*Photocredit: Oluremi Adebayo
“Start where you are.”
“One step at a time”
We hear these words said to us all the time especially when trying to figure out what ought to come next. Yes, it has absolutely been ages since I sat at my laptop and typed my mind’s musings out. Given the year we’ve just come out of, and how it’s started, I’m sure like me – you’ve also caught yourself wondering what on earth you are supposed to do next with what’s laid out before you relationally, financially, spiritually, physically….
Sorry to have to take you back, but in order to see how far one has come, I believe its critical they look back, assess, and then forge ahead with some sort of understanding of the series of events that led them to where they are today. This is where I find myself, as I type this at 4.20am in the morning. I should be in bed, but I started this year differently. In fact, my 2021 started in about November when I realised I needed to take time out for spiritual maintenance after a very eventful year.
Mission Reset and Reclaim
I started off 2020 by hosting two incredible events in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, with the key message centered around the lines of resetting and reclaiming our time, our worth and our position as women. It was the turn of a new decade and so of course we were on a roll! #NewYear #Newgoals what not. Yeah. That.
Because I’d been on an active quest to redefine what the notion of “strong woman” means to me; a definition that’s founded on more introspection and self-awareness than it is on popular culture’s pressure infused methodology of how a strong woman should be pure brute, schooled by a hard knock life with shoulders dusted off – the goal was to collaborate with the many women in my circles that had over the past 2-3 years inspired me towards doing better to be better. I’m privileged to meet some unique gems who too are on a path of self-discovery, and so putting together ideas that would very well benefit others beyond our space was totally something I was all over. I love it. Fill a room with intelligent, faith-powered women, throw in some good food at a great venue – and that’s electricity right there!
But back to what I was saying: we started the year, knocked out two events, and on the day of the second, we received word that hotels and venues were going to close for a time because there was this new guest in town that wasn’t willing to let us – or anyone else for that matter – shine. COVID-19 hit, and the rest is still evolving before us, a full year later.
Between then and now, life had to go on, and so amidst adapting to homeschooling and all the smiles that came with that, a group of incredible women and I launched a new book, which you can find here. That was exciting and birthed a sisterhood between them and I in the most beautiful of ways. Bringing them together on this epic project was life-changing and illustrated the power of pushing through pain and fear when one is motivated by faith – and their story. We launched a whole book during a global pandemic, in the middle of each of the 14 of us trying to make sense of life like everyone else – and that was mad cool!!
Some more interesting stuff happened along the way I never dreamed would be a part of my life’s journey, including becoming a master at Zoom meetings and sitting through what felt like 10000 hours of webinars, getting accustomed to breathing my own air in the peak of summer, excitement about dressing up to go buy tomatoes, freaking out when anyone coughed or sneezed near me… The list is endless really, but what also happened towards the end of the year was burn out. 2020 was a gift that kept challenging the fighter in each of us to reevaluate what we always viewed to be creed, or “the way things are.” For the first time, life was disrupted – FOR EVERYONE – regardless of beliefs, race, nationality, experience, exploits….
I mentioned that November 2020 resulted in my taking time for spiritual maintenance. Despite surviving what was a torrid year and having birthed some exciting stuff under the circumstances, your girl tanked. In short, while there was loads birthed, I simply didn’t take enough time to replenish. In complete mental and physical exhaustion, I shutdown and realised that I needed to create some sort of bridge between the year’s events and seeking clarity for that which lay ahead.
And so, what have been my takeaways during this season of purging and reconnecting with self?
1. You need a vision to stay inspired. What vision do you have for your life? What sort of life do you want to live? What sort of people do you want in your life and what contributions do you want to make to your family, friends, community, and society at large? Those that came out of last year fairly unscathed…or with a sense of clarity, did so because they stayed the course. You have got to have some sort of course you are following to get through the less than savoury times.
2. Being unsettled can be jolt into your destiny. Another way to say this is is; when you are comfortable, you’ll find it harder to move along or move up. Last year I witnessed so many of my friends and colleagues launch new businesses out of sheer necessity. Collectively, we all also saw someone we know experience an unexpected life change because they or their spouse lost a job, a loved one, a business, or a dream. We were glued to our TV screens as news on political unrest, COVID deaths and global racial tensions unfolded. Last year was heavy y’all, but it also ignited a fire in a lot of people. While some fires dimmed, this process birthed infernos that jolted many others into the next level of their destiny. Was this you?
3. Believe in GOD ALWAYS because humanity always fails. Well…humankind hasn’t been at its best of late. We’ve seen cops gun down unarmed people, politicians turn a blind eye to increasing deaths due to COVID, companies laying off people for commercial survival…and…and… and. In short, we are flawed and need help beyond ourselves to gather ourselves. Because many are operating from a place of fear and frustration, we’ve seen the worst in them. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve also seen the best in us as we fought through the mess but man…humans are special. That’s why we have got to look to GOD to help us to make sense of life and all its trimmings. Torrid times make us believers in something. Who or what do you believe in?
We made it into the New Year, but it didn’t exactly start off in a way we hoped it would having come out of arguably the worst in our time. How am I coping with the challenges as I seek to do better so I can be better? The truth is it has been by taking one day at a time but also have to learn a few things so I can function not from a place of anxiety but one of hope, peace, and expectation. Here’s my take on how…
4. Learn to let go of the need to control things. Last year taught us that we won’t have our hand on every pulse and we especially won’t have the answers to everything all of the time. Some things will just have to fall away so we can survive. Yes, we may have projects and plans, but life is also a journey and not a destination. Flow through the changes by adapting to them. Process the emotions – the good, the bad and the ugly, with the knowledge that they are often inconsistent and so shouldn’t be the foundation of making the hard decisions. For instance, losing a job doesn’t mean you have to move countries. A doctor’s report doesn’t mean your life is coming to an end. Choose what to question and what to simply let go off. Seek to be in complete harmony with your thoughts and reasoning. Revisit what’s important through the changes and be honest with yourself first, so you can be true to others who might I add, are also experiencing the same levels of uncertainty you may be if not more. Let go, LET GOD, and trust the process.
5. Water your creativity; feed your gifts. Doing what you love will get you through the worst times. Spending time with those you love will be the fuel for your spirit when times are tough. Focus on the beauty that’s around you – family, the power to believe, the fact that you love baking and can turn flour, salt, sugar, and an egg into a work of art…. or whatever… What grows is what you water. Decide you will water the stuff you want more of and prune away that which you don’t, and then get on with it. Do decide is one thing. To do is where the win is.
6. Practice gratitude. Hard times are temporary. No torrid time lasts forever. GOD has given us an innate ability to push through some really hectic times if we lean in and lean on Him. We are all guilty of being so driven to satisfy what we don’t have such that we forget what we do have. If you are reading this post today, you are alive. Cliché – but that’s a gift. Be grateful for it. Celebrate it. Grow through the mess because it won’t last forever.
7. Believe you can. Whatever mountain lies ahead of you, you can scale it. Sometimes it’s a mindset thing. Taking time out gave me an opportunity to remember the things I’ve been able to achieve through prayer and action, and that gave me the energy to start looking at what I needed to keep working on or throw out completely. We are adapting right? Some are streamlining while some are discovering opportunities to expand. Whichever category you find yourself in, believe that you can achieve anything you set your mind on, then work at it.
Start where you are. One step at a time. Never have these words ever been so needed and relevant as they are today. Lean in. Seek revelation. Find your release and reclaim that which time and 2020 stole from you. It’s time. It’s definitely time.