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Our Best Lives in 2009

Financial Crisis. That seems to be a household phrase nowadays – that and the word “bailout”. Before the past few months I think I’ve said those words maybe twice in my life. But, there’s something I’ve said and noticed for a long time that goes along with the situation our county is in, something very interesting to me: everyone is beginning to think about what really matters in their lives. The immaterial. I don’t necessarily think we’re heading into an Age of Aquarius expected in year 2012, but I do feel a shift in our collective consciousness, a shift where we’re all thinking about what really allows us to live our best lives.

On CNN.com, I read an article about a laid-off businessman who has resorted to wearing an sign that says “almost homeless” around his neck while standing on street corners in New York City. It seems that his qualifications are working against him because companies are shipping jobs oversees to people just like the businessman, but who do the work for much less. These jobs are normally automation-focused, jobs that require a certain formulaic and mechanical skill set, like engineering. The types of jobs that aren’t outsourced much are jobs that center around art and service, according to a chart that lists jobs with low to high risks of being shipped oversees .

Author Daniel Pink wrote a book a few years ago called “A Whole New Mind: Why Right Brainers Will Rule The Future” in which he seemed to foretell of a shift in America where our economy would be based on careers that can’t be done by a computer or a person oversees. He says in one of his Youtube videos that workers must do something that’s hard to outsource, hard to automate, and that serves a need that goes beyond the functional. He says that in our age, where people experience abundance in ways never dreamed of by preceding generations, the type of work that will have the most lasting and meaningful affect on our economy and our lives is the type of work that serves some type of greater good that gives the worker purpose and joy that affects more than just the individual worker. Those people, according to Pink, are doing quite well right now. They’re living their best lives.

So, in 2009, I’m making a promise to myself to do more of what brings joy and purpose to myself and to others. It excites me to see many people thinking about how they can really live in the best way possible for themselves and others. There’s a quote by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that really sums up the realization we all are beginning understand. It says:

“Not everybody can be famous but everybody can be great because greatness is determined by service. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don’t have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don’t have to know Einstein’s theory of relativity to serve. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics and physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love.”

Let’s find ways we can live our best lives in 2009.

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December 7, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Feeling a bit mystical…

Well, it’s thanksgiving. I’m definitely giving thanks for what I’m learning.

The more I live, the more I see how perception is everything. How you perceive God and life determines the life you will live. I see it in my friends’ lives, my life, and in the lives of everyone else around me. How I perceive God and life determines the life I will live. My perception of God and life has evolved radically over the past two years. I’ve always had trust issues. Since Kindergarten. That trust stemmed over into me not trusting God. Not trusting friends. Not trusting possibility fully. But when I went through friendships that dissolved, or seemed to dissolve, and when I went through the hurt, depression, and confusion that followed, something shifted. I began looking at the next chapter of my life as a new invitation God was giving me. And I began to feel his touch and his nudge.

He was saying, “Enter in.”

I went from walking on a incomplete, winding path, a path through a land that I believed contained friends that would never love me as much as I love them, parents that would never be “real” parents, dreaming for the perfect girl and never really seeing her or believing that I could have her now (and of course that sent me into a spiral and whirlwind of confusion), just all kinds of incompleteness–I went from that onto a straight path.

I just looked up Matthew 7:13, which says “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.” I have heard so many different interpretations of this verse, but I noticed something interesting. One interpretation I see by looking at the words in Greek is this: “Of thoughts that come into the mind, by means of a straight entrance into any state; for the access or entrance into hell is wide and the way of thinking, feeling, and deciding is spacious that leads to eternal misery in hell, and of thoughts that come into the mind by means of it.”

Now, I know that’s not a clear word for word definition but that’s the English language for you–here’s how I interpret it: “Enter into a way of thinking that is straight; There’s many, many thoughts that come into the mind that will lead you to feel and make decisions that will lead you into some form of misery.” Whether or not this verse is talking about hell after this life or the hell on this earth, we go into some form beginning with a thought that we think, which leads to a feeling, and then leads to us into making a decision based on the thought. Don’t believe your thoughts will lead you into misery? Take some time to monitor your thoughts. I bet most if not all of your thoughts are thoughts centering around you having a lack of something on some level, if you dig deep enough.

