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T. Marie's little Soapbox


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In lieu of love

Sometimes I find it difficult to understand how people walk through this world without love. When I say love, I mean just having love for your common man, your peers, etc. Nowadays we have become so accustom to caring only about self that we forget that we are not islands but we are a part of the tapestry of Gods creation. When did we become so self-centered? Why are we so judgmental? Why do we allow social media to dictate or affect our emotions? Why do we allow ourselves to be pawns in this world instead of the fingers making the checkmate? Maybe its because people have lacked the experience of being alone, being lonely or in a dark place where people do not call or come by. So what do people do, they judge or criticize in lieu of love.

There was a time in my life when I was not the most trusting person but I thank God for bringing people across my path that were so loving that I had no choice but to love them back. There was no judgment or any playback of my past mistakes just pure love. That taught me something and I learned to be there for people even when there are no words to say. I learned to show my face in times of need because it brought comfort. I learned to hold a friends hand in the face of tragedy because it gave them strength to stand.

Sadly, more and more I notice how people have distanced themselves from this type of love. In lieu of love we avoid tragedies and uncomfortable situations. In lieu of love we hide and convince ourselves that we are giving time and space, when what is needed is love. In lieu of love we shut people out because we are afraid to be gracious. In lieu of love we push people away because we don’t know how to give a hug. In lieu of love we mark ourselves absent from difficult situations because we don’t know the words to console. In lieu of love we die a little bit inside because we are not open for the business of receiving the gift of love that others bring.

Going through my health battle I had to quickly decide how I was going to go through it, with love or with bitterness. Now we all know that life is not fair but we choose how we react to the situations that are presented to us. I experienced everything from people questioning my faith, to challenging my decisions and criticizing the way my body changed. Now I know that many of these remarks were made in ignorance because you would have to know that I had graves disease, hypothyroidism and growing fibroid tumors to understand the changes that I was experiencing. But in lieu of love people turned to criticism and it hurt. Yet I made it through that four-year battle by giving the love that I was not receiving.

My experience taught me to love those that don’t know how to receive or give it correctly. I truly learned that hurt people hurt people and that ignorance is not always bliss sometimes its just plain ‘ol mean. Yet I realized that the only thing that truly matters in Gods vast creation is how I treat and react to the way others treat me. So when I am met with hate, I return it with love. When I am met with ignorance I return it with love. When people attempt to knowingly or unknowingly tear me down I know its because in lieu of love they received hate, ignorance, hurt and so forth.

I encourage you to share love and in lieu of any other reaction give it.

With Love,

t.

***It is rare that in the world of social media that you see people spreading kindness, goodness, encouragement and love. This post is dedicated to Lilakoi Moon and Dawn Robinson***

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Brief Encounters of the Major Impact Kind

The thing that I like about God is that every single time I am looking or praying for answers I get exactly what I need and it usually comes from the most unlikely places. If you are open to receiving the smallest encounters can pack an amazing punch and change the direction of your life. I am so humbled by the people that God has allowed me to cross paths with over the past two years and the lessons that I have learned from them and I want to share those same lessons with you.

We all experience rough times in life but what I have learned (even though I have known this) is that you either get bitter or better and I decided to get better. I believe one of the hardest things for people to do is learn to listen when distraught. Your answer can be within hearing distance if you have faith that it’s coming. I made it my mission to learn from whatever source that God brought across my path. If the people around you are putting you down remove yourself from that crowd. Pray for God to bring into your vicinity people who will drop nuggets of wisdom that will eventually allow you to build a foundation to step out of the situation that you are in.

2012 was probably my most difficult year to date. By the time I had surgery I was so down, unenthusiastic, melancholy and physically exhausted but I had just enough faith to get out of bed every morning. A friends’ convincing to attend a film screening with S. Epatha Merkerson set me back on course and boosted my confidence. If you want to know more about that you can read the post called And Then Came Epatha. https://soapbox2.wordpress.com/2012/09/16/and-then-came-epatha/

Now that I was armed with a boost of confidence and reintroduced to my passion I decided I would grab 2013 by the horns and ride it off into the sunset. The only thing was I got knocked down twelve days into my new journey and knocked down in the form of a car accident. Many people say that when their life flashes before their eyes they see their whole life but it wasn’t like that for me. In less than a few seconds I watched my future flash before my eyes. I knew in that instance that I wanted to live to walk it out. As easily as I lived through that accident, I honestly believe I could have died but something in me wanted to live.

