Rejection is a really big Ouch in the soul; in the brain too.
FMRI studies have shown that the areas of the brain that are activated by physical pain are the same areas activated by rejection. This pretty much mean that rejection really hurts! Literally that is. If you have felt romantic rejection recently, I know you can say amen to that!
Rejection is the feeling of not being fully accepted or accepted at all. This can then result in feelings of shame, sadness and grief.
When we are rejected we tend to devalue ourselves and develop critical inner voices which can border on abusive. This is why it is crucial to heal from the rejection wound. When we do not heal, we tend to experience everything through our "I am deserving of rejection" filters and often end up with faulty conclusions.
A rejection wound can come from early childhood experiences with our parents and nurturing figures. Read my blog post "Healing is the Children's Bread" for more on childhood wounds in general.
A parent may bond differently with a sibling than they do with you. This can feel like a non-acceptance of you and a preference for them; a rejection. This can linger in our souls and self-concepts as truth, even if it is not an objective reality.
Of course for many of us, experiences in later life can leave rejection wounds also. This can look like having a romantic partner break-up with us. Let’s be honest, when that partner moves on with someone else immediately, the hurt can be even deeper. Though experiencing a breakup will hurt almost anyone who values attachment, it can have be near devastating for persons who have pre-existing rejection wounds.
There are many ways in which we can experience rejection in romantic relationships. This can be true even there is no rejection meant.
This can be felt when:
-Our partners are not very communicative
-Our partners take a longer than usual time to respond to us by text or phone
-Our partner’s body language changes. This can be as subtle as turning the head or a shoulder
-A partner chooses to spend time with other loved ones such friends or family members
-Our partners are not affectionate or the level of affection changes
-A partner is not in the mood for sex or otherwise declines sexual activity
-A partner gives criticism
-We feel like our partners are not “owning” us in public. In the social media culture we live in, some couples argue about “posting” their woman or man online. It’s real!
- A partner sides with someone else in an argument. I’ve heard some people admit that they are not secure enough to have their partner disagree with them in public (not disrespect, just disagree).
In instances when we feel non-acceptance we may act in these ways:
-Shut down communication. When was the last time you dished out the ultimate protest behaviour: the silent treatment? Be honest.
-Act in aggressive and violent ways. This may lead to physical, verbal or emotional abuse.
-Overcompensating by acting like we are super-independent or hyper-secure as if to communicate “I don’t need you anyway!”
-Reject them before they reject you. The more deeply we feel rejected is the more is the more we reject ourselves and other people in our lives. This is one of the deadly injuries in intimate relationships.
This blog series focuses on healing (not just awareness) and so it would be remiss of me to gloss over the root causes. Let me share some practical steps to healing:
-Reflect on where this wound came from. When do you remember feeling rejection most strongly?
- Start to distance your identity from how someone may have treated you. You are not your experience.
- Create an intentional practice of affirming yourself. This helps to heal the self-concept and self-esteem. This means telling yourself good things…on a regular.
-Cut off the Critic in your Cranium. Stop yourself when you feel the need to constantly list all your flaws.
-Practice making yourself a priority. Do this with your boundaries, choices and your self-love practices.
-Work with a therapist or coach to help you on the journey.
My loving reminder to you, my tribe, is that healing is not always comfortable. It can be messy work, but you are oh, so worth it!
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect on IG @whitelotusblooms.
Do you ever think about healing?
I can hear some of you ask “healing from what?” I’m talking about the healing of your emotions.
The reality is that life for many of us brings us a mixture of pleasant and painful experiences. (I’m not even gonna touch on when pleasure and pain intersect).
Sometimes the painful experiences lodge in our heartspace and headspace.
Ultimately until we work through how the seeds of our past are blooming in our present lives, our wounds will go unhealed.
As I was reflecting recently, I came to the realization that healing is a huge part of my mission and purpose.
So, I am inviting you to join me on a journey of exploring more deeply what your healing status is, and what you want it to be.
I also hear some of you saying “the past is the past.” I feel you, but here is the thing; the past doesn’t really stay in the past until we metabolize it and come to some understandings of it. That means we must go through the pain and not around it. And here is the real uncomfortable clincher: “You cannot think your way out of a wound, you have to feel your way through it.”
