Be Still…

“The body benefits from movement and the mind benefits from stillness.” (Sakyong Mipham)
One may stress the importance of staying physically active and the benefits it has on the body but I think society forgets that taking care of the mind is just as important. In a world, full of things that are out of one’s control, natural disasters, and mass shootings it is difficult to find peace within the mind. When the body become overworked, the mind becomes stressed and that can lead to a person feeling overwhelmed, unhappy, and frustrated. Personally, I find comfort in meditation, something I recently started doing this year in August. Meditation is so much more than “turning off” your thoughts but more so of allowing yourself to feel okay with whatever emotions that are trying to come through at that present moment. Some may find themselves “busy” from the time the sun rise and way after the sun sets thinking there is zero time to carve out to meditate. However, meditation doesn’t have to require taking up most of your time a quick ten to fifteen minutes every day could make a big difference in your life.

Being honest and vulnerable with yourself is the key to being happy. To an extent this is why most people are unhappy or confused about themselves and about life, because instead of dealing with their emotions it’s “easier” to let things fall by the wayside. People tend to keep doing this until it finally begins to affect their daily living. I recently came across a website (www.howtomeditate.org) it says, “Meditation can also help us to understand our own mind. We can learn how to transform our mind from negative to positive, from disturbed to peaceful, from unhappy to happy. Overcoming negative minds and cultivating constructive thoughts is the purpose of the transforming meditations found in the Buddhist tradition.”

“The purpose of meditation is to make our mind calm and peaceful. If our mind is peaceful, we will be free from worries and mental discomfort, and so we will experience true happiness; but if our mind is not peaceful, we will find it very difficult to be happy, even if we are living in the very best conditions.”

Meditation is learning how not to let everything that doesn’t go your way affect your emotions. Sure, life is sometimes unfair and the bad things that will happen to you are sometimes inevitable, but you also have to remember that one’s attitude play a significant role in that as well. I’ve always heard that, “life is 10% of what happens and 90% of how you react to it,” do you agree with that? Referring back to the website I mention earlier it states that, “By training in meditation, we create an inner space and clarity that enables us to control our mind regardless of the external circumstances. Gradually we develop mental equilibrium, a balanced mind that is happy all the time, rather than an unbalanced mind that oscillates between the extremes of excitement and despondency.”

“Peace; it does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.” –unknown

Black Privilege

When you see the title of this book, what do you think about? I know some of you are probably thinking, “there’s no such thing as black privilege in America.” So, what does this title mean? Charlamagne defines Black Privilege in a different way, although some may agree to disagree, racism and white privilege are very real in this country and that’s fact not just my opinion. The subject of race can sometimes be an awkward topic to talk about, but if society keep sweeping it under the rug as if it means nothing, how are we supposed to fix the social issues that are going on? When asked about the title he says, “when you’re talking about black privilege you’re talking about something spiritual, not something systemic…I feel like we’re able to tap into a divine system that gives us abilities to prosper in spite of all the obstacles we face in America.”

Charlamagne Tha God is a cohost of the nationally syndicated hip-hop iHeartradio program “The Breakfast Club” and a featured television personality at MTV and MTV2. He is also a social media influencer; an executive producer with his own production company, CThaGod World LLC; cohost of the popular podcast “The Brilliant Idiots;” and author of his own Marvel comic. Born and raised in a small town in South Carolina, Charlamagne quickly rose to become one of today’s most unique and compelling media personalities. His point of view and proactive celebrity interviews help drive the daily national conversation about issues related to hip-hop, race, society, and politics. (CharlamagneThaGod, Black Privilege)

He can now add New York Times best seller to his resume`. Black Privilege: Opportunity Comes to Those Who Create it, discusses eight life principles to help people find what it is they were meant to do in life. He says, “live your truth, so no one can use your truth against you,” he explains that living an authentic life is the best way to live and that will bring you ultimate success and happiness. Within this book Charlamagne is unfiltered and give the raw honest truth about his upbringing and how he managed to completely change his life around coming from a small town called Moncks Corner, South Carolina to working in the city that never sleeps. After being kicked out of school, fired from multiple jobs, he found mentors that helped him to see what all life had to offer.

