All posts by Laticia R. Little

Stuck in a Pillar of Salt

Have you ever had a something to occur in your life that you just couldn’t seem to get over? It could be anything from an argument to a lost relationship or even worse the death of a loved one. Most of the time, when these scenarios play over and over in our minds it is because they ended suddenly and without resolution. It would be awesome if life were like a sitcom where every challenge we face can be neatly packed and resolved in 30 minutes time or less; unfortunately, life isn’t that tidy! Many times we are left with no answers to our questions. Situations often feel unfinished and unresolved. We might even have words that we feel still need to be said but for whatever reason, there is no outlet.

I personally hate scenarios like this because I am a natural over-analyzer! I have propensity for examining every side of the story to see where problems occurred and why. In the past when I’ve done this, I’ve noticed that all the emotions behind the situation start to come back as if I were experiencing them all over again; the sadness, the anger, the disappointment. While completely in the past, the emotions are all experienced over and over again in the mind. This is not good for our minds, bodies or spirit. Reflecting in this way can affect our health and attitude. This process can lead to depression and even suicidal thoughts. I’ve personally fought hard to stop this cycle and have had some success but today was more challenging. I was driving to church and my mind began to wonder into the past. Just as I was beginning to experience the feelings again, I heard the words “remember Lot’s wife”.

Lot, a character in the book of Genesis, lived in a city that was destined to be completely destroyed for its wickedness. Because Lot was of good character and found favor with God, he and his family were spared from the destruction. An angel came to give him instructions as to how to get his family out. One of the instructions that the angel gave was for none of them to look back at the city to see the destruction. Keeping in mind that they were human, it’s not surprise that Lot’s wife didn’t quite follow the instructions; she looked back. When she looked back, she was instantly changed into a pillar of salt; forever stuck gazing at the destruction of her past life. This story has perplexed me for a long time until today.

As I pondered the folly Lot’s wife that led to her demise, I realized that she, like so many of us, became prey to the peril of focusing on the past. Like her, when we focus our gaze too long on the past we become stuck; not able to move forward and definitely not able to go backwards. What we see when we look back is the destruction of our dreams, our hopes and our perceived future. To make matter worse, there is nothing that can cause a heart to become hardened and bitter faster than focusing on the past.

The challenge is that the past holds a sense of security and predictability that the future does not. We know the past and if given the opportunity, we can fix it or at least that’s what we think! There’s an old saying that “the devil you know is better than the one you don’t”. This is a completely bogus statement! Who wants to deal with a devil in the first place? The truth is that while the future holds lots of uncertainty, it has the greatest capacity for the possibility of change for the better. Even if no movement or physical change happens, letting go of the past and no longer looking back at it, can change the future! We must learn to experience the feelings, the sadness, anger even disappointment but not hold on to it forever.

How do we focus on the future when we have no true idea what it will look like? We start with hope. Hope for something better than what has been before. Then we build on it with faith. Faith that there is good in the world and that good is for us! We hold to faith that God is for us and not against us. With this knowledge we can begin to understand that no change in our lives was ever designed to cause us pain, make us bitter or hold us hostage to the past. With this knowledge we can begin to live in gratitude for all things in our life. Gratitude is what opens the door for better days ahead.

If you are struggling with revisiting the past, make a conscious effort to become aware of when you’re doing it. Then make another conscious effort to shift your focus to something else. Exercise, read a book, play with your children but do something to bring this shift about. If you’re alone and too depressed to get up, simply start with tapping. Take your finger and tap it on the tip of your nose, cheeks or even your ear. This technique has an amazing ability to shift your energy. Yes, I’ve tried it, it works! Remember, life is designed to move us forward, embrace that energy and let it move you from the past into the future. Be blessed!

Living with Intention

photo of man wearing gray shirt near sea
Photo by Kripesh adwani on Pexels.com

If you have spent any amount of time living here on the planet earth, you have had your feelings hurt one time or another.  Some of those hurts were minor infractions that could easily be brushed off and forgiven; others were not so simple.  Some hurts cut you to the very core of your being, leaving you lost and confused for years.  Some emotional hurts are so destructive that they stay with you for a lifetime.  There are many people who live their lives in broken because their wound is too deep to heal completely.  They learned to live with their wound.

