Tuesday, June 23, 2015


Airports facilitate travel and represent movement. The intent of going to the airport is to go elsewhere. Over the weekend, on my last trip to Michigan before moving to California, weather issues caused me to miss my connection. Unfortunately, the flight I missed was the last one to Kalamazoo and there were no hotel rooms or rental cars available. I was stuck in the airport for more than 9 hours. Obviously, this was not ideal, but I settled in for an all-nighter.

I pulled out my journal, planning to process thoughts related to my upcoming move, but it wasn't long before I realized that in all of my travels, this was only my second time being stranded overnight. The first time was when my dad passed away. Ironically, this second time, it was the eve of Father’s Day.

Having traveled to cities all over the United States and to more than 20 countries, it's a bit unusual that I have only been stranded overnight twice. Even more unusual is that those two times had connections to my father. My first time being stuck was when I found out that he died and this second time it was the eve of Father's Day, but the connections didn't end there. The airport where I was stranded for the second time was in Chicago, the very same airport I was heading to the first time, back in 2011. That led me to thinking about the first anniversary of his death. Though not stranded, I spent that day in an airport as well, in Detroit, in the very same airport that he dropped me off, the last time I saw him.

These connections are not mere coincidence. Four years following his death, as I negotiate the mixed emotions and busyness associated with relocating, I think these connections were my father’s way of saying, "I'm with you." Airports were an obvious choice to let me know that it doesn’t matter where I go, what phase of life I’m in, whether I’m settled or getting ready for a major life change, he’s with me. It’s so like him to use Father’s Day, a time designed to celebrate him and his impact in my life, to give me such a needed and timely gift. I spent Father's Day in an airport, a place designed for movement, being reminded that his presence will remain constant in my life.

Be mindful of life's connections. There may be events that appear coincidental or inconvenient, but if you give yourself space to look a little closer, you may find much more than coincidence and inconvenience. You may find a common thread and a needed message. You may find that life is trying to remind you of your impact, that you are important, that you are on the right track, that you are undeniably loved, and that you have purpose greater than you realize.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Honor Yourself

My tolerance is typically high. Even when I think someone is being intentionally insensitive, I try not to hoard or internalize that insensitivity. Most of the time I am successful, but I received a message recently that pushed me off center. Instead of ushering in calm, I willingly and joyfully entertained clever responses with the purpose of making that person aware that his/her attempt to insert more significance in my life than s/he had was futile. I had to consider, though, if that was true, why was I exerting energy trying to prove it? Most importantly, would my fiesty and venomous retort honor me?

Most people treat us according to their perception of what we can do for them or whether they feel threatened by our behavior. Our perceptions and life choices can reveal similarities or differences in others that they admire or despise. In many cases, we impact others in ways that we are unaware of and would be surprised to discover. What happens, though, when we are treated with less than kindness? How do we remain committed to our peace of mind when others threaten it for reasons we are not fully aware?

I read that message repeatedly. I sent it to a few friends to compare their reactions so that I could determine if I interpreted it appropriately. They confirmed my suspicion—the message was not well-intentioned. Yet I still had a decision to make. Would I let his/her intentions, even if they were purely evil and I don't believe they were that far down the spectrum, change me by changing the way I normally deal with insensitivity? Would I let this one message push me from my center?

There may be occasions when you are the recipient of insensitivity and intentional rudeness. Someone may treat you in a way that is unjustified. Someone may displace negative feelings on you because you are a safe target. Someone may intentionally try to hurt you for no other reason than s/he is unhappy. It is not up to you to figure it out, diagnose it, or get even. What you are responsible for is honoring yourself. Honor yourself when others don't. Honor yourself when others don't try. Honor yourself when others don't understand. Honor yourself even when others don't care enough to honor themselves.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Misguided Silence

Silence is powerful and like most things, its power exists on opposite ends of the spectrum. When facing major life decisions or crises, stillness leads us to proper perspective and the answers needed to move forward. Silence is critical for clarity. However, there is another side of silence that is devastating—the misguided silence that we impose on ourselves when we need to speak up.

I was abused for seven years and the memories of that abuse lodged themselves equally between my mind and my heart. They traveled back and forth, their meticulousness tortured me and the raw emotion that accompanied them tormented me. Though I was an adult, in a safe physical and emotional space, those memories could shove me back to pain-filled places. For years I thought that the act of remembering was what rendered me powerless. Consequently, I believed that in order to stop the powerlessness and pain I had to stop remembering. This plan was unrealistic and unreasonable. I set myself up to fail. When the memories returned, I would not only be thrust into immense sadness, I would also be angry with myself for not being able to do the impossible. Remembering wasn't the problem. Being quiet about what I remembered and how it impacted my life is what suffocated my strength. My silence complicated my pain.

There may be one major situation or several that have led you to believe that you don't have a voice or that you don't deserve to be heard. It could have been a one-time incident or repeated occurrences. Maybe you have been silenced by the actions, words, or lack of actions from a parent, spouse, or other relative. Most likely, your silence is the result of a combination of circumstances and harmful lessons. No matter the reason(s), it's not too late to take another direction. It's not too late to speak up. It's not too late for you to break the cycle of misguided silence. Through the process of speaking up you will not only find your voice but you will ignite your healing process. Find your voice and you'll discover your power.