I’ll share three of my favorite principles that resonated with me most:

1. It’s not the size of the pond but the hustle of the fish: Principle 1
“Geographical location doesn’t determine what kind of success you will have, but your psychological position always will. How are you going to make waves in a bigger pond when you haven’t even learned how to cause a ripple in the pod you’re in? When you stop complaining about where you are physically and start focusing on where you are mentally, that’s when you will start to transcend your circumstances.” (Black Privilege, page 1)

I love this principle because I was raised in a small town that don’t offer many opportunities that correspond to my dream career. I’ve always thought, if I could just get to a bigger city then I’ll be successful. When in reality that’s not necessarily true. I’ve learned to just start where you are and make do with that, if you’re passionate about what it is you’re doing everything else will eventually will fall into place.

2. There are no losses in life, only lessons: Principle 4
“Always look for the lesson in any situation you think didn’t go your way. Understand that your plan isn’t necessarily also God’s plan for you.” (page 107)

This is one that really resonated with me because sometimes when something bad happens we take that as a loss. However, it’s not a loss just a lesson that you needed to be taught. Often times in life we get impatient and we want things quick and easy. I’ve always heard that “the things worth having don’t come easy.” You have to understand that all of your setbacks, roadblocks, and detours are necessary if you want to get to the next level in life. So, the next time you feel defeated by life think about the lesson that you needed to learn.

3. PYP (Pick your Passion, Poison, or Procrastination): Principle 2
“There are three primary “P’s” to choose from life: (1) Passion, which leads to prosperity. (2) Poison, which leads to pain. (3) Procrastination, which doesn’t lead anywhere at all, because you sit around waiting for things to just magically happen. Please don’t pick “P’s” numbers 2 and 3. Instead of hoping you’ll be successful, follow your passion and make conscious decisions that will help you realize your destiny.”( page 33)

What I like about this principle is that whatever you’re passionate about it’s important to follow that particular thing. Yes, it can be scary to step outside of your comfort zone, but don’t keep procrastinating on a dream that have been on the fore front of your mind for years. In the process of following your dreams separate yourself from the things that don’t bring you any joy. Surround yourself with people that are going to make you constantly want to evolve.

How To Get More Sleep?

Sleep, what is that? Might sound like a foreign word to a vast majority of people worldwide, especially college students. It is said that people should get at least eight or more hours of sleep, but when you’re in college that is something most can only wish for. So, what is stopping students from getting an adequate amount of sleep? I’m here to talk all things sleep, how to start getting more of it and tips on sleeping better at night.

As you can probably imagine pulling all-nighters is nothing new for students and in doing so it throws off sleep patterns. So, of course, for some college students getting less than eight hours of sleep before having to report to class is the new norm. However, the real issue is that it’s not healthy for the brain or body. According to my own personal sleep diary AKA my fitbit, it tracks my sleep pattern. Some nights I’ve gotten as little as 2 hours and 43 minutes of sleep while other nights I’ve gotten closer to six hours. Either way it’s still isn’t enough to really be productive throughout the day. So, what is the secret to college students getting more sleep, here are a few tips.

1. POWER DOWN: An hour before going to bed turn off all electronics. In fact, if you have an iphone there’s a ‘do not disturb’ feature that allows your phone to not make a sound or even vibrate when that feature is on.

2. LIMIT YOUR NAPS: On average a person should keep their naps at a minimum, less than 20-30 minutes.

3. ROOM TEMPERATURE: It is said that people sleep best when the room temperature is between 68 and 72 degrees.

4. SET YOUR BODY CLOCK: Going to bed and waking up at the same times every day even on weekends are keys to a healthy sleep.

5. EXERCISE: I know that this is something that many people despise but it can be very beneficial to getting a good night’s rest. Try working out three to four hours before bedtime.

6. LISTEN TO WHITE NOISE: There are many apps and machines that offer oceans waves crashing, rain, thunderstorm, or soft classical music.

7. FREE YOUR MIND: Try meditating or writing in a journal two hours before bed. By doing this it can help relieve stress or anything that is on your mind. Also, try seeing a counselor to talk about your problems.