On the flip side of the coin is the fact that just as surely as we have been hurt, we too have hurt someone else.  Most of us with a conscience will eventually offer an apology.  Apologies can either be accepted or not but when you care you try to find a way to resolve the problem.  However, there are times when our infractions against the person are so many that simply saying “I’m sorry” isn’t enough.  Sometimes, we can say “I’m sorry” so much that the words no longer have value.

“I’m sorry” is often followed by the words “I never meant or intended to hurt you”.   You would think that simply knowing the person didn’t “intend” to hurt you would make things better, right? Not necessarily, especially in the case of a repeat offender!

Many moons ago, I was married.  If you’ve ever been married, you know that you will hurt each other’s feelings!  Especially early on in the marriage as you are growing and getting to know each other; my husband and I were no exception to the rule!  Most of the time I was able to forgive my husband easily but my problem came in when he did the same thing that caused me hurt over and over again.  I distinctly remember telling him to not even utter the words “I’m sorry” because he couldn’t possibly be sorry for something he continued to do!

I recently had some one to give me the combo of “I’m sorry” and “I never meant to hurt you” together.  My first thought was….and yet you did anyhow!  I was most angry because while he may have never intended to cause me hurt, there was never an intention not to cause me hurt!  This was the also the same reason that I had to forgive him.  I am distinctly aware of the fact that he like so many fail to live with intention.  Most don’t even know what it means to live with intention; most people are still asleep.

So, what does it mean to live with intention?  To me, living with intention begins with a set of guiding principles.  For me, one of my guiding principles is to seek to do the greatest good in all of my interactions and for as much as it is in my power, do unto others as I would have them do to me.  This one principle of mine changes a lot in my life!  You won’t find me being overly critical of people anymore.  You won’t find me engaging in too many conversations where I intentionally take digs at people.  I never seek to embarrass anyone in public.  I communicate my expectations and boundaries in relationships authentically.  Most importantly, I intend not to bring harm to a person through my actions.  I’ve even learned to be a little kinder in my honesty (something I’ve always struggled with being the true Sagittarian that I am)!

There are only a few more guiding principles in my life.  Some I’m exceptionally good at and some….I’m still a work in progress.  However, everyone that knows me would say that they can see these drivers in my life.  No matter the challenge, they know what to expect of me.  Now when I say I’m sorry, the people who know me well understand that I was not aware that what I was doing hurt them AND because is within my power I won’t do it again.  This has become a part of my character.  It is no longer a part of my character to hurt people intentionally!  Notice that I said…”no longer”.  I had to learn a new way of being and now that has become who I am to the world.  This new way of being honors the trueness of who I am at my core.  It honors the light that is within me.   Living with intention allows me to be authentic.  Being authentic brings me joy and causes me to be a peace with myself and with the world.

If you find yourself in a place where you are constantly apologizing or constantly being accused of hurting people, then I encourage to try living with intention.  Begin by defining your guiding principles and then finding someone to help you stay accountable to them; this can be a friend, partner or even a professional coach.  Finally, I want to remind you that you really do have the power to change your life.  You have the ability to live authentically.  You can have a life filled with love, joy and peace!  Choose to live that life and live it with intention to do nothing less!  Be Blessed.

Laticia R. Little, Holistic Life Coach

Nothing to Fear but Fear

Today I concluded that all that is wrong in the world today is a direct result of our fear.  Think about it, fear of Muslims has people wanting to go to war.  Fear of Black people has lead to police shootings and now the random “call the police every time a black person walks by” mindset.  Fear of Mexicans gangs leads some to see the need for a wall.  Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t include that fear of EVERYBODY has teenagers carrying AR-15s to college.  Fears of the past, keep us reliving the same story in our future.

