Let the Mud Settle

June has been an interesting month. This June has certainly contained its share of ups and downs, twists and turns. Many good days, a few stressful ones. Perhaps you feel the same.

Every now and again we all might feel we could row in the same boat. We share how busy we are or stressed. We are all going through something at any given moment.

Saturday morning I did not feel like dragging myself out of bed to exercise. I wanted to sleep in. I wanted to rest and spend my morning doing nothing.

But on the other hand, I cannot talk about how I want my health to be good while I ignore opportunities to make it better.

Though I arrived a few minutes late, I made it to Yoga and then stayed for Pilates.

It was so hot out I just wanted to lay on my mat in the shade instead of sweat in the sun. I pushed past that mental block for most moves and it eventually felt good to be out there working.

The yoga teacher said something during our practice yesterday that resonated so loud I had to write it down following our final relaxation pose when we wrapped up for the day.

She said “Do you have enough patience to let the mud settle until the water runs clear?”

If you have never practiced the art of yoga, it is about slowing down and being concious in mind, body and spirit. It gives you a chance to settle and focus…hit reset. You spend a lot of time breathing and moving quietly.

You might say but I know how to breath already. I’m alive. I would challenge there is a difference between breathing to stay alive and breathing to feel alive.

When your mind is clear and you have a chance to pause all the stuff you have to think about, worry about or do, you get a better chance to actively participate in your life. You can feel more alive when you remove the extra distractions.

Her statement resonated with me because through good and bad news, on easy and tough days, I can be quick to make moves, focus too hard on the details, lose the big picture (or do just the opposite), freak out or jump to conclusions without letting the mud settle.

Sometimes things are easier to manage when you give the sediment, crap and muck time to settle to the bottom or get out of the way so you can get clean, clear water. Then you can think straight, see straight and make decisions that help you. It takes patience and work.

So what is the next thing you’re fighting to achieve? Waiting on? Praying for? Need clarity concerning? And…are you willing to let the mud settle?

What do you need to practice your patience on this week?

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Smartphone Free is Freedom

Recently, I joined two friends for dinner and drinks. Just before we linked up, my phone died so I left it charging nowhere near me.

My two friends spent much of the night engrossed in their emails and facebooks and instagrams, incessantly scrolling.  Not the least bit interested or engaged in the live in-person conversations I was trying to have.

Thus I spent much of the evening people watching…quietly. On the one hand I was wanting to demand we pay attention to each other and oh the other hand feeling like why bother? If I have to fight for their attention, they don’t really want to give it to me.

The most surprising thing was actually feeling free without my phone. No apps to open, no texts to respond to, no calls, no emojis, no notifications. I didn’t even want my phone back.

I rarely am without my phone and charger at any given moment. It made me realize how I make others feel when I’m disengaged and solely phone concious. I need to drop my phone in my bag sometimes and forget about it.

Of course later that night upon returning to my phone with a few more percents in battery life, I was back in the addiction. I saw no faces and heard no voices.

What can I do to be more present?

I actually wrote about this when going through a personal and professional goal setting course a few years ago. I wrote SMART goals about my life. Be Present. Huge challenge still.

Our digital lifestyles sometimes neglect our need for true human interaction. We need to disconnect to connect more.

I find myself wrapped up in my phone on my daily commute while riding the train. Some days it’s nice to limit screen time and just look out the window, read a magazine or check out the newspaper.

I certainly don’t feel guilty about accessing and using the helpful tool that is my phone. It’s wonderful but there are times when I can do more by being present in the moment with people.

How many other things in life might I be missing by not putting my phone down?

These days we are less connected with our endless connections. Remember that when you find yourself so enticed by your phone screen that the world passes you by. Some days put the phone down and be free.

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Standing at Millennium Park Fountains in Chicago

Right to R.E.A.L Love: How to Make a Relationship Last, Episode 3

Here it is! The final episode of my series on the Right to R.E.A.L Love radio podcast.

In this episode, Jay and I wrap up our discussion to address the question: What can we do to ensure that our relationships last?

We leave you with these key takeaways:

1. Why our relationships can only be as healthy as we are

2. Ways to make a relationship last

In this episode and episode 2 we talk a little more about resources and books that can be helpful to couples.

Supporting your partner in the relationship you commit to is so important. You should do everything you can to learn about your significant other. You can lean on each other and learn from each other to make your relationship last. I am so happy to have the right kind of support in my relationship. Our great love and friendship for each other keeps our bond strong. It feels amazing to be so confident in what I have and who I share it with. 

