Random thoughts: Cleveland heartbreak

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My heart breaks for all of those who are feeling hopeless, disconnected, unworthy. In a society that tells us we’re nothing if we’re not beautiful, rich or famous, it’s no wonder people feel dejected, helpless and commit desperate acts oftentimes using social media to garner likes and accolades even for doing things that are heinous.

I’m not a sympathizer. If you do wrong, you pay for your actions. I’m a firm believer in accountability. But as a human being I can still have empathy. I can empathize with those who are lost and struggling. Who try but fail to make sense of things in a world where nothing makes sense. Who struggle to find work and provide for their families. Who feel that they aren’t worthy to be loved. Who feel outcast. And I can have empathy for those who are victims of our pseudo-caste society that says that your life has less value than mine if you are lower down on the chain as deemed by race, age or economic status. Life is life and it is all precious. We don’t get to decide.

We’re all guilty. As human beings, we long for significance and in our society money, looks and fame will automatically give it to you. We ascribe more worth and value to those who have those things and look down on the ones who don’t. As a society, we live in a constant state of worship… of people and of things. A pop star can post a picture of her pregnant belly and the world goes nuts. Reality stars can completely redraw their facial features and create perfect brows and noses with pencils and powder and we think that’s normal. They post pictures of their latest luxury fashion or jewelry score and like sheep to slaughter we run to emulate what they’re doing, whether we can afford it or not, wanting to be like them. And in doing so, like a slow drip, we erode our worth and value as individual human beings and reject the unique masterpieces that we are.

It’s possible to return to sanity. To accept and love ourselves fully and completely, irrespective of what others have or what others say about us. It is possible to adjust our lifestyles to our incomes. And, it is possible to let go of longing for something more and to be completely satisfied with our current condition. And I believe that as we do that, and model contentedness for our children, we create a more perfect world.

I challenge you to let go of the need to be anything other than what you are, always leaving room for improvement if necessary, but fundamentally loving and approving of yourself even if there’s nothing but lint in your pocket. Each of us has been created by God in His image. Don’t let anyone or any ‘thing’ determine your value. And if you are struggling, don’t lose hope. Reach out to someone for help. You never know what tomorrow will bring.

And to all those involved in the Cleveland incident, my heart and prayers are with you.

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Failing our kids…

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Okay… I’m going to say it. We’re not doing a good job of raising our children. As the headlines scroll across my computer screen I see so many young people doing such ridiculous things… faking suicides so another child will kill themselves, driving while texting, torturing and killing people on social media, drugs, robbery, bullying. Doesn’t have to be your child.

As society has become more affluent, the meaning of being a good parent has shifted from raising competent, productive, respectful human beings… to being able to provide stuff for them. Notice I said the focus. There’s nothing wrong with providing for your children. I think it’s healthy for children to know the value of affluence. But buying them things shouldn’t be the focus. Jeans, jewelry, the latest gym shoes just so you can impress your neighbors or your kids can impress their friends. Who cares about that kind of stuff? Our focus should be… are we raising kids who are kind, strong and individual thinkers? Are they earnest and hard working? Do they respect others and other people’s property? Do they have a healthy level of self-esteem? That should be the focus.

And, I know, those sweet little faces are so hard to punish, but if you don’t instill discipline in them when they’re little, they’ll struggle as adults. Self-centered, self-indulgent, selfish children grow up to be self-centered, self-indulgent, selfish adults. Lazy at best. Criminal at worst.

I see so many people now who just have the kids, feed ‘em and that’s it. Our parents were way more involved in developing our characters than we’ve been. They had less tolerance for whining and slamming doors… and I think our generation is better for it.

If your kids are still small (even if they aren’t) begin to establish habits and patterns that focus on their future. Value things like education and the pursuit of excellence. Insist that they clean their rooms. Know who they’re hanging out with. Monitor their habits. Don’t make it a goal to be the cool Mom or Dad. Instead, take the time to build into your children. Make it a goal to make them into highly functioning and productive adults who will create a life that they’re proud of.

