OFF THE BEATEN PATH – SINGLE STORY

I saw this amazing TED Talk from author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie about the danger of a single story specifically about culture. A single story can limit ones understanding of a culture or a person. In her TEDTalk, she shares many personal examples of her experiences with the absorption of single stories. She believed what she read, heard, or as an adult what she experienced. She says, “show the people one story, over and over again, and they will believe that single story.”

chimamanda

I took the time to ponder over my childhood and how I may have perceived a certain culture. Whether it be Mexico, Africa, Europe, Asia or Pakistan. Did I have a single story of what I thought about the country and its people? I came to the conclusion I did, based on what I was taught in school, or what I saw on TV. Although, at my age there were mostly cowboy and Indian shows so I had a single story about my own country.

Chimamanda also spoke of how single stories create stereotypes. She says, “not that stereotypes are not true, but they are incomplete, making one story the only story.” She says she “feels it is impossible to engage with a place or person without engaging in all the stories of that place and that person. The consequence of a single story is it robs people of dignity. It emphasizes how we are different rather than how we are similar.” She continues to say, “when we reject the single story, when we realize that there is never a single story about a single place, we regain a kind of paradise.”

story
Shall we all go see what the story is today?

Right now, America has a single story covering our land; and, depending on who you talk to is what story you will get. All whites are racists, all police are corrupt, all looters are criminals, all blacks want black supremacy, this whole country is going mad. Listen to the people around you and you will hear the single story they believe.

If we all stop for a minute, and look around us, we will see there is not a single story. We are robbing ourselves dignity as Chimamanda points out. We are not allowing ourselves to heal and recognize the stories that have brought us together, instead there is focus on the differences of cultures within our one culture. There is bad in every story, but the bad is not the entire story.   We should be careful to recognize one story as the only story.

As I continued to think over my idea of cultures and single stories I recognized how I have not held onto the idea of a culture that I had as a child.  I grew, I learned, I observed and I realized there are much more to this world, each country, that I can ever possibly understand.  I may have a first impression of a person, but I can easily change that instinct when I get to know them and realize how off I was.  Learning about a country is like that.  Watching countries change, evolve, sometimes backwards, sometimes forwards has showed me we are all the same inside.  We all want to be happy, healthy, and prosper.  I have learned and continue to learn about cultures and diversity and acceptance.

acceptance
Perspective.

If you haven’t heard Chimamanda’s TEDTalk I recommend it. I know you will enjoy it as much as I did. She speaks of America as having more than one story. I do agree America has many stories due to our diversity, but it is within those stories that creates single stories that is dividing our country right now. It’s a war against single stories.

What can you do this week to reject the single story you hear?

A MONTH OF TRAINING

Wow! I can’t believe it has been almost a month since I started with my running coach. I started this with no immediate
Keep on Reading!

OFF THE BEATEN PATH – COMPASSION

Many of you who follow me are from the US. Some of you are not, but you are likely aware of what the US has been facing as a nation. There is no country who wasn’t built on the backs of others. But America is the land of the free. We have built our nation to be one of unity, equality, and freedom for all. Except, the slaves – black people. And the Native Americans. Those two groups had to wait for a long time to earn their unity, equality, and freedoms.  And many question if they even have it today.

I have been struggling with understanding the hate directed towards myself, a white person, who comes from a diverse background. I turn white in winter and dark in summer. I don’t have a heart full of hate and racism, or pride because of my white skin. I have envied skin tones of many people of differing races. It is difficult to hear I am a white supremacist because I have white privilege.

compassion

Like many white people those words caused the offensive hairs on my back to rise. I am being told I should be ashamed of my white skin. I should be ashamed of the privilege I have because of how I got it.  It’s hard for black people to recognize I was born white. I did not choose my white skin, just as they did not choose their black skin. But, as a white person, I can do something about it.  I have been hearing I should stand up against the institution created by whites allowing me my privilege.  And if I don’t, I am a supremist.

Besides not being profiled like a black person is in society, the institution has not helped me.  I have not received any special privileges to buy a home, go to college, or own a business.  To group all whites together as supporters of privilege is the same as grouping all blacks together as thugs. Are there bad whites in this world, heck yeah! Are there bad blacks in this world, heck yeah! And, Satan uses these bad souls to divide and conquer. Instead of searching the hearts and souls of people, especially friends, we choose to bundle each other in packages.  Hurtful words are chosen that make it hard to find our unity.

compassion

I feel there have been huge strides towards equality. There are increasing numbers of black people in positions of power, leadership, and owners of businesses. No one “gave” them that status. They earned it with hard work and the dedication to be successful. Just as many white people did the same thing.  There is a huge gap in various parts of our country where deep seeded prejudges – on both sides – is still very prevalent. Those areas of America are not the majority of America. Those areas are a hurricane of  discrimination and hate coming from all sides that leaves destruction in it’s continual spinning of hate.

compassion

We, as Americans, need to look at society as a whole and identify the love and support vs the hate and rejection. If we continue to identify our struggles by “them vs us” we will never find unison. There will always be division. If our eyes are closed to the people who are different colored skin choosing to live in love and create a space that is nurturing to all then we are rejecting their love and support. We can’t tell another group how to feel, how to support, by using hateful words and memes. We can’t tell a group because they don’t speak up they are not in support. We all have gifts and strengths, and we should be allowed to use them to our abilities and not be judged harshly because we don’t meet someone else’s expectations.