There’s nothing in the bible that says we have a lack of anything. We literally have everything. What is everything? EVERYTHING.

What was one thing Jesus was sent to Earth to say? “You have everything in the Father. Change your thinking which leads you to a feeling, which leads you to an unholy decision. A decision based on your belief that you are lacking in something. That you are incomplete. That’s the real process of sin. Do you know who you are? You are a child of God. Do life My Way. You will realize the Fullness, the completeness, of Life, and have it forever.”

I believe that Heaven and Hell is a continuation of our lives here on earth. If we keep missing the mark, we move to misery that lasts forever. Follow Jesus’ way, and we move into Life Everlasting. There really isn’t anything exclusive or us. vs. them in any of Jesus’ teaching.

It’s all about choice. Read one life coach’s article about choice and how we can reclaim our power. It’s about perception. If you feel like reading, read these quotes about changing your perception.

So, I changed my thinking, because the problem rests within me, as self-help teacher Dr. Wayne Dyer suggests. I began to look at God, life, the entire universe, as compassionate. Loving. I began to trust God. I began to accept my life as it were. When you trust God, when you do what Prov. 3:5-6 says, the entire universe will rise to meet you. Things will just show up. Situations become helpful. All situations. “All” means “all”. Everything I come across is beneficial and filled with Love. That way of thinking opens me up to a myriad of blessings. Suffering, trials, all of that–they serve to bring you into a reality where you know God. Where you will trust him and feel him, in every footstep along the straight path.

How do I know this? Because it’s happening to me.

God showed me that he will always provide people to love me, and for me to love. Always. My friend Ben from LT was the first piece in this new revelation. The first wonderful light. And then I went through more trials, and then entered my friend Joel, my brother, and one of the most wonderful lights to shine in my life. It’s that way because my sinful thinking has changed and is still changing. My friends have become beautiful lights instead of people I need to give me my sense of self because I thought I had a lack. When we trust in God, the universe will rise to meet us.

A new light shines on my friends that have been alongside me since college. They have become more helpful and more beautiful me. I changed my mind. I repented. I took up His yolk. His rules. His ways. I began to trust. When we trust in God, the universe will rise to meet us.

A new light shines on my career. I’ve always been a dreamer. I know in every fiber of my being that I will live a big life. Why? Because I’m already living a big life. He’s already given me a big life. The only option is for my life to evolve into something bigger. More grand. I will be faced with more experiences to realize God. Inflow determines outflow. When you have God pouring into you, you have to have him pouring out of you. That’s why you know people who are connected to Him, because of their fruits. Because of what they produce. Because of a part of them you can sink your teeth into and enjoy. It’s complete. I trust him even more with my career, and new doors are opening up because of it, because when I trust in God, the universe will rise to meet me.

I still haven’t found a girl yet, but I am trusting! I don’t need to read another book about being single or about how God has the perfect mate waiting for me and she will be my help-meet and blah blah blah and other muck. This is what I need to know: When you trust I God, the universe will rise to meet me.

November 29, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

A Whole New World

Well, Obama’s our new President. And lots of people have had lots of reactions.

Mr. Barack Obama

The crowd watching Obama erupted with joy in Chicago’s Grant Park.

erupt

People danced.

dance

And Oprah cried on some random guy’s shoulder.

oprah-cried

But what was interesting to me during this monumental time was my father’s reaction. I called him when CNN announced Obama’s victory.

“Hi Dad, it’s Taurence,” I said, with anticipation for what he would say next.

“Hey, boy.” He said. That’s all? I thought. No, “Oh my goodness I can’t believe it?”

No dancing? No crying?

“So, what do you think about the election? Don’t you think that’s crazy?” I said, trying to  get more of an emotional reaction.

“Yup, it is. It is.”

The rest of the conversation was loaded with more of his ‘yups’ followed by ‘uh-huhs’.

You have to understand that my father did not believe that this country would choose a man with any droplets of black blood in his system, let alone a man who’s half-black.

My father was born in 1956, right after integration became law. He grew up fighting whites for calling him or a sibling a “nigger”. White football coaches despised him and other black athletes for being more talented than the white guys on the team, so they went out of their way to force the blacks off the team. White adults bombed school busses in his city at the time. I guess can’t blame him for being a bit doubtful that Obama would become the President.