Parenting is not easy. Just like most things in life, it’s a situation where you get out of it what you put into it. What a blessing it will be to see your kids happy, healthy and productive, raising families of the same. Don’t set them up for failure by constantly giving in to them and letting them have their way. Focus on the end goal and rest easy knowing that after you’ve tended the garden faithfully, you can relax and reap the reward of a good crop. And ultimately, when life is going well for them, all the denied requests for jeans and gym shoes won’t matter. They’ll be filled with a sense of gratitude every time they think of your sacrifice and the blessing you have given them.

To your journey

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Tonya Lampley is a fiction author and Certified Life Coach. She writes about life, love and the journey and blogs on topics for living a successful life. Her debut novel was titled A Taste of Love and was a 2012 NIEA finalist. Her second book is titled Indiscretion and her third book is titled Dirty. All books are available on Amazon. For more information about Tonya and her works please visit www.TonyaLampley.com.

 

 

Fanning flames…

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As human beings, we carry the inherent flaw of “separateness.” We use our groups and labels… whether it’s religion, sports teams, cities, coasts, race… to not only give us a sense of belonging, no harm in that, but for many of us the labels we identify with give us a sense of elitism… my group is better than yours. My religion is better, my race is better, my political party is better, my economic class, even my coast is better. We all remember the rapper ‘beefs’ of past decades… to think…people lost their lives over such nonsense. Newsflash, no one is better than anyone else, doesn’t matter your group or label. Human is human. Period. Second newsflash, we are all apart of God’s creation. Every single one of us. A single unit. A single body. If He created us, we belong here and we have purpose and value. As individuals, we don’t get to decide who has merit and who doesn’t. I matter. You matter. He she and it matters. And as we stoke the flames of divisiveness, we have to ask ourselves… is it worth it?

Be careful of the beast you serve. It just might turn and bite you.

Many people aren’t just content to sit behind social media and call names. Some will act upon their hatred. Is this the kind of world we want? Where drawing ‘lines’  between us is what’s most important. Nah, not me. I want a world where there is love and peace. Where we can leave our homes with the security of knowing our neighbors will meet us with love and kindness. Where, I may not know you, but I can still call you friend. Do your part. Commit to using social media to share love. To uplift one another. To comfort those who hurt. Move beyond the fear of differences and embrace others. Value life in all it’s myriad of forms. Do your part to help build a more successful world.

#ChooseLove

 

To your journey,

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28 Practical Ways To Improve Yourself

From Bayart.org

When the journey of self-betterment begins, we are always looking for ways to improve ourselves. It is a constant journey where we must be honest and open to change. Often we find improvement advice can be too metaphysical and theoretical. As a passionate advocate of growth, I’m continuously looking for ways to self-improve. I’ve compiled 28…

Source: 28 Practical Ways To Improve Yourself

Can’t we all just get along?

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Most people that know me know that I can be pretty easy going. I am a seeker of truth and I spend a lot of time contemplating the mysteries of life… wondering if there are answers to life’s difficulties.

The other day I was having a conversation with someone I love dearly about religious matters and in the middle of it, I realized they would never relax their guard enough to entertain another perspective. They were completely convinced that they were right, and perhaps they were, I never claim to know all things. But I’m always  willing to hear another perspective. I entertained their argument, offered my divergent opinion and it was sending the person into rage.

After I got off the phone, it came to me that this is how most people are now days; so convinced that there is only one truth… one answer… and of course, they’ve got it and everyone else is wrong. People, collectively, have gotten to a place where they are the experts, the know-it-alls, on every subject and now that access to social media and other platforms have gotten under their skin, they’re willing to debate, demean, demoralize and spew hatred toward others. Some are even willing to escalate to violence over their beliefs.

Stupid. As I told this person, “perhaps you’re right, I don’t take a hard stance on things that I believe are unknowable.” And when it comes to the subject we were discussing–religion, how can we ever truly know? How can we know 100% what is right or wrong, what sins are forgiven and which ones aren’t (Please don’t troll me, I ain’t got time). Until we are face to face with God, how will we ever know? We can’t. We only have a belief and the unfortunate thing is that most people BELIEVE their BELIEF is TRUTH.