8. STAY HYDRATED: Sometimes if your body is dehydrated that can lead to not being able to sleep or fatigue.

9. DECLUTTER YOUR SLEEPING SPACE: Clean and declutter your room. Sleeping in a clean and organized room can actually help put the mind at ease. Also, lowering the lights and use darkening curtains.

10. EAT BETTER: Avoid eating heavy foods, if you’re going to eat something let it be a light snack two hours before bed. Try something like fruit or crackers.

“Year of Yes”

“If you want crappy things to stop happening to you, then stop accepting crap and demand something more.” –Christina Yang, Grey’s Anatomy

The magnificent creator of Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and executive producer to How to Get Away with Murder all share one thing in common…Shonda Rhimes. She has become a household name and is the super woman behind these hit television shows that own Thursday nights! Aside from being a producer, screenwriter, owning a production company ‘Shondaland,’ and being a mother to three girls, she is also the author of the book, ‘Year of Yes.’ When a person has that much going on it makes sense that Rhimes would say no to anything outside of writing for her Thursday night hits. Although Shonda is a busy woman that wasn’t the sole reason why she continued to turned down opportunities, but I’ll explain that a bit later.

Rhimes prefer to being behind the camera, why, because she’s a liar and she enjoys every second of it. Shonda Rhimes admits to the thrill of making things up in the opening of her book, “I’m a liar. And I don’t care who knows it. I make stuff up all the time.” Now before you freak out about that statement and boycott her shows, she gets paid to make stuff up…she writes for the shows that keeps her audience on the edge of their sofas every week. Now here’s the real reason Shonda use to skip out on opportunities, because she’s extremely shy! Rhimes explains in her book how much of an introvert she is, having panic attacks before television appearances, and saying ‘no’ to anything that involved her being the center of attention. Then on Thanksgiving Day 2013, Deloris, Shonda’s sister mumbled six simple words “you never say yes to anything.” Shonda, being the brilliant person that she is, decided to challenge herself and for one year said YES to everything that scared her.

“Year of Yes,” is a journey of how Shonda Rhimes transformed from saying “NO” to all things that scared her to saying “YES” to all things that scared her. That meant one day giving the commencement address to Dartmouth University in front of thousands upon thousands of people and even appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live, something that the old Shonda wouldn’t have done. I think this is a book that many people around the world could benefit from, because it challenges people to stop living life afraid of the unknown and to stop being comfortable in the place they are familiar with. As 2017, is slowly starting to come to a close this is the perfect time for those that want a change in their life to take on the “Year of Yes” challenge for 2018.

“New year, new me,” will be the statement that will be circulating around social media on January 1, 2018, so why not really mean it this time by doing something you’ve never done before? Do you feel like your life is a little stagnate, do you feel like you haven’t accomplished anything, still feel like you are the same person you were a year ago? If you answered yes to any of these it’s probably because you’ve been living your life in your little bubble that most called “a comfort zone.” A person’s comfort zone is a place that is familiar and nothing bad can come from it if a mistake happens. However, guess what, nothing extraordinary can happen from it either. So, with that being said I’m giving you a homework assignment, but don’t worry it’s not due until December 31, 2018.

I want you to go out and buy a notebook, and throughout the year write down every scary opportunity that is offered to you. Of course, you said yes to it because you’re participating in the “Year of Yes” challenge, right? Write down what was going through your mind when the opportunity presented itself and your experience after you completed it. At the end of the year reflect on what type of year 2018 was for you. I guaranteed it will be your most fulfilling year yet.
Good Luck!

Dear Future Self

Dear Future Self,

The things that has happened in your past are permanent and there is nothing you can do about it. Stop dwelling on the things that can’t be changed! The only thing you can do now is too not make the same mistakes. You’ve pinned a lot of things to your bulletin board which is also your vision board, because Steve Harvey says that everyone should have one. I don’t know exactly where you’ll be in the next 10, 18, or 25 years but I hope you’re in place of peace and happiness in both your personal and career life. I mean, are you still going to Justin Bieber concerts, are you married, do you still have the same friends, did you ever go to grad school, did you ever purchase that all black jeep wrangler, and lastly did you ever find the courage to move out of Texas AKA the greatest state in America? I have so many questions, I hope someday you come back and read this and reflect on your current life. Right now, you’re a 23-year old college senior and is set to graduate in December 2017. I’m giving you some advice for the future, I know you’re stubborn but for once in your life just consider following at least one tip.

