The Art of Forgiveness

They say that true forgiveness is that we forgive whatever offense done to us and forget it. But what are we supposed to forget to get us to the point of real forgiveness? To forget the offense is to pretend it never happened as if no wrong were commited. I personally believe this an ineffectual way to deal with such a thing. Whether we like it or not, this bad thing happened and it needs to be faced. Revenge does not need to be the way this happens, but selective amnesia is also not a way to go. I believe that to forgive includes the following: acknowledge the break in trust, address the break, decide on the lessons to be taken from the experience, and finally to move forward with an open heart choosing to put that time in the past with the hope that the relationship is improved or that at least some understanding has been reached that you not stay in that negative attitude. Forgiveness doesn’t always mean that whoever offended or hurt you will or has to stay in your active life. It means that that the negativity caused by the break won’t. You refuse to let it control you because you know that it won’t benefit you. Forgiveness is no easy feat especially when you remember what you’re trying to forgive. True forgiveness is not without immense effort and compassion and understanding. It is appreciation for the complexity of the human condition; it is an art.

A World Divided

I have to admit. Waking up everyday with a new report of another crime, a vicious comment about someone, a video fueling the rage of any number of people from all over showing that in spite of time and supposed progression, mentally and emotionally the human race is mostly very much the same as our predecessors just with Internet, better clothing and bigger and better ways to cause each other to suffer. Bullies are mostly drawn attention to if they are children, but what about the adult bullies? Childhood bullying however cruel usually will have an end when someone will stand up to say “no more”. Adult bullies come in different shapes and forms. They can be a coworker, a boss, a neighbor, a cop, a doctor, a lawyer, a government official, even a stranger. All over the news, there are countless stories of injustice very many which stem from prejudice, hate and an inherent blood lust for pain and misery. Is it the long struggle of minorities against the “white betters”? Is it a need to be seen powerful through force no matter the cost? Is it just history repeating itself in a different time with new players in the roles?

We now live in a world technologically, politically, and educationally that even only 50 years ago would not have been easily dreamed of. Does that make us better? Does that prove our advancement? Only to a point. While yes, what those predecessors had been working towards all those years ago has come to the present; the prejudices of the past have come with it. The certainty that even with the opportunities out in the world made “openly” to all who seek them is not made for everyone in the same way is still there. I wonder if looking to the past and seeing so many parallels to the present, what will the world look like in another 50 years? Will there be anything in the future to compare to the past to really decide whether if and how we can move forward? For a time with some many resources at our fingertips, how it is that such a willful blindness can persist? We’re a society made with a glass house ideology that as long as we’re who we are, nothing else matters. If it doesn’t affect me and mine, then it has nothing to do to me. Don’t be fooled by this ideology. We are all human and should not only stand up to be counted for the cause when it affects our race, our group, our sources. Hate knows no color, it knows no position, it knows no separation in who to target. It only knows that it wants division. It wants blood, it wants more and more chaos. Why is it that we live in a world in which action is only effective when paired with aggression? And when it is paired with aggression, it has to overtake everything in its path forcing a surrender by any means necessary.

Instead of leading the way with violence, can we not inject learning into the mix? Can we not add knowledge as a weapon to the arsenal? Can we not find a way to finally see that the “I’m better than you” idea of class and status is there because we ourselves have done so? It is true that there is a classification of those who are in positions of leadership because they have the qualities necessary to do what is needed. There are also some who take those positions and can’t handle the power but know how to keep it and make those they lead the worse for it.

We make challenges for sport, to draw attention to a cause, to make a point and for many other things. And in closing, I make this challenge. For those who see themselves as leaders, remember that to lead by example is through more than to do so in front of the crowd, it is behind closed doors, it is in your convictions, it is your character, it is every part of you. In spite of the popular quote, “absolute power corrupts absolutely”, it is not power itself that corrupts; it is mental, it is emotional, it is moral. We stand or we fall based on what hill we allow ourselves to die on or even if we intend to show at all. We are remembered for the great and the terrible. What we seem to forget is that what happens in the middle affects the outcome whether great or terrible. In the work that is done, have we gained victory in becoming something more or have we made ourselves a prisoner of a specter given a body through our actions?

Chocolate Covered Cherry Power Smoothie

I have to admit, I was very skeptical about the green smoothies. I love smoothies and used to haunt Jamba Juice like I had stock in the company; but I always thought once you started throwing greens in the blender and called it a smoothie, it was bound to be gross. It was only a matter of the flavor of grossness. I’ve been addicted to Pinterest for quite some time as well as food blogs. I finally found a good base for a green smoothie and made some tweaks; and voila, the chocolate covered cherry power smoothie. Here’s my recipe. Enjoy!

2 cups of spinach
1 cup chocolate soy milk
2 cups Wallaby’s lowfat vanilla yogurt
1 single serve packet of Justin’s chocolate covered hazelnut almond butter
1/4 cup of tart cherries (bulk bin at Whole Foods)
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Mix the spinach and soy milk in the blender until well mixed. Then add the yogurt, almond butter, cherries and cinnamon until it’s all well blended. Pour into your container of choice and freeze until ready to drink!

My Ex Asked Me To Meet for Coffee…And I Said, Yes.

