I just watched Maid on Netflix. It is well worth the time investment when you are in the mood for something that resembles reality with hope mixed in to keep you going. It even l inspired to write and use my voice in spite of feeling like I need to share differently in this daunting social media dominated world we live in. And as a person who is blogging – albeit inconsistently – that is significant and telling statement. It also points to the impact of the story ans its authors from a film and written standpoint. Yet, the overarching theme in Maid about overcoming her domestic violence situation relevant, there is also the theme of finding your voice and writing your own story. We can overcome adversity and today’s pandemic puts a modern twist to this general idea. Even if we are binging on Netflix we can find inspiration in the stories being told to us and this lead me to do a little digger seeping after watching the series.
This lead me to discover this article: I Left Poverty After Writing Maid by the author of the book that Netflix series tapped into. It touched me for a few personal reasons. The Time article takes the relativity of the series a step further by also discussing the transition in her situation from poverty to success. Anyone who has experienced both can most likely relate. Also, money comes and goes as any one with an entrepreneurial spirit can easily tell you. The simple truth she mentions about how to help at the end of the article specifically touched me because it’s that moment so many of us have been through but don’t want to talk about or admit whether it was while in college, grad school, part of childhood, or becoming a single parent most likely not by choice. I always think: “I hope some day I can help people the same way people helped me when I was at my lowest.” There is so much truth in her closing quote below.
“When people ask me how to help, I tell them to ask people what they need. I’m betting the answers are things like tampons and diapers and $10 for gas, because life is so small and short-sighted when you’re that hungry that you can’t demand affordable housing and a living wage. That’s for all of us who have means to fight for.”
-All of us who have means to fight for – that’s everyone, right? The pandemic forced us all to consider how we socialize, connect, and communicate. We still need to share and connect especially the single parents if I had to choose a specific group. To me this group most especially has something to fight for that I can relate to me and also fits the focus of LITE.
We have all learned so much about how we can adapt. Adjusting to improve our lives may not have felt it seemed easy at first but we all did it when the seriousness of the pandemic became clear. We have always known that exercise is more than just helpful to our lives but necessary. So we welcome this amazing video from Dr. Wes Bailey which highlights some misconceptions and provides great tips on how to continue to overcome today’s both common and unique challenges.
So many things in our lives shape us. A lot of it has to do with the people in our environment whether you were raised mostly by family or by the kindness of those who adopted you into their own family. Still, we have to overcome our fears especially during these covid-19 pandemic times. The pandemic will eventually be a temporary moment in history. For now we are living it. It forces us to all examine the things we know.
For me, I have learned that we are far more resilient than we give ourselves credit for. And, the thought keeps popping up in my mind that we have to remember our ability to say no. We have to remember our ability to say no to fear, doubt, and uncertainty. We have to own that we are both powerful and intelligent. Yet, so many of us have heard the word “no” more frequently than we heard the word yes. NO – you can’t touch that. Or, NO – you can’t try that. Or, NO – you can’t do that. As a result we have lost the ability to decipher when we should say yes or no.
When I became a parent, I made the conscious decision that I did not want ‘no’ to be the first word for either one of my children. This forced me to choose my words carefully. At the time I didn’t realize how often I had heard the word no. And, I know that it had the opposite effect for me as I started to grow and find my own voice. I wanted to say yes to everything. I wanted to try everything. I wanted to ensure that I didn’t miss out. So, as I start several new business ventures, I’ve had to empower myself with the ability to say “no.” Although I cannot remember the author at this time, I can certainly remember that there is a quote that should resonate with all of us. You cannot do all things but not everything. The gist of this was more or less to say that we can’t do all things at once. So that means it’s imperative that we hone our ability to say no and trust our instincts to guide us on the appropriate timing to say yes. The hardest part is to re teach your brain to distinguish the difference. The hardest part is to trust yourself and your own innate ability to know what is best for yourself. So, with that I encourage you to exercise your ability to say no but never limit yourself from saying yes when it resonates deeply within your soul.