Fear is amazingly powerful.  It has the ability to keep anyone stagnant and worst of all, ignorant.  Fear won’t allow us to learn about new things or people.  This is the piece that catches me off guard the most because truly I can’t see the problem with learning something or meeting someone new.  I recently encountered some folks who shared that they had fears around reading the Bible.  Not surprising because I’ve also encountered people who had fear of the Qur’an, fear of Buddhism and even fear of meditating.    It’s funny though, Facebook has people sharing quotes and teachings from the very books they fear the most!  LOL.   I often chuckle to myself when someone shares a quote from a Buddhist teaching when if you talked to them you’ll find that they are extremely conservative Christians who believe it’s a sin to study other religions.

Now, let me be clear, I’m not talking about rational fears like taking caution while going through a neighborhood that you KNOW is filled with drugs and gang violence.  I’m not saying that we should walk around acting as if there are no dangers in life.  Healthy fear supports us in many ways but irrational fear is different.  Irrational fear is dangerous.

Irrational fear is especially dangerous when it involves religion.  You see, more wars have been fought over religion than just about anything else.  More hatred of others who don’t believe as we do amazingly takes a front seat in religion.  I remember once attending a church where they taught us to fear meditation, other religions and even avoid attending other Christian Churches they may not interpret the Bible as they did.  Me being the curious person that I am, didn’t pay that any mind at all!  LOL.  These statements promoted me to learn even more about other religions.  If I met someone from other beliefs, I would sit like a sponge waiting to hear what they had to say about why they believed as they do.  Honestly, I found a lot of beauty and even found answers to questions that made what I already knew make more sense!  Having let go of my fear around learning these things, I developed a philosophy of life that elevated me and continues to elevate me mind, body and spirit.  Now I even share it with others who are willing to learn.

The irony of it all is that if we would only overcome our fear long enough to learn, we would find that almost all religions share similar core beliefs (haven’t found one yet that doesn’t but I’ll keep looking though).  Just as we share similar beliefs, we share similar lives!  As we get to learn more about each other, we will find that we have more in common than we do not.  This is the gift of my approach to religion and life.  I’ve found brothers and sisters that don’t look like me but are my spiritual identical twins!  I’ve found smiling faces and genuine love in people who don’t even speak the same language that I do.    The end result was an appreciation of the beauty in our diversity.

I encourage you to learn something new today, talk to someone you never have before, experience something that makes you a little nervous.  Remember, God has not given us a spirit of fear but one of power, love and soundness of mind!  Be blessed!

Why Didn’t Our Hearts Break?

This morning in church, I heard a little girl singing a song that caught me off guard.  This Sunday is Easter Sunday and while normally on the 3rd Sunday the youth run the service, this time, because so much was going on, they were only allowed to sing one song.

As these children ranging in age from about 5 to possible 11 entered the stage, the musicians began to play the prelude to their song.  It sounded familiar, so in my head I went through a litany of songs that they could have possibly been singing, “Jesus Loves the Little Children”, no that’s not it.  “At the Cross” or “He Rose,” …. No, not either of those.  I went through all the child appropriate Easter Sunday songs and still the song alluded me.  Once they had all taken their place, I finally realized what the song was and I was in disbelief.

The song was titled “Take Me to the King” by Tamela Mann.  The lyrics go something like this, “truth is, I’m tired.  Options are few.  I’m trying to pray but where are you?  I’m all churched out.  Hurt and abused.  I can’t fake. What’s left to do?”  Now, as an older adult who has survived divorce, raising a child alone, mental abuse, stress, loss, etc.  I have in the past related to this song.  So, had an adult sang this song, it might have struck me differently, but to hear this young child sing it just didn’t sit well with me.  At first, I thought this is entirely inappropriate for a child; then the Holy Spirit started showing me another perspective.

It was as if in that moment, the spirit spoke to me and said open your eyes and see; what I saw broke my heart.  You see, it showed me that a child being molested might find this song appropriate for their lives.  It showed me that child being physically abused by a parent might relate to this song.  It showed me that a child having to raise him/herself and care for their siblings because their parents were addicted to drugs, this child might find a reason to sing this song.  My concern over the lack of appropriateness was immediately replaced by the reality of the world we live in and my heart broke.