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Be sure to also look up these books we mentioned during the series that can help you.

1. A Conversation Piece: 32 Bold Relationship Lessons for Discussing Marriage, Sex, and Conflict by Tiya Cunningham-Sumter

2. The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman

3. Purpose and Power of Love and Marriage by Dr. Myles Munroe

4. Understanding the Purpose and Power of Men by Dr. Myles Munroe. There is also a counterpart book for Understanding the Purpose and Power of Woman.

What other relationship books would you recommend? Please leave a comment below and share with us what has helped you.

Whether married or not, there are key relationship lessons to learn and take with us in life. This podcast was aimed at singles but does not mean married couples cannot gain knowledge or insight. I have heard many times from married people that the best time to prepare for marriage is before you’re married. I’m certain life does not become easier just because you’re married. Same as it’s not necessarily a walk in the park if you are single and dating or in a long-term committed relationship. No matter the stage or time put into a relationship, it takes work.

What are you bringing to the table and what do you need your partner to bring to the table to make your relationship last and your love grow deep and wide?

Hopefully during this series, my first radio podcast, you learned something and gained some insight on how to make your current or future relationships last.

Remember to have fun with each other, show respect, have trust and give each other the space you need to make your love grow over time. May your relationships last for several seasons and develop in its purpose.

The more you communicate with one another about where you are and where you are going, the easier it is to know if the relationship is right for you. Remember everything has its own time.

Listen to episode 3 here:

http://righttoreallove.com/make-a-relationship-last-part3/

Five-K Me: 2016 Summer of Wicked Workouts

In 3 weeks I will be doing my first 5K. It may not seem like much but I’m actually pretty excited about it. Much more than expected.

I don’t think I have done a bib race since running the Indy 500 half-marathon in Indianapolis many moons ago. We’re talking at least 10-11 years ago.

I have never been much of a runner. I can walk for miles but I do not enjoy running. It just doesn’t jazz me up but back in the day I was briefly into running.

Earlier this year one of my coworkers said she wanted to do a 5K walk. I did that thing where I was like, “Great idea. Yeah that sounds fun. We should look into it.” Meanwhile I had no real intention of doing it. Then it turned into a group wanting to do it and get our lives and bodies together. I was placed in charge of planning.

We all need friends who nudge us and pull us along on good ideas like this. I researched races all over the city and ultimately we whittled down to this fun one where gospel music will be played throughout.  It is family-friendly and will be held along the lakefront path of Chicago. Another major plus is all the money from the race will go to support a cause all of us are passionate about — poverty alleviation. It will be an uplifting, energizing and encouraging day for us all.

Other than hoping for good weather, we have also been making our own personal adjustments to get prepared. Taking walks and eating better are a few of the intentional changes. Talking about it at work keeps us motivated and we may even do more races in the future.

I’m not looking to become an ultra-marathoner or anything. I just want to kick off another wicked workout summer right.

Pretty soon I’ll  also be back to my regular weekly shenanigans with 3 hour sessions of yoga, pilates and zumba. Sweating hard, not looking pretty, constantly ready to quit but with a milestone birthday waiting for me at the end of this year, now is a better time than any to keep climbing uphill on this quest to get my heart healthy and my body right.

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Summer 2015 Workout. That's me front left

We all got to start somewhere. What people sometimes forget is baby steps forward is still progress. Remember it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.

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Summer 2015 workout with Zumba instructor Iris

This One’s For You

Mother’s Day is a beautiful celebration of our existence in this world. We would not and could not be were it not for our mothers.

For all the restaurant rsvps, home-cooked meals, cards and social media shout-outs that occur on this day, there is also a lot of people who don’t celebrate or may be filled with more sorrow than joy.

This post is to recognize more sides of the spectrum. This day is not to make you feel isolated or uncomfortable. We all can share in this day. It’s your day too.

If your loved ones are not able to be here, I break for you and your hurting. I too, share in the sadness and reflection on those who are gone.

There are way too many mothers and grandmothers and babies who seem to have left too soon even if they lived long lives. This day includes them too. Today is also for all the cousins and sisters and aunts who impacted us and cared for us with their motherly instincts. 

To the women of our lives here and gone, we celebrate and thank you. These women of our lives who love us and that we love are special heroes.

