How I decided to go on a date, with myself

After a long hiatus, I knew I needed to get back to my one true passion, writing. That effort would need to take various forms, including connecting with other writers and improving on my craft. That’s why when I saw a meetup for creative writers in Miami and a workshop coming up, I had no doubt that is where I needed to be Sunday night. I signed up and added it to my digital agenda like I’ve done with so many other events, the difference being I don’t end up attending many of the other events. This, though, I had to attend no matter what.

20th Century Fox
20th Century Fox

The Movie

To make my commitment even harder to miss, I bought a ticket to go watch War For the Planet of the Apes, which I enjoyed, but I realized quickly I need to brush up on the other movies for context. Anyways, the movie was scheduled in one of those Dolby theater rooms with the very comfy, techy chairs. Unfortunately, I ran a bit late and was not able to get as comfy as I hoped. I mean, I never thought a movie theater would be full at 4:30 p.m. on a Sunday. Lesson learned, go to the movies early regardless of the time of day. The movie theater was in the same shopping mall as the workshop, so it was extremely convenient and absolutely necessary.

See? I often miss out on movies, concerts, and events in general for a lack of company. It is not often that I want to go somewhere my friends would prefer to be. I honestly blame it on my eclectic taste in outings. Plus, I often want to stay home (something I plan to change in the near future, just bear with me). So, in an effort to break the cycle, I took myself out. Yes, I added the movie to the agenda after RSVPing to the workshop, making it convenient since it was in the same place, removing a movie from my “to watch” list, and making a conscious effort to spend time with just me. The only problem was my math skills. I didn’t plan it right, so I was now 30 minutes late to the workshop and had to run out of the theater, feeling both embarrassed about being late to come in and quick to get out, and having to deal with now walking in late to the workshop. “Must break this lateness cycle” I said, for possibly the 100th time that week.

The Workshop

The workshop was taking place in a cute spot called Teas & Poets. It was quiet, to the point of making me feel I had missed the whole point of that day. Towards the end of the shop, there were tables filled with people, notebooks, and laptops. I still find it so hard for my creativity to run wild on an electronic device. Even this post is hard to type on my computer without getting technical about what I’m writing, my body’s position as I type, and wondering if my environment is the best environment possible for my writing.  Pen and paper beat writing on a computer all day, every day. I quickly grabbed a chair and tried to listen closely to the instructions. I want to say the person giving the workshop didn’t recognize me, though she kept looking back trying to make out where she’d met me before. For clarification, we met at a networking event. They’d started writing based on her prompts, and it was impossible to catch up. It was, however, much easier to start based on what they were sharing, and take it from there. I could still write something more original later.

They’d started writing based on her prompts, and it was impossible to catch up. It was, however, much easier to start based on what they were sharing, and take it from there. I could still write something more original later. Someone shared a line about someone (her) realizing that the movie theater was farther than she thought and that it was distance she would not want to cover on foot. I’m paraphrasing. Given my interesting experience going to the movie by myself just moments earlier, I quickly grabbed on to that idea. Now, this wasn’t the first time I had gone to the movie by myself. But, it was the first time I had done it as a regular client, and not as an employee. Yes, I had once worked in a luxury movie theater. And I went in for free during non-peak hours. But this was different. It still made me feel like I had accomplished something.

We were given the prompt to write based on something we had written (which I had nothing at the moment), or something we heard. We were given 10 minutes to write without stopping to fix or overthinking. I’ve done these before (for 20 minutes) and I have to say they’re my favorite exercises. Wonder what I wrote? Here it is:

she learned to appreciate the voice of everyone else, so much so that she forgot what her own voice sounded like. Once in a while, she’d hear a whisper, a lovely whisper. She knew she’d heard it before, but she couldn’t recognize whose it was. She’d hear it every time the other voices became too much. It’d always remind her of how special she was. It’d always tell her how lovely, kind, virtuous, and rare she was. It’d often speak of better times. Times she couldn’t remember. The whisper would, more often than not, counter the voices around her. It would often come in, opposite of her judge. That internal judge that lived inside of her. It would tell her that anything was possible, like going to the movies by herself and enjoying it. Like loving her new do. Like losing that toxic judge she kept as a friend and took everywhere she went. It filled her with dreams, it drowned her in songs. They would tell her she was crazy for listening to this whisper, for it would do nothing for her, and in the end, all it would do would be to ruin her. But she stopped listening to them.

