The things that overwhelm me are the things I invite into my life. My calendar overflows with work, and personal and social obligations. Most overwhelming are the regular life events like being on time for various appointments, scheduling appointments, returning voicemail and email messages, etc. Weirdly, catastrophes don’t throw me off my center. Perhaps I haven’t met a catastrophe big enough, but when tragedy comes I somehow feel like I’m “dealing with it.”
I’ve decided it’s because tragedies require focus and they are not optional. Tragedies demand attention and I give it my fullest, ride it through, even if it’s on a wave of tears.
The nit-picky, mundane details of living a grown-up life can potentially flatten me. Most of the time I win. There are several pages of to-do lists strewn about my office and home with precisely drawn cross-out lines. Victory for me.
Then, truthfully, there are some days those pages stay tucked away. Blame it on laziness, distraction, boredom, and all of the above.
I hoped by writing this post that a magical affirmation would float from the sky and gently land in my lap. “Oh Great Universe, what is the solution to cure my overwhelm?”
Silence. I only hear the breath flowing through my body. It’s as if the Universe is saying, “There is the answer. Slow down and breathe.”
Usually, when I follow that advice, clarity surely wins. I keep myself accountable for the most urgent and release the pressure from needing to do it all today. There’s always tomorrow and if tomorrow doesn’t come, I think I will be glad that I didn’t waste time on the unimportant.
That’s my affirmation for today. Always subject to change….. (more…)
Janet Harmon Bragg is not a common household name but most of us can experience the essence of her story.
Mrs. Bragg was born in 1907 in Atlanta and was raised to believe “if Jack can do it, Jill can do it, too.” Mrs. Bragg received a nursing degree from Spelman, moved to Chicago, and became a nursing supervisor and then a health inspector. But, in the then home of Black Aviation (Chicago), Mrs. Bragg yearned to fly.
She did all the right things. She was the first Black woman enrolled in a grounds school of flying, earned two pilots’ licenses and purchased a plan, but was denied entry as a WW II Women’s Auxiliary Service pilot because of her race.
Despite her disappointment, Mrs. Bragg earned a commercial flying license. She denied the opportunity to fly commercially because, at that time, those paid opportunities did not exist for African-American pilots.
All the right credentials and experiences couldn’t get her to make a living soaring through the air. Seemingly, her dream and passion were grounded.
Later, an opportunity arose for Mrs. Bragg to purchase an apartment building that she converted into a recovery home for patients receiving public assistance. Another opportunity came and she went on to provide nursing care in a 22 room mansion that also housed students visiting from Ethiopia.
In 1955, the nurse by trade and the pilot by passion was a three-month personal guest of Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie.
While Mrs. Bragg may have dreamed to be in the clouds, her story shows that with coming through disappointment, opportunities and untapped talents can travel and form in emotional and physical places never before imagined. While her physical plane was grounded, Mrs. Bragg allowed other dreams to soar.
Opportunities can bring forth multiples dreams.
In “Dreams,” Langston Hughes wrote:
Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.
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