Four Line Poems

Below are three 4-line poems

Let The People See… (Inspired by Desiigner at any award show, my unintentional side-eye, and daily happenings)

Let people see when you are full of joy!

Let people see when you are upset.

Let people see your humanity.

End.

Don’t (Inspired by Bryson Tiller in name only, but utterly unrelated)

Don’t let people steal your joy.

Don’t dim your light.

Don’t stand still for too long.

End.

Drink Water (Good Advice – Inspired by Will Frey)

Drink.

Drink Water.

Drink Water Often.

End.

 

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What will you do today?

I was gifted the book, The Crossroads of Should and Must, a few months ago. Author Elle Luna gives similar advice as many authors have in recent years; pursue your passion. Throughout the book she informs readers that they must make conscious decisions to do whatever it is that they must do. Must is described as an ache so compelling that the rest of our lives fall to the background when we pursue must. She warns that pursuing must shouldn’t be done on a whim, but also that we don’t have to be fully prepared to go after it.

In a similar way, we begin to feel a sense of wholeness  or fulfillment when we give time to the people, activities, and practices that feed our soul or nourish our deeper desires. Something deep inside us begins to manifest when we start giving more time to must instead of should. Should is the laundry list of things that we feel obligated to do because it is the “right” or traditional path to take. Even if only for 10 minutes a day, there is time to do that activity that they absolutely enjoy. It could be painting a canvas, writing a poem, reading a book, taking that nap, enjoying a cup of coffee, going to that Zumba class, journaling, watching funny YouTube or Instagram videos, taking that trip, getting into a relationship, getting out of a relationship, skydiving, or visiting that friend in another state. The list can go on forever.

Some of these activities require planning, time, money you may not have right now or want to spend, or a variety of other resources. However, doing something you love to do or want to do doesn’t always have to be a huge, time consuming task. It takes 20 minutes to make a cup of tea and watch that interesting TedTalk that you’ve had bookmarked for three weeks. Do something; anything that has been on your list, but you’ve somehow resigned to being out of reach. You don’t need permission for many of the items on your list. I’m advocating that you do something you love. It doesn’t have to be a big career move. It can be spending more time on that craft project or small business idea. It can be traveling alone or simple going to that local coffee shop.

Pursuing your passion has become a buzzword-like phrase that in someways has defined much of our generation. I would like to inform that statement by saying that career choices and pursing your passion don’t always have to be synonymous. Live a life you enjoy. Also, keep in mind that it doesn’t have to happen all at once, which is a lesson I’ve  learned over the past few years. Slow down, take your time, and build a life. Fill it with people and experiences that enrich your life and the lives of others. It’s important that you do.

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Here are some of the must do items on my life. It includes traveling, meeting new people, learning new skills, spending time with friends, and so much more.

Youthful Ambition and Lifelong Goals

In 8th Grade, I was voted most likely to succeed for mock elections. It happened again my senior year of high school. My “first word” was actually a full sentence. When I was two or three years-old, I was learning words, phrases, spelling, math, and grammar while my brother was learning it in school. I started picking up information much earlier because my parents would practice with him while I was in the car and while at home. In my formative years, I was promoted a year early to third grade and given the chance to be promoted again from sixth to eighth grade. My parents declined because I wouldn’t have been socially prepared. Thank God they didn’t. I wouldn’t be where I am right now.

I don’t share this seeking praise of any kind or to highlight a tremendous academic history. Trust me, Chemistry classes were and still are my worst nightmare and as time has gone by, my strengths have come to lie virtually anywhere excluding math. I share all of this to say that it instilled in me a youthful ambition; a disposition that compels me to prove that I worthy of the praise and insights others have so graciously bestowed upon me over the course of my lifetime (grand total of 23 years). The idea that I could do great things was reinforced consistently and for that I am deeply thankful.