We’d get into arguments during the primaries. Once Obama won Iowa, my father still swore that Obama would not become President. In my Father’s world, that was inconceivable.

In most people’s worlds where I’m from, it’s all about how white people supposedly take care of their own, how whites despise and want to cheat blacks, and how whites are holding them in the same place. Obama’s victory for many of them wasn’t just inconceivable; it just wasn’t going to happen.

Now, they are realizing what I’ve known for a long time: there are some good white folks in the world!

I am not saying that if you’re white and voted for Barack, then you are good, and if you’ve done otherwise, you’re to be hated. Lord knows there’s enough crazy people wishing doom upon Americans because of this election. To see Barack in office means that our country is moving forward, our country is recognizing that we’re in this together as long as we’re humans and as long as we are on Earth, and it means that our citizens in this great country are beginning to really look past the outer, and into the inner, past skin and into the person, past what separates and into what unites. THAT is what thrills me. I never forget how far blacks have come.

The lynching.

The gruesome killing of Emmitt Till.

The beatings, fire hoses, dog attacks. All a part of the freedom fight.

I constantly remind myself at least once a week. I’m a student of civil rights… and I can’t help but be thrilled, NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS.

So, I am excited that my father’s reaction that night was so limited. He was a man of few words that night. Maybe that’s because he’s had to eat all of his words he’d said against Obama in the past two years.

My father, and many people in this country, has been busted out of their doubtful worlds. This is the change I felt Obama was talking about during his campaign. A new change in the world. A whole new world. Let the transition begin!

November 8, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Greed’s Bite: My lesson learned from the economic crisis

Well, it’s no secret now: we live in a country with insanely greedy people. We’re people who are intensely identified with our minds.

“Macy’s has a sale– I gotta go get something!”
“I want a new laptop– I think I’ll use my MasterCard!”
“I gotta have 4 bedrooms instead of just one, I don’t care if I am by myself!”
“I think I’ll take out a loan to pay the bills I’ve accumulated.”
“I think I’ll take out a loan to cover the loans I’ve accumulated.”

In case you don’t know what’s happened in this whole economic crisis, let me break it down for you in layman’s terms, leaving out some details, as I understand it all: there was a housing boom a few years ago, where tons of people were buying homes. Thinking this trend would last, mortgages were handed out left and right, and home builders built and built and built. Lenders made tons of money, bank CEOs made even more tons. So they got a little happy, and started giving more and more loans to make more and more money. Everyone stopped spending and saving their own money, and started spending other people’s money.

So, the free spending ways of both main street and wall street patrons have left everyone with debt. People stopped buying homes, leaving home builders stuck with empty homes and bad investments, which translated into bad investments for banks, which coincided with growing job cuts, which meant more losses for banks because people can’t pay their loans. It’s been one big shopping spree, and the country is now feeling the bill.

Click here to see how other people define the crisis on Wikipedia.

It’s a Greed Network. Many people on Main Street are colored Green with envy, tainted with uncontrollable desire, and drunk from the illusion of need, and they interact and do dealings with people on Wall Street who are probably more colored, tainted, and drunk than they are.

We’ve become the American joke… the rest of the world is either laughing at us, cheering because now we’re experiencing some type of hardship, praying for more destruction, or supporting us… And I’m not sure how many supporters we have left.

As far as money is concerned, I share in the country’s pangs. I live off of scholarship money, which is nice, and student loan money, which is not so nice. I get nice checks back from the school every year, but most of that money is government loan money. I own lots of things from my own personal money, but I pay for my home with a nice check from Uncle Sam, mixed with extra scholarship money. Because of bad choices made by people in my family, I’ve had to take out a loan to protect my butt from them. I still have a year to go in school. That’s even more debt.

Some people are unaware of how connected we really are. That’s why everyone will foot this $700 Billion bill.

The Huffington Post has a copy of the actual bill here.
I’ve heard lots of theories as to why this is happening.

“Oh, it’s the fall of modern-day Babylon.”
“Jesus is coming back.”
“The Mayans said the world would end in 2012. It’s starting to happen.”
“Here comes the Rapture.”