I usually love writing. This is actually why starting a blog initially appealed to me when I was examining ways to improve my income largely to account for anticipated family court attorney expenses. Still, I think – no – as a matter of fact I know that 2020 threw us all for a huge shock. We are well past the halfway mark for 2020 and I personally set a goal for myself financially that is definitely a huge stretch; yet, I believe it is entirely feasible. This is how faith in yourself works. You must believe without a single doubt in spite of being stalled on writing for weeks. Even, if your belief in yourself starts as small as the size of a mustard seed for any particular day or moment. The belief will undoubtedly grow.
So, what is the true reason for my writer’s block or, as I prefer to frame it, writer’s hurdle. The true reason is because I enjoy being social. Social media has never daunted me because I have never been afraid to speak my mind. It’s been easier to post and create a 2-5 minute video off the top of my head than to plan a structured article. Speaking my mind has always been a preference for me whether virtual or in person. Now there are times when I was taught to dim my light and not share the words that I felt would help her others. So, wouldn’t a blog be the perfect place for that overcoming that limitation?
The fact is everyone emphasizes your audience. We all need help and the truth is we’re going to resonate with those (that pesky audience) who understand us best. The funny thing about that is those who understand you best may not necessarily be your family and sometimes not even your closest friends. The reason for this is that we all change daily. Some changes are small and others are huge. Being social has changed and become more virtual than in person. Yet, we all crave that in-person a.k.a LIVE connection. Live interaction is necessary to our health and wellness. So, choose carefully who you connect with and make a choice to adapt and embrace your daily changes.
This leads me to the buzzword for those who are on the front lines of dealing with COVID-19 and appearing as leaders is pivot. What does pivot really mean to those of us who have always adapted to change? Pivoting is nothing new. Pivoting simply means you adjust to your surroundings. Yes, you may have a signature style or signature talk that you display at the ready within the confines of a virtual world. However, the definition of who you are changes daily at times in huge ways and at times in small almost invisible manifestations so that signature adapts as well, via whatever medium you feel most comfortable delivering it on. Music is the method for composers, musicians, DJs. Books are the method for authors, academics, or even new entrepreneurs.
So, as I write my first blog post in what for me is far too long – I give myself a break on getting the writing done to my idea of perfection because evolving or going through this daily change. There is no need for me to bring you scientific research right now. For some of us that evidence is important. The fact remains science has its place and life experience has its own too. Experience teaches us that each person and moment serves a certain and specific purpose.
One of my constant affirmations is: “I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.” So, this has simply been a writer’s hurdle that I’m clearly overcoming as we all adjust to the uncertainty created by a super-virus and racial unrest. This worldwide pandemic has changed us all as well as our environments. Still, what remains most amazing is that we are still here to share our light with the world. Remember that no one has the right to take away your happiness or your peace of mind. And I write this simply to encourage us all. I hope it resonated with you. LITE your path and I’ll cheer you on.
2020 is well past the halfway mark and what a year it has been thus far! This has certainly been a year defined by TRANSFORMATION and so full of surprises. Let us really just also own that it has been entirely unpredictable forcing individuals, government, and businesses to constantly pivot. And, the truth of this impact is that there have actually been far more pros than cons in spite of the 2020 Corona pandemic still going on.
Namely, in the realm of personal development, we have been finding Love multiplied in so many amazing communities and, professionally, it’s primarily been from customers and a prior corporate team. Still, “change remains the only constant” even if it is a common quote that is less endearing to those tired of or resistant to change. In this age of instant gratification and moving at the speed of light, we all still prefer and seek authenticity especially when it comes to love. I for one crave consistency and know that I am not alone in a strong desire for it especially given how unpredictable the state of the world has been for months now. Consistency comes from many efforts – the most important among these being hard work.
The truth is work never ends – pandemic or not; childless or a parent; young or old; etc. Even when our bodies are at supposed “rest” our mind, body, and spirit continue doing work for us in a subconscious level. So if the truth is we are constantly working even while at rest, how do we get everything done without completely falling apart? There is an element of teamwork to this balancing act that occurs in our lives to ensure all of our needs are met. And the consistency we crave also benefits and nearly requires this type of teamwork.
