November 22, 2017

Stop The Soulmate Search

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Boy and girl meet. Boy and girl fall in love at first sight, get married and live happily after after. We’ve been taught to believe that when we are ready we will find our soulmate. If only it were that simple! Those of us who’ve been at it a while know it’s not that easy.

In the game of love most of us are on the bench. Not because we can’t play, but because we are waiting on the perfect match. We want someone who can finish our sentences and whose heart ticks at the same BPM. So we’re on the soulmate search, and nothing else will do.

News flash: THERE IS NO SUCH THING! By no means am I saying I don’t believe in compatibility, or have I given up on love. Before you write me off as a bitter spinster, let me explain why:

The Origin of The Soul Mate Theory

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The idea of a soulmate originates from
various religions. Most commonly in greek mythology and theosophy, ancient humans had multiple limbs and faces. Due to disobedience and fear, the Creator (Zeus in greek mythology) split in them half, damning them to wander around looking for their missing parts.

Today we use this theory in our romantic lives, by searching for our other half to feel whole. This type of thinking concerns me because a person should already feel complete prior to settling down. Too often, people enter relationships unprepared, expecting the other person to balance them out. I believe that if you enter a relationship well-rounded and open-minded, you won’t be in need of anything. Any addition would be a complement to the already complete package!

If I am to believe in a soulmate I have to believe in the origin, and I don’t believe half of me is wondering around looking for…me! I do believe we all have a purpose in life, and the people we decide to share our lives with will compare and contrast with who we currently are. The differences will keep us balanced, sharpening and changing us for the better. The commonalities serve as a foundation which will evolve over time, kind of like fine wine!

I also feel that the belief of a soulmate gives a preconceived notion that little effort is required after meeting. Relationships are like farming; if you do not cultivate the land, the crops will surely die! The main reason divorce rates are so high now is because instead of hunkering down, we abandon ship faster than Cpt. Francesco Schettino!

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If you look at the above statistics, most of us date with the soul mate standard in mind. In my humble opinion, this is another cause of failed relationships and marriages. When we find our mates aren’t perfect, we feel they aren’t perfect for us. We fail to realize that we are all “under construction”, therefore we need to work collectively and individually to sustain significant relationships.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a Jerry McGuire type of love? Realistically, most of us will never have our life-long partners at “hello”. We have to captivate them with our character and keep them with our commitment. If we nix the soulmate search and increase our loyalty, we will find that the beauty in a relationship is not in finding our missing half, but in growing together to make what we have work.

I’ll close by sharing my tweet from earlier today, “Don’t live to find your soulmate, instead, work to be the heart and soul of your mate!”

Reading Is Power

I know I’ve been M.I.A. from my blog and I apologize. With track season in motion, I’ve had little down time to write. In fact, I’m posting this blog from my phone, so forgive me for any editorial mistakes now. Charge my head and not my heart!

I have been doing a lot of reading though. I’ve read three books so far this year, and re-read another from last year. Those books are:

  1. Think And Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill,
  2. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There by Marshall Goldsmith
  3.  Getting Started As A Freelance Writer by Robert Bly.

The book I reread from last year is titled  Author 101 by Robert Friskman. If you are an aspiring journalist, I recommend reading all of these. They are awesome starting blocks for launching your dreams into reality.

When I read Bly’s book, I learned about the business of freelance and entrepreneurship. From Goldsmith, I learned about the importance of fine tuning your personality. Hill’s book was about transferring dreams into reality, and Friskman’s focus was a detailed extension of Bly’s book, including details on writing style and marketing techniques. All three have given me a new perspective on life as well as my financial future.

I know that inside of some of you there lies a desire to do something different, perhaps to write a book or start a new career. I want to share with you my top 5 takeaways from all four books. I hope they help you as much as they have helped me!

