Thursday, March 24, 2011

How Much Is Your Birthright Worth?

Tonight as I was admonishing (my 18 year old hard-headed son) I was reminded of the story of Essau in the bible. At first, I really didn't really understand why this particular story came to my spirit (given the particular circumstance) however as I began to recall the story I was blessed with several nuggets of wisdom. 

Although this is not my traditional "love post" I decided to write about this subject on my blogpost for two reasons: 1.) I needed an outlet to write something TONIGHT that would help me work off some steam to keep me from choking my"beloved" child!  2.) I wanted to share my new revelation and interpretation of what lessons this story can teach us about love. Perhaps the story will be helpful to you as it has been to me. 

If you are familiar with the bible story you may recall that Essau was the son of patriarch Isaac and the older twin brother of Jacob.  Essau was actually the first born son of Isaac and because of Jewish custom he was to receive the birthright of double his share of inheritance. However, one day after working in the fields Essau returned hungry and sold his birthright to his younger brother Jacob for a bowl of stew!

I never found this story particularly relevant to my life, however tonight after reading it to my son I received three (3) nuggets of wisdom that I would like to share below.

Wisdom Nugget #1:  Know and Appreciate the Value of Your Birthright 
In the context of the Essau/Jacob biblical story the birthright was referred to customary birthrights in Jewish culture bestowed to the first born son.  Webster dictionary defines  birthright as a "right or privilege that you are entitled to at birth."  For me there is a long list of God given inalienable rights that I feel are entitled to all human beings.  I think we often take for granted some of our basic God given gifts of love, peace, health, peace and happiness.  Sometimes we sell our "right to happiness" and peace for a steady check from a job that we actually HATE.  Sometimes we trade our "right to experience true love" for a dysfunctional relationship due to a fear of being alone. Oftentimes we even GIVE away our "right to a healthy and full life" for bad eating habits, quick food fixes, and harsh unhealthy lifestyles.  
Wisdom Nugget #2: Be Anxious for Nothing
This is self explanatory.  Essau's need for immediate relief is what led to a long-term irreversible mistake.  I really believe that anytime we are anxious for something it is perhaps our sub-conscious mind telling us that there is some type of fear or uncertainty lurking around. This can be a warning sign or a simple message to get our emotions in check.
I don't necessarily think that anxiousness automatically means something isn't for us but I do believe it is God's message of telling us to slow down, chill out and take a step back.  As my grandmother use to say, "What God has for you it is for you." If that statement is true then whatever things, people, and/or opportunities that are meant for you will manifest and should bring a sense of peace and purpose not a sense of anxiousness.  In fact, when you feel anxious that may be the Holy Spirit's way of telling you to release the process and surrender to God.
Wisdom Nugget #4: Lead By Your Spirit Not Your Flesh
Essau's desire to fulfill his fleshy hunger ultimately changed the course of his life and his name in history.  Essau made a decision based on his flesh. Because of this very simple mistake we now know Jacob as the third patriarch of the children of Israel, not Essau. Isn't that amazing?  One can say that all Essau was trying to do is harmlessly get something to eat to stop his hunger.  However, Essau was so over powered by his fleshy need for immediate relief that he was unable to see the true value of his birthright gift.  He was indifferent to the consequences of giving the birthright away and unwilling to explore other ways to meet his OWN  immediate needs.  Essau had access to the same ingredients to make a pot of stew.  Was he too lazy, too tired, too greedy to make himself something to eat? We don't know the reason why Essau made this choice but we all know the outcome. How many times in our own lives have we made rash decisions based on our fleshly desires instead of "centering ourselves" to listen to our spirit?  

Lesson Learned:
Although Essau was freely given the "birthright gift" it was his lack of value for the gift, his desire for immediate relief and his inability to make a decision beyond his fleshy desire that led to his incredible lost.  The take away lesson for me is that we all must know and appreciate all of our God given birthrights on this earth.  It is our responsibility to protect, nurture and maintain the gift(s) of health, wellness, peace, freedom, friendship, companionship, creativity, liberty, justice, and love.

What does this have to do with love? 


Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Random Love Musing #1

Sometimes a song can best express feelings, emotions, and/or love thoughts.  Recently, I was moved and touched by a song recorded by Marsha Ambrosius (formerly of Floetry).  She has just released a beautiful album that is a musical exploration of the many different facets of love.  I posted the lyrics of the song below in dedication to all the "lovers in transition" that are learning how to let go of someone they truly love.......

Far Away recorded by Marsha Ambrosius

So sad to see you go so soon 
I know that you ain't coming back 
In the beginning everything was cool 
Toward the end of it all it's all bad 
I know I played my part in making it what it is 
And I know that you did the same 
I guess I'm up outta here 
I'm moving on again 
I'm sure that you will understand 
I play by the rules 
You play by the game 
I couldn't of stayed 
It's easier to say 
Cause I was by your side 
When you went through the pain 
I guess it doesn't matter now that you're so far away 

And every minute you're gone 
I'm missing you so 
I can't believe that you're far away 
Can't get you out of my mind 
Boy you're out of my life 
And it would be different 
If you could hear me baby 
Now that you're so far away 
Didn't want you to go babe, babe 

Ooh tear stains on my pillow 
Tryna forget ya 
Don't know what I'm gonna do 
More days and counting 
I've been laying and staring 
Myself in the mirror 
All alone in my room 
I can't feel this way again 
Gonna think with my head