So, compassion.

It’s hard to see people acting with compassion when they don’t meet our expectations. And yet, compassion is the first step to brining change to a world of sufferings. If we don’t allow a group who is struggling to understand without the first step of having compassion – the sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others – without tearing them down, then we can’t expect them to want to take the next step toward being part of the change.

Give each other the same amount of compassion, respect, so we can learn from each other. Speak with love and kindness, because you catch more bees with honey. If you are not catching the bees with honey, they are probably not a bee. My unintelligent way of saying, there will be people – both sides – who will never be open minded. Let’s not confuse everyone as such. Let’s be open, kind, allowing safe conversation, people to be honest so they can share their hearts without concerns of hate being returned because “they don’t get it”.  Black people should know this very well.  Their voice has been suppressed for a long time.  Taking power of white people who voice their confusion by calling them ignorant and supremacist is not going to make white people seek answers.  Many white people don’t get it, because they have not received any special privileges from the institution blacks want us to stand up against.  Maybe together….as a human race…we stand up against the institution.

compassion

I am not one who is pushed over easily anymore.  I lived a life of pleasing everyone and saying what I felt people needed to hear.  I try to be informed.  Learn, from all sides.  I have black people tell me I am a supremist because of my white privilege, and I have white people tell me I am brain washed because I believe there is white privilege.  What neither side sees, is that is not compassion.

That only shows indifference.  Suppression.  If I am not with you, I am against you.  But, the thing is, maybe I am not for you because I believe in equality.  I believe in learning about the hurts black people face, and how I am privileged, and where I can find my voice to fight against a system that has suppressed blacks and minorities for too long.  I do believe there is forward movement.  I won’t say there isn’t, no matter how many of my black friends disagree.  Just like I won’t ignore my privilege as a white person no matter how many of my white friends disagree.

Compassion.  My heart is heavy with the pains I see in my country.  I have shed tears.  I am white.  I should have no reason for tears, but I do.  I am a daughter of God.  I am filtering through the emotions of many, and trying to learn to give it all to God.  Soften my heart, God.  Show me my voice.  Help me understand.  Help others understand.

compassion

This is a long post.  But before I go, I saw a FB live going around on my feed.  I loved it.  I am choosing to respond to the anger with love.  And, this post is the best example I can think of.  I wish I could share it with you, but I haven’t learned how to do that on my blog yet.  Haa, rookie!  Here is what captured my heart.  The post started with the 4th paragraph, but I feel all of Romans 12 should be shared.  She also refered to Psalms 82.

Romans 12

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship.  Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.  For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.  We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.  If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, the serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is fiving, then give generously, if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

Love must be sincere.  Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.  Be devoted to one another in love.  Honor one another above yourselves.  Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  Share with the Lord’s people who are in need.  Practice hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.  Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.  Live in harmony with one another.  Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.  Do not be conceited.

Do not repay evil for evil.  Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.  If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.  Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written” “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.  On the contrary:

“if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.  In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

 

I choose to start with compassion…for all my friends of all races.  From there, we can find our way.  I trust in God to lead us.

All my love!!

 

Off the beaten path is a weekly feature where I discus a topic that enlightens, motivates, and allows us to process topics that relate to mental and virtuous strength.  Join me every Tuesday off the beaten path and allow yourself to reflect your personal unexplored journey among pines.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OFF THE BEATEN PATH – DISCONNECT

I apologize my weekly feature has been delayed a day.

I was off the grid this weekend on a family camp trip. Weekends are my time where I truly get to sit in stillness as my thoughts turn into words. I did have stillness this weekend before my family woke; however, I left my laptop at home and chose reading over writing. This weekend was for disconnecting and enjoying my family.
Keep on Reading!

RENOVATE THE JOURNEY

I am just shy of two weeks in with my running coach, Michele at Rugged Running. That may not sound like a long time, but I see gains already. Michele knew I am recovering my leg which is still irritated from pushing to get that 50k in my books back in March. Not a good time for pride to get in the way as it dangerously pushed my body to perform when it clearly wasn’t ready.
Continue the Journey

OFF THE BEATEN PATH – BE BOLD

Where does your mind take you when you hear the word bold? 