I already know from working with clients and from my personal experiences that many of our inner wounds and trauma may not be conscious. This means we are blind to them. I don’t know if that scares you but all I’m gonna say is “we repeat what we don’t heal.” This is why this work is cri-ti-cal.
My vision is that we step into healing of our inner wounds, mindsets, relationships and our legacies.
So let’s kick start the conversation.
Some common inner wounds (often experienced in childhood, but also can occur in later life) are:
Let’s focus on abandonment for this article:
The abandonment wound can come from loss of love itself. It is can also come from the loss of other types of connections. Generally a deep sense of loneliness is the result. This type of wound can come from
An abandonment wound can lead to some negative patterns. It can lead persons to feel emotionally dependent on their partners and their closest circle. They feel that they really cannot manage by themselves. It can also lead to a fear of being rejected, and invisible barriers to forming connections.
Subconsciously we fear being abandoned, but we are very likely to keep repeating the cycle of abandonment, hoping that we will one day resolve it and thereby master it. When we play out a fear of abandonment we may sound like: “I’ll leave you before you can leave me”, “nobody supports me, I am not prepared to be there for anyone else.” These two belief systems can make forming connections difficult. Despite the deep desire to connect, the fears and the risk of abandonment can act as a barrier.
There may be deep insecurity and feelings of unworthiness to receive love, affirmation or support. When there is a fear of abandonment we can be hypersensitive to criticism and to separation (real or perceived!). Not hearing from a loved one for a short period of time can create intense distress. Imagine, calling your man/woman 7 times in a row until they pick up. All because of separation anxiety.
Another possible consequence is choosing relationships in which our needs are not prioritized. If we are not accustomed to someone counting our needs as important, we internalize that and pretty much act in ways that confirm this “truth.” In many ways it is a self-fulfilling prophecy. We say “I believe my needs are less important than yours, so let me repress what I need. Let me focus on what you need. This is the most familiar way I know to get you to love me and stay with me.” People-pleasing patterns, anyone? And let’s be clear, this ‘selfless’ giving can be laced with resentment in relationships. We can also play out a pattern in which we expect our partners to read our minds, and we lash out when they do not. It’s can be a vicious, passive-aggressive cycle of not using our voices, casting our partners as the directors of our lives, while secretly hating them for it.
Do any of these experiences resonate with you?
Here is some help to frame our stories and not become consumed by them:
Healing is not always comfortable. It can be messy work. It costs us bravery and vulnerability. The alternative though, is several future generations paying for what you considered too expensive.
In the next blog in the series, I will share more about the rejection wound. Stay tuned!
Email me at email@example.com or connect on IG @whitelotusblooms.
Let me tell you a story about the power of a handbag to help shape a dream into reality. Well, maybe it’s about a little more than the handbag; just maybe.
Last year my BFF Esther told me about a job she thought I would like. There was only one drawback: she assumed it was full-time and since I had resigned my full-time job to pursue my “passion projects” she rightfully assumed it wouldn’t be a fit. A couple of days later my other BFF Chaday shared the same job with me after someone shared it with her. Chaday had more info that the job was a consultancy and was not full time. Now this job had my interest all the way piqued!
So I surmised it was fully MINE and so I started to process of applying. But wait, I haven’t told you yet what the job is. After coming to the realization that all my products and services pretty much had the theme of wellness running through them I decided that professionally I am a Wellness consultant. Then in August 2018, the United Nations decides that they need a Consultant Stress Counselor! So of course your girl properly set about applying for the work. Now the UN has a fairly rigorous process of e-tendering. I had 2 days to log on. Can I tell you that the hard part turned out not to be the prepping of the docs but the actual uploading of the docs to their platform?
I didn’t complete the process in time.
I felt dejected.
But I moved on to the next thing.
Let me now introduce you to the handbag in question. My Aunt in Scotland sent me a birthday gift in 2018. It was a beautiful, classy, leather handbag. When I set about to apply for the UN job I officially declared this bag “My UN handbag.” Enter my two queen sisters Dionne & Kaysha. Even after I missed the submission I still called the bag by her lawful, government-issued name. Being the visionaries they are, they never missed an opportunity to properly address the bag in this same way. Very rarely was it “Kam, here is your bag.” It was often “Kam, look in your UN handbag if you see my earphones for me.” Shared delusions can work for your good! LOL
In November Esther sent me a pic of the same position re-opened!! Listen! This was all I needed. I dusted off my UN bag and this time submitted my application well before the deadline. Hello excellence!
