Osaka, Biles, and Grace

There is a younger generation of leaders changing the way they are handled and taking charge of their priorities. It’s an opportunity for grace.

Naomi Osaka and Simone Biles have made me look harder at what grace really means lately, or at least what it can look like. Each has pulled out of major athletic events recently to tend to their own mental health and safety, and they have been widely publicized and scrutinized. Each was dragged on social, print, television, and radio media. But even more importantly, each was revered, lauded and applauded, and supported by so many more, and even defended on those platforms. Perhaps you are one of the people coming to stand with and behind Osaka’s and Biles’ decisions to back out of competition – or you had negative feelings when Osaka did it, but after hearing favorable commentary on what she did, you came around to a new way of thinking when Biles made a similar choice. I have no argument with those reactions whatsoever. In fact, I feel like that is progress that so many of us are showing that kind of love and support – grace, if you will. That is the loving response, and certainly the God-centered one. We should remember that their bodies and minds are sacred temples unto themselves, and do not belong to anyone other. 

St. Augustine said, “What is grace? I know until you ask me; when you ask me, I do not know.” As spiritual beings we know grace to be favor or even sincere kindness and allowance from our God-source that we grant. It is not something only God can grant. Because we have the source within, it is a choice we can make. It is at once an understanding, while we may not yet totally understand. It is a conscious choice and action that begins within rather than from factors without. Was St. Augustine correct in his assessment of grace? It is my opinion that he was, in that we sometimes forget that we have choice over this and forget from where grace begins. Romans 3:24 talks about the grace of God being given freely. Therefore, it is not a stretch to understand that it is also ours to give. We are creative expressions of the Oneness within… so let us examine where we fall short when we just forget.


These young women’s very public and personal situations bring forward important questions for us personally. First, are you showing grace to the people in your life – your spouse, neighbor, parent, child (young or grown), best friend, student, employee or subordinate, etc. – are you also giving them the same allowances, favor, and grace as you have given the famous and very public Osaka and Biles? ‘Just something to think about. Everyone has problems, difficulties, struggles. No one is immune. It might be financial disparities, physical or mental health issues, relationship struggles… there is a myriad of possibilities here. If their response does not align with what we think, or they are taking too long (in our opinions) to resolve it, or we are tired of hearing about it, what then is our response? Grace does not have to look like agreement or even complete understanding, but it will always look like support and the space for that person to be where they are while being covered in our love. 

Finally, and extremely important, are you also standing up for yourself? Are you giving your own sacred self the same grace that you are giving these very gifted athletes and others in your life? We often see a bit of our own humanity in others when they go through some ordeal publicly, or when someone we love is in the middle of maneuvering complex decisions. Yet, there are times when we assign more importance to someone else’s plight. There are times when it feels easier to publicly give someone outside of us grace and then walk back into our own lives and drop that mantle outside our own front door. We may not even realize we do that. Self-deprecating actions can be unconscious and habitual. Remember that you are deserving of no less grace than our Wayshower and brother, Jesus the Christ, exampled for us and that which is a constant from God.


Let us fine-tune the way we think of grace. Grace is not an award to grant. It is the truth, the reminder, and the acceptance that we are one with God, and one with each other. We are each but one part of the whole. It is an active admission that we are connected and different (not separate) at the same time – interconnected – and that not one of us deserves less or more of anything. If we can find it within ourselves to grant it when public or celebrity calls are made for it, we need only to reach nearer and harder and put it into practice for ourselves and those in our circles (1Peter 4:8). Imagine the world that will show up out of that.

That’s truth. That’s love. We are LOVE I AM.  

First published as a contributor on www.LoveIAm4us.org

#olympics #NaomiOsaka #SimoneBiles #grace #love #truth #athletes #MentalHealth #health

It’s a System and I Take It Personal

I know you might find me confounding and even exasperating at times. I know you may not understand (or care) why my voice is so loud and my energy so explosive.  It’s possible that you think I don’t handle things appropriately, whatever that means to you, and I’m sure some of you think I do too much and others think I don’t do enough. It is what it is. I’m sure I could use some balance.  I am sure of a lot of things, and I am sure that I will not apologize for any of this. I appreciate the truth in matters, even when it forces me to change direction or it makes some “side” look bad and it doesn’t feel good. I may not always get it right, but I know I get it wrong less. I am a human being first, and a mother second, but the second feels like my most important job. Like most people I am a lot of other things as well – hooks and edges, bumps and curves, questions and answers, some broken parts – but both of those pieces, human and mother, drive me the most.  What I want for my family is nothing less than I would wish for yours, but NEVER at the EXPENSE of the LIVES of mine. 

