Same S@#& Different Year?

Depending on your perspective (and what I’ve seen on social media) 2016 was a challenging year for many folks. From the deaths of loved ones to career changes to the elections, many people were just ready for 2016 to be over. Personally, 2016 was a glorious year for me. I too experienced the deaths of loved ones including my youngest brother Rocky but for me, 2016 was one of the best years I have experienced for many reasons.

What made the year so glorious for me is my perspective on life. For one, I refrain from labeling anything “good” or “bad”, “right” or “wrong”, “better” or “best.” For me, these labels introduce judgment, judgment of our circumstances of life and judgment of the space that we are currently in. If you have followed my writing for any length of time you know that my perspective on life is that we are always right where we are supposed to be and that whatever is happening in our lives at any moment is exactly what is needed for our growth and our evolution into the person that we were created to be.

We tend to look at the events of our lives and try to categorize them or explain them instead of just allowing them to be and looking for opportunity in them. We compare our lives to the lives of others and how we think our lives should look instead of how they actually do look. This is the point where judgment and emotion comes in. We ask the question “Why me?” and “What did I do to deserve this?” We take things personally.

Whether you consider 2016 to have been a challenging year for you or whether you consider it to have been a great year, understand that 2017 will bring many of the same experiences with it because that’s how life works. People are going to die, careers will change, relationships will begin or end, and pain may be experienced, but so will joy.  It will be up to you to decide how you view these experiences. Will you view them through a lens of challenge, or will you view them as an opportunity to grow into your best self? Perspective is everything and it will determine whether your 2017 is much like your 2016 or if it will truly be the best year of your life.

We are imbued with the power to create the life that we want. What’s important to understand is that in this process of creating, any beliefs, fears, practices, or patterns that we hold onto that will hinder with our creation will be challenged. For example, if your desire for the new year is to save money, then whatever belief or practice that you have had in the past that has prevented you from saving money is going to come up in order for you to work through it to get to the place where you can save money. If you desire a romantic relationship but have experienced nothing but heartbreak in the past, then whatever beliefs or relationship habits that you have that have contributed to your heartbreak are going to come up so that you can work through them. Understand that it is for your good and comes up to help you get to the place where you can attract a partner that you can be happy with and sustain a relationship with. It is not here to hurt you.

When these things come up embrace them and know that you are right where you are supposed to be and that what is here for you in any particular moment is just what you need in order to get to the place you want to be.

2017 CAN be the best year of your life but it will be up to you to take the necessary steps to make it so. Making plans, setting goals, creating vision boards, journaling, and the like are all great ways to help create what you want for the new year, but they are only a part of  the plan. Understand that you will experience emotions, doubts, fears and many of the same things that you did in 2016. Also understand that it’s OK. Putting a system in place to help you through these times is one of the best things you can do to help make 2017 your best year.

I recommend a solid spiritual practice as part of the system you create for yourself to help you make this your best year. Whether that system includes meditation, prayer, writing, music, dancing, working out, baths, making luv, or sitting still (daily desserts is what I call them), work to put something in place to help you manage the challenges of the upcoming year because they will come! Remember our motto here at EMDF: “Live and enjoy life FIRST because the problems of life will always be there!”

Whatever you decide to put in place make sure it includes starting your day off with a daily dessert to help you get in a positive mindset to get you through the day. This is part of my personal practice and I can assure you it helps tremendously when life happens! Just remember that everyday is what you make it so while working to make this your best year ever, make ever day of this year your best day!

In luv and dessert,

Leisa Monique


Magnificent Monday-fighting Your Crazy

I came across this clip from the most unlikeliest of places-the television show Divorce Court. This is unlikely because it’s a rare day that I watch television and when I do it’s even more rare that I watch court shows. But a friend posted this and it reminded me of some of what we talk about here on EMDF. Naturally, I had to share it with you guys along with my thoughts.