The clock stopped, the pencil came down. It’s interesting to read back on what you write when there’s no end goal in mind, just pen or pencil to paper and let your mind run. I’m sure other artists can understand that. It’s a different way of creating. It not about creating some new masterpiece, all that matters is that you don’t stop working until the time is done. I something very personal, while pulling inspiration from something someone else wrote. That can happen sometimes. Inspiration can come from anywhere. As I read back, I’m just always amazed that something so small can become a story of its own.

The workshop continued and I got to write some more interesting stuff. Stuff you might get to read, you may not. You never know where creations will go. Musicians write songs that get archived, become hits, or are never released. I had the opportunity to meet new people, which is always a plus, and my creative muscles were slightly stretched.

The End of the Date

I have to say this past Sunday was definitely one of a kind since I don’t tend to go out by myself much. But it can definitely become a thing, a very regular thing. Though I love the people in my life, sometimes you just need to take yourself out on a date and show yourself some love. No one can speak to us like we do, no one knows what we need like we do, and no one has the responsibility to you like you do. Go do the thing you enjoy most, and show yourself the best time possible.

Then, come and tell me all about it in the comments section :). What has been the best date you’ve ever taken yourself on?

Lessons from Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland - IMDB

So as part of my TV bingeing ritual (it’s become sort of my thing on the weekends and I love it!), I came across the beautiful Alice in Wonderland. Now, you must understand that Alice is my FAVORITE! Well, the Disney version at least. I haven’t read the books, but I’ll get to it. Promise.

If this is the first time you’re reading my blog I feel it’s only fair to let you in on a little secret: movies, songs, games, etc. Pop-culture in general has a funny way of taking me to deep places and teaching me lessons I just don’t get any other way. Alice, of course, could not be the exception, I just got into the movie like never before and it talked into some ares of my life I just knew I needed to share.

Time to dig in!

When the white rabbit and pretty much half of the posse take Alice to absolem (the caterpillar) to find out if she’s the right Alice, they get quite a surprise. The caterpillar tells Alice she’s the wrong Alice, because in order to be the right Alice she needed to change her mindset. She needed to believe in herself, that she would be able to complete the task, to believe in the world she was in and that it deserved saving. How many times have we been the wrong us? How many times have we put in a situation we just want to get out of so bad? Often! don’t lie, much more often than we’d like. But not wanting to be there doesn’t make it go away, if you’re in that situation you need to believe in yourself and what is already inside of you, which is all you need to get out of the situation a victor, not a victim. You need to remember what makes you so absolutely precious and really that it’s all you need. There’s nothing you need that you may lack, but in case you do, trust that in your daily walk you’ll learn it, receive it, realize it, grow it.

When she finally meets with the mad hatter, one of the things he said that really got to her was when he said she had lost her “muchness”. Have you ever had someone from the past come back into your life and asked you “what happened to you? you’re not the same.” How did it feel? I’m sure thoughts like “how have i changed?” or “what do you mean?” came to your mind. I’m sure it bugged you in some way and it may have made you wondered what they meant, without the courage to actually say it. Sometimes the most annoying and upsetting words are the words that ring the true. But they’ll be the ones to hit the chord necessary to make you move. Had it not been for the mad hatter uttering those words, Alice just wouldn’t be Alice, or at least the movie. At times people making you uncomfortable is EXACTLY what you need to get on track and end up in an even BETTER place! At times we lose our way, or choose a simpler way, one that isn’t really meant for me. And thank God for those people who say the worst, because they force us to stop and as our GPS would say, re-route.

the white rabbit
the white rabbit – IMDB

Frabjous day, sometimes people believe in you more than you believe in yourself. Many times you won’t see what really inside of you, but those around you will. They’re guides, lights, oppositions, bumps on the road that will question you and doubt you or maybe believe the greatest in you. Regardless, they’re all there to help you along the way to get you to where you need to be.

Stop hoping is a dream or a nightmare, realize that it’s your life and you can come out triumphant in the end, if you just keep moving.

The mad hatter: at times someone crazy will enter your life. Truly crazy, but mad hatter - imdbso worth having. Let the silliness come into your life, the belly-aching laughter, the interrupting joy. Let others believe in yourself and allow your logic to be tested. At times, the most brilliant moments and the clearest epiphanies will come from the mad hatters and the tea times of your life.

Alice only believed when she realized it was a reality since childhood: Alice had lost herself in pain, regret, in logic. Remember your child self. Respect them, love him or her, embrace them, wall with them, and keep them as upfront in your heart and mind as possible, always allowing them to exist and celebrating them and they should be. Your greatest self is your child self. Why? They believe without limits, love without care, give you honesty even when you prefer they wouldn’t. They’re your bravest, most confident, most caring, most heroic self.