For me I think about a gleeful lady who is wearing a fabulous hat displaying colorful flowers, big brimmed glasses, and the eye-catching lipstick that just doesn’t quite match.  She is fearless, lovable, and BOLD!  I also think about a person who isn’t afraid to speak their mind.  Whether it be to friends, coworkers, a superior, or when facing an organization who isn’t used to people standing up to them.  That person isn’t afraid to be bold with their words or actions.   

I was invited to do an online prayer devotional starting May 1st.  During one of the readings the word bold caught my attention and has been on my mind since.  The devotional spoke of a man who prayed a bold prayer.  The author said the prayer was bold, risky and the man had shameless audacity to pray a specific prayer.  It got me to thinking about the word bold and how it applies to me.  Not only in prayer but my life in general.   

Which leads me to ask, what do you think of bold in terms of your own life?

Bold is a characteristic people associate with strength, courage, and may even consider it controversial.  However, I see being bold as a positive attribute.  When you are bold you are revealing to the world you are original.  You don’t “follow the pack”.  You may have a pack, but within that pack you have an exclusive quality that externalizes confidence.

Being bold doesn’t mean you are close-minded.  There are some people who may view your boldness as a negative quality, but I assure you that is only because they can’t control you.  Being bold is knowing who you are.  What you believe in.  What you want in life.  Not altering it because others don’t understand it.  People who live bold lives are influencers.  Don’t confuse it with Instagram influencers.  Bold people are influencers of gratification.  Open to learning from the mistakes they’ve made as life lessons.  Allowing others the same compassion. 

earningh

Where can you be bold this week?

Being bold doesn’t have to be a big production.  It can be as simple as choosing not to partake in the office gossip.  Or, since some of us are still in quarantine, choosing to not forward the negative social media post.  Perhaps this week you choose to be conscious of where your mind takes you.  How often are you finding yourself withholding your thoughts because you are afraid of what others will think.  How often do you find yourself speaking up – and if you do, are you considerate, or are you using your power to be right?  Observe how you define being bold in your life. 

Are you Bold in…

Character

Forgiveness

Consistency

Trailblazing

Compassion

Distinctiveness

Intention

Fearlessness

Prayer

Appreciation

Friendship

Faith

Courageousness

Individuality

Ambition

 

Talk it out. What are you doing to be bold in your life? Have you already found your boldness? Are you ready to see how being bold shows up in your life? I want to hear from you! Be proud. Be You. Be Bold.

Off the beaten path is a weekly feature where I discus a topic that enlightens, motivates, and allows us to process topics that relate to mental and virtuous strength.  Join me every Tuesday off the beaten path and allow yourself to reflect your personal unexplored journey among pines. 

FACING THE OBSTACLES

We all do it, right?

I found it has become easy for us to accept making mistakes. How many times have you heard, or even said, “I’m only human”? It’s as if we dismiss our mistakes because we understand the circumstances behind our mistakes. We are overloaded with work, too many things on our minds, miscalculated a number (easy mistake, right?), slight laps of judgement, the list can go on. The point is, we understand why we make mistakes and because of that we can accept them more easily. Keep Reading!

NO TRUER LOVE

Moms.

Can there be any truer love on earth?

Okay, I’ll get the elephant out of the room.  There are bad moms out there.  I know one gal who has a tattoo in Chinese that conveys “motherless”.  She loathed her mom and vowed never to be a mom.  There are inadequate moms who are missing out.  But, let’s not talk about those moms today.

Let’s talk about moms who show up.

woman carrying baby near grass

The relationship with your mom is exclusive.  Even if you have siblings.  God created your mom to be your safe place to grow for 9 months.  The personal bond formed between two heartbeats is indescribable.  You always seek your mom when you have exciting or heartbreaking news to share.  Your mom is your protected place.

But what does it mean to be a mom?  How can your mom have that much meaning to you?  You love your dad, and the bond is real.  And yet it doesn’t compare to the connection you have with your mom.  The closeness of your relationship doesn’t matter.  A child yearns for their mom (at any age.)

A mom feels her baby growing for 9 months, and her emotions spin uncontrollably.  Her thoughts are filled with the hopes and dreams not only for her child but for her as mom.  Can she do this?  Can she give this child everything they will need?  She doesn’t even know the levels of emotions she is about to experience.

woman in white spaghetti strap dress standing beside brown tree

I have yet to hear a mom say her child wasn’t the best thing to happen to her.  Motherhood is unsurpassed.  But it is also wearying.  It doesn’t matter the age one has a baby; she still has her own identity.  The stresses alone in this world make that difficult without the added pressures of her heart walking around.  But, that piece of heart is her world.  How easy and acceptable it is to lose her identity when she becomes mom.

