I personally couldn't wait until the winter was over. I can't stand the winter. It's disrespectfully cold and doesn't care about the moisture that I'm struggling to keep in my skin. There's not much sunlight, and did I mention the snow?
The other day, I sat at the park and looked at the trees. The park was covered with dead branches and fallen trees that covered the grounds with its limbs everywhere, a mess in all its emptiness as it prepared itself for its next stages. There, I realized why dead seasons are necessary.
Dead seasons are necessary because they prune away what can't go with you to the next season.
And in life, that's exactly what happens to us. We go through dead seasons that purge the friends (branches) that are connected to us and can't go with us. It kills the character, the attitude, and the habits (which are the trees) that won't fit in the next level. It's the process of shedding skin, the process of becoming new again.
This mess of renewal can look like drama, frustration, and unexpected situations that may make you scratch your head and ask God what is going on or why you. It can be quite painful because people that you've grown to love may start to show you sides of them that you've never seen before. Bae may start distancing himself without warning. You may even lose your job that you love in this season.
Dead seasons are not predicated on the seasons of the man-made calendar and can happen at anytime. What matters the most is how you go through them, because they come with lessons, and if you don't learn the lesson the first time, you will have to relive it.
So, how do you go through a dead season?
Meditate and Pray
In order to know what season you are in, you have to go back to the source. Schedule time to meditate and pray daily in a room or area with no distractions. Answers come in times of worship. Play music, sing, and indulge in your truth.
What is easy this season is to get distracted with social media, what everyone is doing or not doing, and gossip. It's easy to get on the phone and realizing two hours later that you have completed nothing but completely caught up with all the reality shows and hood gossip. This is the time to get focused on yourself, working on you, developing your skills, and preparing yourself for what you are expecting to come once this season ends.
Surround Yourself With Positivity
Your mindset is attacked in this season, so it's best to surround yourself with uplifting friends, family members, or coworkers. In addition to being around positive people, you can also read motivational books and watch motivational videos such as Ted Talks, sermons from Sarah Jakes Roberts, or listen to Koereyelle Confessions of a Werkaholic podcast.
Speak Where You Want To Go
Affirmations are life because you have to speak where you want to go and speak what you want to happen. This is what affirmations are, they are short sentences that you must speak out of your mouth daily, before you actually see it in real life. For example, I am richer and richer by the day until wealthy. I am strong, I am beautiful, I am happy. And I am focused, I am grounded, I am thankful, this is temporary.
Once you have identified that you are in a dead season, know that there will be purging, it's going to get uncomfortable, and you are going to lose a few people close to you.
But after the dead season is over comes a blooming season of blessings that will fill you in all the areas that were pruned in your dead season.
It may not feel great, you might drop some tears, your hotline may no longer bling, but remember, the quickest way to move into your next season is by letting go of what or who can't go with you.
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We have officially completed the first quarter of 2018! As of April, the first three months of 2018 have come and gone. And if you are anything like me, you most likely created a vision board, wrote out your goals, and even named your 2018 year (I named mine the year of Freedom). But like most people that sign up for a gym membership in January and never walk back into a gym again until January of the next year, we sometimes let our goals fall to the wayside.
One reason why our goals fall to the wayside is because we don't completely think our goals through. Yes, it's exciting to write down a goal like, "Buy my dream home in 2018," and post it on social media so that everyone can cheer you on, but like most goals, it's easier said than done. And once you sit down with a financial advisor and they lay out all the steps you have to complete in order to purchase your dream home, that's when it typically hits you that this isn't an easy goal to complete.
To combat that, consider quarterly goals. Quarterly goals are a perfect way to keep you on track because you're able to check in on your progress in increments, as well as detail the steps 1, 2, 3, to get you from A to B. Now that we have entered the second quarter of the year, it's the perfect time to revisit those goals that you made in the beginning of the year.
Here are three steps to assessing your progress for the quarter in the year so far:
Check In On Your Progress
You won't know how far you have to go, or how far you've already come, if you don't check in on your progress. If this year's goal was to lose 30 pounds, where are you on that scale? Even more importantly, what actionable steps have you set in place to help you leverage that goal? The same questions can be applied to virtually any type of goal you've set for yourself, from love and work, to food and finances. Check in on your progress today to see how close you are or how much more work you to have to do to compete this goal.
Get Real With Yourself
Now that you've checked in on your progress, get real with yourself. Ask yourself what you could be doing better in the pursuit of your higher self. Could you incorporate more walks during your work week? Could you create a budget and stick to it? Could you cut out frivolous spending? If you find yourself waning on this journey, hone in on your why. Your why is what will push you to complete your goal, no matter how bleak the present seems.