 

And if you don’t believe my overall obsession with Alice, I’ll leave you what I believe to be one of the most clever trailers, released on the same day as Daylight Saving:

 

And if that wasn’t enough, here’s the official trailer. You bet I’ll be watching this movie when it comes out!

Morgan Freeman embarked on a journey as The Story of God premiered on NatGeo

storyofgod.nationalgeographic.com

The Story of God with Morgan Freeman premiered last Sunday on National Geographic, and is set to air all 5 episodes in Spanish on Nat Geo Mundo, and  globally on National Geographic Channels in 171 countries, and translated or dubbed to  45 languages.

As the executive producer, Morgan Freeman doesn’t narrate someone else’s story, but he takes a journey every viewer gets to witness. As he asks very profound questions, he travels to the epicenters of each religion, belief, or school of thought, and learns from experts, priests, archaeologists, rabbis, and other religious authorities what their religion’s take on the question is.

Take for example last Sunday’s question, what happens after we die? He explores resurrection in the Christian faith and from the Jewish perspective, reincarnation from the Hindu, and even explores science and its takes on how to cheat death.

What’s interesting isn’t just the journey he’s on, which is quite amazing. To break the limitations on one faith and go around to find each religion’s view on the question makes the journey personable, it makes it vulnerable, even real. We’ve all asked those questions and for many of us one answer has sufficed. For others the question is more important than the faith itself, so the quest for the answer becomes almost like a personal religion. Here you have none. It is an almost child-like curiosity to find common ground and open up to conversation about these questions between people of all walks of life.

Also Read: “Killing Jesus” movie airs on National Geographic

I’m also impacted by the scenery, the places he visits. These are very important historical places. They are of great significance, way beyond their religious implications. I for one know that many of them are on my bucket list of places to visit. Others I didn’t even know existed! I mean the history lessons! I’m about to bust out with a notebook and pen, and just take notes. Don’t be surprised if you feel the same!

Here’s the thing, as a Christian I realize that as open-minded as I believe to be, there’s still so much to learn. We cannot be afraid of what’s outside of our bubble. In the end is not what you’re exposed to but what you allow to have an effect on you that really matters. This show isn’t going to change my faith. My faith comes from what God has done for me! PERSONALLY. There’s no point in believing in any god if that god cannot personally impact your life, for good. If he cannot change you, he’s of no value, to me.

Related: 20 Questions with Morgan Freeman | The Story of God

I’m fascinated by these shows because of all the information I get to consume. I’d rather be watching this than all the different Real Housewives (which I’m addicted to, pray for me), and all the other reality TV shows out there (except my pastors Rich Wilkerson Jr. and Dawn Cheré, Rich in Faith on Oxygen, that I’ll keep watching over and over). But they don’t get to change my faith nor make me question my God. He’s real to me today and every day, because of what happens when I have a relationship with Him.

So don’t be afraid. Watch it and educate yourself on what others believe. I think there’s something so loving about going the extra mile to understand others in order to have intelligent and gentle conversations. If we cared about what the other believes, maybe we could have a real positive impact in this world. We know we need it and BAD.

This is a 5-episode series, each centered on specific themes: Afterlife, End of Days, Creation, Who is God?, Evil, and Miracles. These are the questions Morgan Freeman travels with and tries to find the answer to in different beliefs.

The Story of God with Morgan Freeman is produced by Revelations Entertainment for National Geographic Channel. For Revelations Entertainment, Morgan Freeman, Lori McCreary and James Younger are executive producers.

 

Doors… Doors everywhere

I have a thing with doors. For one, when God speaks to me about opportunities, He always says “I’m opening a door for you, I’m giving you the key to a new door in your life…” And it’s always had a personal impact on me. Whenever I see them I see the beauty they hold.
Old doors tell a story of the great men be women who traveled through them. New ones aren’t only beautifully designed, but hold the hope of the stories they’ll hold. Doors separate darkness and light, old from new, and always create expectations of what could be on the other side.
It requires action from those curious to find out. It holds secrets. Behind closed doors some of the most of the most important conversations and events happen. Lives are changed, souls revived, passions ignited, love expressed. Doors create separation from the past and allow transition into the future. What do doors tell you?