Many communities, specifically in Chicago have found themselves in predicaments where the only option left was teamwork particularly after Chicago was ravaged by looting. Even parents or couples while faced with work from home coupled with unexpected home schooling have had limited options ultimately leading them to utilize teamwork to find a new method to function in today’s uncertainty. We are all resilient. Our resilience has come from this ability to pivot and transform; yet underlying all of this has been love, consistency, hard work, and teamwork. As we are a;; finding balance among all of these important and deep concepts we continue to thrive gloriously.
Do you adapt your style to your environment? Or are you the type of person who is known for always being “on point?” Have you adapted yourself to become your brand? These are 3 questions that I’ve seen come up in various forms recently especially as we’ve moved to teleconferencing and having to live in a virtual world during this global pandemic called COVID-19. Also known as the Corona virus ak.a. #darona or if you’re a little tiny bit more #theRona. Regardless, a lot of my co-workers and other peers who are now working from home have said that they were doing teleconferences from their pajamas or in their robes. I found their comfort in their home and utilizing the right to choose to go on-screen or not to be commendable.
Yet, my take own take on work from home particularly for parents who are simultaneously home-schooling their children differs from some of these practices. In fact, an article I recently received from my mother about recommendations from a home-schooling teachers of 10+ years (if I recall correctly) said to let the kids stay in their pajamas longer. My own personal experience, growth and, development have taught me to value my routines related to self-care. For example, I have a self-care routine that requires me to get fully dressed in the morning partly because it makes me feel good. And, I like the stability of my routine. Equally important, I like my kids to be fully dressed in the morning too because they need me to teach them to establish good habits and be ready for whatever the day has ahead of them.
Furthermore, I was always taught to be readily available and quickly adapt to multiple environments because you never know where we are headed next. To paraphrase an old-school saying Al Grace of Loop Capital Markets taught me well: I may be going to see a man about a dog. Consequently, I am one of ‘those types’ of people who wants to know how I am supposed to show up to a date ,for example. I can not tell you how many times I’ve been annoyed about a date night gone wrong simply because my date did not tell me where we were going and I also failed to ask or push for more answers. This results in me ending up dressed inappropriately or having to bring flat shoes just in case my heels will be problematic.
So, why do I adapt to my environment? This is a firm belief and principle of my life and it is important you understand its foundations. I adopt to my environment because I am around a lot of different types of people and I love meeting new people. I also know that it makes me more relatable when I dress appropriately. Also, I grew up in a household where we were taught to constantly be “on point.” The reason why we constantly had to be on with best foot forward is because my dad whose surname I still use proudly is a local celebrity of sorts. My dad Kenny R. Williams, Senior is the executive vice president of the Chicago White Sox. Do know what it was like growing up always feeling like you had to represent? It was hard sometimes and occasionally it was fun. I am a more laid-back person but I was taught to behave a certain way. I was taught to adapt to my environment and again to adapt quickly. This is because things could changed in our house rather quickly especially when there are five kids and two adults living there. Yet, you probably know that old adage: to whom much is given much is expected.
And while I was in that amazing Facebook group I mentioned earlier I was speaking with another member and she explained her own rationale for adjusting her attire in the professional world. Allow me to introduce Tee Goldsmith-Irby who is a fellow entrerpreneur who is gracefully permitting me to share her feedback on my perspective in that amazing FREE Facebook Group from my fellow Duke alumna Shalena Diva. In this group where we responding to a feedback request regarding appearances she said my own take: “It makes sense. I agree with you. If my outfit was blue, than my shoes had to be blue. My hair was always done, and one day I did not roll up my hair , but there was still a curl and a man said to me “what’s up with this” and pointed to my hair. I told him nothing and this is what the people was going to get for today. When you work 5 days in an office building, it is challenging to be put together each and every day. I started to change the way I looked to a laid-back look and, as you stated, if I wanted to take it up a notch a couple of days out of the week, I did. Of course, it is different for individuals who are in an office setting versus online talking to hundreds or thousands of people; yet, in my opinion, I would rather exude confidence than focus on the details of how I dress as long – as I’m clean.”
