In Pursuit of Authenticity

Jackson, United States

I am a woman of strength, courage, passion vision. My ultimate goal is to share my life with the world. I am confident that the golden nuggets I mine as I forge my way through this journey will encourage and empower others to faithfully stay their own courses - regardless of the obstacles and oppositions they may encounter

“Success is not final , failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.”

Winston Churchill


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We have been conditioned to think that evolution is a bad and controversial thing.... No, no... Let me change that... I apologize. I have been conditioned to think that evolution is a bad thing! I do not know how this came to be. But, it cemented itself in my mind as a child and grew up with me. As soon as I heard the word evolve or evolution, Darwin's Theory of Evolution (with an image of the monkey becoming a man) and The Big Bang theory (with an image of an explosion in space) would cryptically creep into my mind and I would immediately get upset and offended. As a child, I would feel as if an evil had been spoken and I would be in trouble. As an adult, I thought I would be banished to hell for merely questioning the validity of either theories. Sounds strange... I know. But, that's what conditioning does. As a young adult I had a secret question and answer session with myself and, subsequently, freed myself getting in trouble and going to hell: Question #1: If monkeys evolved into humans, why are there still monkeys? Answer: Because God loves monkeys, and He wants them around. Question #2: If humans evolved from monkeys, why haven't humans evolved into something more intelligent and advanced? Answer: Because the only thing more intelligent and advanced than the homosapien is..... GOD! Question #3: If the Big Bang created the Universe, what caused the Big Bang? Answer: GOD! MIC DROP..... That little session suppressed the angst I had with evolution and kept it in the back of my mind for over twenty years - until my youngest child developed an interest Pokemon last year... I met the advent of Pokemon in my sons life with stark criticism based of the explosive reaction Christians had when It came to the United States in 1998. I can still see the cover of a magazine I saw in the grocery store: "Do Not Pokemon Your Child's Mind!" Because Christians were against it, my children were forbidden from everything Pokemon. Twenty-one years later, my nine- year son was asking me why he couldn't play Pokemon Go and all I could say was "because when your sister and brothers were little 'they' said it was evil". He had a sad, discouraged look of confusion on his face that hurt my feelings. I felt terrible because I knew nothing about Pokemon but was trying to stand in a position of authority based on the conditioning I received from others. I explained to him what happened when Pokemon came to the States and that I followed what Christians said without learning for myself. I also apologized to him for basing my decisions for his life on what happened in my past. I researched the origin and history of Pokemon, watched the movies with him and gave him space to explain it to me in his words. He showed me Pokemon Go and showed me how it is played. We had fun as he tried his hardest to get me to understand CP and HP values, GX cards, Megas, Shinys, the Pokedex, battles and raids. We laughed hysterically while he was introducing me to the individual Pokemon and their unique names! But, we hit a snag when he said: OK mom, (showing me a card) this "strange name" Pokemon evolves into this "even stranger named" Pokemon. AWWW.... SNAP! He said that word: EVOLVES I lost it! "Evolves as in EVOLUTION?", I shrieked. The look on his face was funnier than me trying to pronounce Charizard for the first time! He looked like I had evolved into a "strange named", loony 40-something mom. I was about to gather up every Poke' card and set fire to it, when his sweet voice said, "Mom, it just means they are going to become bigger, better and stronger versions of themselves." THUNDEROUS MIC DROP.... followed by cricket clicks in the background. Wow! "Changing into something bigger, better, and stronger". I sat there frozen in time. I had a life paradigm shift because my nine year old had just used a game to make me realize that what I have been trying to do myself and encourage other people to do was something that I had mentally avoided all of my life. In an instant the barrier of my conditioning with evolution was torn down and enlightenment flooded my mind. We are all evolving!!! Now don't you sit there at look at this screen like I'm crazy! I'm referring to the desire to transform our lives into the greatest versions of ourselves possible - physically, mentally, and emotionally! As I sit here thinking of my son playing Pokemon Go, I have a new appreciation for the careful way he chooses which Pokemon he will use against certain opponents and when he chooses to evolve them. It makes me think of my life and how I'm learning which battles to engage in and which ones to walk away from. Also, how things that hurt me in the past mean absolutely nothing to me now because I've evolved into a bigger, better, and stronger Asha!!! I'd say I'm up there with Pikachu GX with an HP (Hit Points = how much damage a Pokemon can take) of 160! HA! CHECK ME OUT!!! I'M LEARNING AND EVOLVING! YOUR TURN ;)

