Posts Tagged ‘joyful living’

African American Women and thier families

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

This morning I read an excellent article that reminded me why I decided to raise the standard of my behavior and why I continue to do my best to become a better woman, wife and mother.

When my baby boy was born two and a half years ago, my life changed and it has never been the same. Considering that I had already had my now five year old daughter, I couldn’t understand why having a baby had such a transformational effect on me.

Upon reflection, I’ve come to realize that the reason why the birth of my son changed me so much was because I live in America and my son is one day going to grow up to be a “black man”. Being a black man in America, I believe, is one of the most complex of existences. Currently, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate of black men is at 18% while “white” male unemployment is at 8%. I generally don’t watch the news anymore, but when I used to, more often than not, I would see a mug shot of some black man while the news commentator said something along the lines of “wanted” or “armed and dangerous”. And now I am raising a future “black man”.

Since the birth of my son, I have become more aware and maybe even sensitive to how young black men are perceived and treated. I’ve become more aware of how I treat my own husband because he is the model that my son is looking at to shape his perception of how a man should be treated as well as how he should behave. I cannot control my husband or what he says and does, but I know that I can control myself and how I behave. My son (and my daughter) is watching and for that reason, I will never stop being the best role model that I can be.

You can check out the article here.

Beyonce announces she is pregnant at MTV VMAs!

Monday, August 29th, 2011

Last night at the MTV Video Music awards Beyonce, aka Mrs. Carter, announced she was pregnant by opening her jacket to reveal a baby bump. As she rubbed her “bump”, the crowd went wild while her Husband Jay-Z danced and celebrated in the audience.

I must say, it is beautiful to see that, even in Hollywood, there is still an upholding and celebrating of so called old fashioned values.

I genuinely wish Mr. and Mrs. Carter a long and joyful marriage along with the new addition to their small family.

Oprah is Powerful… and so are we

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

I’ve been on a blogging hiatus which will come to an end at the end of August but today I wanted to interrupt it to share a powerful message that I just read.

One of my greatest errors in my adult life has been believing that I can do EVERYTHING by myself. That’s what being a successful, strong, independent black woman is about-right? Wrong! I now know that real strength comes from admitting that you can do a lot, but not everything. Real strength comes from recognizing that we were not created in isolation and trying to exist in that mindset can be very destructive.

I watched Oprah’s Master Class on the OWN channel not too long ago where she shared that the reason she has been able to do such great things with her life was because she meditated on one very simple scripture verse:

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Philippians 4:13

The day that I heard her say that, I had an “aha” moment. I began to understand why my life, although very progressive and very successful, tended to feel so overwhelming; I had spent so much time believing in and focusing on my mental and physical ability and not nearly enough on my spiritual power; yes, POWER.

Below is the message that I read this morning that inspired me to suspend my blogging hiatus. Be well and be POWERFUL.

What Oprah Knows for Sure About Real Power
What I Know for Sure
O, The Oprah Magazine | From the September 2009 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine

I’m always fascinated by lists of “Most Powerful People,” and by the ways they use external things—fame, status, wealth—to define and rank power. It’s curious how a person can go from the top of a list one year to unlisted the next—all in the blink of a board meeting. Was that person’s power real, or was the power only in the position? We often get the two confused.

For me, there is no real power without spiritual power. A power that comes from the core of who you are and reflects all that you were meant to be. A power that’s connected to the source of things. When you see this kind of power shining through someone in all its truth and certainty, it’s irresistible, inspiring, elevating. I can feel it in myself sometimes, mostly when I’m sharing an insight that I know will have an impact on someone’s life and I can see that they “get it.” I get real joy from helping other people experience aha moments. That is where my power lies.

Gary Zukav writes in The Seat of the Soul, “When we align our thoughts, emotions, and actions with the highest part of ourselves, we are filled with enthusiasm, purpose, and meaning… When the personality comes fully to serve the energy of its soul, that is authentic empowerment.” Fulfilling your purpose, with meaning, is what gives you that electrifying “juice” and makes people stand in wonder at how you do it.