And then there was silence. And I refused to be crippled by it. I fully took up my telephone and called unto the UN office in Jamaica to find out the status of [My] job. And then I heard I was shortlisted. Woi! And then I heard I was being invited to interview. Let’s pause here for a minute to discuss how to push through an interview when your brain literally takes a break on you.
It was a telephone interview. They asked me questions which I understood to be English. However on a few of the questions my mind said “Girl, all the best with that one. I’m a be over here watching you.” My poker face (poker voice?) training from School Challenge Quiz kicked in and I said the next word and then the next. I remember the exact moment in the interview when I had to give myself an inaudible pep talk. I knew that I needed to act as if I was already successful and stand fully in that knowledge or I wouldn’t succeed. I knew it. And so I finished strong.
After I replayed the interview in my mind and zoomed in too much on the ‘bad answers,’ I got up from my desk at home. Something fell from my notebook of dreams. I bent to pick it up and saw that it was a magazine clipping I had saved to complete my visionboard. The singular word on the clipping was “MINE.” Ok, message received!
On March 21, my Mother’s birthday and 7 months after I first applied, I signed what I declare will be the first of many contracts with the UN. And now my besties and I don’t have to giggle when we mention the UN handbag. Should I rename her now? Victoria McWhinner?
I reflect on a childhood dream to be a traveling paediatrician working to save the disenfranchised children of the world. That paediatrician dream died a beautiful death to give birth to another thing; a thing maybe even more beautiful because it is steeped in purpose. I celebrate new beginnings and destiny detours. I celebrate a Maestro who is masterful in writing beauty into my life. I celebrate my own leveling up in confidence and excellence and fearlessness.
I couldn’t end without highlighting the take-away lessons:
I sat in Sara-Lou's Empowerment Breakfast on Saturday, already impressed. The vision to host girls who are living in state care, while deliberately creating a space for mentors to share with them; is a commendable undertaking.
Added to my insider information that this event wasn't a one-off act for Sara-Lou, but that she consistently serves these girls and young women, further had me beaming with pride. But then she took the microphone and dropped a bomb which rendered me almost teary-eyed. She told the story of how she, a young unmarried woman, happened to have a double-barreled surname. I actually never stopped to think of it.
She shared with the utmost sense of purpose how she was born to a mother at the Victoria Jubilee Hospital. A mother who then took her to the gate and stood waiting....on a passerby. Another woman approached the gate, and the new mother approached her with a story of needing to use the bathroom back inside the facility. She asked the lady to hold her daughter for a little while. One hour passed, then two and then four. Realizing that the story was really just a story, the woman took the baby girl to the police station.
It was then, 35 years ago, that a life-altering question was asked of this unsuspecting woman: "Do you want to keep the baby?" After consulting with her sister, the woman said yes. And so goes the story of Sara-Lou's early days and her double-barreled surname. I was spellbound. An all-time high level of appreciation for Sara-Lou's work washed over me. I was and still am so proud of how she has recreated this narrative at this point in her life, primarily by way of her Angelic Ladies Society.
Sara-Lou, at about age 25 was working at her mom's school. She found that the girls gravitated to her with their sensitive questions and family situations. She told White Lotus Blooms: "I formed the Angelic Ladies Society to provide a place for the girls where they could feel loved, safe, inspired, motivated to have a brilliant future. The non-profit organization caters to the needs of vulnerable high risk girls. Being an orphan and someone who is very passionate about girls who are often overlooked, I turned my focus to girls in juvenile facilities, foster homes and teenage moms who prematurely stopped their education."
Apart from her intrinsic impetus to give back based on her own experiences, I asked Sara-Lou what inspired her. She shared that "Oprah Winfrey opening the school in South Africa for girls, the work of Marjorie Harve's organization "Girls who Rule the World," and the Girls Inc. movement motivated me and made me realize that there was nothing wrong in doing what your heart was passionate about."