Her agreement was affirming. So, to reference hip-hop, let’s all be “so, so clean,” “fresh to death,” “fly,” or simply “dress to the nines” to match our environment and adapt according. I look forward to hearing your comments or you can even just tell me if you know the original creators quoted in my hip-hope reference for our amusement. Thank you all so much for going on this LITE journey with me. I appreciate each and everyone one of you. Cheers and I would be remiss in my faith if I didn’t say Happy Easter to all those who celebrate.
I have to admit that lately my default has been to truly practice living in each moment as it comes. This is not in alignment with my Type A past. Seriously, I am a graduate of Duke University land of Alpha personalities and overachievers. Several life events forced me to – as I like to describe it: “tone down my Type A.” Yet, I have also been known to say recently that I feel like I am drinking water from a figurative fire hose of information while attempting to move at the speed of light and the last time I checked that’s not humanly possible. Given our current world state of affairs how are we to manage the plethora of information being presented to us – especially without feeling overwhelmed? There are 3 methods that work best for me: stay in the moment, conduct my own research, and be kind to myself and others. So let’s get started on how we all can move forward.
I’m an avid reader. So the first books that come to mind when it comes to how I’m coping are:
The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Like I said at the start of this blog article, I have to take pause and focus on the present moment. And, the first book listed was actually a gift to me from one of my best friends whose field of study has always touched on human behavior. She started as a social worker who holds a LCSW and now she has a master in Behavioral Analysis. Needless to say I value and appreciate all her knowledge she shares with me just because she loves me and has known me longer than she has had those degrees (funny yet very true!). Also, Eckhart Tolle was featured as part of Oprah’s Book Club and essentially he teaches mindfulness is the best way for me to describe it a nutshell. Now we all know anything Oprah touches usually turns to gold so I forced myself to pay attention. Please note, I am a much bigger fan of fictional work so it was truly a labor of personal development for me to get through this book and his follow-up book which was also part of my gift set. At first, it was not easy to stop planning ahead or reflecting and reviewing on way to improve on my past actions. Then, as I made a more conscious effort to implement his teachings, it gradually became easier. So, when the flurry of information about the Coronavirus started to feel overwhelming or appeared to be a constant influx of often times faulty information, I simply reminded myself to reset my mind. Rather than allow anyone else’s panic to infiltrate my life, I would again simply focus on what was right in front of me. Luckily, that was usually my children especially once Chicago Public Schools and day care were shut down by the IL Governor Pritzker or it was work for my corporate employer. Equally important, I enjoy both my babies and the sales and marketing career I’ve built so the reset is much easier than it would be for a person who is a bit unhappier with their current station in life. I’m sure you can guess what I enjoy more, right? Well, in case it is not obvious, I enjoy my family life with my children immensely and will passionately love and protect them especially from what feels like a huge world crisis right now with the way the information regarding COVID-19 has rolled out.
This also easily leads me to the passion I learned from Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love. Her own journey through a life transition stirred my soul in ways that are hard to put into words. Yet, her book came to mind as a reminder on how to sort the information because she was also working as a writer as she traveled ate her way through one country, meditated her way in another, and fell in love in the final leg of the chapter of her life which she was illustrating for us. She was doing her very own first-hand research. This is what I encourage all of us to do as well! It shouldn’t be hard to do with the easy of smart phones, tablets, and voice-activated gadgets we all have in our home. And, if your anything like me and feeling like you practically live in your kitchen while eating non-stop (thanks again coronavirus LOL), then you have all the incentive in the world to put down that yummy food and get to work ensure you have validated the source. The Snopes website: https://www.snopes.com/ even does that work for us so we can get back to eating faster. I jest. Still, I did share with you all that I am a proud Blue Devil hailing from the research-based institution with a renown winning basketball team right? The library, printed sources, and reputable websites if you insist on relying on only internet information will help you to not spread the vicious cycle of misinformation we have all been experiencing as of late. I can not forget how when the virus first hit and I felt like my family was inundating with news and gossip they had heard trying to push me to the grocery stores. They were well-meaning but needless to say I was frustrated at stretching my planned grocery budget well beyond its means not to mention the amount of cooking I had to do to ensure food did not go bad. LOL They say the road to a hot place is paved with good intentions and I get cold easily so perhaps I should go down that path. Again, I am joking so I hope you can bear my style of humor.