Write That Sh*t Down
Sometimes we make goals but don't write down all the necessary steps to complete those goals, and that can be the very thing that might have you at a standstill with the goals you set out to accomplish. For each goal, break them down to the smallest detail possible. If your goal this year is to finally get your small business off the ground, make a checklist of what seeing the fruits of that labor will require: a business plan, a business license, a social media strategy, etc. Don't be afraid to get specific. This will help you visualize the future you wish to create.
Take things goal-setting a step further by writing little notes to self to guide you on your journey and act as reminders. Whether it's the bathroom mirror, your cubicle wall at your desk at work, or the dashboard in the car - write it down and watch it happen.
Life is all about choices, and you can either choose to push through, or you can choose to give up. When you sign up for a gym membership - that part is easy. The hard part comes in when you are five minutes into your elliptical workout, hot and ready to cry because of the sensation of the burn that is moving through your inner thighs and you have about 15 more minutes before the workout is complete.
No matter how difficult the process, there is so much fulfillment when you finish a goal and see it to completion. Keep going, sis.
What dreams are you determined to manifest this year? Are there any roadblocks or obstacles standing in the way? What are you doing to work through it?
Sometimes curiosity doesn't kill the cat the first time around.
So that curious cat tries it again with a life journey in mind, however, this time around, the curious cat is met with a lesson. I didn't really understand why I would hear some women say, "Don't live with a man while in a relationship." And after two tries, eventually the lesson was realized and then eventually learned.
The beginning starts the same every time, there is excitement, which is then followed by the realization that we are two different individuals sharing the same space, so we now need to have a conversation about likes and dislikes in the home. At some point, there needs to be a conversation about roles in the home and setting up a home management system.
Time starts to fly, and you look up and years have passed.
Comfort sets in from both parties and you eventually realize that the conversation of taking your relationship to the next level is now a much-needed conversation. Now, this is typically when you realize that the original conversation regarding the goals of this particular relationship sounds nothing like it sound years ago when you two first moved in together.
This is normally when you start to hear things like, "Well, I meannnnn, we talked about this two years ago and you said you weren't ready," "I'm just not where I want to be in life to provide the life you deserve," or "Well, you know I'm trying to get myself together so you can have your dream wedding."
This is when you respond with, "I wasn't two years ago, but I am now. Also, I don't want a wedding, and I love the life we live so what are we waiting for?" After this statement, be ready for the most off-the-wall answer possible like, "You know I told you we would get married right after I hit the lottery, got my Ph.D., became the second black president, and met Jay-Z."
Sis, the excuse may be bizarre, but what he is really saying is that he is comfortable and is not ready to get married. You can wait it out but if he is not ready, he is not going to budge. I know you have heard why buy the cow when the milk is free, meaning that majority of what he needs from a mate you are providing, so why get married? We as women (me included) will give so much of ourselves in a relationship. We'll clean the house, wash his dirty draws, solve his problems, and put it down to keep him happy. Personally, in this situation, I realized that I was no longer valued or appreciated by my partner.
There was too much comfort in knowing that I would be there physically and mentally for him at all times.
Eventually, it started to seem as though whatever could be said to prolong the current situation without progressing into anything further was said. But Auntie Maya Angelou told me that when you know better, you do better.
I eventually realized the cycle, the comfort, and started to become distant so that I could get clear on what I wanted as a woman. I started to journal and realized my relationship cycles of living with my boyfriends and how these actions weren't working for me. Eventually, we decided to respectfully go our separate ways and end the relationship.
The relationship ended, however, the lesson was learned.
What was the lesson, you ask? The lesson was that in relationships I have to put boundaries on how much I give in a relationship.
Giving so much of myself to the point of being an in-home girlfriend that's playing the role of a wife was not the path that was destined for me.
Once you learn the lesson, grow from it, vow to never do it again, and most importantly, move on! Shortly after, I took my love of writing and re-purposed my blog to empower other women rather they are in their single season or in a relationship. I'm living my life for me, not the half-love I settled for from men who didn't know true value when it was standing right in front of him. In the process of him failing to see me, I learned to see myself.
I left the relics of him and men like him in the past. I walk the earth with a head held high in purpose, and most importantly, now that I know better, I do better.
xoNecole is always looking for new voices and empowering stories to add to our platform. If you have an interesting story or personal essay that you'd love to share, we'd love to hear from you. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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