Revisiting Fairy Tales for Our Own Understanding of Life

There are varying quotes about fairy tales but one I always agreed with. The alleged Einstein quote,

b941218c72344addb7aa4d2eed4aa303But I’d like to take it further than that. My mother read me fairy tales and lots of books in general. I still recall an oversized grey-covered fairy tale book that I had as a little girl.  I loved to open the book often just to stare at the illustrations and imagine these various worlds as created by these different tales.

As an adult reflecting upon many things in my life, I find that I have a deeper understanding of these fairy tales. Beyond the warnings, dangers, or other simple messages of being rescued within a distant “one day,” fairy tales have become something more for me. All of these stories that invaded my childhood and psyche created a bridge of understanding about the human condition.

I recognize that I’ve been Snow White asleep with my eyes open while refusing to see who I could and could not trust,

cinderella_popI’ve been Cinderella and had the universe wink at me through people, places and things that disappeared into time,

I’ve met Rumplestiltskin in varying forms as the trickster who served as my teacher to encourage me to believe in myself,

And the list goes on.

I’ve seen my share of Robber Bridegrooms, witches, dwarfs, and all forms of other characters all in service to unveiling lessons.
So, indeed it is true, read those fairy tales to your children for their intelligence but also revisit and/or re-read them for yourself to lend some understanding to life.

Attitude & Sass as Privilege

“I always had a problem pulling off ‘that look’ even when it was for safety purposes…”

Originally featured on Chris Lenois’s Green Mountain Mornings on WKVT.

This short piece is inspired by the article “Black Attitudes Matter: Why I Don’t Care If You Think I Look Mean” by Asleigh Shackelford.  Her full article can be viewed here.

What We Can Learn from David Bowie About Challenging Limitations

*A re-share from my other website WildlyCreative.World.*

imagesWhen a death occurs, I look at how the spirit and living of the deceased inspires a need to improve the quality of our everyday lives beyond mere existing.  For example, what can we learn by how others have been impacted by a life that has been well lived?  How can we ensure that we are living our lives in such a way that inspires others to break beyond the can’ts, shouldn’ts, or other social or self-imposed restrictions?

There are no easy answers to those questions.  However, we can take a moment to become inspired by an illustration of the life led by David Bowie.  If David Bowie has taught us anything, he showed us that we can make space to change, grow, create despite the natural fear or hesitation to go to places we may not have imagined.

We can break-up with can’t and shouldn’t.  We can add apology for our authentic ourselves to the bonfire while expanding beyond personal or social limitations.

His life extends an invitation to be comfortable in our own skin without explanation or apology.  He encouraged us to live as ourselves and become audacious cartographers of our own beautifully complicated maps for others to enjoy.

May you rest in peace and thank you for all of the ways you encouraged us all to just be.

 

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Pondering for the New Year: Reflecting on 2015 Through Questions

I started this reflective piece going down a list of lessons gathered from 2015.  However, what felt more authentic and interesting (and in keeping with the way I usually arrive at these posts) is to share with you all some of my questions for the passing year.  Perhaps you have some of your own or placed some of these questions upon a shelf for another time as we all make preparations for the beginning of a new year.  Whatever you choose to do with our without these questions….Happy New Year!

What do you want to keep?  What feels good?
What is no longer serving you?  What hurts that you need to let go?

What is uncomfortable but worth it?
What was started that you wish to revisit or finish?

856_10156437533675374_4781176433256526976_n What or who were your unlikely teachers?
How did you show up?  Are there ways you want to show up in 2016?

11060901_977614785584822_146284445263514010_nDid you find moments or create situations in which you could be the most you?
In other words, how did you invite yourself into 2015?
How can you continue to invite yourself into 2016?

In examining your 2015, I want to leave you with a proverb that a friend just introduced me to last week.  Technically every action going forward can be framed through the following wise words.

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Lessons About Want During this Holiday Season

*Originally featured on Chris Lenois’s Green Mountain Mornings on WKVT.*

“Between the ages of 4 and 5 I would wait until adults were out of sight, snatch a toy, and run off with it full of joy from this short term victory….Many years later, due to a combination of observation, lived experience, and talking to various individuals….the things that I’ve come to want or desire were not as they seemed.”

Photo Credit:  Liz LaVorgna

First, We Must Learn How To Show Up for Ourselves

The moment we encourage individuals to cultivate a life long relationship with themselves, we will see the nature of human relationships change.  All around the world, we make relationship about that which is outside of ourselves and we arrange or push our children into partnership but this is backwards.
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In other words, the ways that we have not been able to show up for familiar or unfamiliar others through saving, rescuing, or nurturing will shift
and these actions will be something that we just do
because it is what we will already be doing for our own minds, bodies, and spirits.