There is inspiration and then there is action. I have always known what I wanted to do and had tasted doing it but there was still a snag somewhere that was holding me back. Without me knowing it 2013 was gearing up to become a year of learning and I wanted to learn. I knew I was spared for a reason I just had to get all the pieces together.

Over the course of the year I was destined to meet five people that our encounter would be pivotal to my life and the direction that I would travel. If you would have told me that I would have an opportunity to talk to Soledad O’Brien, Nikki Giovanni and Dr. Dennis Kimbro I might have laughed. I met them and I have a picture with each one to prove it (you know how people are if they cant see it they don’t believe it, small minded people) I also meet and talked with Dr. Shakti Butler and Mrs. Richie Jackson, who I didn’t know of before our paths crossed but our meetings was definitely divine.

Below are the five lessons that I learned from these awesome people. I know that I am one of thousands of people that the aforementioned people have met but the difference is that I am applying what I heard. Mark my words I will make a major difference in this world.

Lesson one came from Dr. Dennis Kimbro. I was introduced to Dr. Kimbro by an undergrad professor with the book; What Makes the Great Great. I have enjoyed the book so much that I have read it once a year since I have had it. While attending an economic development conference I had the great fortune to hear him speak, I sat front row like I was at a concert. His lecture on financial success and managing wealth informed me that I had not received the necessary principals to money management, wealth access and growth. During his lecture (which is what I consider it) my intellectual relationship to money began to change. I knew that in order to accomplish the things that I desired I would have to develop a new relationship with money. Our brief conversation afterward his lecture he encouraged me to stay the course and continue to improve my relationship with money.

Lesson One: Develop A New Relationship with Money and Stay the Course.

Lesson two came from the work of Dr. Shakti Butler and her film Cracking the Codes (http://crackingthecodes.org/). You can almost get me anywhere by telling me there will be a film screening, so this time I found myself in Montgomery, Alabama with my fellow world changers discussing the issue of race with other community leaders. Throughout the film there were points where the film is to be paused and discussion is suppose to take place on what was just viewed. I was enjoying the film and discussion and then we came to the section on internalized oppression and boom. I was in shock and I had to fight back tears because I was being confronted with the way that I treated myself. Now I am a very compassionate person but I’m not easily moved. This section moved me so that I was consumed with it for the remainder of the event, on the ride home and every day after that. I realized that I had oppressed myself so that a change had to be made and quick. After the meeting ended I walked up to Dr. Butler and told her that the film had impacted me so that I was not sure what all I was going to do but I was going to start by quitting my job. I could tell by her facial expression that my response was probably not what she was expecting but it was the truth. I knew I had to get home and do the work of up rooting all of the oppression I had buried myself under as well as quit my job and I did.

Lesson Two: Thy Shalt Not Oppress Thyself (Oh and figure out your way don’t just up and quit your job like I did. Our paths are different and this one was mine.)

Lesson three came from Mrs. Richie Jackson, a homemaker and friend of Dr. King and Coretta Scott King. I signed up to be a reflection group leader with an organization called L.E.I. (http://www.leadingedgeinst.org/) for their summer institute in Marion Alabama. During a tour of Selma we were blessed to sit down with Mrs. Richie for dinner. She shared some of the most amazing stories of Dr. King and the time they spent together over the years and the last time they saw him before his assassination. Powerful stories that I wish more people had the opportunity to hear but I feel blessed that I was able too. I never miss an opportunity to say thank you to someone who inspires me and with that I grabbed her hand and told her thank you for taking time to spend with our group. She encouraged me to continue to pour into the young people and be a guide. “Now do it”, she said as we parted ways, “Yes ma’am” I said. Sadly, she past a few months later but I will not only cherish her words but put them into action. Rest in Paradise with your friends Mrs. Richie.

