I often reminisce about the good ol' days in college when I could sleep for 3 hours and make it to class, study, go to the gym, attend a board meeting, go to work, and do it all over again with no problem. Even more insane, I did it all without coffee in those days. I was so productive. Now at 32 I have some days where I have no drive, and for the life of me I can't understand why. I am in the mist of running a start up business, I don't have time to zone out for hours and even days. Then one day it occurred to me that my lack of motivation was due to a lack of knowing "why".
The very popular Ted Talk by Simon Sinek explains how people don't really care what you do, but they will become passionate supporters when they know why you do it. I was attempting to operate from the flesh of bones of the day to day tasks, but had lost sight of the soul of why I am not sitting in an office, but rather roaming from coffee shop to coffee shop trying to create a business out of thin air. I needed to find my "why" and the Celebrate Your Life Conference was the perfect divine interruption that I needed.
The event was hosted at Unity Church right here in Houston and featured spiritual leaders, gurus, and authors like Brian McGill, Michael Bernard Beckwell, and Iyanla Vanzant. I've seen so many of these people on podcasts and shows like Oprah's Super Soul Sunday, so I was was expecting to get some big breakthroughs, and breakthrough I did! Here are some of my key takeaways from the speakers that help me reclaim my "why".
Bryant McGill is an aphorist, speaker, and activist in the fields of self-development, personal freedom, and human rights. I had never heard of him til that day but I fell in love with his message. He spoke about society's trap, and how we fall into conformity and assimilation to survive, but all the while are denied being our true selves. He used the analogy of a horse and asked is a horse with blinders still a horse, or has it become a beast of burden? A horse with blinders has been remade. Much like that horse we have been remade in the image and likeness of our society, and to get free we have to question the cultural narrative that we have been sold all these years. I think this is especially true of women. Think of all the billion dollar industries that have thrived on our insecurities, and being sold the message to be pretty, be sexy, be this, be that, and then you'll be liked. There is so much more I would love to share but a few of my favorite quotes from the evening say it all.
* Truth sounds like judgment when you're not ready to hear it.* The starting point of freedom is to begin questioning the cultural narrative you have been sold.
* You are not who you think you are; you are someone else's ideas.
*Without self-realization, you are a mirror of society.
*All discomfort comes from suppressing your true identity.
* If you act falsely everything around you will be false. The moment you try to do something else, expect kickback from not being the you, you represented.
In Conclusion: Society convinces you that you aren't what you want to be, so they can sell you what they make you believe you need to be, in order to be loved, liked, good, and accepted. You have been convinced of who you are, so you never truly come to know yourself. Your true self is greatness. Your true self carries the light of God, the universe, whatever you believe is bigger than you, and it's bigger than everything outside of you. You can only know your true identity by accepting yourself, the way you were as a child before you were taught who to be.
Marianne is one of my favorite authors, I have her books, watch her videos and was soooo excited to meet her in person. She is a spiritual teacher, author, and lecturer. Her most famous book and body of work comes from A Return to Love, summarizing the philosophies in A Course In Miracles.
She started her presentation with her views of our prescription addicted society, especially as it pertains to depression. That isn't to say some people don't have a chemical or medical need for some of these drugs, but her point was emotional pain is a part of life, and there shouldn't be a pill for that. Pain can actually teach us something, and by numbing we are missing out on the lesson, and essentially missing out on a part of life. I had never thought about it that way. Of course I have been depressed before, but once I got through it I was better for it.
In Conclusion: "Psychic pain is like physical pain. It's there for a reason to teach you something". If you broke your leg you wouldn't take a pain killer and never fix the injury. It's much the same way with emotional pain. Something is off, and you have an opportunity to grow from it and make it right. Pain is just part of the process.
This slide is from Bryant's presentation but echoes the sentiments in Marianne's talk.
Iyanla Vanzant was the last speaker of the evening and was the perfect closer for such an uplifting and enlightening event. She is an inspirational speaker, lawyer, New Thought spiritual speaker, teacher, author, life coach, and TV personality on Iyanla Fix My Life.
Instead of making her way to the stage, Iyanla made her grand entrance at the back of the church and marched down the aisle only feet away from me. Everyone grabbed their phones and snapped pictures, took video, and hugged her as she slowly made her way to the stage dancing to a gospel song. I've seen her on stage at the Oprah Love Your Life Tour and she did the same thing, dancing in the aisles touching people as she walked by. Gotta love that!
Iyanla was hilarious! She touched on everything from her love of Heinz ketchup to the best places to find men. Apparently if you go to Home Depot early in the morning where all the contractors are you'll find a buffet of hotties. Her message was about the power of a fall down. Here are some key points.
After her presentation the floor was open for Q and A. That' when I I got one of my biggest epiphanies from the event and my biggest conclusion.
Conclusion: You don't always need to know what you're doing. You only rely on your ego and intellect to figure everything out. Just ask God for help when you're about to self-sabotage, or overthink.
So what was my why? It came to me during Bryant McGill's presentations in a quote from Harriet Tubman where she said that she could have freed thousands more slaves had they only known that they were slaves. The message was reiterated by Marianne Williamson when she talked about Moses going back to free the Jews from Pharaoh. Something about the idea of being free, and going back to save those still in captivity struck me. Being blessed and awake, enlightened and elevated, means nothing if it saves only one, if it could have saved many. The reason why I should work so hard at planning events and writing this blog, is not for money, or popularity, or "likes". It's so I can go back and save my people. For me that's women. Mostly single young women. Women who are giving up on love, frustrated, overworked, competing with other women, body shamed, or feeling like a failure. Women secluded at home and detached from the support of others. My why is for them. To embrace, enlighten, and love all the many women who in some way are not yet free, and don't even know it.
What is your why? Leave your comments below or share this post to Facebook with your thoughts.