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I woke up feeling as if I had been up all night. You know... still tired and foggy in the head. I sat on the edge of the bed trying to get my head in the game. "New morning... new opportunities. Another day to prepare for the show and experience new creativity with my writing..." I was getting dressed to make my tea, have devotion and see where inspiration would lead me before heading to the gym. I stood up, stretched and turned to go to the kitchen. Something felt wrong... I looked down... I put my leggings on over my pajama shorts! "Wow", I thought as I sat back down on my bed. I felt overwhelmed and lost as I tried to get dressed again. Once I got it right and made it to my desk, I sat there in silence- staring at the wall. I slipped into a series thoughts: First, I thought of June and how wonderful it feels to have met my goal of writing daily throughout the month. Receiving messages of gratitude and encouragement from family and friends has been indescribably rewarding! Then, I thought of the last three months of being reunited with my husband, mother and uncles and how much my life has changed and feels so much more fulfilled and purposefully. I remembered the joy that filled my heart when my eldest nephew, whom I haven't seen in over thirteen years, walked through the front door as a grown man with his beautiful family. It felt like their places in my life had been eagerly awaiting their arrival. I thought of this last year and the growth and transformation I have gone through. Six months ago I declared that 2020 will be the year that I reunite with my family, begin my writing career, get my personal trainer certification, and compete in a physique competition. My spirit lifted tremendously when I realized that I'm two for two! It felt like a ray of light shined down on me. "I'm not lost," I thought. "I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be!" ****** Life hasn't been easy. I've been hit pretty hard and had to endure some extremely devastating circumstances. I've stumbled and I've fallen. I've faced obstacles that seemed insurmountable. There have been times when I wanted to give up, let my dreams fade to black, get a "regular" job and live a "normal" life. But I just could not stand down and let Murphy's Law have control of my life. I've met each year that I have been blessed to see with renewed strength and determination. I'm 5'2 but my vision for my life is 10'7! I decided long ago that, come what may, my vision will reach its fullest potential. "All I do is win, win, win no matter what!" DJ Khaled The game or the fight. Whatever you want to call it... is not over until I win! ****** "... We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience." Pierre Teilhard de Chardin Not all of your human experiences will be filled with rainbows, sunshine, and jaunts through tulips! Things aren't always going to be easy and, the majority of time, they won't even make sense. There will be times when you feel like you are in a hodgepodge of ridiculousness swirling in a whirlwind of insanity. Yes, there may even be times when the gears of your mind lock and you forget how to get dressed! You will face moments when your will to continue on lays at your feet like a deflated hot air balloon with no visible signs of puncture. Life is real! So much so that it has been referred to as a b---- by those who have been caught in the throes of its temperament. Life is an entity with a set of character traits specific to its owner. It is up to you whether life manifests itself as a co-creative, care giving confidant or a totalitarianistic, tyrannical taskmaster. Life uses situations and circumstances to either build and refine or crush and contaminate you. Even the seasons of silence- where nothing is happening and you feel as if you are floating aimlessly into the ether- have specific purposes in your experience. But, here is the key that many of us fail to realize: the results of these happenings are totally at our discretion. We choose whether we emerge wiser and stronger or witless and weakened. Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to TRY you, as though some strange thing happened unto you... 1 Peter 4:12-19 The trajectory of your life determines the scope and intensity of these trials. Make no mistake about it: the events that happen in your life are the expressed results of the decisions and choices you have made. Life experiences either happen to you or for you based on the content of your mind and the intent of your heart. You have unmitigated control of your life. Use it wisely. Live purposefully. Photo by Syed Hasan Mehdi from Pexels

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My husband and I watched D'Jango Unchained (2012) over the weekend. I thought it was cute that, even though we were separated, we both said we would not watch the movie when it was advertised because of it's depiction of slavery. But, once we watched it and got a gist of the story line, we were hooked. It was interesting to me that even during our time apart we still thought alike... LOL... I digress that's a different story. Please, forgive the musings of a newly reunited, dreamy-eyed wife. I have seen this movie several times but, apparently, I have not watched it. Maybe I should say I did not pay attention to it. Or, a more likely scenario would be that I slept through the majority of it - which I confess I am notorious for doing. Whatever the reason, I seemed to have missed the entire scene where Dr. Schultz tells D'Jango the story of Broomhilda. She is a princess who is banished to a mountain top guarded by a fire breathing dragon. The dragon surrounds her "in a circle of hellfire". She is fated to stay there forever unless a hero saves her. Sigfried is that hero... "He scales the mountain because he is not afraid of it. He slays the dragon because he is not afraid of it. And he walks through hellfire because Broomhilda is worth it." D'Jango responds, "I know how he feels", because he is on a similar quest. The victories of Siegfried and D'Jango were not won because of special skill, talent, or privilege but because of their commitment to obtaining the prize. This is a profound example of perseverance. Often times we get discouraged and disappointed by the various obstacles that present themselves during our human experiences. For those who have reached their desired position and are now resting on your laurels , I commend you. But, for those who have dreams and goal that you have yet to attain, please allow these words of encouragement to help laser beam your focus and strengthen your resolve to continue your pursuit: BE THE HERO OF YOUR STORY! SCALE THE MOUNTAIN! SLAY THE DRAGON! WALK THROUGH HELLFIRE! YES, YOU CAN DO IT! *YOU ARE WORTH IT!* Photo by Dương Nhân from Pexels