Here are the top ten things I would like to say to my future self.

1. Believe in Yourself: Remember why you got the word ‘believe’ tattooed on your wrist at 19-years old. Don’t ever forget this. Always believe in yourself and in your own abilities. During time of adversity is when you should trust yourself the most. Listen to your gut, everyone may not understand the decisions you make for yourself, that’s none of your business. You do what feels right. Because difficult roads can lead to an awesome destination.

2. You Belong: No matter what board room meeting you’re in, grad school, or television network you’re on, you belong to be there just as much as the person sitting next to you. You’re a hard worker and persevered through the tough times which is why you deserve a seat the table. Don’t ever let anyone make you feel less than. Trust me when I say there are going to be times when you feel like you’re not good enough and start doubting yourself, it is during those times that you must be your own super hero and not dwell on the things that are out of your control.

3. Don’t Compare Your Life to Other People: Okay, I want you to read this very carefully. ‘Don’t compare your life to other people.’ What you see on social media isn’t always a true reflection of a person’s life. According to Erving Goffman, a well-known sociologist that studied the self, describes social life to a performance. Goffman uses a theater type metaphor to explain how people present themselves. He pretty much says that we act different when we think we’re being watched “front stage” and is the complete opposite when we’re not being watched “back stage.” If you’ve ever been to a concert you know on stage everything is “perfect”, but backstage there it is probably a lot of chaos going on. What I’m trying to tell you is that everyone’s journey in life is different and the finish line is at a different place for us all. When the time is right for you to have something, you will have it. No matter what happens no one can stop something that was specially meant for you.

4. Try New Foods: You’ve been a picky eater your entire life. Still at 23-years old your go to food are cheeseburgers. Also, can you try to eating vegetables, I know they’re disgusting but they’re healthy for you and you want to live a long time. Also, start drinking more milk. I know you hate that too, but it’s good you. You don’t like trying new foods because you automatically think you’re not going to like it. Again, stop being a ‘know it all’ you won’t know until you try it. You won’t be young forever, so this fried food diet you have can’t last forever.

5. Accept the Word ‘NO’: Here’s another one that you might have to read a couple of times to fully process. On your way to success get used to hearing the word ‘NO.’ You’re going to be rejected from certain things a few times, that’s okay! One or a couple people’s ‘NO’ does not mean something wasn’t meant for you. At the time it might hurt, but eventually you’re going to have to get over it. You might not get accepted in grad school right away, or that television show you want to work for, guess what, it’s not the end of the world. All the ‘NO’s’ that you’re hearing only means you need more preparation for the thing you want. Keep working and when the time is right you’ll get it.

6. Travel, Travel, Travel: You’re young so travel at every chance you get. Stop waiting for other people to join you on the exciting excursion, if you have a place in mind that you want to visit to then go already. I think every good journalist should be multicultural. Go learn about all those places you’ve pinned to your visionboard, try the “weird” foods, and get used to being in unfamiliar places. Fill up an entire passport!

7. Do Things That Make You Happy: Through this journey called life don’t forget to enjoy yourself. Surround yourself with good people. No matter what your friends say you are really funny, even if you do tend to laugh at your own jokes. Although you’re not much of an outdoors person try to become one. Getting fresh air on the regular is an energy booster and will ultimately keep you in a good mood. Maybe you can go camping someday…maybe!

8. Relax: Right now, you don’t know what the future holds so you’re a little… well actually a lot anxious. Just Relax! Focus on the present moment, you’ll eventually get to your destination in due time. Everything will work out.

