Updated: Mar 30, 2020
Like the African Proverbs says "It takes a village to raise a child” I say it takes that same village to uplift and empower the next man or woman. We all are creations of God the Most High; Our Divine Source; We were not made to live this life alone or without purpose and we can all use some encouragement every once and awhile to guide us to those purposes.
Come and take your shoes off, grab some wine or water, put on “In a Sentimental Mood” by Duke Ellington and Coltrane, and break bread with me as we Step up to the plate of L.I.F.E. to E.A.T. or in other words, Step up to the plate of Living In Full Excellence to Edify and Testify.
To ‘Edify’ means simply to improve yourself or help build someone else up and 'Testify' means to be a witness to that edification; first by giving God the glory but also by sharing what you've learned with someone else for their edification.
‘Living in Full Excellence’ (LIFE) is what we all should aspire to do because we were all birthed with something special to share with the world or those around us. And until you know your worth and purpose, you will always feel 'undernourished'; having lack of substance for good health and a meaningful life. You'll simply be existing and chile you were not created to just exist.
Figuratively, are you eating from hand to mouth? Are you offering and providing the barest livelihood, sustenance or support to yourself and your family?
Or is your plate too full? Are you very busy, preoccupied and overburdened; living a treadmill life? You know, running but going nowhere?
Or have you even stepped up to the plate at all? To step up to the plate means to take responsibility for your life and choices; it means to consciously step forward to take care of yourself and others.
So the question is how are you E.A.T.ing?
If I asked you to finish this sentence....Life is like......how would you finish it?
A roller coaster? It has its ups and down? How about like a box of chocolates because you never know what you're gonna get? Or maybe you find yourself saying Life is hard.
However you answered that question might show not only how you view life, but how you live and approach it as well.
Those who say life is hard, guess what? Life is hard...because Life is what you make it and your words have more power than you can imagine. So it's important to be mindful of what you speak over your life.
When I asked myself this question, being the greedy person I am, I said Life is a like a Four course meal. (I love food in case you didn't pick up on it so far). I believe God is the restaurant that has supplied the table, chair, the menu and the plate; which we'll refer to as life and the talents and experiences we have been given. Now it's up to us to order the right meal, eat it in the right proportions, using the right utensils. (You can’t eat salad or steak with a spoon right?)
I don't want to lose so let me try to explain....
Just like when you're at a 5 star restaurant, you are first escorted to your table and chair, you are then given a menu. It's up to you to decide what you are going to order. You also have to decide if you can afford it and what utensils you will use to eat it. Let’s say you order an appetizer, salad, a main course and dessert. I see these courses as an aspect of your life.
Let’s look at the appetizer as yourself, your purpose, your goals, your worth, your well-being, your health. YOU!
The salad course consist of your responsibilities, how you make your money. This is the "green" for yourself and your family. ("The skills to pay the bills") This course includes your investments, hustles, education and your career. How you view and earn money. This course also includes your credit worthiness and your savings. In this society, you have to have income coming in to live a decent life. You need money, plain and simple. There's a plethora of ways to get it the legit way. If you use government assistance, don't be ashamed, just use it temporarily; as a stepping stone but not as a crutch. (because there is a difference)
Then you have your Main Course. This consist of your spirituality. Your relationship with God, The Creator. Your spiritual compass and foundation. Whether it includes Prayer and meditation, Chakras, Law of Attraction or religion, you have to have a connection to something higher than yourself. Charity and the seeds you sow in life will bring back a harvest; now whether that harvest is of scarcity or abundance is solely up to you.
Lastly, the Dessert course consist of having fun, family and friends; simply enjoying the "fruits of your labor" I call this course the Triple F and it consist of your relationship with yourself and with others. This course is what makes L.I.F.E. "sweet"
If you eat too much from the appetizer, you become too selfish, it become all about you (Now sometimes you need to take a season to eat only from this course to grow and heal but not ALL THE TIME). Then if you eat too much from the salad course; it’s all work no play, you become like Scrooge, Mr. Burns or Mr. Crabs (Yes Mr. Crabs!) and that makes a dull life because life is not only about MONEY and if you make it about that, you'll start to compromise your integrity to do ANYTHING to have it. And of course too much dessert is not healthy, you can't accomplish much when it’s all play and no work!
You see it’s all about balance. Notice you can never eat too much from the Main course, in fact, you can have the main course by itself and still become 'FULL' of purpose. Even if you decided to eat all the other courses and skip the main course, guess what? You'll still feel like something is missing. You'll remain hungry overall.
For the sake of becoming 'FULL' of purpose, let's start with the appetizer. When you order the appetizer, you order it to whet your appetite right? You hope it will stimulate your appetite to get you ready for the main course eventually. The appetizer is what gets the party started.
I guarantee once you get a 'taste' of who you really are in the eyes of the Creator, you're going to want more out of life. You're going to feel you deserve more. You'll be totally right about this, because you do deserve more. And getting a taste of the appetizer in life, which is you, will definitely whet or stimulate your desire to live life to the fullest and to your highest potential.