With that in mind that leads me to my last tip and point of reference. Laughter is so critical to my life. I can not count the number of times I have had to laugh to keep from crying. So when I reflect on what I learned from the Four Agreements is that most people stay in their own heads and can actually be pretty harsh with his or herself in their. So again be kind. I will even bonus you all with 2 quotes this time:
“Be kind; for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” Plato
“The World is a Tragedy to Those who Feel and a Comedy to Those Who Think.” Horace Walpole
It’s too easy to be hard on yourself especially when it feels like your surrounded by chaos. Still, the best way to stay focused on the right data also means you must choose the words you spread carefully. And this is the reason why I brought up Dale Carnegie’s book How to Win Friends and Influence People. Admittedly, I haven’t finished his book because remember non-fiction is harder for me? Still, I remember him describing how Honest Abe turned around his political career. Honest Abe meaning our former president Abraham Lincoln who is from my home state of IL (bonus points if you know what number president he was)! Hopefully, you understand my parallel. And just in case, here’s the gist of all this information I shared in picture format.
This was a long one but hopefully you made it to the end and will like it enough to leave a comment here or via one of our social media channels. And, thanks so much for taking this journey with me!
TeMeka C. Williams
A woman constantly learning for myself & about others whose also a proud mother of 2 beautiful angels. I’m passionate about my loves – all of them. Cheers to the living our best life.
I’ve been living with Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder abbreviated as PMDD since I started my menstrual and/or “friend.” Well she’s no friend of mine. She’s been more of an enemy than a friend to me. Looking back, I didn’t realize I had PMDD until I got older. It seemed to get worse. I didn’t get diagnosed with it until I was in my 20’s.
“She’s no friend of mine. …I just recently started letting some people know why I don’t come around when I make plans with them.”
Qura Walker direct quote
Those of you who don’t know what PMDD is, it’s Premenstrual dysphoric disorder. It’s like having an evil twin sister who wants nothing more than to see you break into pieces. I get it two weeks out of every month before my period and it’s the worst two weeks of my life, not to mention my family’s life. You see – when she’s about to visit I start feeling depressed. I have no desire to be around people at all. I’ve had suicidal thoughts and I have zero confidence in myself during this time. I have severe migraines, insomnia, panic attacks and I have lack of concentration. Oh, and bloating that makes me look like I’m 6 months pregnant. I’m not friendly during this time. I have no patience or tolerance for people. You try living a “normal” life with PMDD. It’s taken over my life for what seems like my entire life since I was a teen. There is no cure or medicine that has worked for me and I’ve taken probably all of them. I haven’t taken anything in years now and refuse to at this point. I simply deal with my symptoms the best way I possibly can. My family probably gets the worst of it and I hate that I can’t control it because they deserve so much better than the way I am during this time. Please do not confuse PMDD with PMS because it is 100 times worse and never let anyone tell you that you’re overreacting or using it as a crutch. I’ve heard it all when I try to explain to people that it’s an illness. I just recently started letting some people know why I don’t come around when I make plans with them. As for now, I have no choice but to go through this alone because I don’t know anyone else who has had PMDD who can truly understand how I’m feeling and what I go through. This is a very small portion of my story and I hope it helps someone else who may be dealing with this illness.
Hi, I’m Qura and I’m a wife, mother, daughter and friend. I love helping people and a goal of mine is to spread love and light throughout humanity. I am a spiritual being having a human experience. Love and kindness are key to the evolution of our world.
Wow, I really have to start by saying what a unique past couple of weeks it has been to say the least! I hope you all are doing well. Life is a journey and we are living in unprecedented times at least for my era and generation. With that being said, I must ask how prepared are you to adapt?
As a woman who used to work in both investment banking and healthcare, adapting in fast-paced was a requirement in both fields. Now that my corporate career is in technology, I wish I could say that requirement no longer exists. However, what I can say is that adapting works differently now. I find that because tech changes so frequently that the industry as a whole is often more forgiving as we stumble and adjusts. So with that background I have to say, “Go easy on yourself!” Change is not always easy in fact one of my favorite quotes is:
“Change is the only constant.” ~Plato
This may be paraphrased Plato because I’ve been saying it so long now.