The secret is alignment: when you know for sure that you’re on course and doing exactly what you’re supposed to be doing, fulfilling your soul’s intention, your heart’s desire, or whatever you choose to call it (they’re all the same thing). When your life is on course with its purpose, you are your most powerful. And you may stumble, but you will not fall.

I know for sure that in every challenging experience there’s an opportunity to grow, enhance your life, or learn something invaluable about yourself. Every challenge can make you stronger if you allow it. Strength multiplied = power.

For real.

Father’s Day

Sunday, June 19th, 2011

Today I woke up earlier than the rest of my family, as usual, and had some time to myself then I quickly got my four year old baby girl ready and went to the store. We shopped for all the ingredients to make the best Father’s day breakfast ever! On top of that we bought my husband a special cake to honor him for being such a wonderful man and father.

When I got home, I prepared the breakfast and served it to my husband. I did everything that I could think of to make my husband feel special and know that we (my children and I) really love and appreciate him. Then I got to thinking, what if every day, I did everything that I could think of to let my husband know how much I love and appreciate him? What kind of wife would that make me? What kind of marriage would we then have?

So this is my declaration: Everyday, I will do everything that I can think of to show my husband how much I love and appreciate the warm, loving, generous and righteous man that he is.

I believe that if more of us, wives, made this one effort, we can change the future of marriages and thereby change the futures of our children. Think of how our children will feel when they see their mother loving, respecting and holding their father in the highest esteem! My son (when he grows up) will know that he is worthy of love, respect and appreciation. My daughter (when she, too, grows up) will know that the best way to have a wonderful spouse starts with being one.

To all the wives (and mothers) I encourage you to join me in my quest for creating a better future for our children. Let’s lead by example. Let’s show the men in our lives (even if he is not your husband) that they are worthy of love, respect and appreciation. Now, I know there are some women who will say that the father of their child is NOT worthy of love and respect and to this, I say show it to him anyway. Remember, you cannot control another person’s behavior, but you can control your own. Remember, we are leading by example.

Some time ago, I remember reading this quote “The best thing that a father can do for his children is to love their mother” and I contend that the best thing that a mother can do for her children is to love their father.

I’m so grateful to my Mother who has loved and showed love to my father all my life and to my Father for being the best dad that I could ask for and more.

To all the Fathers: HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!

Jada Pinkett-Smith on The View

Monday, June 13th, 2011

Today Jada Pinkett Smith was on The View to get the word out about the upcoming third season of her show Hawthorne. She actually spent more time talking about her husband and her children than she spent talking about her show.

I have a lot of respect and admiration for Jada because she, like many of us working wives and mothers, is continually balancing both the pursuit of her own dreams and aspirations and the needs of her husband and children. Her husband, Will Smith, needs no introduction as one of the most, if not the most, successful male actor(s) in Hollywood. Her son, Jaden, enjoys a tremendous acting career that many in Hollywood still aspire to have. Her daughter, Willow surprised even her mother with the success of her single “whip my hair” which has earned her the title of “pop sensation”. As if all that were not enough, Jada is the star of Hawthorne, a successful television show which is back for the third season.

I was particularly pleased to see Jada Pinkett Smith yesterday because the story of her life is one of success and positivity. Recently, there seems to be a so much coverage, in the media, of black women either being spoken about negatively or being reported for bad acts such as robbery and throwing babies out of moving cars or acting in reality shows that portray them negatively.

There is a stereotype that black women cannot maintain marriages and that they are angry and difficult to deal with so women like Jada Pinkett Smith are a welcome breath of fresh air. She not only has maintained her marriage for fourteen years, but she still even after all those years has wonderful things to say about her husband, Will Smith. To Mrs. Smith, I say “You go girl!”

Why you should be happy!