  1. You must have a desire to acquire, belief that you will achieve and a plan to make it happen. If you do not believe in yourself or fail to plan how you are going to get what you want, you are setting yourself up for a lifetime of disappointment.
  2.  You must start today. Not tomorrow, not Sunday, not after this, that, or the other. Time doesn’t wait and neither should you! Procrastination is cancerous! Once it forms in one area of your life, it will spread. Procrastination is why you haven’t started exercising, saving, went back to school or finished most of what you have started.
  3. Educate yourself and become a life long learner of your trade. Plan your work and work your plan. Being efficient takes effort, being exceptional requires more. You need both effort and skill. The only way to obtain and maintain success is through acquired skill and skill applied. Avoid becoming complacent, keep up with the trends of your trade. If you can stay a step ahead of them…even better!
  4. Tell yourself and others what you want. In fact, write it down somewhere, read it daily and meditate on it. When you meet new people, introduce yourself as the person you want to become. Tell them you are an aspiring writer, business owner, etc. Ask them to connect you with people who may mentor your or help you pursue your goals. Once you put it in the atmosphere, you will be holding yourself accountable and creating a support system. Your support system should hold you accountable too, which is why it should consist of people who will help you achieve your goals and provide constructive feedback. You will be allowing these people to speak into your life so they need to be intelligent, well informed, and as objective as possible. Fortifying your network with the right people is directly correlated to your success.
  5. Be patient, persistent and persevere. It may take longer than you would like. You may endure setbacks and rejection. You may lose friends, your social life, even a significant other. And if the time comes, you must be willing to pay whatever price it takes to achieve your goals. If your goals are S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timely) and the intent of your financial success will benefit others, the sacrifice will be worth it. People will tell you that you can’t or will attempt to deter you. But keep pressing on! No matter what you desire to acquire, you will achieve if you believe. Plan your work and work your plan!

These tidbits are universal for all aspects of life. I’ll close with a scripture that changed my life, because it changed my mentality: “Do not conform to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Change the way you think!

All the best,

-KB

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Your Slow, Super Efficient Guide to Weight Loss – Part II

Spring is almost here!  Before you know it, it’ll be time to pack those sweaters away and put on those pretty skirts, dresses and shorts.  And for you guys, not too much of a change-up in wardrobe I know, but we do have one thing in common.

We ALL want to be slimmer when the weather gets warmer!  We feel better about ourselves and how we look in our clothes when we shed a few pounds.  Equipped with our new year’s resolution and gym membership, we’re on track to have a beach body by summer.  But is it really feasible to do so in 4 months?

It all depends.  It depends on what you are eating, how much weight you need to lose, if you are exercising and if you are consistent with your eating and exercise regime.  I’ve learned several things since I last blogged about weight loss, and I want to share them with you:

  1. Stop believing the infomercials and fitness ads.  There is no pill, powder, shake or liquid that is going to instantly make you look the way you want.  We have to realize there are no short cuts.  Furiouspete123 on youtube has a video that exposes advertisements on weight loss gimmicks.  Most of those commercials are shot in the same day.  The models bloat themselves after taking the “results” pictures.  Know this: if you are not going to put in the work a pill or potion won’t help, especially not for the long term.  I used to think I needed extra protein to build muscle and a fatburner to lose flab.  Since I’m what’s called an ecto-endo body type (skinny-flabby), I don’t build muscle very well.  I was eating the suggested amount of protein (1 gram per pound), so I was consuming roughly 120-180 grams of protein per day.  What I didn’t realize is that the protein wasn’t metabolizing because I wasn’t doing enough cardio. I ended up gaining weight instead of losing it, even though I was firmer from lifting weights.  Protein helps with muscle-building but not necessarily with weight loss.  So I was building muscle but not losing any weight, and my goal was to do both.  I thought about using a fatburner but they scare me.  The few times I tried them I experienced a racy heart and insomnia from the caffeine.  I’ve conceded to the fact that I need to run more, even though I hate it with a passion.  But the old ways are truly the best ways, and I’ve noticed a difference already.  I’ve increased my cardio from two days to four.  I am now aiming for five.
  2. Don’t underestimate how hard it is to lose weight and to maintain your goal weight.  I just finished “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There” By Marshall GoldSmith (I’ll do a book review in another post) and he did an excellent analysis on goal setting and goal achievement.  He applied his principles to weight loss and listed the following reasons why people do not succeed in their weight loss goals: time, effort, distractions, rewards and maintenance.  According to GoldSmith (best-selling author, business professor at Dartmouth and top executive coach), these 5 reasons are commonly underestimated and are ultimately why we fail at our weight lost goals.  My achillies heel had been time, effort and distractions.  But no more!
  3. My Fitness Pal.  It’s an app you can download on your phone.  After you download and create an account, you plug in your current weight and your goal weight.  It then tells you how many calories you are allowed each day based on how many pounds you want to lose per week. I lost about 3 pounds last week!  My fitness pal is great for me because I can also see what nutrients I need to get in before the day is out.  It also made me aware of how much dining out was a hinderance to my progress.  I know I promised pictures but I accidentally erased my November pictures when I restored my computer to factory condition (I forgot to back up years worth of pictures and my favorites). I will put some up though, I promise!  I’ve put on some muscle but I  have quite a ways to go…wish me luck!

