Transparency

Transparency:
openness, accountability, straightforwardness, candor
“the new government aims for better transparency”

On Saturday, my friend Steph babysat Lailah (a whole other blog post, lol) while I attended my friend Tinesha’s seminar. It’s part of a series of seminars entitled “Spread Love.” This one was about living a life of transparency.

The seminar was co-facilitated by Tarsha (pronounced Tar-Shay) Hamilton, who is the wife of An.thony Hamil.ton. Both ladies are phenomenal. They opened up by talking about their life struggles earlier on, and how they’ve both learned to be transparent in discussing the issues. Tinesha talked about her battle with depression, and how she has to learn how to process anger and deal with emotions. Tarsha talked about having lost family members to AIDS, the stigma attached, and how they did not discuss it openly when she was younger.

As an ice breaker, we each had to fill out a “Hello, My Name Is _______” page in our booklets. You have your name, how you found out about the seminar, what you hoped to take away from the seminar, and one thing you wanted everyone there to know about you. We switched papers with our neighbor, and we had to introduce each other. Several people mentioned that they wanted to find the balance between being transparent and just revealing everything.

I took a ton of notes while Tinesha and Tarsha were speaking, but I don’t have them with me right now. I also sent out some “live tweets” on statements and ideas that resonated with me.

The portion of the seminar that had the biggest impact with me was when we all shared a secret. I had flipped ahead in our packet (I can’t help it, it’s who I am, LOL) and saw the page entitled “Shhhhh…it’s a secret.” The directions were to write down something about you that was a secret. Everyone did, and then they were placed in a box. You did not have to write your name.

I don’t know about everyone else in the room, but that exercise was scary, humbling and freeing all at the same time. First and foremost, I know that putting things in writing make them real for me. And then I have no choice but to deal with them. Secondly, whenever you reveal something about yourself, you don’t know whether or not you will be judged. However, I obliged and wrote a secret on the paper, folded it up, put it in the box, and waited.

Once everyone was done, Tinesha passed took the box around to different people in the room, and each one pulled out a slip and read it. At first, there was mostly silence, and some gasps or sounds of sympathy.

And then it happened. One of the women was brave enough to speak up and say, “that one you just read, that was MY secret.”

And then another woman. And another. And each time they stepped up in the spirit of transparency to reveal themselves, great dialogue ensued. Offers of help and support were made. They were brave. There was no scorn or judging, just nods of sympathy and SUPPORT.

What I realized was:

  • We all have a story
  • A lot of us have THE SAME story…we just don’t know it
  • Transparency can lead to getting the help/support you need
  • Our stories are often the reason behind our decision making, in all areas of life
  • I have a few awesome friends

I don’t think that the point was to share everything with everyone. Of course, you have to be discerning regarding who you share your life with. But I think a good first step is being more transparent with the ones you love.

Are you transparent in your life? Do you think you could’ve written down your secret and then claimed it during the seminar? How do you think being more transparent would help you?

________________________________________
Want more information on the Spread Love Seminars? Check out the following:

Tinesha’s website/blog

Follow her on Twitter: @roc_star

Follow her on Instagram: roc_star

She’s also a great loctician/natural hair stylist: Revolution EGO Salon

Advertisements

Seeds

This week’s theme seems to be about seeds. Pretty appropriate, given that it’s spring time. Although, with these temperatures, you wouldn’t know that. But anywho…

This week, I started back with some yoga classes. Long story short, HH and I had to look at our schedules and see when we had free time…and then when in that time could we fit in our “me time.” It’s pretty easy for him, because on his days off, Lailah is at daycare. But on my days off, she’s with me. And she nurses every 3 hours. And sometimes she doesn’t want to be put down. Or take a nap. And then I have to try and cook dinner or clean some clothes. You get the picture.

So, while it breaks into our time we could spend together, I scheduled my me time to be a 5:30 yoga class on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

I went to a yoga studio that is (relatively) close to where we live, and one I’ve never been to before. It’s actually in the same plaza as our gym. Since I was early, I actually changed at the gym and did 15 minutes on the elliptical, then headed over.

Joan was the teacher for my class. I told her about my prior yoga practice, how I was post partum, and filled out the release form. I didn’t really know what to expect. It was a vinyasa class, but everyone’s vinyasa is not the same. I used to take Baptiste-style power yoga classes, but I knew I was not in shape to handle that type of class. Thankfully, this was not.

At the end of the class, during savasana, teachers will do different things. Some are quiet. I had one who used to sing Amazing Grace. Others will read inspirational quotes. Joan read a quote to us about seeds. I don’t remember it verbatim…the point of savasana is to rest and just let the thoughts float by…but she talked about how seeds just have to surrender to the process. They have to burst open into the darkness, not knowing what to expect or what they will grow into. That stayed with me for a few days.