It’s okay to be still.

It’s okay to be still.
It’s okay to sit in the silence even in the presence of another.
Don’t believe for a second that nothing is happening if you aren’t in constant motion.
You are but a tiny speck in the whole of it, and it doesn’t all stop because you do.
It’s okay to wait because you do not know what to do next — or even if you do.

There is power in the stillness and the silence.
Don’t be afraid of it. The truth is there.
Healing resides there.
There are answers there. There is peace there.
There is growth there.

There is so much living in the stillness and silence.
There is so much to hear.
There is so much to see.
Don’t miss it.

It's okay to be still.

Check Your Personal Equality Climate

“The humanity of all Americans is diminished when any group is denied rights granted to others.” ~Julian Bond (Founder of Southern Poverty Law Center, and Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee)

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So many of us live in fear. I’m not saying that we go around hiding or shaking in our boots (though some might). What I am saying is that many of us operate out of fear, rather than love, and it shows in the way we treat people — even in our silence. 

If we operated from love, I wouldn’t be writing this, and the world would look a whole lot different!  For one, the conversations about race and gender inequality wouldn’t exist because neither subject would carry weight. We would treat family like… well, family! We wouldn’t see power-hungry bosses and co-workers stepping on others to gain ground or intimidate. We wouldn’t see power struggles in relationships, nor abuses of various kinds. Bullying would be unknown. We wouldn’t have the need to prove our superiority over another.

The current climate has brought out all kinds of fear; you can hear it in conversations and it thumps around in daily life. This is nothing new, but I suggest that the energy in our spaces right now has forced this nastiness upward and forward from the mires. Sometimes fear looks like hate; sometimes it looks like anger; sometimes it looks like sadness, or many other related negative emotions and actions. What it doesn’t look like is love for all, including love for self. Cooperation, collaboration, and affinity are abundantly missing in all walks of life.

Some of us are fearful of losing something if we contribute to others — the “what” that we fear is boundless. It could be money, footing, stature, reputation, family, friends, love… you name it! Unfortunately, when motives are fear-driven they come out in ways that we have several labels for, i.e., hate, bigotry, violence, misogyny, rudeness, bitterness, racism, homophobia, etc. I cannot imagine that there is one among us who never falls into the fear trap.  I know I fall, and it is not pretty!

Though there are clearly many ways love and fear is each expressed, for the sake of this post, I am particularly speaking about making room for others to be on the same ground. I am talking about the absolute truth of helping, giving, allowing others to be and have the exact same allowances and how we do not lose a single thing in the process.  Many who are “on top” view equal rights as a pie, and feel that if they give another the exact same space that they are in, that they lose a piece of their ground or a slice of their pie.  But this is only true when we are speaking about an actual pie! (But even then I will argue that sharing is awesome, and you’ll still receive a wonderful intangible in return!) 

Self-reflection time:  Where in your life do you take issue with another having what you already have, be it property, pay, rights, housing, health… anything?  Where in life do you hear yourself complaining about another that has requested the same fairness in life that you receive?  If at this point the voice in your head just said, “I’m not prejudiced, but…,” or “I’m not a bigot, but…,” or “I believe in equal rights, but…,” or “I’m not a racist, but…,” or “I’m always nice, but….”  Man, your “but” just told all about what’s really going on. Did you hear it? It was REALLY FAST so you might have missed it.  Our “buts” will show our butts every time!

If at THIS point you have now gone into the discussion about “deserving,” and who deserves or doesn’t deserve something, you’re deflecting.  Yes, you really are. This looking at self in the mirror thing doesn’t always feel good (at first), but it’s a practice we all need to be in.  Your view of life is not the same as another’s, and it is no less or more accurate either. It is no less or more important. Your view and experience of life is not THEE view or experience, rather merely one in a myriad of views and experiences. 