Having taken the brave step to start the foundation with no funds, I had to ask her what has kept her going for 10 years! Sara-Lou vulnerably shares the ups and downs. The downs are so vividly expressed, and her persistence to keep running the race so inspiring, I had to share it in her own words: "There are many days I came close to giving up. Last summer, I was in such emotional pain I hid under my bed for days, without food and little to no contact with people. Just a couple of days ago, I cancelled the [Empowerment Breakfast] event, and had to send back emails to participants that it was back on. In the Summer, I thought about the girls at South Camp Rehabilitation Centre. I thought about all 48 of them, and how over 18 months, they were not as insecure, and how they came to believe that I would show up every Tuesday. They stopped asking me, "Miss, you coming back next week?" It was as though they were confident that I would always be there. I thought about how painful and how disappointing it would be to not even say goodbye, to not hug them. What keeps me going is, an understanding that you really can't run from purpose, and fulfilling your purpose has its growing pains. And so I was more determined to pour out my soul to each girl I met who needed me." Wow! I celebrate this grit.
With all this work that Sara-Lou does how does she self-care? She admits that for years she wasn't a practitioner of self-care but now she is a convert. She now reads, does adult colouring, captures nature photos, chases waterfalls, writes, and dances in the house by herself. She adds "I attend and participate in a lot of church activities (being around church family who I am close to fuels my spirit), I go to counselling, I meditate, I pray, and this might sound silly, but I clean. I believe that when I de-clutter my space, it de-clutters my mind. I haven't had a good handle on my eating habits as yet, but I am trying. "
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Sara-Lou goes to the prison once a week, (every Tuesday). She engages them using dance (used for controlling anger, reducing body shaming, and increasing confidence and self awareness), and life skill sessions. They get to talk about what matters: visioning, menstruation, careers, healing, hair and skin care, nutrition and fitness. You can help The Angelic Ladies Society through in-kind or monetary donations. The execution of the life skill sessions are more effective when enhanced with tokens they can use after the learning period.
Sara-Lou is running with grit the race that is set before her. I am beyond happy that she keeps running; over obstacles, through doubt and around financial challenges. We salute her!
Follow her on IG @angelicladies_society and @locd_empr3zz
Basillia is known to many as the warm yet bubbly voice that graced the airwaves on Love 101 FM's Youth Connection and NCU FM’s The Drive for years. She has been a media personality for over 10 years and is well known on the Gospel scene, being a capable and in-demand MC. She is currently an educator in the Communications field and an entrepreneur as you will see from her story.
Bas, as she is known by many, has embarked on a journey that I think is nothing short of extraordinary. She is the courageous visionary behind the Sterling Gospel Music Awards, which is the first of its kind in Jamaica! March 16, 2019 will mark the third staging of this prestigious event.
When I searched the archives of my mind for all the Winning Women I knew to feature starting in Women’s history month, I quickly settled on her as my very first. I am excited to use my platform to highlight women from ordinary circumstances who are daring to do the exceptional - women who are, in 2019, writing and re-writing powerful HERstories.
Maybe it’s because I’m a psychologist but I’m incessantly curious about people’s processes and motivations. I know that there is often so much wealth in the stories of those who are kind enough to share them authentically. I’m excited to share with you Bas’ story of daring to create a Sterling product where there was once absolutely nothing.
I had to ask Bas what on earth (or in Heaven) inspired her to not only dream of a National Gospel awards show but to also act on it. She told White Lotus Blooms: “The Awards was birthed from a place of being tired of seeing Gospel Music being treated like the long lost cousin in the Music Industry. So many times the efforts and productions of those in our industry have gone unnoticed, and the lack of encouragement to sweeten the labour was missing.”
Keeping it real in true Basillia style, she confesses that she was intimidated to get started. (We can all absolutely relate, can we not?). She overcame that intimidation, did her research and consulted with those who were more experienced in hosting such an event. Awesome, right? Yes, except it wasn’t smooth sailing from there. In fact it was a scathing lesson in perseverance that she learned. When she set out to get sponsorship for the event, not ONE sponsor said yes! Not even one. Bas recounts, while laughing, that she actually shelved the idea for two whole years after this initial failed attempt.
Thankfully, the vision wouldn’t leave her alone and consequently she went back to the drawing board, did even more research and consultations and with God’s help and the support of family and friends was able to successfully stage the inaugural Awards in March 2017.
