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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