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

When I was born, my paternal grandfather gave me the name Nomalanga which loosely translates to “Sunshine”! I believe that a case can be made to suggest that a large part of my “sunny” disposition can be traced back to my name and the intention that my grandfather and my parents had when they gave me the name. I am generally a “happy” and optimistic person and a large portion of my personal development journey has been about finding true joy.

I believe that having a positive outlook in life is one of the reasons that I experience a lot of joy in my life. Imagine my delight, today, when I read a series of studies shared by positive Psychologist, Dr. Martin E. P. Seligman, that prove that optimistic people are generally happier and healthier!

Below I have shared a portion of the information shared by Dr. Martin E. P. Seligman:

Why optimists are less vulnerable to disease.
1. Optimists take action and have healthier lifestyles. Optimists believe that their actions matter, whereas pessimists believe they are helpless and nothing they do will matter. Optimists try, while pessimists lapse into passive helplessness. According to one study, happy people also sleep better than unhappy people.
Optimists not only follow medical advice readily, they also take action to avoid bad events, whereas pessimists are passive: optimists are more likely to seek safety in tornado shelters when there is a tornado warning than pessimists, who may believe the tornado is God’s will. The more bad events that befall you, the more illness.

2. Social support. The more friends and the more love in your life, the less illness. George Vaillant found that people who have one person whom they would be comfortable calling at three in the morning to tell their troubles were healthier. John Cacioppo found that lonely people are markedly less healthy than sociable people. Happy people have richer social networks than unhappy people, and social connectedness contributes to a lack of disability as we age. Misery may love company, but company does not love misery, and the ensuing loneliness of pessimists may be a path to illness.

3. Biological mechanisms. There are a variety of plausible biological paths. One is the immune system. Judy Rodin, Leslie Kamen, Charles Dwyer, and I collaborated together in 1991 and took blood from elderly optimists and pessimists and tested the immune response. The blood of optimists had a feistier response to threat-more infection-fighting white blood cells called T lymphocytes produced—than the pessimists. We ruled out depression and health as confounds.

LOVE and Marriage

Monday, May 16th, 2011

This past weekend, I went to a bridal shower and had a blast! As usual, through some of the speeches I shed a tear as I listened to the love, hope and sheer joy of the bride-to-be and her family. Every time I go to a wedding or bridal shower, heck-any happy event, I weep because I am overcome by the emotions that surround the event. I love being s part of the atmosphere of love, joy and hope!

I’ve always loved weddings and until recently, I could not understand why. What I now know, is that a wedding is a celebration of a new beginning; a new family unit. At a wedding, there is so much joy and hope. Everyone knows that the journey that the bride and groom are about to embark on, although full of joy and excitement, will at times be difficulty and even seemingly impossible. Even though we know that things may get difficult, at weddings we choose to focus on the beauty, the hope, the love and the joy.

So I was thinking this morning, a wedding is a great example of how we should approach a new day, week, month or anything, really. Yes, we can recognize that there is a possibility of hardship and challenges along the way, but why not shift our focus to what is positively possible? Why not look for opportunities to smile, laugh and celebrate every little victory?

So often I hear people say that I seem a little naive or gullible because I am “too optimistic” at times. To that I say this: make today a wedding day.

Peace

ME TIME: What every woman needs and every woman should have

Friday, April 29th, 2011

A few weeks ago, as I sat in my office at the college at 6:30 in the morning, I began to have a nose bleed. *Gruesome story Alert: Naturally, I jumped out of my chair and raced to the bathroom. I leaned into a sink, hoping that the nose bleed would stop in a couple of minutes. It didn’t! It got worse! I have never seen so much blood in my life. It was out of control.