 

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Finding Strength in the Power of Worship

In the process of healing my mind, my heart, my everything, I’ve found the power of worship. When I’ve had episodes of terrible anxiety (like tonight) and have turned to worship, I’ve found healing. Spiritual healing alone may not be enough, therapy without divine intervention is worthless… But when the divine and the God-designed meet, there are unbelievable breakthroughs. To worship God while your chest is compressed, your stomach is shut, your head pounds and you start speaking His truth, declaring His word, and start speaking to the body to align with His word, something miraculous happens. My body was shocked by therapy as false truths were unearthed, but it was with worship that my body aligned with God’s truth that only He brings peace. If God is calling you to it, seek help for what ails your body, your mind, your soul. Ask for help and uproot all that the devil has planted deep in your subconscious, and worship Him as He performs surgery on your mind. Talk about a dynamite combination. Want a different life? Then you need to do things differently to obtain the results you know you need. Listen to Nike, just do it.Finding strength in the power of worship

Birthday thank you to her

So my birthday was today and I couldn’t have had a stranger birthday. So different from what I imagined. But that’s what happens with expectations, they usually let us down and leave us disappointed. Last night I got into a car accident that although wasn’t bad nor left anyone injured, it depleted me of any energy for today, and so I decided to stay home and relax. It’s 30 after, not that eventful of a day.

Lately I’ve been looking at my baby pictures and pictures of my childhood. Before I really had a hard time connecting with those pictures, I didn’t feel they were me. I didn’t remember the occasion or how I felt in those pics. The last time I did though, I couldn’t help but notice how happy of a child I was. I really was happy and bubbly and though many could say it’s very similar to how I am today, there’s no sign of an analytical, obsessive, meticulous person in those pics.

I’ve also, in my time of prayer, spent time praying for that little girl. To make it easier, this is a time where God is really taking me to connect to that little girl and reconcile the two as one, healing all that made me want to keep her locked up and consider he someone else’s memory, not mine. In all honesty I feel, or felt, like her life and mine were so different, and in order to connect with her I would have to connect to what separates us in the first place, and I didn’t know if I was ready. I wasn’t sure I wanted to think, let alone relive, the events that caused me to want to forget how I was or lived before. It was better if she never existed.

But in her and she is me, and if I want to heal and live the life God prepared for me, I needed to see myself in her and vice versa, because God deposited purpose, calling, gifts, talents, abilities and more at the time He formed and created me, not once I was born. So connecting to my God-given life meant looking at her and realizing she’s not at fault, she was a victim just like me. And she needed me as much as I need her.

So I wanted to write to her on this, her day, and help her heal as I heal, from all that has tried to kill her memory and keep her caged. My childhood was great and remembering that will soon be a good thing and lose its sorrow. I can see fire in her eyes and my hope is that the fire will come to us both. I was never responsible for my pain, my only responsibility is to release it and this is part of my work towards accomplishing that.

Here’s my message to her:

I want to say thank you to and for this little girl in these pictures. For so long I disconnected with her and saw her as a far away memory, a different person from who I am today. I struggled to relate and to see her in me or myself in her. I have to say though that I admire her. She’s been through some tough stuff, the world has tried to keep her trapped and to steal her dreams, to erase her smile. And yet, I’ve seen her fight harder every time to get her smile back, to not lose her groove, to dream bigger. She’s feisty and sassy and got some style… She wasn’t created for cages, she’s wild and her best when set free. She keeps fighting because she knows God fights for her, she believes because she knows God believes in her, even when the world wants to make her feel small, her heart beats faster and harder knowing God created her with a spirit bigger and greater than any physical manifestation of who she’s to become. She turns your world upside down and breaks the barriers in your mind. She believes anything is possible and if she were to have a middle name it’d be faith, because when her world crumbled it was the one thing that kept her alive. She may have had little faith in herself, but she’s never lost faith in who created her unique self. Today baby girl, that changes. Today I also have faith in you, as you learn to have faith in yourself. Today I tell you how special, loved, cherished, and desired you are. Your every quirk, your naive soul, your hopeful heart, are all cherished. The world couldn’t break you and it cannot contain you, because what you carry is so overwhelming, God decided to have some humor storing it in a small container, in a little girl, and that girl is you. You keep me going, and one day you’ll see all the seeds you watered with your tears, and you rejoice in the fruit of your sorrow, a fruit of joy and fulfillment knowing it was who created you who made it all possible. The best is NOT yet to come, but coming and running towards you. It’s been running behind you for a while. But now, you get to enjoy it, now you get to receive it and enjoy every bit of it. Happy birthday my little one, you deserve all this love and so much more.