I can honestly say that since I gave up the need to be right years ago, my life has been filled with so much peace. I’d rather not spend my time debating and trying to convince others of the rightness and wrongness of things. I came to understand that I have an opinion and it will always differ from others based on their personality, upbringing, socio-economic status and so many other things, and for that reason my own opinions and beliefs are ever-evolving. And while I believe that healthy, respectful conversations about difficult issues are the key to moving humanity forward, I know that most people just aren’t there. Republicans, democrats, gun control, left, right, immigration, religion, LGBTQ, name your pick. Right now, the game we’re playing is us against them. And until we recognize that the only thing that matters is “We,” meaning the whole of humanity, this nonsense will continue.

I encourage you to hold fast to your beliefs, but refuse to take a hard stance on anything. Always be open to another view, always be respectful if it differs and always choose love over war. Be willing to engage in healthy, respectful discourse. Be someone who seeks resolution, not to be right or make others wrong. This, I believe, is what will move humanity forward.

To your journey,

Tonya

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Our America

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One of the inherent flaws in the human condition is to separate ourselves from or label someone or something else as other. We see it as early as grade school, on the playground… the “us vs them” mentality. We see it with our sports teams, or religious practices and it’s definitely the source of our racial division. Something about the human condition says, “if you’re not exactly like me, if you don’t do what I do, or think the way that I think, you’re wrong.” And here lately, people are holding so steadfastly to their ideals that situations are escalating to violence.

Really?

There’s a universal oneness to everything in God’s magnificent creation. To deny it causes unnecessary stress and strain on our lives, since you’re denying God’s natural order. It would be much simpler to embrace every beautiful expression of God, in all its myriad of forms. Instead, people are under the veil of falsity that makes them think that they must fight everything, that it is natural to be a source of dissention at every conversation… on social media etc. It’s not. Love is our most natural state. And just imagine what all that stress is doing to your physical body. After you do that, next, imagine what all that dissention, bashing and evil is doing to your soul.

This brings me to the current political climate. I understand we all have our views and they will differ, but I encourage all of you who are outspoken dissenters, who spend your time arguing with others about the rightness and wrong-ness to consider finding a constructive way to voice your concerns instead of lashing out in ignorance toward others. This country belongs to all of us, and being divided will never help us improve the state of our nation. We should pray, have conversations that rise above who’s right or wrong and that move toward fair solutions to all our problems. And yes, we should support peaceful protests. But, we should also be more willing to compromise. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. In all or nothing situations there’s a 50% chance you’ll end up with zero.

Fighting about situations solves nothing. Voice your concerns in a positive way. Be supportive of the process or work to change it. Don’t just sit on social media picking fights with everyone. Be a part of the solution. The bottom line is that this country is not just yours or mine… it’s ours. Instead of fighting, let’s all work together to make it the best that it can be.

Bring on the trolls, Lol.

Tonya

Tonya Lampley is a fiction author and Certified Life Coach. She is passionate about living life to the fullest and uses skills learned from her work as a coach as well as lessons from her own journey to write articles providing tips for successful living and to tell stories of hope and personal triumph. Her debut novel was titled A Taste of Love and was a National Indie Excellence Awards finalist. Her short story titled Birthday Surprise received honorable mention in the Writer’s Digest Short Story Contest. For more information about Tonya and her works please visit www.TonyaLampley.com.

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Deliver us from evil…

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Okay, so I’m tired of being quiet about it. I’m sure you’ve noticed it too. As a society, more and more we’ve become drawn to darkness. We have become consumers of evil: death, slander and gossip, misfortune of every kind, criticism. It’s as if we wake up in the morning seeking something to feed on. The news, that internet headline. Most people don’t even realize they’re doing it. It starts slow and subtle, but before long, if you’re not careful, it becomes a habit.

I know…it’s easy to get caught up into it. That social media feed is sooo tempting. So are the headlines in the day’s newspaper or on the evening news. I mean negativity is everywhere you look. But just because it’s ubiquitous doesn’t mean it’s good, nor does it mean you have to partake in it.

Well Tonya, why should I be the maverick and carve out my own path and stop doing what everyone in my circle is doing? Fighting over politics, denigrating people because they look a certain way or think differently from me. And why on earth should I stop talking about that one co-worker and how incompetent she is when I’m at the office water cooler? I mean… she really is incompetent.