When we are born in this world, our instincts is to only look out for self, we focus on our needs and wants as babies and children and we don't care how we get it or who don't like it. If babies and children have to cry, whine, hoot or holler to get that attention on themselves and get their wants and needs met, that's what they do. Let's get back to that attitude in this course. (Without crying and whining though). Let's get back to paying more attention to ourselves. Taking pride in our appearance and being happy with the person in the mirror (Just like babies and children). This is especially true if you are a parent. You shouldn't feel guilty or selfish if you attend to your needs. Of course you have to attend to your children's needs but you need to fill yourself up in order to give yourself to others. You can't give from an empty vessel. It's not selfish. It’s Essential. This is honoring yourself as a spiritual being.
Can I get transparent for a second? (I’ve been ashamed of this for a long time)
As a victim... (Let me reword that) As a victor of domestic violence I can say I invited men to dinner who left me with the check. They ate from my plate and left me with the scraps. In other words instead of me eating my own appetizer to build up my self-worth, I allowed these men to pick at my appetizer until I felt worthless and hungry for love. (You know how irritating it is when someone already has food but want to eat all of yours too) I allowed these men to eat all of my food. I questioned my beauty and asked God why me? Why will a man want to hurt me to my core? Why will I allow this? What's wrong with me? Am I ugly? Am I too fat? Am I stupid? Too dark? I wanted to know why I was being treated this way. And instead of looking within and acknowledging I lacked self-love and respect, I played victim, and blamed them for my shortcomings. I had deep rooted issues stemming from childhood and they were coming out to play in my adult life making it hard for me to accept myself. And so I blamed them for becoming homeless. I blamed them for losing jobs and material things. I blamed them for being broke. I blamed them for not following my dreams. I blamed them for not going to a four year university out of state. I blamed them for being on the bus with my sons and living in a poverty-stricken neighborhood in filthy buildings. I blamed them for making me feel worthless and not good enough. I blamed them for being a single mother on welfare. I blamed them for EVERYTHING. But the truth of the matter was, it was all me. I was to blame. But who wants to face that truth? I didn't! So I blamed them...
Truthfully, I showed up to the table "starving" for attention and validation. I showed up "thirsty". And instead of allowing God to feed my soul, I depended on these men to feed me. So they fed me lies, fed me physical abuse, fed me verbal and mental abuse, and fed me my worth. And as long as I was eating (so I thought) I allowed them to feed me whatever. To make it so bad, they didn't even warm it up; they were feeding it to me COLD.
My foundation was shaky and I allowed these men to chip at it to boost their ego while bruising mine. At the same time, these men were broken and hungry too and I attracted them to me. I found them sitting at the same dinner table, looking for scraps just like me.
Ultimately, the choice was mine to stay after my spirit of discernment screamed at me to run. The red flags were there. But my starving ass stayed because I didn't know my worth and I didn't feel I deserved more. I was hungry. And I was willing to eat the leftovers of any man that will feed me. I felt I could change them by loving them more than I loved myself. The waving of my white flag of defeat was redden by these men's devouring spirit. They were out for blood. And I ignored them red flags. And they ate me alive. I was looking for love in the wrong places. I was dating men off potential. (He can change, he can change) I was looking for these men to replace the love I lost when my parents died. And all it did was leave me insecure and feeling worthless, guarded, and suffering from malnutrition. I lacked the proper nutrition to live a life of substance.
I was in a broken space and my choices and what I allowed reflected that space. So to quiet down the hunger, I smoked weed and cigarettes as well as drunk my sorrows away. As the high came down, I was still in the same space. No results but now my money was spent on something I didn't need and my bills wasn't paid and I felt even more worthless. I had to try something different. So I start working on myself from the inside out, I distanced myself from the world, and stepped closer to God. I had to learn how to love myself just the way I was. The good things and the bad things. I had to face the ugly truth.
I had to learn to forgive myself and remind myself of who I was and whose I was. A child of the Most High. So I fixed my crown, cleaned it off and started my journey back to my throne. I'm still on that journey and I’m picking up jewels along the way.
You see, first you have to forgive yourself for the choices you have made up until today. Look around...your life is a reflection of your choices. Whether those choices were made consciously or unconsciously...you made them. So if you're not content with how your life is then it’s time to make better choices...consciously. But first forgive yourself, for making choices at the frequency you were vibrating in at that time. Where we are mentally, spiritually and emotionally will affect our choices. So if you are vibrating at a low frequency, more than likely your choices will reflect that vibration. You can have all the money in the world, but you can still make poor choices when it comes to how you raise your children, how you show up in relationships, feeding into the negative energy of gossiping or manipulating people. These are all ways to operate in your low self. And it’s okay. You're learning and sometimes you have to take it easy on yourself and give yourself grace. Dust off...Recognize it, forgive yourself and make a conscious effort to show up in your life from here on out.
