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Posts Tagged ‘Legends’

So many times we find ourselves in places that make us uncomfortable or unhappy. There are those who grow up in small towns who find they need a way to get out. Others, who may live in neighborhoods with violence and drugs, look for a way to get out. If you watch the commercials for the Boys and Girls Clubs you see prominent people who got out. They found a supportive environment with mentors who encouraged them, nurtured them, and providing opportunities for them to make their move.

We look for ways to use our talents to give us a leg up and change our circumstances. Adversity can be a prison or a path to freedom. There are some who simply choose to succumb to the pressure of adversity and start to sink slowly as if they’re in quick sand. On the other hand, that pressure can be a catalyst for change. Think of some of our most prominent athletes. Many grew up in troubled areas and knew that sports were their ticket out. It was their lifeline to a better life.

How can adversity be a path to freedom? It’s when you take what’s challenging you and use it as the motivation you need to change your situation. This may be different when faced with a chronic or life-threatening illness. The reason is that you can’t escape illness. You can obtain treatment with the hope of getting better or well. Escaping isn’t about the physical illness once diagnosed; it’s about escaping the ties that bind on the emotional and spiritual planes.

Pain is a great motivator. Limited options are another motivator because we don’t like to feel closed in or surrounded. But motivated for what? Motivated to find freedom from the things that prior to your adverse situation kept you stuck. Motivated to stop fueling the oppressive thoughts and energy that prevent you from being the best you possible.

Illness is difficult enough without us working against ourselves. What will stop you from fueling the negative thoughts? How will you create a new pathway that promotes health and healing? Who are the people that inspire you? (Read the post “Who are the Legends in Your Life”).

I encourage you to read autobiographies, memoirs, and pathographies. Autobiographies/biographies are not written about people who fail. They are written about/by those who have overcome some type of challenge. They share their struggles and discuss the emotional and spiritual land mines they stepped on along the way. The reason these books are so important is they provide hope. They show that emergence is possible. These are opportunities to create a personal menu for health and healing.

Diagnosed with a chronic or life-threatening illness?  Looking for education, support, and inspiration?  Visit http://www.survivingstrong.com

Looking for a way out?  How will Art help you Heal?  Visit http://www.timetolivecreatively.com

 

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Legends, those people in our lives that blazed a trail before us.   These are the people whose work, ideas, and personhood, inspire us. They are the people whose shoulders we stand on. How do you know who the legends are in your life? The legends in your life are the people you make reference to on a continual basis. They are the people who let you now the path may be hard, but it’s worth it.

I’ve had the pleasure, honor, and joy of having legends in my life. Fortunately, some are still living, but recently two legends have left this earth. Angeles Arrien, a noted cultural anthropologist was the professor of the first class I took when I started my doctoral program.

Arrien was teaching The Nine Muses. The course explored the mythological and current implications of creativity. We looked at the many ways we can all use our stories and realize that our stories are told in an individual way. I followed Arrien’s work for years. Fortunately I had the opportunity to have a full circle experience with my legend; she was the external examiner for my oral defense. Having Arrien read my work, dive deep with me about the material, and offer ways to utilize the information moving forward was the greatest gift anyone could ever receive.

Unfortunately Angeles Arrien died on April 24. She asked that instead of memorials that anyone who wanted to commemorate her life to light a candle, every month for the next year, on the date of her death. It gives me the opportunity to connect with her and her work on a regular basis. It also gives me the opportunity to honor the impact she had on my life and work.

The same can be said for another American treasure, Dr. Maya Angelou. A poet, singer, actor, producer, teacher, etc. broke barriers, inspired many, and provided us with a life story that, although difficult, shined brightly as she overcame adversity. If you watch anything that Oprah has done you know that Angelou was a legend to her. Her favorite lesson from Angelou is, “When you know better, you do better”.

This weekend to honor Angelou’s life, OWN (the Oprah Winfrey Network) has been showing programming about the legend. One of the rebroadcasts was of Oprah’s Legends Ball. The Legends Ball brought legends in the African American community such as Maya Angelou, Patti LaBelle, Dionne Warwick, Valerie Simpson, etc. In addition, she had the Youngins’ who included Janet Jackson, Alicia Keys, Mariah Carey, etc. Celebrating the continuum of talent, experience, and possibility is critical for all of us. Having those moments of honoring those who come before us punctuates the decisions we make in our lives to follow a particular path.

Where am I going with all of this? I believe we need to honor the legends in our lives. Identifying why specific people past and present are important to you gives you the opportunity to continue on your own journey and do so with the blessing of those who walked the path before you.

Diagnosed with a chronic or life-threatening illness and looking for education, support, and inspiration?  Visit http://www.survivingstrong.com

Interest about the impact Art has on Healing?  Visit http://www.timetolivecreatively.com

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