First of all, this did NOT turn out like a plot in a rom-com nor did I expect it to. It was as awkward and uncomfortable as I imagined it would be…okay, it was even more so than I imagined; and I have a very good imagination. But back to the story, it had been nearly a year since we had been in the same room together, much less face to face sharing a table. There were a lot of mixed emotions there…First off, there was a feeling of expectation. Of what? That is still undetermined. There were also feelings of curiosity, of “what if”, of awkwardness, and of surety. My curiosity stemmed from wondering what motive could have influenced my ex to reach out to me. The “what if” was what most “what ifs” are: “What if we didn’t break up when we did?” “What if we never spoke or saw each other again?” and the like. The awkwardness was for obvious reasons…I had thought of our seeing each other again but you never quite get the amount of awkwardness you’ll feel quite right. And let me tell you, it was ridiculously awkward. And lastly, there was a surety. And that surety was that we were absolutely meant to go our separate ways ultimately; we were never meant for a “happy ever after” with each other. And now, I could really know it and internalize it on a complete level. I don’t wish any ill will towards my ex. I wholeheartedly wish him every happiness. Would I have still decided to meet him knowing the awkwardness that would ensue? Yes, I would because we had time to get through the destructive feelings that too little time would have put on blast. We had an open and honest conversation about what ultimately lead us to break up and finally buried it. We banished “what ifs”, satisfied curiosities, and conquered our past misunderstandings. Will we be friends now? I can’t say for sure. Only time will tell. Is that door open with a better mat at the door? I think so. Again, only time will  tell what happens. But, I can say this, in spite of all the awkwardness, I gained complete peace.


Another remembers our beginning
Another remembers our end
We ourselves only remember our in between
We remember our laughter, our tears, our experiences
We pay tribute to ourselves in how we live
We gain tribute from others in how time remembers us through others
Time never forgets, it changes…it challenges, it shows truthreally
And in that time, we can only hope that we gave time our best
And what knowledge we have hopefully gained adds light
Some ends, timely and untimely for those leaving and those left behind
Are really journeys into newly forged time into a new destiny as the torch is passed anew.

I Was Raised To Be Suspicious

Now let me preface this post by what I mean by “raised”. In this case, I don’t mean raised from childhood; I’m referencing that golden time of late teens to early 20s when high school is behind you, the bloom is not as off the rose as you project, and adulthood begins with a hazing that puts Greek life in college to shame. I’m talking about going from newly minted adult to “where did my 20s go?” adult.

Ok, now that we have that out-of-the-way, I will admit to being 27. To some, that puts me at a time of life that’s not in the position to write such a post with the proper amount of authority; but, this is my blog so I can say what I like.

My newly minted adulthood began at the tender age of 17. Since my birthday is Halloween, my high school graduation preceded my legal adult status. I couldn’t vote but I could start a new adventure into a different life. I’m originally from South Carolina; and before I started my adult journey, I was able to get a small taste of what else was out there in the big bad world at 15 when I was invited to attend an elite seminar for highly ambitious high school students interested in the field of law. Small town girl, meet Beverly Hills. It was about as different as could be for a girl who had never traveled outside of the Southeast and had only heard about or read about travel. It was only a week, but boy was it an eye opener. That week alone sealed my desire and fate for moving to California at 17.

California welcomed me to adulthood with a fistful of reality wrapped in big city noise, a healthy amount of cynicism and a challenge to put up or shut up. Could I survive the path of adulthood I forged for myself or would I give up because of what I put up with? At 17, my first job was as a live-in caregiver for a wheelchair bound man with a large temper, a taste of liquor and a vocabulary of curse words that would make a storied sailor feel right at home. I did this job for just about 4 months until just after I turned 18 and couldn’t take the sleep deprivation and quarantine from humanity with just barely enough to go searching for new work and new living quarters.

My new job was a variation of my last one, still a caregiver for a wheelchair bound man, but one decidedly more independent and instead had more of a taste for the ladies rather than liquor. He loved to look and had no problem paying a compliment, inappropriate or not. To say the least, the attention was very uncomfortable and made the working environment less than desirable. No girl really wants a lecherous man giving her a hard time at work and stalking her even after she removes herself from the situation. And no, I didn’t have it coming. I didn’t encourage it and I took myself out the situation as best I could with a trusted friend there as I gave my immediate notice and collected my last check on the spot.

Navigating love, lust, dating, and relationships was also an experience. I was to learn the hard way that the road to love is not as humorous or cute as it is in the movies. I dated one-trick pony guys, passionate musicians, divorcees, perpetual frat boy types, executives, bad boys, nice guys…you get the picture. I’ve called myself a chameleon for years and still stand by that description. My reasoning? Depending on the type of guy I get involved with, I become a different person. I don’t become the type of person I feel they want or need me to be to validate their choice in dating me, I change and evolve based on how that person makes me feel. I take compliments with a grain of salt and don’t let myself get distracted by the words. I’ve become a hardened believer in “actions speak louder than words” and they are deafening in their truth.

Am I using this post to push suspicion as a tactic in dealing with people? No. Realism, yes. Let others tell you who and what they really are by their actions. If they’re genuine, their actions and words will match. If not, then keep it moving.