Some children hurt as they long for a better relationship with mothers who are both here and gone. I do not doubt that the distance can be lonely and the longing can be great. Know you are a child worth celebrating. We are glad to know you. We recognize such relationships can be so damn challenging. Stay encouraged.

Women are so incredible and multi-faceted. Many stay home working full-time caring for kids and households Many others take up part-time and full-time jobs outside of the home yet always wear the second hat of full-time mother.

Consider mother’s day to be an extension of international women’s day. All women in our lives are teachers and learners regardless of the children born of their bodies, adopted into their families and those who choose not to have children.

You women set powerful examples. You are our businesswomen, politicians, lawyers, executives, teachers, learners, pilots, architects, engineers, artists, IT specialists, dentists, doctors, customer service reps, nurses and writers among many other careers.

More of what makes you “mothers” great:

1. You overcome great obstacles

We know there are inherent challenges and obstacles that come with being a woman. It is unfair and the mountains are unfortunate but WE ALWAYS OVERCOME. We are stronger with every step that carries us to the next mile. We cannot and will not be stopped. Don’t be discouraged.

2. You are determined

You have the power to create the life you choose. You make the life, the career, the family, the home atmosphere, the work environment that you are proud of…that build up your legacy as a woman of positive impact.

3. You know when you need help

Asking for help is a sign of strength. If you are in a marriage or relationship, making sure your partner is the true definition of a partner is key. A mate who is supportive, respectful and champions you on in your greatness goes a long way when you need help, which you will need so you don’t run yourself ragged. Find someone that you can feel the same way about regarding support, respect and championing.

To the wonderful women of our lives, we love you and need you and recognize how much you mean to us.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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Be More Than Happy

It’s May 1st!! Ahh we are 5 months into 2016. How amazing. College kids are graduating and getting ready to embark on the next phases of their adult life. High school kids seem mainly focused on prom for now but truly probably fighting some nerves surrounding their next steps. Some off to college, others off to work, probably all wondering what their future holds.

We find ourselves immersed in spring showers here in Chicago. The warm weather is not consistent yet but it is clear we have arrived in a new season. A fresh month and a chance for new starts.

We also celebrate a world of mothers next week which reminds me it is hard to believe a year ago I shared this post about what I have learned from my own mom.

Later this month we reflect back for Memorial Day. Paying respect and honoring heroes. May is packed to the brim with preparations, celebrations and activity.

Before we fall face first into summertime, we can take advantage of this month to really get ourselves on track and our lives in order. If you’re anything like me, you’re not perfect meaning you set goals, get really great momentum and occasionally life happens and you get sidetracked.

I have been on this path of getting my fitness up and taking care of my body and health. I am taking on a holistic stance to give myself my very best. My physical, mental, spiritual self are all impacted by my actions. Those around me can also be lifted up or dragged down when they come into my space depending on my energy and self-care. I always want to build others up but that starts with myself.

Before I got sidetracked a few weeks ago, I was eating salads I made at home regularly for lunch. I was exercising at least 3 times a week. I started walking more before and after work. I had been seeing great progress then I set it aside. 

Now I’m getting back on track this week. It is not just about being happy. It is about feeling whole.

Happiness has always been a fluid concept to me. Situations and things and people bring happiness but when those things shift, change, leave… sometimes the happiness disappears with it.

My goal is joy. I always felt like joy has roots that can’t be easily shaken. Joy begins internally and radiates outwardly. I like being happy but I love being filled with joy.

Make it a great May!!

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Me as a kid

All My Love

I am so proud to say this week I am celebrating 1 year of my blog being alive! Since Sunday April 26, 2015, I have managed to write a new post every Sunday and what a year it has been. It feels great to have arrived at this blogiversary.

Just this weekend I hit another milestone while achieving another goal on my 2016 vision board. I was interviewed for the Right to R.E.A.L. Love podcast. It was so fun and such a step in the right direction away from my comfort zone.

My podcast topic was “How to make a relationship last.” It was such a fun conversation and not an intimidating interview at all. Host, Jay Mayo really made me feel comfortable and we had such a great discussion on the topic. The episode will be aired in May so I’ll be sure to let you know when you can check it out.

I wanted to write about this topic today though because it is always relevant to discuss love and relationships. It is a topic that affects us all in one way or another.

All of this love stuff can get messy on occasion and might need some untangling.

If you spent anytime this weekend watching Beyoncé’s visual album Lemonade, you know what I mean.