Having watched the international Gospel Awards shows and been intent that she wanted that for Jamaica; Basillia and her team have now made significant traction on the local scene. They are steadily moving closer to the ultimate vision of having regional and ultimately international reach and relevance!
Let’s interject here to loud up some of the ‘large’ sponsors she has managed to get on board: Digicel Jamaica, Panache Magazine and KFC Jamaica to name a few. Impressive, right?
On rough days when needed financial support from Corporate Jamaica may be slow in coming, Bas digs deep into her faith. She reminds herself that she is doing God’s work and that one day the tide will change.
Her 2019 has been bountiful thus far. Bas, with her husband Brian welcomed a beautiful baby into the world, making their brilliant 2 year-old Bree'Ah a doting big sister. Her family is the pride of her life. Brian is never far from her side and she speaks glowingly of her love and admiration for him and their gems.
With all the responsibility on her plate I checked in with Bas about how she self-cares and balances it all. She admitted that balancing her roles of mom to a newborn and a toddler, wife and Director of a large, impending national event leave little room for time alone but she does eek out the time to indulge in different Netflix series, which she thoroughly enjoys.
On Saturday March 16, 2019 Basillia’s vision will once again be fulfilled. This year’s event will be held in the Blue Mountain Suite of the Knutsford Court Hotel. Kindly be advised that the Sterling Gospel Awards show is the only national red carpet Grammy-style event for Gospel in the island. A time when we get to dress up and celebrate the work of those God continues to inspire. I can’t wait to don something gold (so far I have sparkly shoes) and show up to celebrate the tenacity of this Jamaican Queen! Speaking of queen, the thing Mrs. Barnaby-Cuff is most excited about at this time is having the opportunity and blessing of raising two queens with her guy, Brian. We are here for this kind of winning all day!
As someone who is dabbling in the event-hosting arena I can personally find so much inspiration in Basillia’s journey. To achieve anything great in life you must get to a place where you eat “No’s” for breakfast, lunch, dinner and cheat meals in between. That’s the tenacity that greatness requires. When I roll up at Sterling next weekend and see the lights and the glitz I will be inspired all over again at the thought that this vision started in the mind of a woman who dared and keeps daring.
See you there!
Follow her on IG at @thesterlingawards and @basilliabcuff
I don’t know if you have seen Serena Williams’ new Nike Ad. I quite like it. Check it out if you have't yet seen it. They do a great job of highlighting the mental battle that often precedes greatness.
Regardless of what you are building: whether a business, a part of your calling, a marriage or a career; the fiercest battles do not take place in the boardroom or the bank. They often take place in the mind.
Serena and the Nike team pretty much list the many ways women are told that their dreams and actions are “crazy.’ In some instances these women were breaking the status quo. In other ways they were behaving in ways very identical to men. Yet their behaviours are called out.
The punchline of the advert is “It’s only crazy until you do it. Just do it.” The punchline punched me out! In the best way possible.
The voices in your head (read your inner critic) represent one enemy. But then there are also the voices of those around you, even the ones who love you; telling you that that dream may be unrealistic or that “no one ever does that!”
Here is my confession: the voices in my head are loudest. I live with them. I fight them and sometimes I shrink [down] because of them. How do you fight the enemy within and have the energy to fight the ones without? Well, a couple of really good things happened for me in February. And do you want to know what my first response was? Though thankful, I felt myself drawing for the old, familiar pattern of highlighting why these good things maybe shouldn’t have come to me. I called my friends to ask them to confirm that I was right. They pretty much embarrassed me. And I couldn’t love them more.
So many strong women have been waxing poetic about people who told them they were crazy and how they proved them dead wrong. I would also like to “throw my words” at the unnamed enemies who told me that I am/was crazy to want to do be great. But alas, I came to realize that enemy has been ME.
I’m on the brink of what I am dubbing “Magic-Making March” and so I am cleaning house and telling off…well myself. It’s a form of self-sabotage that has been in my space for way too long and I’m breaking up with it once and for all. There is no way I can take this secret enemy with me into the next chapter of my life. No way! I’m standing on the brink of absolute excellence and I won’t undersell nor undercut my value anymore. I’ll allow you guys to listen in on the convo I had with myself:
Me: You told me I wasn’t built to be an entrepreneur. You told me entrepreneurship wasn’t for people like me. And I did it!