How do you vibrate low? Through blocked chakras, by what you feed your spirit through the foods you eat, the music you listen to, the entertainment you watch, the energy of the people you allow in your space, the negative things you entertain, gossiping and speaking bad about other people, speaking bad about yourself, the things you feed your mind and the negative self-sabotaging ways you block your blessings. All of these things and more play a strong role on what octave you vibrate on. Operating with your low self is detrimental to everyone around you. We should all strive to show up with our higher self. When you take the time to do the necessary work it takes to discover your purpose, write down your goals to add direction in your life, find your strengths, work on your weaknesses, embrace the ugly things about yourself and become your authentic self, regardless who like it, it can be so rewarding in the long run. Your higher self-shows up and then your light shines!
You have to also understand things happen for a reason and for a season. It’s molding you to become what God purposed you to be. Jim Rohn, a motivational speaker and author, said it best:
"Learn how to handle the winters. They come regularly, right after fall. Some are long, some are short, and some are difficult, some are easy, but they always come right after the "fall"; that is never going to change"
Basically what I took from this is there is a season for everything in your life and if you are not prepared, you'll find yourself cold and freezing after every "fall" or set back, but if you prepare for the winters by having a "warm coat, gloves and a hat" (faith, tenacity, and a positive attitude) then the winters won't be so tough. And because they are inevitable, you'll at least be prepared to go through them without becoming cold and frostbitten (bitter and callous). You see trials and tribulations can build character. And all the test you will take can turn into testimonies. Edification at its finest.
The appetizer of life is getting you ready for the other courses. This is when you look around and say "Hey I'm smart, unique, special and I'm beautiful, flaws and all" You start to realize "I deserve more and my children deserve more as well" This is when you realize you have been dimming your light and not living up to your full potential. This is when you STEP out of your comfort zone because you realize nothing good ever happens there. This is when you realize, just how hungry you are and how you have not stepped up to the plate of L.I.F.E at all. And this is when the E.A.T begins.
So let me ask you are you hungry and starving?
It's time to E.A.T.!
Write a forgiveness letter to every person or thing you feel has put you where you are now. That has hurt you. Whether it be an abusive partner, a boss that fired you, a conniving and deceptive friend or relative, a bad habit or addiction, failed marriage or relationships, a disease or whatever you've been blaming for where you are now and why you act the way you act, write a letter of forgiveness to it or them. Then tear it up and throw it in the garbage. Because even though you feel they were the reasons, and it may be true they played a small role, it still boils down to you. You saw the red flags and ignored them and YOU made the choice that led you right here right now. Now write a forgiveness letter to yourself and make sure you include some compliments about yourself, your strengths, what you love about yourself, and future vows you will keep to get you to your higher self. Keep this letter. This is one of the first steps to discovering your worth, while taking responsibility for your actions. When you start feeling down on yourself, take the letter out and read it aloud.
Start saying and listening to affirmations at least three times a day EVERYDAY! Before or while you're sleeping, in the middle of the day and first thing in the morning. Say it so much that your subconscious starts to believe it. YouTube has great videos of self-affirmations! Or you can write your own. There's a great app called ThinkUp where you can record your own affirmations and listen to them in your own voice.
It starts with you love! You are on this planet right now for a reason and when you discover that reason life starts to open up and you start living on purpose with purpose. Your days become more productive with meaning and direction. You become excited about waking up because you look forward to each day. You start looking at yourself in a whole new light. The way God looks at you and not everyone else. You also stop hanging around and wasting energy on people and things that do not align with your purpose. And you should because you don’t need distractions; you were put here for a reason and that reason will help others and set you free.
No one can take your purpose away from you love. Your purpose is what God inhaled inside of you so you can exhale it out into the world. It’s the essence of your soul.
We are all on the same journey same 5 star restaurant just different paths and different plates. Don't focus or compare your food to what someone else is eating...or your food will become cold. And I can't think of any food that taste good cold...well maybe pizza and cereal... (You know what...never mind) Just eat your own food mmmkay?
(Mmmmm...Now I want pizza and cereal) Focus Trici!
So here's the "leftovers": Write forgiveness letters to those you blame and then to yourself and write and listen to affirmations. Start a journal. Buy a plain notebook or something fancy and write down your thoughts, your dreams and aspirations, quotes, bible scriptures, music lyrics, goals, whatever will inspire you.
Namaste' and God bless you loves!!
Food for thought:
Great books to read: One Day My Soul Just Opened Up by Iyanla Vanzant, A Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren, Instincts by T.D. Jakes, The 5 Dharma Types by Simon Chokoisky
Food for the Soul:
Inspirational songs: Listen to the lyrics
Rise by Solange
I am Light by India Arie
One is the Magic Number by Jill Scott
On the Ocean by K'Jon
Mirror by Lalah Hathaway
Golden Time of Day by Frankie Beverly and Maze
Beach Chair by Jay Z
It's Only Love that Gets you through by Sade
Prepared by Jill Scott
It's Working by William Murphy