Lesson Three: Pour into the next generation.

Lesson Four came from Soledad O’Brien my favorite news producer, the woman that brought us Black in America. I went to hear her speak and was just blown away. I actually received three lessons in one. As she shared her story and struggles to a room mixed with college students, fans of her work and spectators she encouraged everyone to stay focused and be true to your self. I really loved the last part because I know in my life I have done a disservice to myself by not being true to me and allowing others to influence my decision-making. I have always known what I was placed on this earth to do but I had allowed others to dictate my truth and I needed to be true to myself. After the event they had a mini meet and greet set up and a friend convinced me to stay and shake her hand. I have to be honest I was like really; I don’t want to shake her hand I want to pick this woman’s brain. But that wasn’t possible or was it? After about 20 minutes of standing in line I watched everyone take a picture and get her autograph and I noticed that no one was really talking to her outside of exchanging pleasantries. I thought to myself, I’m gonna ask her some and I did.

Part B of this lesson is if you want to know something, just ask. Since I am filming a documentary and Soledad O’Brien is eight feet from me why wouldn’t I ask her opinion, what is she going to say No? I wont know unless I ask. I asked her my question and she happily gave me advice and didn’t rush me off either. At the end of our conversation she said, “stay focused, be true to you and best of luck to you”. Now what if I had not asked, I would have regretted it for the rest of my days. I would have had a picture with Soledad and her autograph but nothing else. I took a risk and had a conversation about film with one of my hero’s. I’m convinced God brought Soledad to Birmingham so I could meet her and everyone else just benefited from it. You’re welcome.

Lesson Four: Stay Focused, Be True to You and Don’t Be Afraid to Ask, the answer may be yes.

My last lesson comes from a genius and legend, Ms. Nikki Giovanni. Okay I have to admit this was probably my first star struck moment. When I saw her from a distance I wanted to scream but I maintained my composure. The sweetest soul, I just wanted to sit at her feet and let her talk. Her speech was amazing and I wish I remembered every single thing she said but what was impacting was when a couple friends and I had the opportunity to walk her back to her hotel. During our walk we talked about everything from Kanye West to today’s youth and the inspiration of her thug life tattoo and in our casual conversation she slipped in some advice. “Learn to mourn what has died and live your life only.” Yes ma’am we said.

Now let me dissect these two lessons for second. In our lives it is unavoidable that we will loose things. People will loose jobs through firings; company buy-outs or lay offs and one must mourn that loss and move past it. People will loose friends due to distance, disagreements or just growing apart and those relationships have to be mourned also. The hardest loss of all is through death. When we loose a loved one through death one has to learn to live with the person’s absence but that person has to go through the mourning stages regardless of how long it takes.

Secondly has someone ever told you that you would be good at something? Has a parent ever pushed you in an activity that you hated and grew to loathe because you had no interest in it? Things like this easily happen in childhood but you’re an adult now and whose life are you living? Stop chasing the dreams of others and live the dreams divinely placed in you. Live your life….only.

Lesson Five: Mourn what has died and live my life only.

As a recap the five lessons I learned were:

• Develop a new relationship with money and stay the course
• Thou shalt not oppress thy self
• Pour into the next generation
• Stay focused, be true to myself and don’t be afraid to ask
• Mourn what has died and live my life only

I hope that you were able to learn something from my experiences, take the lessons that are for you and grow to the next level. Your future is waiting on you.

Namaste

t.


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A Gift of Faith

I just finished reading Andy Andrews book, The Traveler’s Gift, and this inspirational reading turned into a serious revelation moment concerning faith. First I would encourage everyone to read this book because there are great lessons for success to implement in your life. In a nutshell the lead character, David, is down on his luck and exhausted with life. I don’t know about you but I have been there before. Throughout the book he experiences dream like travels where he encounters seven people through history that pour knowledge into him for him to utilize to change the direction of his life. In the end he returns home with a new perspective and new lessons he holds close to his heart.