Also me: I didn’t realize it, but you are right.
Me: You told me I wouldn’t close out a business and be able to hold my head high. Well I did that and I’m doing that.
Also me: Yes, you are doing that. As one of your friends said “Look at you still flourishing!”
Me: You whispered your doubts to me about the value of my skills and dreams. You mocked me by asking “Who will buy that?” Who is gonna GET it?” I’m proving you wrong every, single day.
Me: So how about I ask you to be quiet with these self-sabotaging thoughts? I will do the talking from here on out. I am saying to you: “Hey, I think I’m great. I am choosing to not apologize for that anymore.” I am capable of achieving and deserving of my craziest dream yet. We can make beautiful magic if we work together!”
Also me: I’m sorry Kam. You deserve the absolute best. You have made a believer out of me. I am proud of you. 2019 will be our most epic year yet!
Me and also me: *High five* We need new clothes. The world isn’t ready… we don’t care!
I hope you have this convo with any and all voices telling you to be smaller or to stop after one or two or three perceived failures. The World needs what you have.
PS. Feel free to share and of course subscribe for great, consistent content.
You guys have heard me say it a million times: it pays to set your intentions/ write down your vision/speak over your life and dreams.
I'm beyond excited to tell you guys how absolutely thrilling it is to see visions leap off pages and become items in your diary/bank account and phone gallery.
I was lecturing and enjoying it. But still there was something that was not fulfilled.
I made a plan to move towards that vision in my heart which meant leaving the lecturing job. In all honesty the plan was “leave now,” but that was far from prudent. So I was prepping for another semester. I was not happy but grateful to have a job that I actually enjoyed.
One day after the first meeting of the semester I became so anxious about the fact that though enjoyable, this wasn’t the “It” in my head. To defuse some of the anxious energy I began to write a note in my phone. its has become needful for me to write down what I want when the situations of life become the opposite. It’s my way of refraining my reality and reducing anxiety.
i wrote down “I want a microphone and an audience.”
I knew I had some things to share and it was now becoming a burning desire! It arrested me. If you know me well I won’t have to spend time convincing you that wanting a microphone and an audience has nothing to do with self aggrandizement and every single thing to do with purpose.
I eventually crafted the White Lotus Blooms Life Class Series. It was one forum within which I could share.
I launched it in March 2018 and it was a powerful event. One of my friends described it as rich and that’s very rewarding for me to hear.
I intentioned to have another class in November but it didn’t pan out well. Truth be told I was self-sabotaging. I was scared of failing at this new venture. I was afraid of how I interpreted the numbers and the relationship with people’s interest.
As the year end approached I became clear that if 2019 was a repeat of 2018 I wouldn’t make it. Like straight up, there had to be a change and I had to become changed.
so I stepped into 2019 before the year even ended. I wrote down my visions boldly. I also wrote a proposal to a prospective sponsor to help me make Life Class a monthly event. I wanted the proposal to be more than just a few pages of text so I decided to ad a video component. I mentioned this goal to Esther while lamenting the fact that I needed a mic and had to delay filming until I got one.
Esther advised me that she had 2 mics and brought both of them to loan me. Problem solved!
I set up my Tripod and spent hours capturing a 3 minute video. I speak fluently most days but I just couldn’t get my words out in a way that made me feel ‘sensible.’
Fast forward to me producing a video of which I’m still proud. I sent my proposal to the sponsor. I don’t hear back so I followed up (something I didn’t do enough of ). Lo and behold the email landed into my inbox saying “an amount of x has been approved..”
life class is scheduled for Saturday February 2, 2019 and is set to become a consistent event!
Meet Symerna Blake, the self-taught artist behind the Antillean Charm Collection. She has created a proudly Jamaican collection of handmade and hand-painted Ceramic Flora and Fauna mounted tastefully in shadow boxes (also made by her).
Her pieces are stunningly life-like and make unique and classy wall decor and gifts.
The current collections are: Wild Orchids of the World, Hummingbirds of the Americas and Flowers of Jamaica.
