Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Art of Be Spotlights “The Art of Ahshaki”

On the surface you see a beautiful woman.
But to know her is to adore her beyond the surface.
Shaped in beauty, she is becoming the art of herself.
Driven by the desires of her heart and the newness of her experiences
She has the courage to look inward and outward
Shaping and sculpting her mind, heart and soul
To be only as she can be


~Lovingly Be 


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

"It Couldn't Be Done!"

Somebody said that it couldn't be done,
But he with a chuckle replied
That "maybe it couldn't," but he would be one
who wouldn't say so till he'd tried.

So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
on his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
that couldn't be done, and he did it!
Somebody scoffed: "Oh, you'll never do that;
At least no one ever has done it";
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat,
And the first thing we knew he'd begun it!

With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
Without any doubting or quiddit,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn't be done, and he did it!
There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
There are thousands to prophesy failure;
There are thousands to point out to you one by one,
The dangers that wait to assail you.

But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,
Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start to sing as you tackle the thing
That "cannot be done," and you'll do it!
~ Written by Edgar A. Guest~

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Change & You "Partners for Life"

If you don’t like something, change it.
If you can’t change it, change your attitude!
~ Maya Angelou
Changes are occurring around us all the time, which impact us in so many ways.  Whether the change is subtle or abrupt, positive or negative, of our own volition or someone else’s; change nonetheless causes us to experience aspects of our lives in different ways.  Some may view change as an opportunity for new possibilities, while others experience the instability of change as nerve wrecking and unsettling.  I propose that we utilize the fact that change is inevitable as a life tip for us to practice being flexible, embracing and observant of change rather than being guarded against it.
So how can we lean into change with an exploratory and appreciative eye so that we may make use of the valuable insight it offers for self-exploration and development?
We can decide to perceive change as a valuable ally to help us to know more about ourselves, highlighting our strengths and uncovering our vulnerabilities.  As wonderful and as scary as this may sound, it’s a good way to observe how we are being in the world.  For example, if change in certain areas of your life makes you nervous, exploring why it does empowers you to develop a greater sense of yourself to address those feelings. Equally, if you happen to enjoy change, the same exploration can still be a catalyst to understanding what it really means to you and how you can utilize what you have learned about yourself to increase your life in other ways.
Partnering with change reinforces your role as a Life Manager and allows you to gain full advantage of the opportunities associated with it. No matter the circumstances that change presents, you can decide to be the beneficiary of the growth that comes with it.
~ Be

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Take a hint from your heart!

The heart is one of the most vital and significant organs in our bodies, without it human life cannot be sustained.  As the key organ in the circulatory system, each day it beats about 100,000 times. The heart is highly resistant to fatigue and receives messages from the body that tells it when to pump more or less blood depending on an individual's needs.  Almost 2,000 gallons of oxygenated blood and nutrients gets pumped from the heart and is traveled to provide energy through miles of blood vessels that branch and cross, connecting the cells of our organs and body parts.  As a maintainer of the circulatory system, the heart is the nucleus to this continuous cycle of providing energy to and getting rid of waste from our bodies.
Drawing on the attributes of the heart can offer us a platform for generating a fruitful and thriving life as well.  Sure there are challenges that impose significant issues for us.  However, the resilience and purpose of the heart has innate qualities that can be transfer ably used to create the value and momentum we often need.
Let’s look at some of these qualities more closely:
The heart has a purpose to provide energy- The driver of the heart is to provide energy as a life force for the human body.  The lives we create for ourselves must have a driver as well. 
Will the driver you choose for your life’s design be as dynamic as the example beating in your chest? 
Will you bring a healthy energy to your life as your heart does for your body?
What a tool of encouragement the heart’s purpose provides us with to stimulate us to be cognizant of the energy we are being, creating and contributing in the world.  As a commissioning theory it can inspire us to be intentional about ensuring that the energy we create is offering constructive value to our life and the lives of others.
The heart works collaboratively – Like any great leader, the heart is a phenomenal point of reference to keep the body alive.  However, it is the details of the unceasing dedication to providing for and working with the systems of the body that make it so fascinating.  The enormity of its purpose is better appreciated by how it dutifully collaborates with the rest of the body. 
Without getting too complicated, the heart basically provides the body with what it needs.  In order to accomplish this we could say it must be attentive, flexible and cooperative with various systems of the body.  This idea is parallel to how we can choose to function in the world and be prosperous in areas of our development.   Adapting the systems approach of the heart to be productive collaborators to pursue our purpose and add value to how we exist is incredibly empowering. Likewise to the hearts cycle of functioning, we too must be willing to get rid of the waste (the useless particles that can lead to dysfunction if not properly deposed of) that is sifted out through this collaborative work. 
The heart is highly resistant to fatigue – The resilience of the heart is a commanding attribute that we can imitate while endeavoring toward our life goals.  As our human bodies are made of incredibly complex systems, so too are our lives as we interact with the world.  Many of the opportunities and challenges we experience in our lifespan will require us to be strong.  Adopting the spirit to be resistant to fatigue when it comes to your life’s design, is a theme that not only will move you when “the going gets tough, ” but will enable you to thrive in spite of challenges, just as our heartbeat does.
As a final point of reference, the heart is identified as an organ that has involuntary functioning. These automatic and instinctive features to regenerate the body are unlike our everyday functioning in life, which are voluntary actions produced by our choosing. Although there is an undeniable difference in how functioning is initialized by the heart as oppose to our functioning in the world, we can inherit these qualities by choosing the practice of infusing positive energy into all areas of our lives and the lives of others.  So let’s take a hint from the heart and its sense of duty as a model of excellence on how to stimulate life.
~ Be