Today on this Easter Sunday, I pray for the innocent children.  Today I pray, that those of us who are adults in the body of Christ, remember that we are Christ in this world; we are His hands, His feet, we are His Body.  Let nothing stop us from showing the little children Christ.  Help us to remember that it is our job to uplift them when they are tired, to guide them when they are lost and to prevent that spark of light that is within them from dying.  Help us to remember that no matter the age, we are all subject to suffering and are always in need of savior.  Help us to always have hearts filled with compassion to all who are tired and hurting.

Jesus said to his disciples, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these”.   Father God help the children of the world this Easter to know that the kingdom of Heaven belongs to them.

 

Managing Expectations

One of the greatest challenges of any new relationships is that of managing expectations.  In the beginning, there are always expectations.  Those expectations can define the success or the lack thereof; of the relationship.   So exactly what is meant by the word expectations?  Webster’s definition of the word presents a harmless picture of this word.  It simply states that an expectation is a “strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future”.  The second definition is similar it just makes expectations more personal by saying that it is a “strong belief that a person will or should achieve something”.

Now, call me slow if you need to but I must admit that I didn’t quite get the negatives associated with expectations until I started to look at some of the synonyms for the word; they included:  supposition, conjecture, predictions and assumptions.   When I saw the word assumptions I couldn’t help but to remember the age-old cliché regarding assumptions.  If you’ve never heard it, it references that when we assume, it has a propensity of making us both look like donkeys.  Yes, I’m using the cleaner version.  Then I saw the problem completely.

I began to remember that having expectations isn’t a bad thing.  You should expect some things out of yourself, out of your life, etc.  However, when it comes to people and communication, expectations can create major messes!   Most of us have these beliefs that people will or should achieve something but often, we never communicate that belief!  Sometimes we may even think we have but if we truly reflected on all of our expectations, we would see there are critical things missing.  There is no doubt in my mind that when problems in human relations, there is a problem of expectations being communicated!

I recently experienced this in the work place.  After about 6 months of working in my new environment, I found myself having buyer’s remorse.  I was majorly disappointed in how things functioned in my work environment and it broke my heart.  You see, I had high hopes.  I made the assumption that my supervisor and I both thought the same.  Heck she even stated on an occasion or two that we were a lot alike so I had some basis for thinking this way.  But truly no two people think exactly alike.  They may have similar philosophies but they are never identical. To make matters worse, I projected those beliefs on the new supervisor who was nothing like me.  She also projected expectations onto me, such as my work experience, my time in the area and my familiarity with the environment because she came after me.

Needless to say, that at approximately 90 days, I was not sure about them and they probably weren’t all that sure about me.  At six months, I was pretty much ready to leave and I’m certain they would let me.  It wasn’t until a co-worker and I discussed how I felt as if my trust had been betrayed that I began to pull back the layers of the problem.  My friend said, “You know, the Bible says not to put your trust in man”.  Wow! OKAY…she got me!  As a practitioner of my beliefs, I realized that I had failed to follow the chosen path!  I decided later to look proverbs, etc. about putting trust in man.  I found a verse that said you are “CURSED” when you put your hope or trust in man.  Double wow!

Why is this so?  Why would you be cursed to live in hell?  I know, I know, pick me teacher! The answer is (drumroll please) we put unreasonable expectations on each other and then fail to communicate those expectations fully.  Fulfilled expectations builds or reinforces trust while failed expectations destroy it.  Which further creates great disappointments on both sides of the relationship.  This then leads to unhappiness and suffering.  Which is exacerbated by depleting trust and loss of faith.  When you can’t leave the relationship, in my opinion this is a living hell!  How do I know this?  Let me introduce myself, I am Laticia and I am a recovering “expectator”! (yes, I made that word up)

I have frequently expected things only to end up disappointed because I didn’t effectively express those needs and desires especially in the work place.  Yes, I drank the Kool-aid, I honestly believe humans can work together efficiently, peaceably and have fun doing it.   I also manage to believe that everyone in a management position believes this also and strives to create that exact same vision that I see in my head of what that looks like!  To make matters worse, I expect them to know how to do it AND I expect them to do it like I would….and so, I’ve been cursed to live in this hell up until today. Today, the Lord has truly favored me and showed my error.  He has empowered me to walk in the newness of managed expectations and I am grateful!