Symerna's story is particularly inspiring to me for a few reasons:
1.People mistake her for me ALL the time. She often jokes that she is kindly asking me to be on my best behaviour so that the cases of mistaken identity will never result in her harm
2. She attended my Alma Mater (The Excellent St. Jago High School)
3. I am so proud of the fact that she is SELF-TAUGHT! Just like her I veered far from my professional training and experiences when I started my first business.
4. Symerna recently "Jumped off into Amazing" and said goodbye to the 9 to 5 world. Just like moi.
She eloquently sums up how she 'ended' up an artist: “First I painted with words. For ten years, I worked in broadcasting, education, marketing and public relations. But there was something else I wanted to do. I wanted to create; to exercise my design instinct; to work with my hands. Antillean Charm is the result of years of sketching on the backs of project folders, using my vacation days to hang out in workshops and hoarding art supplies.
"As for artistic inspiration, I am completely enchanted by our magnificent planet. Nature is God’s masterpiece. It is art. With the shadow boxes, I pay tribute to our natural heritage in the style of traditional nature illustrations. With the multi-dimension of ceramic sculpture, my art offers the experience of the actual flora and fauna thriving in your living and workspace. I want collectors to stop and marvel at all the beauty we have been blessed with.”
Right before our eyes, her art has quickly become collector's items, gracing homes from Jamaica to Japan.
Her Secret Life as a Wood Whisperer
It is one thing to read Symerna's story and quite another to watch her at work in her studio. I ended up having the privilege of visiting her space on a couple of occasions. The backstory itself is a testament to her responsiveness as an artisan and a businesswoman and to her amazing and rounded talent!
In one of my lives I make hats and fascinators. My cousin (and business partner) and I needed a wooden hat block made. Hat blocks are pretty pricey and their weight make them even pricier to import. So i made a post on Facebook asking for reommendations for a great carpenter. Lo and behold, Symerna responded to my post asking what seemed like very 'carpentery' questions...which I could not answer. She then took to teaching me. At which point she mentioned that she could assist, much to my surprise. I knew of Symerna's 9 to 5 at the time and it was in marketing! Long story short, Symerna excellently made our hat block, giving us stellar service along the way. She is one of our preferred provider of wooden products and will remain so.
It does my heart exceptionally proud to see a real GIRL BOSS excelling in her craft (a traditionally male-dominated craft, I might add). She truly inspires me with her testimonies of God's provision especially in this tumultuous self-employed phase of her life. Entrepreneurship can be a lonely journey; a treacherous journey. To see Symerna thriving and glowing in purpose, all while bearing a physical resemblance to me; reminds me on my journey that I will be OK.
Glow on Sister Girl! Glow on.
Check out her collection antilleancharm.com/
Today's Guest Blogger DIONNE WAUGH
Owner of Bridal Dreams Jamaica (Destination Wedding Planning firm)
and my Sister Friend!
There is the age old question of ‘why am i here?’ which is ultimately a question of purpose. Why do i exist? What value do I bring to the world? Where are the answers? How do I figure it out!?
These questions have undoubtedly caused many sleepless nights. Up late, eyes wide open staring at the ceiling or tossing in bed, or pacing or trying to quiet the mind with social media or the TV.
But why is purpose important though? Why do we even need to figure this out? Cant we just live and go with the flow, ‘que sera sera’ our way through life?
If it could all be so simple, right? But we know its not. We feel a deep desire within us to engage in some worthy endeavor that gives us a feeling that we know (even if we have never felt it before). Fulfillment.
I believe we do know the answer. I believe its the answer that calls out to us and keeps us up at night, not the question.
I believe the answer is; sharing what you are good at, taking what comes naturally to you and sharing it with the world. Are you naturally funny. Share that. Are you naturally able to take complex concepts and break it down so others can understand it. Share that. Are you able to stare into someone’s face and recreate their spirit on canvas. Share that. Unapologetically and authentically.
Leaning into your purpose is an acknowledgement of who you are and what you are good at. Then taking that and sharing it wholeheartedly. Without fear or reservation.
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I told you in a previous blog post about leaving my 9 to 5 in December to pursue "Purpose things." The vision was to launch my products and events and be sustained financially by them. I had to rework that plan. The creative build-out process requires much patience and I am not gifted in that area of waiting. But more on that in other blog posts.