People want love and relationship so bad but what does it take to make it work? To really make it last?

Jay asked me some brilliant questions during our dialogue together like, “How can couples survive the tough times and remain together?”

Well as I heard Queen Bey say she learned from her grandmother, “Nothing real can be threatened.”

Now even after the recording has been completed, there are more things I wish I would have said. Love is so deep and intricate and needs more time to unpack the layers of what it takes to develop in relationship with another person.

You’ll hear everything I shared when my podcast episode is released but today I wanted to drop a few nuggets we talked about. I would also love to chat further with anyone interested in this topic. We can connect on Skype, Twitter (@dilaunwhite), over a cup of tea or whatever works.

I hate small talk but I could chat for hours about meaningful topics like this. I also fall to pieces with delight at any chance to peek into someone else’s brain about things like this.

Anyhow, to get back to the meat of our discussion, we landed on 4 big things it takes to keep balance in a relationship and make sure it stays strong enough to last.

1. Foundation
2. Communication
3. Fun
4. Space

Many people lack these things and waste a lot of time with the wrong people or building relationships with the right people but in the wrong time.

When the podcast comes out, I will do a follow up post and share even more about the conversation I had with Jay as we took a deep dive into this topic.

I will also explain more about what I mean for each of the four requirements as well as add a few more to the list.

For now, Happy First Birthday Life Untangled! Thanks for transforming my Sundays and getting me energized for a new week, every week. It’s amazing what we can do when we stop saying ‘we can’t’ and actually start making moves.

To wrap up with a Beyoncé quote because I can, “Imma keep running cuz a winner don’t quit on themselves.” This year I am keeping my running shoes at the ready.

What goal are you determined to accomplish this year? I want to hear about it.

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Where Everybody Knows Your Name

In my adult life I always wished for a place to settle in. A neighborhood to know long-term that would in turn know me and fit well.

As a kid, I moved around a bit. It was for a variety of reasons but I never took root in one place for too long. When I started going to school with kids who had been in the same house their whole life, I wanted that. I don’t know why but having a local place to go where people recognize you always seemed fun to me.

Don’t get me wrong I don’t hate that I moved a lot. In fact with age I have appreciated it more and more. It taught me how to adapt quickly to new environments and new people which I feel quite comfortable with these days. I adjust to change quickly and I love that.

I also learned in a variety of new environments the constant is me. The variables are the people and things around me. That mentality has taught me self-confidence, self-awareness and contentment. It has also taught me to accept others. I am so grateful for who I am and what I have learned from where I came from.

The not so fab thing about it is I am fairly comfortable detaching when I feel like the season has run its course and come to an end. I wrote about this last week if you want some context.

So fast forward to…I moved to Chicago a few years ago and for two and a half years I have been here. I always lived near Chicago, in the suburbs, outside city limits but never quite in the city since I was a baby.

I have been doing my best to enjoy and explore the city especially my neighborhood since moving here. Even if it is something small, usually not more than a couple weeks will pass without me having a city adventure someplace.

One of my goals was to become familiar as a local. When family and friends come visit, I can have the best spots to take them for food, drinks, dessert and entertainment.

My boyfriend has actually managed to master a lot of this already. He goes in some of our favorite places and everyone is thrilled to have him there. People call him out by name, share all the details of their life and really enjoy keeping connected with him. We have had a good share of free perks because of his mayor-like personality.

I actually have found a local bar less than a block from home that feels so much like the show, Cheers to me, it’s crazy. In the past couple years I have invested in learning about the people who work here so I could have a cool place to call my own as a local.

It has been around so long that you can always catch some of the same people on a weekly basis. They serve free food occasionally and always have free popcorn. When you come in, the custom is greeting everyone. I made this place a stop following my last birthday celebration. It’s like family here and once you’re in, you’re in. I love that.

Really it’s about building relationships and friendship with people. I believe we are all much more connected than we act like in our day-to-day life. When we have meaningful encounters and connections with people that are undeniable, that is how we change the world. We change the world by getting to know people and allowing them to know us in return.

In getting to know what else my neighborhood has to offer and keeping up with my Alderman newsletters, I have been setting roots like never before. I’m invested in my future here and overall as a Chicago resident even if I don’t live in this particular neighborhood forever.

I actually just registered for my first Chicago Public Library card on Friday. I just voted in my first Chicago Primary election a few weeks ago. I am shaping a future where I get to know more people and they get to know me. I simply cannot wait until I walk into many more places and everybody knows my name. 