9. Outwork Everybody: This is a very important piece of advice. In anything you do be the first one there and the last to leave. Yes, they’re might be people smarter than you or even more experienced than you are. However, the thing that will set you apart from everyone else is your work ethic. This world is competitive, if you want a seat at the table you have to fight for it. The thing that is going to get you to the top is perseverance. I remember hearing former first lady Michelle Obama say, “You should never view your challenges as a disadvantage. Instead it’s important for you to understand that your experience facing and overcoming adversity is your biggest advantage.

10. Go to Every Justin Bieber Concert: I know I was wondering whether or not you’re still obsessing over JB, but let’s be real here you’re still seeing him in concert every chance you get! He’s a talented guy, I just don’t understand why so many people find him annoying. Now the real question is, how you are going to meet him?

So, there you go future self. You’re probably reading this with the biggest smile on your face because in deed everything worked out! I know it’s easier said than done, but current you can stop being so anxious about the future.

Now I would like to hear from you, what advice would you give your future self? Don’t forget to post your advice in the comment section below.

Why Journalism?

In life, the billion-dollar question asked the most is, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” When the response is, “I don’t know” the look given isn’t always a pleasant one. The truth is for some it takes changing your major a few times before figuring it out. Then there are those that have known since birth what their life would one day be. Fortunately, I am not that person. I say fortunately because, it’s okay that you don’t know exactly what it is that you want to do. It’s okay that you may not have your entire life figured out. For the ones that do have their entire life planned out isn’t always the happiest, those people probably have never really experienced life and the things that the world has to offer.

“Life is an adventure, not a packaged tour.” –Eckhart Tolle

As hard as it may be to live life the way you want, it is also the most rewarding. Living for other people and their opinions is the quickest way to failure. Trust me when I say not everyone is going to understand your career choice, that’s okay. It’s your life. Follow your passion and ignore the naysayers. There’s so many things I thought about pursuing before finally deciding that being a mass communication major was the best fit for me. I’m that person that can sit around old people and listen to what life was like when they were young. I’m not shy, but naturally I have always been one to listen more than I talked. I stayed curious about everything and was that person that enjoyed being in other people’s business and was called nosey. Now, my nosiness will one day pay off.

“The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dream.” –Oprah Winfrey

If you’re reading this because you’re uncertain of what you want to do with your life, I’m here to tell you how I came across what I feel I was meant to do. As I’ve stated before, I’m not that person that have always known that this is what I would one day do. As I like to say, “I didn’t choose journalism, journalism chose me.” Ever since I was a young girl I thought I would one day grow up to be a dentist, why, I have no idea it just seems like an exciting job. That dream stuck with me until I was a freshman in high school in 2008. That same year Former President Barack Obama was elected as President of the United States of America, for so many it was a time of celebration and most importantly history was made. The first black president, how many people thought that would one day happen? I remember being so inspired that I just knew I would one-day go to college to study political science. So, from the time Mr. Obama was elected until about sophomore year of college I was a political science major. Clearly, that changed for me simply because politics were tougher than I thought. Although I didn’t choose politics for a career choice Obama inspired me in so many other ways.

“The future rewards those who press on. I don’t have time to feel sorry for myself. I don’t have time to complain, I’m going to press on.” –Barack Obama

Then there was a period of time when I had no clue what to do with my life. I revisited the idea of becoming a dentist, I thought about being a nurse because that is what my mother wanted me to do. I thought about being an interior designer, a teacher, even some type of surgeon. Nothing was really jumping out at me, of what could really be my future career. Every now and again I remember watching these exclusive television specials on everyday people. Those stories would cover kids with a parent that was incarcerated, people living pay check to pay check, or young people abusing drugs. Things that are going on everyday but us as a society may not care too much about, because most can’t personally relate.

All the journalists that I admire all tell stories that means something. Journalist gives a voice to the voiceless and bring light to subjects that are meant to be swept under the rug. I once reached out to Lisa Ling, (journalist) on Instagram, not expecting her to respond. I asked her, “what advice would you give to future journalists,” she responded, “travel and keep writing.” I think traveling exposes a person to new cultures and the social norms in other places. To be able to write about it is telling a story that means something. My inspiration is people, because I’m constantly learning from them whether it’s my peers or strangers. It’s amazing how much you can learn about a person if you take the time out to have a simple conversation. With that being said, if any of you are unsure about what you want to do, don’t panic! It’ll come to you when you least expect it!