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Reframe Artist

I had the honor of speaking with an 84 year old woman, who had this remarkable talent to reframe a situation.  She like many of us is dealing with issues that have impacted her current standard of living.  Her issues are as problematic as any, yet she crafted their descriptions with the idea that “she had an issue”, not like “the issue had her”.  She is what I call a “Reframe Artist!”
This woman has spent the better part of her life in service of others.  She and her husband of over forty years have raised three children and had a special hand in raising countless grandchildren.  She is currently living in a rehabilitation center after a recent illness that caused her to be in and out of a hospital for about a year.  In addition to her husband’s passing a few years ago; this past year she has buried her youngest son, her only living sister and her best friend all within a few months of each other.
Just to get an idea of the level of difficulty she is facing, I will share one of her issues which surrounds the difficulty she is having in order to leave the rehab center and return home.  It seems that the rehabilitation center and possibly other outside systems are requiring for her to pay an inexcusable amount of money in order for her to be sent home with a visiting nurse.  She like many elderly people today, has to surrender her income in such ways that prohibit her from experiencing her life the way she wants to.  Her independence, her ability to sleep in her own bed and her ability to live in the comforts of her home with the assistance of a nurse’s aid comes with a hefty price!
With a matter of fact expression she said, “This country is not set up for the elderly… they didn’t plan on us living this long! But I will continue to talk about this with the social worker.  I am not giving up!”  I began to think to myself, “My goodness, this woman lives her whole life working hard and raising children, only to be told in her old age that her freedom and well being has a price greater than what she can afford.”
While I was left without words to describe my sadness for her, she swiftly added that, “She is in it to win it!”  Her witty and charming personality seemed to have infused itself into the idea of the problem as she spoke of it in a way that wouldn’t allow her to surrender to it.  With an infectiously upbeat tone she said, “That’s alright, people have given me big numbers to contend with before. I’m gonna be just fine!”  She went on to explain that while she has faith, she also puts her faith to work and continues to advocate for her return home.  She has the support of her family and I am sure she will win, but I couldn’t help but notice how the positive energy she exuded transferred into my thoughts, feelings and spirit.  I thought, “If this woman can remain focused on her goal to return home despite her challenges, I too can remain vigilant about reframing life’s issues.” 
Before I left, I told her that she was a “Reframe Artist!” and the fact that she chooses to reframe her problems in ways that allow her to capture them, rather than allow them to capture her, is nothing short of the Art of becoming at its very best!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I had to get out of my own way!

For every time I said “I couldn’t achieve it because…”
For every moment I decided to give up
For every thought that sustained my unhappiness

~ I was in my own way! ~

For every challenge I make use of to build character
For every goal that grows from within me
For every inspiring emotion that burns with a purpose

~ I have to get out of my own way! ~

For every desire my heart has yet to know
For every experience that unfolds itself before me
For every opportunity to create, evolve and live my life’s design

~ I will stay out of my own way! ~
            ~ Be ~
Written by Nieema Alford

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Product Placement -“The Brand in You”

These days every movie, television show or internet site has a product being advertised on it.  Just recently I watched a movie that had at least eight different products predominantly placed in scenes that probably lasted a minute or two each.  “What great marketing!” I thought. It’s an absolutely brilliant concept that companies have used for years to sell their products.  What better way to reach a wide consumer demographic and increase revenue, than by associating a product or brand in a scene with someone’s favorite celebrity.  Even the idea of associating a brand with the characters lifestyle or concept of the movie is a great way to promote the product and entice consumers to purchase it.  Before you know it people are purchasing those brands because of how it was used in the scene or because it represents an ideal lifestyle that the consumer has or wants. 
This got me to thinking about how we can use the same concept to encourage the process of personal development and self promotion.  How we represent ourselves can be compared to the production, branding and marketing process. 
For example, in the production process, a company establishes what the product is, what it’s made of and through research and testing looks for ways to make it the best product to offer. Similarly, we can establish what we are (what our product/brand is) by asking “who am I”, “What am I made of?” and investigate the findings to determine if your product/brand is the desirable self (product/brand) you seek. This will allow us the creative space to enhance ourselves (product/brand).
In the branding process, companies aim to ensure that the product is distinctly identifiable.  A brand can take many forms, including a name, sign, symbol, or slogan. Likewise, as we interact with our environment we are representing our brand.  For this reason, it is important that we identify the “brand” we wish to represent and ensure that our thoughts, ideas and actions are representative of that brand. 
Finally, in the marketing process a company seeks to determine what the needs are in the environment and how their product/brand can be made useful.  Here is where strategy, is put to use to promote the product, create sales and develop the business.  At this point building strong business relationships is also a key component.  Likewise, we can associate this process with how we examine and utilize the environment to find creative ways to present, promote and develop ourselves (our brand/product) for the profits or experiences we seek.
To start this process, one might begin to ask questions like: “What is my self-brand made of?”, “What does my self-brand offer or represent?”, “Is my self-brand an asset or a need?”, “Do I associate my self-brand with other brands, and why?”, “How do I promote or market my self-brand and has it yielded me the profits or experiences I seek?”, “ When should I go back into the lab, so to speak to work to improve my self-brand?”.  These and other questions help to kick start the process of being the brand you desire.
 Happy Branding!
~ Be ~
Written By Nieema Alford