I hope this post finds you and your loved ones healthy and safe.
Thank you for your encouragement as I engaged in my January Fast for the new year. One of my goals for 2022 is to deepen my spiritual walk as I continue healing and living out love, justice and liberation in my own life. That said, it is customary for me to engage in a collective fast with my church family to bring our minds, hearts and spirits into alignment with God’s Will. For some, fasting means abstaining from eating solid foods. For others, it may be refraining from engaging in any activity that distracts or deters us from the ability to focus on doing good by others and doing good in the world.
For me, the largest distraction in my life right now is social media. It doesn’t matter how well I curate my feed, or which timer I set to engage for x amount of time. I still seem to find myself frustrated and/or anxious after my planned 30 minutes has grown into hours of mindless scrolling, commenting and forwarding what I deem as “supportive and affirming” memes.
They are usually garbage masked as encouragement, but I digress.
The past 3+ weeks of fasting from social media gave me new insights into a number of areas of my life and how I engage with others. It also gave me back time that I used to focus on my family and actualizing my dreams (as I encouraged you to do in my last newsletter). Dream actualization requires time to reflect, observe, plan, and eventually, act. So I encourage you to find ways to take back as much time as you can during these times of upheaval.
Epiphanies and Changing Course
Given the personal, professional and sociopolitical experiences we are navigating, it has become increasingly more important to have visionaries who can remind us to think beyond the present moment.
A few hours ago, I listened to a sermon by my favorite minister, Bishop T.D. Jakes where he talked about the importance and roles epiphanies have on our ability to change course. He listed 4 traits of what he called a “Teachable Moment.” I am going to respectfully revise the title to Aha! Moments as the focus of his comments were about learning through epiphanies. I added #5 through #7 to the list as Bishop’s notes sparked my own Aha’s! (don’t y’all tell him I messed up his list!):
Teachable Aha! Moments
- Your opinions are derived from your experiences. Your experiences are flawed. Therefore, your opinions can become idolatrous.
- Challenge your process by measuring your outcomes (if it’s not working, stop doing it). You can be gaining the world, but losing your soul.
- Humility is the soul’s greatest response to an epiphany. Anyone who does not exemplify humility has not had an epiphany. Be careful of being led by arrogance [as well as false/opportunistic humility–Note added by author].
- An epiphany will always require a change of strategy. If you change your strategy, you will alter your outcomes.
- Be judicious when sharing your epiphany with others. Not everyone has the emotional, spiritual or intellectual readiness to engage with an understanding that was shown to you.
- Allow room in your head and heart for your epiphany to expand. Learning usually leads to more learning, if we allow ourselves to be open to it.
- In line with #6, be prepared and open to your Aha! Moments (epiphanies) to potentially lead you to the unearthing of “Oh No!” or “Ouch!” Moments where you may have acted from a place of fear, trauma, shame, guilt, etc. Make amends when possible. Course correct as necessary.
I hope this list helps you think about the epiphanies that have come to you or will come to you soon. Whether they are epiphanies regarding your job, relationships inside or outside of your home, or even a new venture you are embarking upon, give yourself permission to take it in, roll it around in your head and heart, learn from it and chart your course!
Sending you and your loved ones my warmest regards and continued hopes for love, justice and liberation in your lives!