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WRITE NOW IV: Just Keep Writing

Jun 15, 2020 4 years ago

5:31 a.m. I'm sleepy.... NOTE TO SELF: Of course, there will be times when you become weary... Just keep writing! There will be times when words evade you and ideas get jumbled and twisted like the squares on a Rubik's cube... Just keep writing! There will be times when creativity clashes with reality and you are stuck in the middle.... Just keep writing! There will be times when the mother and the wife tango in confusion in the corridor between the laundry room and kitchen... Just keep writing! There will be times when your hormones spike and plunge in a matter of minutes and you are left bewildered and sweltering... Just keep writing... Oh, yes, there will most definitely be times when the numbers don't increase and your stats seem to stagnate... Just keep writing! And there will be moments, like this one, when you feel like you just can't.... But I promise you that if you JUST KEEP WRITING... The lines down the page will prove that you CAN! Just Do It! - NIKE P.S. Special thanks to Akos Peterbencze for your words of confirmation and encouragement in your response to Misidentification: Stepping Out of the Shadow - "You found your path and yourself. Use it! Keep writing!"

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The graveyard is the richest place on earth, because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid to take that first step, keep with the problem, or determined to carry out their dream." Les Brown Now that I have shifted my focus from competitive bodybuilding to writing, the atmosphere of my mind has taken on an astounding clarity and expansiveness. ("I can see clearly now the rain is gone" just lullabied it's way through my head). I have become more aware of my emotions and the thought patterns they invoke. In doing so, ideas and inspirations for writing are continuously flowing through my psyche. I often feel as if I'm in "La La Land" and with each blink of my eyes a new path or journey appears… There are masterpieces everywhere! And I am awake and aware of it all. It's like I have stepped out of a shadow and sunlight continuously pours over me! Author: 13 years old - 1st competitionI love bodybuilding though - understand that! I lift heavy and have an insatiable penchant for pushing my limits. I fell in love with bodybuilding when I was thirteen. Actually, I became a fitness fanatic when I was ten while aerobics was making its world debut. It has served me well both physically and mentally. Had it not been for my intense focus in that arena we would not be having this conversation now! Bodybuilding, running, and cross training have kept me from plunging deep into the Dregs of Depression ,drug addiction, and alcoholism. Weight training and wanting to become a personal trainer kept me focused and alive. However, bodybuilding is not my thing. I am a writer. I started writing before I started working out and then abruptly shifted my focus to bodybuilding. When I did that, the writer stepped into the shadow of the bodybuilder. In 2018, the desire to begin my autobiography emerged again as it had done sporadically since 2006. However, my life took a few major twists and turns, as usual, and my autobiography slid to the side and "A Love Story: The Truth About Faith" was created. It took me a year to write and during that year an amazing transformation took place: my true self emerged from within the shadow. Seeing my book available on Amazon and having a young woman who is very dear to my heart tell me that it was what she needed at that precise time in her life birthed me into the fullness of my purpose as a literary artist. About two and a half months after publishing my book, I had a conversation with God. where He explained to me that he had allowed and encouraged me to focus on bodybuilding to keep me moving forward. He said this is my truth: I am not a bodybuilder who writes… I am a writer who participates in bodybuilding. You know how in the movies when someone has an epiphany and the clouds separate and angelic voices sing "ahhhhhh"? Well, that was that moment. It became crystal clear to me that I had misidentified myself! As this realization continued to manifest within me, I received more clarity about how I should be living my life. I don't know the right words to use to describe the feeling I have from living my life on purpose now. The shadow of uncertainty is gone. I awake each morning eager to see what the horizon of creativity will reveal to me. **** What's your thing? What is your passion in life? Do you even have passion in your life? Are you living on purpose or is life dragging you through the trenches of indecisiveness, procrastination or, even worse, stagnation? **** Do you know that you possess gifts, talents and abilities that have been cleverly and carefully woven together to fit your unique personality? The world needs your special mix! Someone somewhere NEEDS YOU! YOU MATTER!!!! It's not too late to make yourself your priority. Step out of your own shadow and let yourself BE YOU!

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Krister Axel

Music Blogger and Memoirist at CHILLFILTR.com

Ogdensburg, United States