Now the meeting that David had that made my spirit jump for joy was his encounter with Gabriel, the Archangel. David realizes that he is in a facility filled with shelves with all types of random items on them and there are shelves as far as his eyes can see. Any and everything was in the facility from pictures of children and animals, coats, tires, roof shingles, blankets, wheelchairs, vacuum cleaners and on and on. David inquires from Gabriel of what was the facility and why were all those things there. Gabriel replied (in my paraphrase) that the facility they were in housed all of the items that people stopped believing for right before they were about to be delivered. The facility that they were in housed dreams and goals that missed their opportunity.

Revelation Time!

When I re-read what Gabriel said; the facility housed all of the items that people stopped believing for right before they were about to be delivered. I had to put the book down immediately. I sat up in my bed stunned. What dreams did I miss out on because my faith wavered? How many times had I exited the receiving line right before it was my turn to receive? What are you; yes you, believing God for? How tired are you of holding out faith? Remember that David saw all kinds of items in the facility, tires, blankets, vacuum cleaners and pictures of children. What is it that you have faith on that you are about to give up on? Let me encourage you not to give up. Keep your faith because it could be at your fingertips right now. Don’t allow time and frustration to pressure you into giving up on your faith. God could be ready to place it in your hands just when you throw your hands up in despair.

Over my time on this earth I have watched faith work in my life. I have always just believed that God could do it. Maybe it’s the artist in me but I have always had faith, even in the toughest times. However I am taking my faith to a new level. Now unfortunately life and people have a way of discouraging you but they don’t have the last say. So stop acting like they do. What ever it is that you have your faith on, in the words of Journey, Don’t Stop Believing! Keep pressing and open yourself up to receiving what is ready for you. Don’t allow your dreams and goals to sit in a facility un-used. In the book Gabriel said, Reason never makes room for miracles but faith releases miracles. Release your faith and wait on the miracle.

Namaste

t.

Andrews, Andy. The Traveler’s Gift. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2002.


Prelude to 2014, Part II

So, what do you do when you’re not sure what is going on? I went on a retreat. I had been planning on attending a spiritual retreat all year but dang, those things can get expensive. While checking my facebook feed one day, I saw that a big sister (Sonia) of mine in Christ was having one. I was like boom, going to that one. I had been promising to come visit her church for the longest but you know what life does sometimes. Yep, it gets in the way of your good intentions. So I paid my deposit and told a few friends about it too. I was excited and expecting to receive something.

Now let me take a moment and tell you about Sonia. When I was in school in Atlanta, I met Sonia and we have always had pleasant conversation but that was about the extent of our relationship. It wasn’t until I moved that we developed a friendship through facebook and I can truly say now that she has been one of the greatest spiritual big sisters ever. I have been around many many many ministers in my lifetime but she is definitely 100 grand. Its amazing to me how God will place a person in your life that you might not need when you meet them but later on they become active in your life just at the right time.

Back to the retreat, it was just what I needed. It was an opportunity to rest a bit, spend sometime with friends, make some new friends and receive some spiritual clarification and love. When you are a giver it is rare that you receive in the manner and on the level that you give on. What I have grown to realize was that I should not stop giving (because I thought about doing that) I just had to alter my expectancy level. TD Jakes said it best; if you’re a gallon person you cant expect to receive a gallon return from a pint person; or some like that. Therefore I decided to just give because I wanted to but I am adding more gallon people to my life.

After the retreat and a good word to go on, I felt like I could take on the world. I started pursuing my dreams, pretty much jobless with consulting work here and there but I was happy. Still working with teens, filming and developing other projects that are dear to my heart. I had to increase my faith in God because I was more in a state of unknown than ever before but I knew and I still know that God is faithful and my needs are still being met. Even though I have missed out on some wants,  life is still pretty awesome. I believe it’s all about perspective on your situation and the level of faith that you have in Gods word. I have a lot of faith and trust in God.

As I look forward to 2014 and all the promises of God to come to fruition I am thankful to be here. Thankful to have the opportunity to operate in my purpose and give away what God has placed in me to give. I encourage everyone to alter your perspective. Things may not be like you want them and 2013 may not have been all you dreamed of but there is a new season upon us and God can make up suddenly for all that you think you have missed.

Be blessed and have a Happy New Year!