Questions to ask yourself:

  1. Where are you not listening to someone’s struggle, or discounting their account of life?
  2. When do you diminish others and their experiences based on their occupation, neighborhood, family, gender, skin color, religion, history, etc? 
    • And the bigger question: WHY are you doing that?
  3. Why are we afraid to accept that life plays out differently for others, especially someone who has lived a completely different life?
  4. Why do we have such a hard time admitting that we either just don’t understand, or that we just don’t give someone from a different culture or walk of life the consideration they really deserve?
  5. Why is it we want others to give us a break and understand where we are coming from, but we don’t give that regard to someone whose shoes we’ve never stepped into and have had very little or no affiliation?
  6. Why does someone else deserve less than we expect to receive when we want to be heard and understood?

Is it really any wonder why we see anger from marginalized groups? 

“When I uplift even one to equal standing, I lose nothing and gain it all — not only for myself, but for all of us. Likewise, the converse is true.  Remember that one can and will cause a collective.
It is impossible to give more than I have, and completely possible to gain more than I dreamed when I pursue love-multiplied as my only agenda.”


The way I see it, we have two choices – LOVE and FEAR. Super simple! Now if you choose love, it does not mean that you have to agree, or even understand, but it does mean that you are giving others space to be who they are and to express how life is for them in a way that you can’t possibly understand. Again, you lose NOTHING. Who knows, you could even learn something and find out how ridiculous and unknowing you may have been before (which I strongly suspect is the reason so many of us refuse this opportunity)! Or you could realize how to be part of a solution, and/or how you might have been part of the problem.

Start today coming from your heart, and retrain your ears and mind to open up to those you have disregarded and discarded in the past based solely on things you can’t or refuse to relate to. Search your conscience for where you have turned it off in order to be okay with your discounting of others. Acknowledge the humanity in all, and the fact that we really all yearn for the same essentials. Listen to someone you might not have before, and not to gain anything for yourself, but just out of love. It’s a win-win. You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain, and you’ll start gaining faster if you listen more than you speak!



Love,
Debora

P.S.  Let me know if you’ve been brave enough to start giving people space to be who they are, and what you’re learning.

Dear Friend, I See You

Dear Friend,
I know you are struggling with some issues in your life right now.  I know you have some big concerns that are weighing on you.  I see and feel that you are hurting.
I want you to know that it is all going to be okay.  Really.  It may not feel acceptable in this moment, but if you take care of yourself it is all going to work out.  It may not be the way you want it to look or think it might look, but there is going to be something there for your higher good.  Be patient and I promise you it will reveal itself.  Be open for good to show up in spite of what is going on right now.  Love yourself more than your attachment to your circumstances. 
If your past is hurting you, I want you to consider that it is no longer happening. Whatever was done is done.  It is no longer hurting you; hanging onto it is what is hurting.  Take charge and drop that hurt on the spot and gently step forward.  Now pat yourself on the back.  This is enough for today.  Tomorrow, take another easy step forward without looking at what you dropped off.  Take a moment for a self-hug and breathe.  Purpose to care more for yourself than the hurt you were holding onto.
If you are hurting someone, consider that you are also bringing that into your own life.  The reasons don’t matter because what you are ushering into your life is the same regardless of the reasons.  Haven’t you hurt enough? It’s up to you. You are in charge of ALL of it.  Own your experience. It is, whether or not you want it, your responsibility.  The sooner you see this, the sooner you can surrender all of it.  Love yourself more.
Surrender to that which you claim you want.  Claim and own that you are peace, that you are love, that you are trust, that you are harmony, etc.  Set an example for yourself.  The rest will follow your lead.  This is how it works.
So I see you today, and I want you to know that you are not alone.  I want you to know there is a way out that will leave you whole and wholly fulfilled.  Be willing.  Be open.  Be receptive.  Be honest.  Above all, love yourself bigger than what is going on around you.  No one has the power to take that away from you, except you, and no one has the ability to give you that kind of love except you!  That is the truth.
What are you waiting for?
With great love,
Debora Lynn




Proving Truth