A child starts their journey in this world guided by mom’s love.  They are the center of the universe in most cases.  The world is their oyster.  A child doesn’t see mom as a person.  A child sees mom as their person.  They feel they are in control. Gaining praise with every new accomplishment as moms focus is proudly on them.

As they age, moms start to say no – and children do not like this!  Where did this come from?  Why are they not in control anymore?  They begin to see more than mom’s praises in this world.  Friends, hobbies, sports, teachers, and their own individuality.  These provide the control they thought they had lost.

A mom sees her deep connection drifting away.  It is bittersweet.  She knows she must allow her child to grow, experience, and learn on their own.  She can’t always be there to scoop her baby up and make the world right.  Those days are cherished.  Now, she watches as her child matures.

portrait of a mother and daughter together

The title mom comes with unchartered territory. No matter how much research you do or how much advice you take, being a mom is a unique experience. Each mother is unique to her personality and each child unique to theirs. A mom will always long for the cuddles of her child, even as they become a parent themselves. A mom will always feel they could have done better. They only hope their children understand the level of their true love for them. Responsibilities are there, life happens, moms must continue to grow and develop along side their child. It isn’t the child that makes motherhood wearying. It’s life that advances as the desire for it to slow is denied.

It doesn’t matter if you were a fairytale mom or a complete disaster. Today is your day to celebrate putting your identity on hold for another person. Recognize the hard work that was entrusted to you. And appreciate the mom you were. As a mom, I speak for all of us, we are doing the best we can with what we have. And, that will get us through!

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Exceptional Mom’s out there!

On a personal note: Happy Mother’s Day to my mom. The path was rocky at times and it caused some tumbling. But, with all things that involve love, and enough tumbling, the rocky path became a smooth pebble stone pathway. Calming to walk on. Gentle enough to go without shoes. I love you, Mom. You have been a warrior and continue to be an example of perseverance, love, and devotion to God.

Mom and I
Love you, Mom. My wedding day, 2003. The flowers hadn’t shown up yet, so we “borrowed” some from the venue. My mom made my dress. A true testament of love.

 

 

 

 

TIME FOR A SUN KISS

Since running my virtual 50k, I haven’t logged a mile. Not going to lie, mentally I am ready to hit the trails. But physically my legs, one in particular, have been upset with me. Its been almost three weeks since my run.

I haven’t become a couch potato. There have been many “honey do’s” and time enjoyed time with my kiddos. I completed my welding class after taking the final yesterday. Although, I have to continue the lab class when the campus opens again . I understand why my instructor can’t pass our lab – a weld can mean life or death for someone if it breaks! I’ve been busy, but running has been on my mind!

Yesterday I made two exciting moves forward with my running. I have been reflecting on my running and what it means to me. What are my goals now that I completed a 50k. Even though a virtual race didn’t make it feel “real” or it “counted” it does. A race with a starting line does not determine if you are an ultra runner. You go out and run far…you are an ultra runner. Same for any distance, by the way! Running = Runner

First, I got outside and felt the sun kiss my shoulders. I have been outside doing yard work, and the sun has been kind. However, there is nothing better than feeling the sun while on a trail. I didn’t run. I allowed my legs to feel the movement. The dirt under my soles. My Vivi Loca was a happy doggie. She has been waiting for me to take her to our spot close to home. It was nice to get out and have my time on the trail to think…and smell…and feel.

Feel the Dirt
The sage is excited for the sun, too! I was looking for rattlesnakes, but luckily didn’t find one. I heard they are out!

Second, I hired a coach! I am so excited. I have trained without a plan, with a plan, and now I am going to train with a coach. I am super excited because not only will I get a personalized training plan, but I will have someone guide me how far, fast, or slow to push myself. Training last year was great, and my miles added up as they should. But, I wasn’t gaining on speed, energy, or deepening mental strength. Even though I pushed myself and have good self accountability, I had no one else holding me accountable. I know if I did I would have had more gains. As awesome as my family praise is, I got it whether I deserved it or not. Love my Family!

I am super excited to see the ways hiring a coach will improve my running. However, before I begin running I need to get my body aligned. I need my manual therapist. Unfortunately, right now we are still on phase 0 meaning no therapy for me. I have to rely on stretching, rolling, and self care until we open our community back up.

Today, my wish for you is to go out and get kissed by the sun! Whether it be a walk, run, or yard work. May your spirits be lifted and you feel rejuvenated!

Excited to journey together with you!

OFF THE BEATEN PATH – AUTHENTICITY

Hey Guys!

I have kept myself busy during quarantine.  I’ve made masks for friends and for hospitals, focused on my blog, played lots of board games with the kiddos, and been busy with housework and completing “honey do’s”.  I am not coming home from work tired not wanting to start a project.  It has been a nice time, despite the social distancing inconveniences that has tagged along.
Be Authentic and Read More 🙂