Because all those negative thoughts and behaviors carry a charge. And that charge becomes part of your physical makeup, a part of your being. And as a human being you carry a point of resonance and that point of resonance helps determine what’s attracted to you in life. We assume we are victims of misfortune when in actuality it’s our state of being that is largely determining what is happening to most of us. Have you ever wondered why throughout the ages we’ve been told to think positively and that there’s power in positive thinking? Have you ever considered that every major religion admonishes us to love and be kind to others? It’s because the energy that we put out is returned to us. Look around your world at people who are genuinely positive and good natured and see don’t things just always seem to work out for them. Conversely, did you ever notice that the people who are extremely negative seem like they never get a break? Schleprock comes to mind. If you’re over 40 you get the analogy.

The Bible makes references to thinking on a higher plane:

Phillipians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Luke 6:37 Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;

James 3:14-15 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.

Proverbs 4:23 Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness

It behooves us to clean up our habit of sloppiness when it comes to indulging in negative things… whether it’s entertainment, news, friendships, conversations, places of employment. Be intentional about the energy you wish to carry, knowing it will be returned to you in kind.

And if you are not particularly pious or even if you are, I strongly urge you to google the Law of Attraction and start to understand how the universe works. Each day we get to choose what we align ourselves with. Commit to making better choices. Decide that you will disconnect yourself from unnecessary states of darkness. I can guarantee your experience of life will be completely different. And in doing so you will be helping to uplift all of humanity.

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To Your Journey,

Tonya

Tonya Lampley is a fiction author and Certified Life Coach. She is passionate about living life to the fullest and uses skills learned from her work as a coach as well as lessons from her own journey to write articles providing tips for successful living and to tell stories of hope and personal triumph. Her debut novel was titled A Taste of Love and was a National Indie Excellence Awards finalist. Her short story titled Birthday Surprise received honorable mention in the Writer’s Digest Short Story Contest. For more information about Tonya and her works please visit www.TonyaLampley.com.

Do something good! If you enjoyed this article pass it on by clicking any of the below social media tabs or by entering a friend’s email.

                                                          

 

 

Raising your positive vibes…

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Cool thing about life in modern times is that we have so much choice. Bad thing is that not all things are good. I’m a firm believer in limiting access to things that contain energy that’s not positive and uplifting. Be mindful of the effect negative things can have on your individual consciousness, whether it’s certain types of media or even certain people. Try to do things that keep you in balance. Here’s an article that might help:

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-7823/10-practical-ways-to-raise-your-positive-vibrations.html

To your journey,

Tonya

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Tonya Lampley is a fiction author and Certified Life Coach. She is passionate about living life to the fullest and uses skills learned from her work as a coach as well as lessons from her own journey to write articles providing tips for successful living and to tell stories of hope and personal triumph. Her debut novel was titled A Taste of Love and was a National Indie Excellence Awards finalist. Her short story titled Birthday Surprise received honorable mention in the Writer’s Digest Short Story Contest. For more information about Tonya and her works please visit www.TonyaLampley.com.

 

Release yourself from the captivity of disappointment…

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A friend was speaking with me and she so bravely shared that she was learning not to place so much stock in other people’s behavior because she always ends up disappointed.

I thought… What a huge revelation. The only thing we ever really have control over is our response to situations. Its human nature to view other people and their reactions through the lens of who “we are” and when they don’t behave the way we would behave, to feel hurt or disappointed. Dear one… we are all individuals and our experiences will always be vastly different. To hold another captive to a certain behavior is certain to bring disappointment. We are all much too varied for that. Instead of being hurt, appreciate the variety of another’s experience and bless their right to choose what is right for them. Don’t insist they behave a certain way to placate you… that’s slavery. If their choice is not in alignment with who you are, you have the right to decide what is best for you, but don’t hold yourself in the captivity of disappointment because they chose what was in alignment for them. Instead, exercise your right to do the same.

To your journey,

Tonya

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Tonya Lampley is a fiction author and Certified Life Coach. She is passionate about living life to the fullest and uses skills learned from her work as a coach as well as lessons from her own journey to write articles providing tips for successful living and to tell stories of hope and personal triumph. Her debut novel was titled A Taste of Love and was a National Indie Excellence Awards finalist. For more information about Tonya and her works please visit www.TonyaLampley.com.