Anything is possible; some of that might be true, some inaccurate. What I see is something I have been feeling for a long time now. People will be “forced” to care about one another. To think about what really matters. People will be “forced” to live in non-judgment, non-attachment, and non-resistance. I think we’re all going to be faced with this stark reality: EVOLVE or DIE.

Now, I’m not trying to evoke fear or panic, nor am I talking about evolution v. creation. No one can dispute the fact that we evolve from young to old, childhood ways of thinking to adult ways of thinking. I feel like God’s time of evolution is beginning to take place, where people are going to be more receptive to Him. The perfect time to spread God’s goodness and truth, and the time to serve and love people, is now. Evolve, meaning change and grow for the better, or die, meaning suffer the consequences of your actions. I believe we are punished by our sins, not just for them.

So, I choose to change and grow for the better. I can’t do much about the student loans I have, but I can pay more attention to my physical and spiritual needs, the only real needs that exist, instead of what my mind thinks it needs.

I can choose to live in service, and to get rid of selfishness. Not by forcing it away or resisting it, because what I resist persists. If I resist my loan bill by putting it into a drawer, that doesn’t make it go away. CitiBank will still want its money. But I will choose to go into my weaknesses, face them, deal with them, become intimate with them, know them. If you know something, you know everything about it, including how to hurt it the most.

I can choose to make things about “us”, instead of “me”, “my”, “I”, and “mine”.

I really want to just love others and be there for others, and I feel like it’s happening! Lots of things, little, minuscule things, have happened over the past few months that have made me want to unleash demons onto folks… and lots of things, within the past few days, have made me want to just be with people, and lift them up, love them, walk and pray with them, enjoy their’s and God’s presence together, no matter what.

It’s time to be conscious instead of unconscious. Awakened instead of asleep. Will you choose to awaken, to really be about what really matters? Will you get about the business of knowing and being with God instead of just adding beliefs and theories and philosophies and more stuff to your mind? Will you live a life of non-judgment? Will you choose to find yourself in the Creator?

Just because I know about Jesus and know a couple of bible verses, read my bible, and have shelves of books that make me seem Holy, does not make me exempt. I’m still on this Earth, and I’m still connected to everyone else here. Hear me now: I AM NO DIFFERENT FROM ANYONE! Christians who have any sense of reality realize that they don’t have all of the answers. Those who do think that need to get a grip, in my opinion.

Let’s wake up now, y’all, for fear that we let Greed’s Bite kill us. Remember: Evolve, or die.

October 24, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What I’m Learning

I just don’t know how I could possibly be afraid of success… it just doesn’t make any sense. But whether that thought is rational or not, I believe I am. I’m scared of excellence.

When I look at that sentence, I think, “What?! Certainly not me! As many dreams as I have? Yeah, right.” It’s true, I have lots of dreams, sitting in my head or on paper. I’m doing a radio show now, so that’s a part of my dream’s foundation  (once I learn how to really operate the board). I’m majoring in Broadcast Journalism, so that’s a huge part of my dream, which is to become a Talk Show Host/Media Mogul. It’s not like I’m just slacking off, skipping classes (Oh wait, I’ve done that already, this semester…), I mean, I’m accomplishing a lot of what I want to accomplish, I’m just not being as excellent as I want to be. Or as I know I can be.

Today, one of my tasks was to check my budget. Make sure I’m not going to be broke anytime soon. You would’ve thought checking my budget involved killing someone, because I did not want to do it. I’ve been putting it off for days. I kept telling myself, “I don’t want to spend all of my money,” but yet I was still afraid to make sure I’m managing it well.

You know, I’m going to stop right there. I read something a while ago, and it said (paraphrased):

Do not say that you are jealous, or that you are angry, because that suggests that you are a jealous or angry person. Instead, say there is jealousy or anger within you.

From now on, I’m not going to continue to tell myself that I’m afraid of success, and that I believe in what I do not want for myself. Instead, I’m going to do what I have to do, and notice the fear within me. I don’t have to own it, because I know that essentially I am not afraid. I’ve come this far, right?

As you can probably tell, I am still learning all of this.

September 21, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 1 Comment