This morning, my friend Serenity_23 posted a pic on IG about a devotional she is reading. Today’s was about seeds. In this case, about how seeds take time to grow. Many of the things we do in our lives now are planting seeds for the future. It could be anything from time you spend with your kids, your fitness and dietary habits, or your friendships. Whatever it is, we have to be patient and let it develop.

Today, I went back to yoga class with the same teacher, and she spoke about seeds again. This time, she talked about how you might feel like everything you’re holding in is about to burst out, like a seed. And that’s ok, because it just means that a change is coming.

Well, how many times do you have to hear something, before you realize the message is for you? LOL! My whole life is one big ball of changes. Huge changes at work. Changes every day with Lailah. With breast feeding. With HH and I, and how we have to find one on one time with an infant in the picture. Some days it’s maddening. I think because I have a hard time just surrendering to the change. Other days, it feels pretty darn good, because all the moms I interact with on social media have been unknowingly preparing me for this time in my life, with their stories on parenting and their lessons learned. Seeds they planted long ago that I didn’t even know I would need. I’m glad they sowed into my life.

When changes come, just remember the seeds.

Friends

I was thinking about friendships recently. Mostly about how they ebb and change when your life changes. I guess we all serve a purpose in someone’s life, in one capacity or another.

I’ve noticed, since Lailah was born, some things have shifted. I don’t have the “freedom” in my schedule and cannot be as spontaneous as I used to be. We don’t have family here, besides HH’s niece; she’s in law school and just recently moved her pre-teen daughter down here, so we don’t want to impose on her. We don’t want to impose on our friends, either. So far, we’ve only had one friend babysit.

But anywho, I’ve noticed the people who have sort or backed away, and others have stepped up. Maybe I’m just in my feelings (LOL), but when I log into social networks and see people posting about events/get-togethers that I would’ve been invited to previously, that they didn’t even bother to invite me to now, that kind of sucks. Like, I still want to have a life, too. If I know in enough time, I can make arrangements. Reminds me of when Tiffany in Houston wrote about how her single friends were acting like she was persona non grata when she got married.

Then I got perturbed. I’ve noticed that some people really leaned on ME when they were having all kinds of trouble and problems. Now that life is back in order, I don’t hear from them as much.

Yes, I am a mom now. But that’s not my whole life. I was talking to a counselor about all the changes from 2012 to now. He pointed said that he is a big proponent of “me time,” and that it seems most of my “me time” outlets have gone by the wayside. I never thought about it, but he is right. When we moved to our house, that took me (physically) away from the activities I used to do and people I used to hang with. No more yoga. No more triathlon mentoring/participation. No more dropping by to see friends as much, because we live on opposite sides of the earth now. I think this has been part of my frustration and tension lately, and I’m making plans to address it.

I know they say that some people are only in your life for a season. I guess I’m surprised by some or the people who have become seasonal. Also grateful for the people who still reach out and communicate.

Do you think people can move between friend status and acquaintance status? Or are they always friends, but just move from being close to being distant?

2 Minute Gratitude List

The other day, I read a blog on Ten Things Moms Need to Remember. I posted it on my FB page, and several mommy friends thanked me for posting it.

Even though I haven’t said much to friends, or posted much about it, most weeks I feel like I am not getting it right. Lailah is the most precious gift I’ve received, but I have a hard time dividing my days between work, her, HH, CH, and on yeah – myself! I feel like I am getting it wrong almost daily, which leads to at least two people being frustrated. It’s like a rain cloud that just follows me around. It frequently brings me to tears (in the shower, of course, because I feel like I can’t show this frustration to everyone). I’d say that it’s a small cloud, because in the scheme of things I have a ton to be thankful for. But the cloud is still there.

Number 8 on the list of 10 things to remember is “keep writing your gratitude list.” This is something I used to do a lot of. I even had a phone app and a journal app on the iPad. Neither of which have been used much lately. The author of the blog posted a Google docs link to a free printable for completing a 2 Minute Grateful List:

20140207-101515.jpg

You set yourself a timer for 2 minutes, and list the things you are grateful for today. On her blog, she mentioned a lot of little things I don’t even think of. Like coffee. Music playing. Freedom. The sweater she was wearing. The possibilities are clearly endless.

I started writing these earlier this week. My lists are kind of small right now. It’s hard to write a long list when you are feeling frustrated. However, I’ve found in those 2 minutes I feel a little better. I put the list up on the fridge each day so I can look at it when I’m in the kitchen.

At first, I was going to just do this without telling anyone. I wanted to see if I could keep it up on my own. I changed my mind because I figured you guys could help keep me accountable. I know at least two of my Twit.ter friends will harass remind me about the list.

Do you write a grateful list each day or periodically? If not, have you ever thought about trying it?