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Prelude to 2014, Part I

As I anticipate the end of 2013 it has become reminiscent of waiting on your final report card in hopes that you will be promoted to the next grade. I swear 2013 was as challenging as the year I took Algebra. Nothing in that class made sense to me. Sitting in class looking at the dry erase board was the mental equivalent to being in a foreign land. That year of school was full of disappointing test grades; make up work, extra credit work and truly giving my all. I was so stressed out that it took my teacher telling my 16 year old self that I all I needed was a passing grade and I would not have to worry about it again. Sadly I didn’t receive this revelation until the end of the semester but that’s life sometimes. You don’t know until the end that things will get better. I am so glad that I haven’t had to redo Algebra.

When I say 2013 started out with a bang, twelve days into the New Year it did. In less than sixty seconds I literally watched flashes of my life. However, I didn’t see things of the past, I saw what I had not accomplished. I knew that I didn’t want my life to end in a car accident and all I could muster up to say was; “Lord, not like this” and CRASH, head on. My little Altima coupe was done. After being pulled out of the car by two blessed creations of God, I knew then there was a purpose for my life.

A few months later, still in physical pain from the accident, I found myself anxious about my call and living on purpose. I became obsessed with fulfilling purpose and how to accomplish it. I didn’t voice my turmoil but it was there. It had moved in with me since the accident and I knew I had an opportunity to live my life as intended by God. I have so many gifts and talents that were placed on the inside of me and I didn’t want to return to my creator with all that he had given me still in my hands. In April I attend an event on Race and during the event we watched an awesome documentary by Dr. Shakti Butler, called Cracking the Codes. If you know me, you know I love a good documentary and this was a great one. However I had a true emotional realization through the film and it was that I had oppressed myself and change had to happen. I knew in that moment that I was going to have to quit my job. I went up to Dr. Butler, shook her hand, told her thanks for the film and that because of it I was quitting my job. The look on her face was priceless but I knew it had to be done. My current job was standing in the way of my divine purpose.

Many people thought that when I finally resigned from my “making a difference” job that it was all of a sudden. Who pissed me off, what was done to me and even though there was turmoil going on at the time the truth of the matter was that months ago my decision had already been made. My leaving my job was like death. When a person dies in the days after there is a time of preparation to say goodbye to the deceased and that is what I was experiencing. My season at my “making a difference” job had expired or died and the next three months would be preparation to finally say goodbye to that season in my life.

Once I said goodbye and the lid was closed it was time to exercise some serious faith. I had been down this road with my health the year before so this was not knew to me. I had a few jobs lined up but I am glad that I was betting on God and not on hook ups because they all fell through. Every single one of them did not pan out. I can laugh about it now but it was pissing me off. Now I am not throwing shade anyone’s way it just is what it is. Yet all my needs have been met in the meantime. What I learned was that just because a door opens for you; that does not mean that its Gods desire that you walk through it. When doors open there is no way to know what is on the other side of that door. So I am thankful for God closing them, I am sure that it was for the better and I don’t need to know why.

*****To Be Continued, Part II is Coming Soon******


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Sacrifice to be there for someone else

The lesson for November 3rd is Sacrifice to be there for someone else.
I am so thankful for my grandmother and the type of person that she has always been. She is such a giver. Throughout my childhood I watched her sacrifice her time, money and cooking ability for others. Many times I had an opportunity to go with her and share in on her blessing another person. So for me to grow into an adult and being such a giver is just a part of my personality. Finding a way to bless another person is just a part of me; it doesn’t take a lot of thought, its just natural.

Unfortunately I know the feeling of going through and having people that you expect to be there for you not have them there. My encouragement to you is to take a moment to sacrifice for someone else, you will never know how it may bless them.


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Write Your Vision

Many times we have visions in our minds of what we want our lives to be but we never write it down. I guess many people take the optimistic view of things will just fall into place. Maybe they do but what if they don’t? What do you do next? What is holding you back from moving forward? Do you know the steps that you need to take to start achieving your goal? Or could you be afraid to see the work that you need to invest to achieve your vision.

Take some time and write out your vision or complete a vision board to maintain a visual of the life you are moving towards.