We are all “us,” “them,” and if we are feelin lucky MAYBE neither

The day I heard about the tragedy in France it was through a Facebook message a friend sent me.  She said she was worried about our dear friend who was in Paris and I was confused because at that point, I was not aware of what happened.  At that point, I did not watch the news or know what she was referring to.  As soon as I went to my computer, I saw it right in front of me all over Facebook and various news outlets.

Then there was an option to show “support” offered through changing our profile picture to the French flag on Facebook.  I rarely jump on any bus though I often stand in global or community support on a lot of things.  This time, due to the personal connection of individuals who were in Paris at the time and for other reasons, I figured, what the heck and changed my profile picture in solidarity.  Almost instantly, there were many posts asking question like “What about Kenya?” or “What about (insert any issue of the moment here)?”

Suffering instantly got placed into a hierarchy and there were several layers of “us” versus “them” that I was experiencing at that moment included the following:

Us v. Them:  Supporting France against whoever was going to be labeled as a terrorist.  Some argued that the flag represented a certain level or sanctioning of violence against and/or support of a mindset to catch a group of individuals labeled as terrorists.  Of course, this includes the rampant Islamophobia;

index-Us v. Them:  The support or solidarity for a European country but lacking any outcry or outrage over the various racial injustices taking place all over the world.  This level “us” v. “them” that I witnessed during this particular week in what people were expressing was about the brown versus non-brown individuals;

-Us v. Them:  Those of us who chose to show our support by sending prayers and changing our Facebook profiles versus those who spoke out to point out the hypocrisy and accused “us” of ignorance while discussing why showing this type of solidarity was a problem.

3As I read the many arguments and saw many memes (like some of the ones I’ve included), engaged in a few online conversations, and read a few articles that made valid points-something struck me.   I thought about all of the times that an “action” was encouraged on Facebook either through changing a profile picture or re-posts about various topics.  I reflected on the many times that I was the one who would speak out about these actions (and various holidays) mentally accusing others of being followers instead of asking the critical questions.

Within that instant….I was a part of a “them” or an “us” depending on how you were viewing it.  Yet, I did the same thing many times (again, not through posts) but either in some of my own blog posts or conversations in which I accused people of being too quick to follow a trend.  Yet, in between these accusations, there were  moments that individuals would share why they took a certain action or stand that helped me to gain some understanding.

As I found myself explaining or apologizing for my choice, I wrote the following:

There has been a lot of talk about an “us” versus “them” mentality. Funny enough I’ve only noticed the “us” who’ve titled themselves as enlightened or more knowledgeable versus the “them” judged as sheeple or ignorant all based on a certain set of words or actions one side took and one side did not. And depending on what day it is,
I could be guilty of being with “them,”
or I may need to apologize for being a part of an “us,” and if I chose to be dishonest or just out of sheer dumb luck……I can claim neither.

I don’t apologize for praying for or showing my support for the victims in France and their families.  But my actions also don’t certainly mean that other tragedies are not in my thoughts.  In other words, can we please take a moment to knock it off with the “us” vs. “them”?  In other words, can we not place a hierarchy on suffering?

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A poem by a Delhi-based blogger

Playing the Blame Game with Victims

This segment originally aired earlier this month on Chris Lenois’s Green Mountain Mornings.  Though by many standards it is yesterday’s news, I share because it is one of many things happening right now all over the globe.  In my book, this incident is not something to just gloss over but I bring attention to it during a time when a number of individuals in our country are in an uproar over the infamous red Starbucks Cup.

This segment talks about how we play the blame game with victims focusing on the incident that involved a young girl in South Carolina and a police officer. You can see the full clip of the CNN segment I reference by going to by going hereWhile this incident has come and gone from the press, it still remains that we play a blame game with victims.  At what point do we stop blaming and start asking the right questions? 

 

Taking the Courage to Find Our Gold

“The floor became the edge of our wishing fountain….”

This audio snippet is from a written piece originally published on the site http://sometalkofyouandme.com/2015/09/15/inspiring-moments-with-friends-shanta-lee/

The piece was inspired by a friend who took a chance to drive from the east coast to California to live and pursue her bliss. She had no plans but just took a risk.  I still wonder about all of the ways more of us can learn from this story by taking the courage and necessary risks needed to go fetch our bliss.