In the clip the judge is encouraging a defendant (a woman) to let go of her anger and fear. Now you know that we have talked about fear quite a bit in the past and I can agree to much of what the judge says to the defendant. She describes a pattern of fear that causes anger that causes “crazy” and walks the defendant through her pattern of pain, fear and anger. Now I don’t know the whole story and I don’t know what preceded the judge giving the woman this advice but I like what she had to say.

My thought is that we have to understand that anger is a secondary emotion. The presenting issue that makes us angry is rarely if ever the actual issue but it’s usually the memory or experience that the presenting issue triggers that is the actual problem. For example, you may be angry that your significant other who forgot to pay the light bill when it was due and when you were a child you experienced the electricity being turned off because a parent didn’t pay the bill on time. The current situation with your significant other may trigger that memory and cause you to be fearful that the electricity may be turned off and in turn cause you to be angry with your significant other.

This is just an example for the sake of illustration but our previous experiences that caused us pain can still  show up in other areas of our lives today. They can cause us to put up walls and close ourselves off to the world because we are afraid that someone will hurt us again. They can cause us to be angry and bitter and hurt the people we luv because we haven’t worked through the pain of any previous experiences that hurt us.

The one place where I differ with the judge is in making a list of what is wrong with us as she encourages the defendant to do. Most of us are very good at stating what we think is “wrong” with us. I once conducted a class on affirmations and as part of the class I gave the ladies a few seconds to write down 10 things they thought were”wrong” with them; they wrote them down with ease. I then gave them the same amount of time to write down 10 things that were great about them. they had a difficult time writing this list and most could only come up with 3 or 4 great things about themselves. This is unfortunate because we are programmed to criticize ourselves and focus on what is “wrong” with us but rarely are we taught to recognize and affirm the things that are “right” with us.

We are often taught that talking about our good characteristics is tantamount to being cocky and arrogant and conceited. But as long as we are focusing on the areas we need to work on we are OK by societies standards. It’s OK to look in the mirror and take responsibility for the areas of our lives that we need to grow in and acknowledge those areas. I encourage that.  It is also OK to look in the mirror and acknowledge and affirm the areas where we rock! I encourage that too!!

In working through any anger or “crazy” issues that you may have make sure to acknowledge that which makes you great while you are acknowledging the things you need to work on. Acknowledge that you are smart, talented, creative, beautiful, compassionate, impartial or whatever great qualities that make you YOU! Be sure to be gentle and luving with yourself and give yourself the space to be human. We all have fears but we don’t have to let those fears take over our lives and turn into crazy.

As always, your thoughts are appreciated! Also, be sure to download Daily Desserts to Inspire Self-Love for more inspiring ways to affirm your greatness!!

In luv and dessert,

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Yesterday was one of the most challenging days of my life. After an accident that sent a pedestrian to the hospital I began to question a lot. I felt absolutely awful about what happened and kept wondering why did it happen in the first place. I have learned that life gives us experiences that we need in any given moment for our growth and evolution but I gotta tell you, this one sent my mind wondering and even feeling a little down.

In my meditation this morning I was reminded of who I AM: Luv. I was reminded of all of the times that I have demonstrated luv including at the scene of the accident yesterday which turned out to be a tremendous blessing mostly because of the people that I met. During my meditation, this tune erupted in my Spirit and once again, I was reminded of who I AM: a Treasure of the Divine.

 I want to remind you that no matter what happens in our daily lives we are luv’d. Don’t allow the events of daily life to cause you to question who you are at your core. We all are presented with challenges and sometimes make decision that causes us to wonder “what the hell was I thinking,” but none of that changes who we are at our core.

We are human and in our humanness we don’t always do things the way we think we should. But just be reminded that inherent in every challenge or problem lies the solution or the answer. Look there. For surely you will find your treasure.

They’re Family, What Can I say?!