This youthful ambition has pushed me to take risks, fail and make mistakes often, shun success or become self-defeating in times of self-doubt or uncertainty. It has also granted me some great successes – becoming a published author, being the youngest recipient of the Summer Institute of Intercultural Communication Fellowship and building an international philanthropic partnership all before 25. In an interview for Vanity Fair, President Barack Obama and Doris Kearns Goodwin discuss topics including past presidents and their decisions, temperament, and ambition. President Obama shares that “…when you’re young, ambitions are somewhat common – you want prove yourself.” He continues on to say that these ambitions can develop for a variety of reasons and stem from a variety of circumstances.

Upon completing the article,  I spent several days reflecting on why I have certain goals, dreams and plans. Are these plans rooted in youthful ambition or are they part of my values system and passion for making the world better? Who is the inspiration for pursuing the goals I’ve set for myself? What are my reasons and what circumstances helped create the reasons? The last five years have been filled with success, failure, uncertainty, consistent goals and changing plans. My youthful ambition is still present, but it is decreasing as time passes. I’m becoming more decisive and particular about the work I take on or the goals I set for myself.

“But as I got older, then my particular ambitions started cohering around creating a world in which people of different races or backgrounds or faiths can recognize each other’s humanity, or creating a world in which every kid, regardless of their background, can strive and achieve and fulfill their potential.” – President Barack Obama

The President and I share this sentiment for creating a better world for everyone. What differs is age and experience. In some cases, my youthful ambition has been rooted in a desire to prove myself, but more and more I’m beginning to realize that the commitments I make, the values I espouse, and the actions I take are rooted in something much deeper. At my core, I hope to make a better world for those suffering from great tragedy, injustice, and trauma. I will have to determine how to best do that in the coming months, but I know that this is where my heart lies.

Here is the link to the full interview on Vanity Fair’s website: http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2016/09/barack-obama-doris-kearns-goodwin-interview

How a Messy Room Showed Me the Love in My Life

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I wanted to end today one a positive and grateful note. Too do that I’m going to talk about a realization I had several days ago during a wonderful conversation with a beautiful, passionate, and amazing friend of mine. We talked about love and community and friendship and the importance of recognizing it in our lives. (For my grammar friends, I apologize for that sentence.)

I vocalized that I was looking for love in my life and I wasn’t finding it for the longest time. To set the stage for how I realized my life was full of it, we have to go back in time; I mean wayyyy back to some childhood days. I was messy kid (there’s a difference between messy and dirty). My school shirts landed where they landed, I hated folding my laundry, and my favorite excuse what that geniuses have a place for everything, even when others don’t recognize their organization system. Everything was in its proper place even if it looked like a tornado hit my room. I spent many Saturdays trying to find the easiest way to hide clothes rather than simple folding them and putting them in their place.

Fast forward to my first year of grad school and moving into the housing provided. I am much more organized and I actually put my laundry away. However, I never set my room up to feel like a home. Tables, couches, a bed, a mini fridge and other items all seemed to go in the most practical place. For a year, I felt discontented and unsettled. The arrangement didn’t fit my needs. So I decided to get rid of a few things and reorganize a few objects here and there, which resulted in my room feeling welcoming and reminiscent of home.

You may have ask yourself why does any of that matter and why hasn’t he gotten to the point about love. I’ve purposely delayed the message about love because it is one that is deeply personal. Though introverted and deeply thankful for my private space, loneliness does set in from time to time. In a favorite poem of mine, one of the lines reads, “…Many fears are born out of fatigue and loneliness.” I felt like I was losing my friends and that I was disconnected from those that are important to me. Once I changed my room around, I realized that this could not have been any further from the truth.

At the beginning you found a collection of paintings, books, journals, travel themed items, and many other objects that are all physical representations of the care and love that my friends have for me. I share this because people have different ways of showing affection and care in friendships and relationships. My life is full of love because of the people in it. How they express love is not for me to decide. However, it is my decision and responsibility to see their love through their behaviors and actions. It is also my responsibility to express how I need love to be shared with me. Communication and openness are deeply important practices for friendships, partnership, or relationships of any kind. Love is all around you, you have to be open to seeing it in the ways that others give it.