“There’s so much grey to every story-nothing is so black and white.” –Lisa Ling

Dear Younger Self,

What do you think your life would be like had it come with a step-by-step handbook? Would you follow every direction, or would you say, “I don’t need this, I’ll just wing it?” In a few short years or months, you will be a college graduate. Being young is fun but it’s unfortunate that these are the prime years of making mistakes and learning a series of life lessons. I often find myself wishing I could go back in time to tell my younger self a few things about how to deal with this thing called life and what to do when you’re faced with adversity. Right now, you’re in high school and for some reason there were times when you cared too much about what others thought of you. Why? Now at 23 years old there are some things that I would like to go back and tell your young high school soul.

Here are the top ten things I wish I could go back and tell the younger self.

1.) Accept Yourself as You Are: Not everyone is going to like you and that’s okay. Your opinion of yourself is the only thing that matters. Don’t waste your time caring about what other people think of you. Their opinions have nothing to do with you but more of how they see themselves. If you’re happy with yourself that’s all that matters…period!

2.) Life Is a Journey: You’ll learn more about this in college after failing a class and having to retake it and spending an extra year at your university. There will be many road blocks and detours. You may not have the same friends forever. However, you have to understand that you must let go of the things and people who no longer serve a purpose in your life in order to make room for the things and people who actually matter. Life moves at a rapid pace, so don’t get stuck in one place. Move with it. Trust me, it will be worth it.

3.) Stay Curious & Take Risks: This world is huge and there are over seven billion people in it. Don’t wait for other people to do things with you, take a shot at traveling alone. Do not stay in your comfort zone, all the opportunities are on the other side. Stop playing it safe and learn to be a risk taker. That’s where all the magic is.

4.) Forget the Social Norms: Live life the way you want! Stop being the person everyone else want you to be. People will disapprove of your tattoos & piercings. That’s okay, it’s your life. Don’t miss out on your purpose because you’re too busy living for everyone else instead of yourself. Again, if you’re happy with yourself that’s all that matters…period!

5.) Be Grateful: No you may not have had the perfect life, but you are alive and healthy. Don’t dwell on the past and don’t worry about the future. Everything will work itself out when the time is right. At the end of the day, “You are happy,” because you are equipped with everything you need to be successful, but you have to be the one to tap into that potential and use it.

6.) Stop Being a ‘Know It All’: Sometimes you can be pretty stubborn, but don’t worry you get that from your mother even though she’ll probably deny it, because she’s stubborn and that’s what stubborn people do. The truth is you don’t know everything, even if you think you do…you don’t! Write down every piece of good advice people give you and incorporate it in your life. Always be a student at life because there’s always something to be learned.

7.) You Are Not Alone: Sometimes in life it’s normal to think you’re the only person going through something, but you’re not. We’re all connected in some way and someone is waiting to be inspired by your story.

8.) Luck & Coincidences aren’t real: Maybe in a sense of winning the lottery, but I once heard Oprah say. “I don’t believe in luck, that ‘luck’ is when preparation meets opportunity,” I’m starting to believe this. There’s no such thing I think as being over prepared. If you put 100% into everything you do and do it well when opportunities present itself it’s only natural for good things to happen.

9.) Surround Yourself with Good People: This one can be tough! Often times we allow the amount years we’ve known a person to determine whether or not we should stick around. Whether it’s a friend you’ve known your whole life or just met in college, if they’re not being good to you let them go. Find people who will support you and your “bizarre” dreams. Stand up for yourself and be assertive. Remember you are the person that teach people how to treat you.

10.) Know That Everything Happens for a Reason: Although it’s hard to believe this, it is the absolute truth. Every obstacle that is placed before you are there to prepare you for what is to come. In order to get where you want to be it is absolutely necessary for you to experience failures. Please for the love of Justin Bieber have a lot of PATIENCE, everything happens in due time.

Now I would like to hear from you, don’t forget to comment below a piece of advice you would give to your younger self if you had the chance.