the country. And so The Dinner Party, a nonprofit that connects those who’ve experienced significant loss, was born.

The dinners are a welcome antidote to traditional support groups—”We’ve all been given cheesy grief books with a white dove on the cover,” Fernandez says—because they value honest conversation above all else. (Their manifesto reads, “We will abstain from bullshit.”) The goal is to encourage more open expressions of grief and foster discussion of the way that loss continues to impact everyday life.

“This is the DIY era,” says Fernandez, “and people come to the table to discuss all the ways we heal ourselves, whether it’s therapy or yoga. One size doesn’t fit all.” More than 65 Dinner Party hosts are now active in 18 U.S. cities, including San Francisco; New York; Honolulu; Washington, D.C.; Chapel Hill, North Carolina; and Boulder, Colorado, as well as Toronto.

“It’s not just about getting together and talking about loss,” says cofounder Lennon Flowers, whose mother died during Flowers’s senior year of college, “but finding a community that shares your story.” The tasty food doesn’t hurt either. Says Flowers: “I bring my mom’s lemon-thyme cookies.”

Forgiveness As The Bedrock For Freedom

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Motivational Monday- I have always defined success as PEACE OF MIND. Never by money, class, fame etc. To me one could have all these things and without peace of mind and tranquility, have no success. In the same light, I view forgiveness as the bedrock to freedom. Nelson Mandela, Dr Martin Luther King and other heroes who have faced discrimination have shown this to us time and again and I must confess that I would agree.
Because of my loyal nature, I find it hard to move past disloyalty and hurt. I am able to be cordial with a once “good friend” but it’s usually on the surface. I immediately shut people out whom I believe have offended me or have been disloyal. My zero tolerance policy seems to have worked out just fine until you realize even you can offend others without knowing it. The best way then to continually live freely is to forgive others as you would like to be forgiven.
I will forgive you, but to put myself in the situation a second time? Granting you the opportunity to be a second time offender? Not going to happen.
A friend whom I considered close, who had leaned on me for a couple of years and in whose life I have played several major roles recently made some decisions and did some things that will forever affect out relationship. Like I said I have remained cordial, I have been angry about it but never showed it. But here’s what I learned- I didn’t do those things for her by my own power. God gave me the grace and resources. As soon as I realized that, I had to let go of the resentment and bitterness(forgive). I became free- literally. They no longer held the power. I did.
The question is how do you forgive? Answer? By just telling yourself that you will and you have. There is no handbook, it comes from within. The same feeling of determination, love, trust, passion. It’s not learned it just happens when you position your mind to steer in that direction.
Yesterday I watched an episode of Super Soul Sunday on OWN. Oprah interviewed Dr Maya Angelou. That was an episode that I had seen numerous times but yesterday was different. Oprah asked her the advice she would give a younger version of herself as they watched a video from one of her old performances as a singer/dancer.
Maya said, and this struck like lightning ” I would tell her to forgive”. My mind began to race. I wondered who I needed to forgive and whether I had. I thought of others who have forgiven me over the years and how I had offended them without even knowing it until they had mentioned it. That was a major aha moment for me and so on this motivational Monday, I implore you all to do the same- FORGIVE!

3 myths that keep you from reaching your goals

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On today’s Fact Friday I have decided to share 3 myths that stop us from reaching our maximum potentials.
Myth: Willpower is Limited
Fact: We tend to think of willpower as something that can be depleted. But a growing body of research suggest that isn’t so and that we may, in fact, have control over our self control. In a Stanford University study, participants were prompted to regard willpower as either limited or limitless, and then asked to complete a cognitively challenging task. The result: Those who believed willpower was unlimited performed better on a subsequent test of self-control than people who thought the opposite. The next time you worry about your wobbly willpower, just think: It’s all in your mind. Continue reading

Angels in 2014—Seriously?

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Best-selling author Rob Bell investigates the possibility

One Sunday morning in 1999, I had just finished giving a sermon at the church where I was pastoring when a woman walked up to me and said she had a story to tell me. She said she’d found out that week that her husband had been cheating on her for a number of years and that he was leaving her. She was devastated, and that morning had decided she would go to a church service. She drove to our church building, parked her car and then sat there, exhausted, overwhelmed, saying to herself, “I don’t have the strength to even get out of the car and go in there.” Continue reading

How to Tap Into Your True Power

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Today’s Motivational Monday, I encourage to tap into your true POWER. Learn how by reading this article and by telling yourself and believing in your heart that you do have the power.

If you think you have no control over your life, think again. As hemmed in as you may feel, Martha Beck shows you how to break out of that helpless place.
By Martha Beck
I’m terrified about my daughter’s drinking,” Mindy told me during our first session, “but I’ve asked her to get help, and she just yells at me.”

“My boss can be really unethical,” said Denise, another client, “but that’s the way things work. If I complain, my job is history.”

Paula, a third client, is perpetually exhausted: “I know I should take better care of myself,” she admitted, “but someone has to be there for my husband and children.” Continue reading

How to Uncover the Talents Only You Can Offer the World

A little exercise to put you on the path to self-knowledge. In this week’s fact Friday, I have decided to share this test I found on O Magazine.

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Answer these 10 questions to discover what makes you wonderfully rare:

1. What did you love to do in junior high?

2. Why do you think you really loved that activity? (Maybe reading gave you a glimpse into others’ lives, or running track freed your mind and put you in the zone.)

3. What gives you that much joy now?

4. What deeper desire do you think that activity fulfills for you?

5. If you had six months to spend any way you’d like, what would you do?

6. What were the last three things you read, watched, or saw that fascinated you? What do they have in common? (If it’s a detective novel, a nature documentary, and an investigative report about campaign funds, maybe you love to delve deeply into a subject to examine it from every angle.)

7. What are three adjectives your friends would use to describe you?

8. What are three adjectives you’d use to describe yourself?

9. Name the things that most relax you, excite you, move you, and delight you.

10. What do you consider your best quality? Are you showing it off as often as you could?

Look at your answers to see whether any patterns emerge and what they might tell you about your essential self. What you do with that information is up to you: If you’ve lost touch with what really moved you as a kid, make room for it now. Set aside an afternoon to curl up with a stack of books or get out in the yard and work on your softball pitch. Then think about how you can incorporate what you love about your favorite activity into your life. If you spend weekends combing antiques stores, try bringing the thrill of the hunt to your workplace by volunteering to help recruit new hires. If you’re a great problem solver, put that passion to use by tackling an issue in your community, like a notoriously dangerous intersection or a run-down playground. Whatever you do, you’ll find that life has more meaning and joy when you put your quirk to work.

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