Cause my heart is what got me here 

So hurt from what you've done 
More than enough reasons for me to move on 
'Cause I gave you my word 
You put your trust in me 
Supposed to be the one to give you what you need 
I was by your side 
When we were meant to be 
Guess it doesn't matter now that you're so 

Far away 

And every minute you're gone 
I'm missing you so 
I can't believe that you're far away 
Can't get you out of my mind 
Boy you're out of my life 
And it would be different 
If you could hear me baby 
Now that you're so far away 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

40 Days of Love

Today is Ash Wednesday.  This means it is exactly 40 days before the Easter Holiday weekend.  Many people use the season of lent to give up bad habits, vices, fleshy pleasures and/or certain behaviors.  It wasn't until I went out to a restaurant this evening to eat in New Orleans that I was reminded of the significance of Ash Wednesday. I watched the entire wait staff walk around with ashes smeared on their foreheads and at first I thought to myself, "Why are these people walking around looking like someone put out a cigarette butt on their face? What's the purpose of doing something like that?"  Then I realized that there is spiritual power when we demonstrate courage to move out of our comfort zone for self-growth and expression.  Oftentimes I think we get so caught up in our physical being that we  neglect to focus and find ways to strengthen our spirit.  

Therefore, I have decided this lent season that I will give myself the gift of love. I have committed to give up being so critical of myself and learn how to love myself unconditionally.  For the next 40 days, I am going to celebrate Jesus' love for humanity by learning how to better love and accept myself.  As Jesus taught, I will learn how to love the God within.  

Why do I need to learn how to love myself? The year of 2009 was a very hard year for me.  Emotionally, I battled for over 18 months with feelings of rejection and unworthiness.  I felt rejected in my romantic relationship, within my career field, by my father and even by some of my own immediate family members.  The worst part of it all wasn't how rejected I felt by others. The worst pain actually resulted from me feeling an internal sense of "perpetual unworthiness" and "self-rejection".  I made it through that difficult year and finally in 2010 I felt much better.  However, I still struggled emotionally from the residue of years of feeling rejected, unloved and unimportant by people that were very dear to my heart. 

Most of my life I have desperately wanted someone to constantly tell me or help me feel like I was good enough.  The problem is that it's impossible for anyone to meet that requirement.  Only God can fill that space and heal that type of pain. Wisdom has taught me that "worthiness" is more of a value judgement that we unfortunately place on ourselves resulting from pain, fear, unresolved childhood issues or loneliness.  In the scripture it says that after creation (Genesis 1:31) , "God saw everything He had made, and behold, it was very good."  The simple  answer is ...All that God has made is good because it is of God. Our very nature as part of creation is good.

Well it's finally March 2011 and my resolution for this year has been to live my life "on earth as it is in heaven".  It is hard to ever truly experience the unconditional love of another when you are struggling with loving yourself unconditionally.  Like most of us, I am oftentimes much kinder, gentler, more understanding and quicker to forgive others than myself. By far, I am oftentimes my worst and harshest critic.  Matter of fact, although I think I am a great friend to others I have at times been a terrible friend to myself.  But for the next 40 days I will do everything in my power to celebrate the God in me and to practice "me loving me" unconditionally!

Below are a few simple practices that I am going to adopt for the next 40 days:

Video Journal Messages To Myself
I've got this great new computer with a built in camera and iMovie software.  For the next 40 days, I am committed to making short video messages to myself.  I will talk about the positive things that I like about my life and about who I am. Sometimes you have to encourage yourself!

Embrace My Mistakes 
I absolutely hate to make mistakes.  I have become so fearful in the past to make a mistake that the fear has paralyzed me from making a decision.  As I get older I realize that the problem isn't in making a mistake but it is not owning up and accepting the consequences.  Mistakes can either paralyze one from taking action or it can motivate one to act in a more strategic way.  I have decided to embrace my mistakes and see them as opportunities to grow.

Dedicate 2 hours for Self-Healing
A female African-American psychologist told me that she believes that the most revolutionary thing that a black woman can do is commit time to her own healing and self-development. Therefore every week I am going to take at least 2 hours to focus on my healing through self-love and nurturing.  This may mean counseling, meditation, massage therapy, self-pampering,etc.  

Immerse Myself in the Beauty of Nature
There is a medical philosophy called Earthing that suggests that because we are all made up of energy centers that the more we directly connect to physical nature the more balanced our personal energy.   The concept suggests that we seek as many opportunities to directly touch the earth.   I know that this sounds a little California Woo-Woo but I know it works.  I feel so much better and grounded when I walk barefoot on the beach or plant flowers in fresh soil. There is something powerful in connecting directly to the earth.

Seek New Experiences
If you keep doing things the same way you will get the same results.  I desire different results in my life so I am committed to doing something different.  I don't like to date, however I desire meeting new suitors. It's my goal to make myself more available and accessible to meeting new people.

Express My Passions
There are some things and activities that I am simply passionate about in  life.  Like beautiful art, independent music, jazz concerts, botanical gardens, NBA games, theatre, wine tastings, etc.  For the last year I have filled all of my time with work.  I am committed to actively seeking out the activities that I am passionate about doing.

Well this is my Lent Season list.  I hope that you will also reflect on how you can connect to a greater experience of God's love during the Lent season. Remember love starts from within but moves throughout the universe! Love is in YOU!

Peace, Blessings and Love!