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Distance Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

I went to the same junior high and high school with a small group of the same people. A few of us went to the same college together too.

We graduated, entered our career fields, lived our lives. Some got married. Some had kids. Some worked and traveled and played.

Nowadays unless you already do everything to keep in touch with old school friends, we tend to catch up for birthdays, funerals, babies being born and weddings.

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The twins sharing their brother/sister dance

It is a personal shortcoming of mine to not keep in touch with people. With age, my circle keeps pretty small. I have good intentions and mean people well but without a whole lot of action to reach out regularly, I really do a poor job of staying up to date with old friends and loved ones. I am always constantly working on that one.

One of my dear friends got married this weekend and boy I got so many blasts from the past. It was so fun to see, laugh and catch up with old friends. It has honestly been several years since I have seen most of them.

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Laura & Dilaun

We re-lived school memories, talked about all the pieces in our lives that are new and changed. A beautiful day full of flashbacks and yet celebrating my sister friend who looked stunning and blissful on her day of marriage. Another new beginning to keep in touch about.

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With the Beautiful Bride

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I was so glad to be in the same place with her family who I consider my family too. I spent so many nights in their house. We grew up learning from each other. There was a lot of fun and love there. I was overcome with such joy being close to them again, sharing hugs and stories, introducing them to my significant other. Everything felt familiar like the old days and with the exception of a little passed time, we fell back into the same routines.

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Love them! Bride's family

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Distance makes the heart grow fonder but if you can keep the distance from growing, you’ll be better off.

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Congratulations to my loving friend, Diana, and her new husband Joel. I wish  you two all the love and happiness in the world. Enjoy Hawaii and let’s see each other before the next wedding, birthday or funeral to come.

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The Happy Couple

To Thine Own Self Be True

For several days last week I attended personal and professional development seminars. One seminar was actually to gain training in preparation for the kick-off of a major project for a partner company I work with.

Over the course of 3 days I spent in Predictive Index (PI) training, it became clear the training would not only help my coaching techniques for the pending project but also could prove beneficial with my own staff.

“The Predictive Index® leverages a simple methodology that empowers you to understand the true behaviors of your workforce so they can take you where you want to go.”

Their sites states, “People are super complex. Decode the complexities and realize what drives workplace behaviors so you can ensure alignment, reach your team’s true potential, and achieve your business objectives faster than you ever thought possible.”

I won’t dive into what I learned about the other 3 motivators but will focus on what I learned about myself for this post. Many of these things I already knew to some degree but it is always interesting to hear more about what motivates you.

What motivates me impacts how I see and interact with the world. I learned I talk through things to be sure I have learned it which I was a bit surprised about. I am really motivated by personal, positive (sometimes public) feedback. I enjoy influencing people for a postive response according to my PI profile.

The profile analyzes drives and predicts behaviors. I took a quick assessment and PI gathered all this data and information. I was definitely skeptical at first but the more I learned, it seemed far more accurate than expected.

The behaviors you might see from me because of my drive is good communication, influence, empathy, enthusiasm, fun. I am a natural motivator, persuasive and adaptable to lots of different situations and environments. I also like clear expectations, fairness and performance feedback. If you want stuff to be done right, give it to me. I’ll be careful and accurate even though I like variety, am comfortable multi-tasking and don’t mind pressure.

The reverse side is I am not competitive, don’t like conflict and am not driven solely by winning or losing. I am in the business of people over tasks.

I mean think about learning the ins and outs of yourself. I also learned more about those around me and what drives them to display the behaviors I see.

I know statements like that make people nervous they’ll be analyzed and judged but I think the more we know about ourselves, the better we can stay true to who we are while also being empathetic to others. We can help people learn what we want and need in friendships and relationships of all levels.

The other day of professional development training I had to break up PI training was around the topic, “Making the Transition from Staff to Supervisor.”

It was training around transitioning from player to coach, building a team, managing the team and action plans for growth. The cool part was that there were some major themes that popped over from the other training I had been part of. It was really an opportunity to establish myself in learning what I want out of my recent promotion and where I can make the most impact at work and outside of it as I make more career strides.

I’m grateful for the things I learned. I already have action plans and goals to begin putting some of my knowlege into play. Being true to myself is a matter of principal. I mean if I can’t be real with me, how could I be real with you?

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