After about 15 minutes of waiting for this out of control nose-bleed to stop, I realized that maybe it wasn’t going to stop so I took a huge wad of paper towels and held it to my nose. It took only a few minutes to soak through and then I needed another one, and another and another…

Eventually, another woman who happened to be in the vicinity became aware of my predicament and she being in administrative role at the college, knew exactly what to do. A few minutes later, I was sitting in my office with two paramedics and a whole lot more attention than I wanted. They took my blood pressure and it was the highest that it has ever been in my life! I’m so grateful that I was sitting in my desk chair because I was now also feeling a bit light headed and could not think clearly. Even in my foggy haze, all I could think about was my lecture at 8:30am and my long list of “things to do”! I never made it to the lecture because I was in no condition to teach anybody anything!

A few hours later I was sitting on a hospital bed nodding my head as the doctor told me that, according to his examination, and based on what I told him, there was absolutely nothing wrong with me. The only prescription that he gave me was to “take it easy” for a couple of days. And so I did…

This is what I have learned,or more rather, been reminded of: “ME time” is not a luxury, it is an essential part of a balanced life. In the weeks leading up to my dramatic episode, I had been looking at my “ME time” as a luxury that I could not afford to indulge in. After all, I have a husband, children, hundreds of college students, I’m writing a book, I have an Audio program in production, I’m writing a new course for Black Women at the college, I had to go to a seminar to get certified for one of my courses, my website and blog needed updating, I had to make plans for the conference in Atlanta, get my National Speakers Association membership processed and on and on and on! All these list items are very important and yes, they needed to be done, but so did “ME time”! In leaving out just one vital thing, ME time, almost everything else was almost jeopardized by the breakdown of my physical body.

My body spoke to me in three ways:
1. An out of control nose-bleed
2. Unbelievably high blood pressure
3. Light-headedness resulting in an inability to think clearly

Here is what I was forced to hear: out of control, high pressure and foggy thinking. Operating this way could not sustain the level of Excellence that I hold myself to.

As I look back at the last four months of my life, there has been such a whirlwind of activity that I can’t believe that one person (me) accomplished it all! The accomplishments are great, but I find myself wondering if it is all worth it. If we push ourselves, physically and emotionally, so much that our physical body starts to get weary and our emotional well-being starts to decline, it is time to stop!

I firmly believe that without taking time away from our busy work and home lives, we do ourselves a huge disservice and we also hurt, rather than help, our loved ones and those that we have professional relationships with. Most women, me included, wear so many hats in their lives that they never take the time to just take off all the hats and attend to the person under all those hats.

I woke up early this morning and while my family slept, I had two full hours of quiet and peace and it has soothed my soul and satiated my spirit. My thinking is clearer and my whole being is at peace. I’ve, once again, been reminded just how vital and valuable “ME Time” is.

So, my friends take some time for YOU. It is not a luxury; it is essential. If you don’t, please don’t hesitate to call me when you need a ride to the clinic or the hospital-that’s what friends are for! But on a serious note, take time to relax and rejuvenate. You’ll be glad (and at peace) that you did.

PS: If your friends, employers, husbands and other family members complain or ask why you need this (and they will), just tell them because “Noma said so!”

Selah

Jealousy and Envy on Facebook

Friday, April 8th, 2011

By Nomalanga Mhlauli-Moses

Recently I caught a bit of the Gayle King Show and she shared a few interesting survey results. Apparently the most annoying thing to Facebook users is people who get on Facebook and complain-no surprise there; who doesn’t want to flee from Negative Nellies and Debbie Downers? What I thought was very interesting though was that apparently Facebook users are also annoyed by people who talk too much about their “seemingly perfect lives”-really?

Let’s get really honest, today…The last time that you heard another person talking about something really, really great happening in their life, how did you feel? What about if what was going great in their lives was the exact thing that you were experiencing depressing levels of failure in?

I’ll start; I felt awful! In fact, I felt like waiting for them in dark alley and them beating that smug grin off of their face! I’ll also say this; that was a very long time ago. Nowadays, other people’s good or great news makes me giggle with glee. I tend to experience other people’s victories as if they were mine.