I’d like to close this post with the picture below.  I got it from my friends RawTwins on facebook.  If we would take the time to eat properly, we’d be 70% to goal.  Instead of stopping off at a fast food place after a long day’s work, I now take cucumbers, carrots and grapes to work and make sure I am drinking 80 to 100 ounces of water per day.  That’s only 5 to 7 water bottles!  You can do it!  Remember, what you put inside yourself is a reflection of who you are!

-KB

You Are What You Eat - Courtesy of RawTwins

Are You On The Balcony Or In The Basement?

Be like the goldfish "Carpe diem!"

When I came across the analogy of balcony verses basement people I was immediately intrigued.  Judy Landorf, author of Balcony People, used an interesting metaphor comparing balcony and basement people to the likes of living in a fishbowl.  In her analogy two-thirds of life is at the bottom, in the murk and grime of the bowl.  Remaining forms of life are at the top.  Basement people are in the murky water and balcony people in the clear.

To piggyback off Landorf, we can metaphorically compare basement people to scavengers.  They wait for opportunity to come to them.  They settle for what’s left and will fight for scraps.  If you know anything about scavengers you know they always operate in survivor mode.  Since two-thirds of the population is at the bottom, one can expect slim pickings.  This is probably why there is so much trickery, back-stabbing, clawing and scratching in the world.  Crabs in a barrel!

Basement people are pessimistic.  They are uncertain of their future because they can’t see through the murk of their environment. They feel like they’ve been denied opportunity and never caught a break.  In fact, they feel oppressed.  Ironically their sense of oppression makes them oppressors.  They will tell you that you can’t or you shouldn’t because they wouldn’t.  They do not realize they are mentally bound and their way of thinking is the only reason why they are at the bottom.   Basement people lack the ability to break free from mental bondage because they do not have confidence or faith.  They will not be genuinely happy for you and will offer little support.  Their discouraging behavior stems from their fear of you changing and leaving them behind.

Balcony people are just the opposite.  They are go-getters!  They will not wait for opportunity to fall in their laps.  Like fish swimming to the top of the bowl when food hits the water, balcony people jump on opportunity.  Since there’s room at the top there is plenty to choose from and plenty to go around.  There is no reason to fight, scheme or manipulate.  Seeking higher ground gives balcony people a clearer vision.   They are confident in themselves and do not need to take from others to be happy or to survive.  Balcony people are ambitious, supportive and encouraging.  They will be your biggest fans because they know their success comes at their own hands and that the harvest is ripe.

Balcony and basement people both have the power of transference.  When you associate with people who complain and are complacent you will start to see life from their point of view.  If you fortify your circle with people who are inspirational and optimistic you will share their sentiments.  Basement people are toxic and should be not be allowed space in your head, heart, or life.

Before you start cleaning house on your facebook friends list and unfollowing folks on twitter, examine your own heart.  We often don’t see our own flaws because we are mentally bound ourselves.  Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Are you self-motivated?
  2. Are you genuinely happy for others and supportive of their ambitions?
  3. Do you wait or make opportunity?
  4. Are you confident in yourself and is your faith strong?
  5. Are you part of the problem or part of the solution?

Five Qualifications Needed on Your Date and Mate Checklist

Have you ever been told that you should have a list of qualities you desire in a mate?  A potential suitor asked me that the other day and I declined to disclose.  I feel it’s better to let a person show you who they are.  For the most part, people serious about settling down are looking for the same things.  Time will reveal if they meet the qualifications.  Yes qualifications!  Those are what qualities are right?  If they don’t meet them, they get the ax!