So, a good friend of mine sends me a job advertised in one of the dailies. I am at the point where I am open to a job that will allow me some flexibility, while of course allowing me to take care of my living costs. This job seemed full-time. In an attempt to be 'responsible' and under pressure from the very real bills that visit me consistently, I decided to apply nonetheless. It was a perfectly well-written application letter but in my heart I was not excited. The prospect of having very limited time left from my week to create what every cell in my being was pushing me to create didn’t feel purposeful.
I submit the application and I feel sufficiently adult.
One morning I woke up early. It is actually more accurate to say I was awakened...by God. I felt a call to pray. Really pray. Please take this a confession that this is not my regular morning routine. Judge me if you like. I will pray for you...soon.
In prayer I feel the Lord instructing me to expect phone calls about the jobs for which I did not apply. He told me I would get word by late morning.
What do you think happened next? Later that morning the company to which I applied called me....to say they are inviting me to an interview...for the post of...NOT FULL-TIME psychologist but ADOLESCENT Psychologist. They went on to provide me with the finer details to which I struggled to pay attention. I was intrigued about what sounded like a change in the position. I decided to reach out to a linky I had at the company to seek clarity before having further dialogue with them. All this time I am super excited about the prospect of a good job that allows me flexibility.
I call and ask her if they have in fact changed the nature of the vacancy. She starts off by saying "Oh yes, I was to call you and tell you that they filled the full-time position (as seen in the advert) internally and so now they are seeking a SESSIONAL adolescent psychologist." All I heard was the word "SESSIONAL!" That was my freedom word. My mind flashed back to the prayers that morning and what God told me. This was a case of a job for which I did not apply. The EXACT context I wanted landed into my hands.
I am grateful! As it turns out I got the job and I get dressed and show up for my first day in August.
Fast forward to September. I went to host a group session with a group of adolescents I serve in a state -supported home. One of the young ladies runs up to me and excitedly asks “Auntie is you that on the wall upstairs?
I look at her confused and asks what she means. She says “on the wall upstairs.. come and look at it.” So I go upstairs with her to humour her because... how could I be on the wall upstairs? When I go upstairs she shows me her visionboard...and lo and behold there I am!...on the wall!
So I am now incredulous! I ask her where she got my picture. She says she found it LAST YEAR in the newspaper! Remember I started this job in August 2018! I was completely unknown to them last year, as they were to me.
But yet, there I was on her visionboard, with her caption “this is me.”
It was such a profound moment of purpose for me. I tell her “you brought me here!”
This is the same client who says to me before our previous individual session “Miss, when I saw you come today I know is God send you because I really needed someone to talk to.”
My picture and my story of beating Breast Cancer were featured in the Gleaner on October 1, 2017. That came about because I was bold and reached out to the Gleaner to ask If could share my campaign geared at helping women who were currently battling Breast Cancer. Because I didn't allow the fear of hearing "No" to stop me, someone else: this young woman, now had something or rather someone to look up to. It is not lost on me that my image represented what she wants her future self to look like.
My takeways from this are:
1. Live your OWN life. This life I have chosen is far from glamorous. There are some days when I am in the clutches of fear and shame, wondering if this is what a responsible adult does. But it is my own. Not yours, not my family's, MY OWN.
2. Do it scared. Just do it.
3. Someone needs what you have. It is actually selfish to let fear stop us from manifesting all that we are. Someone needs to hear your story, your perspective. Someone needs that product that is locked inside your mind. Let's serve each other. You are not everyone's flavour, but someone is starving for what you CAN bring to the table. Please bring it!
4. A dream needs not be static. It is a moving thing, a growing thing. Don't be too big to edit, scale and flex to make your dream a reality. I had to back track and get a flexi-job. At first it felt like a concession. Now I just let the paycheck respond to the voices in my head...while I wait :-)
What is your takeaway from this moment?
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#whitelotusblooms #liveonpurpose #youhavewhatsomeoneneeds
Kamala P. McWhinney is God's Idea. I am academic, I am creative,I am dreamer. My name is Hindu for Lotus. Given the beautiful symbolism of the Lotus Flower I have embraced it as a metaphor for my evolving, my surviving and my thriving.