“I sustain myself with the love of family.” 
― Maya Angelou

“Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.” 
― George Burns

“There’s nothing that makes you more insane than family. Or more happy. Or more exasperated. Or more . . . secure.” 
― Jim ButcherPublicity and Advertising

“Other things may change us, but we start and end with the family.” 
― Anthony Brandt

It’s Christmas eve and at the last minute I decided to make the three and a half hour drive home to spend Christmas with my family. Normally I spend Christmas alone-don’t worry, it’s my choice. My children spend Christmas with their father and then visit my parents and I get to stay home and watch Christmas luv stories, bake cookies and eat whatever I want. It’s my own tradition that I have created for myself.

But my mother has been bugging asking  me to come home to spend Christmas with the family. Now I gotta tell you, my family is “special.” Not like holiday T.V show special but more like different or not normal kind of special. But I guess any of us can make this claim about our family and probably do. I typically can spend about, mmmmmmm, half hour with my family before I’ve had enough shenanigans and am ready to head home to sin city. Living here is actually not as bad as spending extended periods of time with my family.

It’s been a very long time since I have been home with my parents and siblings for Christmas and thinking about it brings up fond memories of Christmas’ past and gives me chills at the same time. Aaaahhh, Christmas with the fam! Yep, there is no place I’d rather be than listening to my mother share with me her latest health discovery by her doctor all while smoking a cigarette and then listen to her complain about how she is the only one who cooks and cleans and how she is tired of everyone coming to HER house to celebrate the holidays and expecting her to cook huge meals. This is the same woman who complains if no one comes to her house to celebrate the holidays and eat “all this food” that she took the time to cook.

My brothers? Well, lets just say that it’s a special treat to spend time in their presence. It’s quite fascinating actually. I have never seen such a colorful bunch of folks streaming in and out of my parents house as I do when my brothers are home. It’s not unusual to have extra “family” members and fiance’s whom we have never met before until they show up with my brothers for the holidays calling my parents mom and dad and me sis. My mother, with her complaining luving self, always has extra gifts to give these “children” and future daughters-in-law of hers. You see, there is rarely a day that goes by that the UPS delivery driver doesn’t show up at her door with multiple packages for her from one of the home shopping networks. From hedge trimmers (she doesn’t have any hedges) to watches to cookware to complete skincare sets, my mother has it all tucked away in boxes underneath her bed and in the closets in EVERY room of the house. Ask her “what’s in the box(s) mom” and she will tell you that she has no idea and you will have to open it to see. She’s retired what can I say. My children absolutely luv to go to granny’s house! They’ve come home plenty of times after visiting my parents and say “mom,  look what granny gave me!”  What the h*** does a kid need with hedge trimmers?!

My father? Well lets just say that he spends most of his time sitting on the back patio listening to country music and complaining about my mother and how much of HIS money she spends. To let him tell it he has no ides what she does with HER money and can’t understand why she’s always broke. Everyday he’s fed up with her and his grown sons (who keep moving back home to save money so they can launch their latest entrepreneurial endeavor) and moving to a senior citizens home. He claims that the only one who listens to him is my 8 year old son whom he has declared is his best friend. and when they’re together it’s country music, coffee (yes, he gives my son coffee…watered down hopefully of course. what can I say, he’s my dad) and sitting in the back yard telling stories. My son tells lies stories just as good as my 78 year old father can. Yes, poppi has taught him well!

And then there’s me. I swear I’m adopted sometimes. At least I’d like to think I am but the fact that, according to my mother, I look “just like my father” and according to my father I look “just like my mother” gives it away that I was actually born into this circus family. The birth certificate with my and my parent’s  names on it that my mother proudly displays doesn’t help either.  And you know what, I luv them with all my heart and  honestly, there is no place I’d rather be than with my family…sometimes.

So whether you celebrate Christmas or not you can always celebrate and cherish your family. Because when it’s all said and done, no one will talk about you luv you more with all of your faults and defects than your family will. No one will encourage or celebrate you more than your family. No one will be there to pick you up when you fall and push you to try again when you just want to give up more than your family will. No one!  So take time today to tell your family how much you luv and appreciate them. Then go and have some dessert! You’re gonna need it!