The reason why I can celebrate other people’s victories with them is that I am confident that I am living a life of abundance and I believe that all of us can. When you live a life of abundance, you realize that other people’s successes and victories take absolutely nothing from you. I look at other people’s success as proof of what is possible for all of us. I have had times in my life when my circumstances were so full of despair that I just couldn’t imagine that they would change and my saving grace was hearing other people talk about how their lives were great even though they had, at some point, been beaten down by their circumstances.

So, if you’re one of those people who feels annoyed when you hear about someone’s “seemingly perfect life” you may have to consider that what you’re calling annoyance may just be the green eyed twins, jealousy and envy. You know who they are; Jealousy is the one who says “my insecurity leads me to believe that I may lose you if…” and envy is the twin that says “I want what you have but I’d rather be angry at you for having it than focus on getting my own…” The cure, my friends, is simple; decide what you want out of life and go for it! Once you get on this path, there is no room for the green eyed twins. You’ll be so busy working on building your dreams that there won’t be any room for them!

Selah

Self Esteem; How to change

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Most of the time when I write, I write from my personal experiences with the faith that what I share will be informational, encouraging or inspiring. Up until now, I have generally kept my most intimate relationship, my marriage, completely private and I will continue to do so, but today, I am allowing everyone a small peak inside. Yesterday, I had an intimate conversation with my husband and one simple thing he said, reduced me to tears.

“You’re a good person, Noma.”

That was all it took to reduce me to tears. One of the reasons why this one simple truth reduced me to tears is that it had three levels.
1. It is true
2. He genuinely believes it to be true
And the most profound one is
3. I genuinely believe it to be true.

To some, it may seem like such a simple and maybe even uninteresting, random piece of information. Those of us, however, who have been challenged with living with a low self esteem, learning to raise it and finally overcoming it, through change, to emerge as solid, confident and authentic women (or men), will understand the victory in hearing those words and recognizing their three levels; most importantly, the third level.

It is my firm belief that everyone, yes, EVERYONE, is good; or more accurately put, has the seed of goodness within them. What is sad is that sometimes, we don’t know that to be true. We start to believe the lie that we are evil, bad, undeserving etc. Sometimes, it is other people who don’t see the good in us and unfortunately, we buy into the lies that they have bought into.

Here is a small challenge: Think about what you say to yourself about yourself. (Inner dialogue) This usually translates to what you say, out loud, about yourself and how you conduct yourself. Every day, I hear people say things like “I’m such a loser”, “I’m so clumsy”, “ I’m so fat” and on and on and on! None of these statements are “good” but these people are thinking them, speaking them and displaying the behaviors that correlate with the thoughts and statements and that is ultimately the state of their lives.

One of the reasons why I was reduced to tears when I heard the words “You’re a good person, Noma.” was that in that moment, I realized that I had heard those words spoken to me before and had intellectually thought it to be true but there was always some background whisper (in my mind) that always said “That is not true…” and sadly, the whisper would continue with a laundry list of items to back up the lie. Tears streamed down my face as I realized that, in that moment, the whisper was not there. I realize that it may come back, but I now know that my voice, my husband’s voice and the truth are so much more powerful.

The knowledge of my “goodness” translates into my thoughts, speech and conduct. I’m not saying that I am without flaws or that I don’t sometimes make mistakes and even, at times, run into my own ego. What I am saying is that I have raised my level of thought, speech and conduct. In so doing, I have watched as my life has slowly unraveled to conform to this one thought. I now enjoy a healthy relationship with myself. I love myself and respect myself. I treat my husband with love and respect and he mirrors that back to me. It does not stop with just me and my husband; I approach every person I meet with love and respect and more often than not, I get the same love and respect. I meet every day with an expectation that it will be fantastic and it usually is.

All in all, I have a wonderful life!

My final thought is this: If you’re not satisfied with your life or life circumstances, then your starting point is your thoughts. What are you thinking? Whatever you’re thinking is what is ultimately creating what you perceive as an unhappy life. If you can change your thoughts, you can change your life. I did it and so can you!

Peace