Do you have a list of qualities or need one?  Well I wanted to share my top five.  They are:

  1. Values.  There is a scripture that says: “A house divided against itself cannot stand”.  This is true when it comes to building a solid foundation, starting a family and weathering the storms.  In the beginning you need to value the same things and stay true to those values.  As time goes on your values will be tested.  If the will to work together isn’t there, kiss your relationship goodbye.  In most cases relationships are built on the physical.   By the time people realize they do not value the same things, it’s too late.  Many marriages and relationships end bitterly because once the physical attraction fades, there is no substance.
  2. Character.  This stems from common values.  Your mate should be a strong reflection of what you value.  What confuses me about some people is they’ll say they want a person of good character, then will date men or women who mistreat people, who are vain, insecure, irresponsible, or unprepared.  Some people can change when they fall in love but that’s a risky gamble.  You will soon realize you do not have a relationship but a high-risk, low reward project.  Good luck with that!
  3. Chemistry.  Physical attraction is only a small part of chemistry.  You can have chemistry with a person who is not necessarily physically attractive.  I’m not saying that physical attraction isn’t important but it shouldn’t be the main driver.  Have you ever sat with someone who just blew you away with their intellect, humor, confidence, ambition or talent?  These qualities stimulate more than just your libido.  With time and age beauty will fade.  What’s tight and ripped will become loose , stretched and flabby.  I’d much rather be with someone who has a captivating presence than a figure head.   Dig deeper than the surface!
  4. Goals.  If you are a day-to-day person, date a day-to-day person.  If you are goal driven look for someone who is the same.  Why?  Because at some point your opposite will irk you with their complacency or ignore you with their chase for achievement.  If you have your own goals or can help your mate with theirs, you’ll have more to share.  If both of you are day-to-day people, spontaneity will spark your relationship.  And if you have the same goals, imagine how deeper the connection will grow once you start to achieve them together!
  5. Wisdom.  This is where you will have to watch how they handle stress, how they treat people and how they approach life.  Do they get medically depressed when life comes at them?  Do they display signs of uncontrollable jealousy or rage?  Do they seek to get revenge or rectify conflict?  Do they lack common sense or speak profoundly?  Do they practice what they preach?  I believe a wise person seeks help when in need, can receive constructive criticism, and keeps a positive outlook on life.  They understand that they are not perfect and don’t expect you to be.  In fact, they bring out the best in you because they know what to say and when to say it.  They are perceptive, encouraging and caring.  They may not make the best decisions all the time but most of the time they are dead on.  Wisdom cannot be bought or taught.  Wisdom is the use of divine understanding and knowledge.  It is easy to distinguish a wise person from a foolish one.  Foolish people will show themselves if you give them time.  However if you are caught up in good looks, sex, or are preoccupied with a “project” then you will not be able to distinguish their foolishness from flaw.  None of us are perfect, but we all have good to offer.  If a person lacks in most of these qualities they are not long-term material.  Be wise enough to realize that!

Reflections – 2011

Mood - Grateful

Today I cried hard, harder than I have in a long time.  I cried tears of joy and pain, happiness and hurt.

I cried today because as I was washing dishes a bouquet flowers were delivered to my door.   Attached was a note with words of encouragement.  No one has ever done something so thoughtful for me before.  I was moved to tears and to write this reflection.

Looking back on the past year  I moved out-of-state with no job, got a job, quit a job for a higher paying job, lost the new job before I started but was able to get another job.  I met a great guy and he broke my heart.  I learned some family secrets should stay secret.  I’ve accepted the fact that I may have to adopt or foster and that I may be single for the rest of my life.  And I still have some medical issues I need to overcome.  So I needed to cry today.

You see, in spite of all that I’ve been through this year I’m still standing.  I get up each morning knowing today will be better than yesterday.  I have another opportunity to right all my wrongs, to try new things, to love and to laugh.  Life is a gift and I am utterly grateful for it.  I’ve been losing friends to prison and the grave since I was a kid, knowing in each instance it could have been me.  I know that if it wasn’t for God having mercy on me I wouldn’t be here to tell my story.  Where would I be without His unmerited favor?  He’s a miracle worker.  He makes a way out of no way.  He inspires me to keep pushing .  He’s given me the strength not only to carry my own burdens but the burdens of my loved ones as well.  And because I carry that responsibility and that strength,  quitting is not an option.

I cried today because I am happy to see 2011 go.  I had an eventful year.  But I know my events have made me stronger and more prepared for 2012.  I’m not claiming or decreeing anything because what is mine will be mine, good or bad.  But I am walking in rejuvenated faith. In spite of this past year’s events He still gave me much to smile about.  Life isn’t without its downs.  It’s not always fun or fair or easy. Each obstacle is an opportunity for character building and I’m grateful to be in the land of the living to experience it all.   When things get tough it’s good to know that  just like my fresh bouquet of flowers, when I least expect, it my Lord and Savior will be there.  Here’s to 2012.