And with that in mind I’m going to keep this post short and leave you with this image which focuses on adapting. It also happens to showcase plenty of reduce, reuse, recycle a few of my favorite R words. More importantly, my kids and did a container gardening project recently. We adapted to being forced into our homes for the most part and made some beautiful items which will refresh our home. Take a look at our project below. It highlights both the Jade plant which truly adapts to it’s surroundings rather quickly for a plant. And, also the avocado seed which will take more time to sprout and grow. Nevertheless, the project was a great demonstration not just for me kids but for all to prepare and adapt ourselves for changes to come whether we expect them or not.
As always, we would love to hear your thoughts on this blog post as well via any of our social media channels. Until then, please let your inner LITE shine!
We are honored to bring you this post from our honored guest Nicole Leffer. This post originally appeared on NicoleLeffer.com. While I still try to wrap my head around COVID-19, most of my commentary on it has been limited to my Facebook page so you’re welcome to check it out there. And, without further ado here’s the article.
As coronavirus spreads, it looks like a lot of healthy people are going to be spending a lot more time at home for a while. Whether you get stuck at home because of an actual quarantine, or are just at home a lot more because of social distancing and social events being put on hold, we may all need to find some exciting activities to keep us from going totally stir crazy or getting bored.
A possible quarantine while healthy doesn’t have to mean that life is super boring if you come into it with the right mindset. With a little preparation so that you have the right supplies on hand (no, I’m not talking about toilet paper or canned goods, I’m talking about tools for home-based self-entertainment, personal growth, and creativity) it could be very rewarding experience that allows you time and space to connect with God and your own soul, learn and dive deep into mindful activities and self-reflection we wouldn’t ordinarily pursue, get creative, play, and just really enjoy the gift of life.
In this light, as we all get prepared for the possibility of coronavirus quarantine, I asked my awesome friends for their ideas of things to do (other than watching Netflix) and what to have on hand if you get stuck at home (but not sick) a lot more because of coronavirus. The list of possible quarantine activities and supplies is awesome and will keep you occupied whether you’ll be home alone or with family. The list spans a wide range including spiritual and personal growth activities, creativity, play, self-care, education and enrichment, and life productivity.
Here’s the quarantine activities we collectively came up with, the quarantine supplies you may not realize you’ll want to have on hand, and some online resources you may find handy!
Things To Do During A Self Quarantine To Make it Awesome (these are also just awesome things to do if coronavirus just has you at home a lot):
Write a letter to God (or however you define your higher power)
Read a spiritual text (maybe even one from a different faith tradition than your own)
Write a letter to yourself from your future self (the things you think your future self would like you to know NOW)
Create a vision board
Create a written life vision (like a vision board, but in journal form)
Write a bucket list
Write a list of goals (and a strategy to achieve them) / map out your life and work intentions
Finally do the written or meditative exercises in a self-help / personal development book you’re reading
Write heartfelt letters to your friends or family (like the pen and paper kind!)
Email an old friend you’ve been meaning to re-connect with
Read a great book
Listen to an audio book (many libraries have the ability to loan audiobooks virtually so check with your local branch!) – you can do this WHILE you do several other things on this list, too!
As my friend Ciji at Balanced Not Busy suggested: “Do nothing, just sit still. Seems like the perfect time to me for folks to see what it feels like to not have an over-programmed, demanding and unrealistic schedule and just be balanced not busy.”
Supplies you may want to have on hand if there’s a quarantine:
Roll of craft paper
Coloring books (adults, too!)
Markers and/or colored pencils
Paint / watercolors
Other craft / DIY project supplies
Magazines to cut up (for vision boards)
Puzzles & puzzle mat
At home yoga stuff (mat, blocks, strap)
At home workout equipment
Organizing bins / tubs / etc.
Tools / supplies for home improvement projects
Self-case stuff (essential oils, bath salts, nail polish, etc)
Online resources that were recommended (I haven’t checked all of these out, was just told they’re great!):
Nicole’s boasts a successful background in entrepreneurship, business, journalism and politics, combined with her service work and vast travel experience, adds a unique depth of perspective to endeavor as an intuitive.