Posts Tagged With: advice

Think BIGGER


Dear Self,

I get that your desire is to locate a second job for supplemental income. However, I need for you to think BIGGER. Maybe you’re not able to find the job you seek because it has yet to be created. Use this time to tap into your passion inorder to create a purposeful yet lucrative second income for yourself. Think bigger! Be bolder! And do NOT let money cloud your judgment. If you settle for less than you deserve, you’ll get even less than what you settled for. Hard was never easy and easy will never be hard. Hiya! So exercise your creative juices and believe that this to shall come. And so it freakin is! This is myTRUTHmyCLARITY. 

From,

Self 

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LIVING the WORK

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Almost 2 months ago I established some personal goals for myself. These goals align with my plan to transition back into the USA in July. I already recognize the challenges I will face upon my return. One challenge being the thought of falling back into old habits and the second being the process of reintegrating myself into the western way of living. This is why I established the following goals:

1. Be STILL
2. Be PRESENT in the MOMENT
3. Live within your needs

At first glance these three goals may appear to be quite simple to conquer but trust me…it’s been no easy task. Two months later, I must say it has gotten much easier but I still have my moments of weakness (especially over the weekends). Hence, this is why I call it….’doing the work’.
Being STILL has spoken largely to the idea of me not feeling like I have to be DOING something every second, minute, hour, day and or week. I have challenged myself with the task of being ok with not doing anything. Given my current placement (remote region of Abu Dhabi) there really isn’t much to DO. A typical day consists of me heading to work, the gym, and then back home. If I were to fill in the gaps, I use my transit time to read. I use my gym time to work out, reflect and write. And I use my home time as I so choose. Typically, I watch a good movie, TV show or find ways to get closer to my source (via: art, walks, meditating, saying affirmations, ECT). Many folks are probably wondering what else I do? My response noTHING! Lol. Think about it….I mean REALLY think about the last time you did noTHING by choice. Simply making YOU time a priority, BEING with your source and exercising true and authentic peace/contentment. It’s amazing how quick we associate noTHING to do with boredom which leads me to believe we need THINGS to entertain ourselves. News flash folks! We are human beings, not human doings! Lol. Sit down somewhere and be still. Furthermore, I challenge you not to ask the next person what they are DOING today….ask them how are they are BEING today. The responses are amazing….and the ones who look at you crazy are the main ones who need to rest their mind, body and soul. Afford yourself some stillness……

Being present in the moment has been difficult. Naturally my ego wants to take over because of the anticipation of my next journey in July. This moment feels a lot like the semester of college. You’re so close to the end but yet still so far. In my moments of weakness, I often think about my next apartment, car, and other silliness. Mind you…..spending all this time living in the future while my life in these moments slips on by. The only moment we will ever have is right NOW. Therefore, I have been more aware of my thoughts and when I notice my ego trying to drive me back into the past or propel into my future….I simply say “STOP IT…” out loud to myself. It snaps me out of the day DREAM. I have the time and lack of distractions to master the manipulative ways of my ego. I shall not fail!

 

Living within your needs forces one to rid themselves of THINGS they really do not need. Well, doing this was easy. I pretty much send home about 90 percent of my salary. Lol. So living off of a hundred dollars a week has forced me to pick and choose between my needs and wants. For example: I no longer drive to work, I take a bus provided by my company. I do not eat fast food anymore. Social time doesn’t involve spending money frivolously. I hand wash my laundry. I turned off my cable. I downgraded my rental car. And shopping is no longer a form of entertainment. Lol. I never said it was going to be easy but having been successful thus far makes me feel pretty good!

 

I walk away from this country around July 15. I came here with three goals and they were:
1) travel
2) pay bills
3) save money

22 months later, I feel compelled to add one more goal and that is to be a better person than I was when I left the USA August 2012. Upon my return, I don’t want to slip back into old habits. Life is all about serving on purpose and evolving. One month remains….I look forward to finishing my ‘work’ and leaving this country a better man.

Wish me luck!

 

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Embracing the UNKNOWN

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What is this feeling of uncertainty that continues to come and go. I find myself contemplating my future knowing that my life is already mapped out for me. All I need to do is simply enjoy the ride. Yet, I still ponder the future.

Lately, I’ve been trying to decide whether or not I want to continue my journey overseas. The alternative is to go back to the states. There are a number of reasons I want to stay overseas and many reasons why I’d like to go home. However, I want to focus my attention on the bigger influences.

Remaining overseas continues to be an option because I recognize I’m doing something most people only dream about. They fear taking that first step and ultimately miss out on their opportunity. I’ve taken that first step and overcame the fear by turning it into curiosity. I’m here now and life is pretty simple without the hassle of bills and quite exciting now that I have the resources to travel the world……literally. I’m able to save a little money and I’m continuously being exposed to something new which makes me feel so alive. Additionally, I’m doing what I love and impacting the global community. I’m so grateful and truly humbled by this entire experience.

Returning home brings about a comfort, safety and peace of mind because there’s a familiarity that exists. Additionally, I’d be surrounded by my closest friends and family. The distance is the biggest challenge I face since I’ve moved overseas. There’s an “alone ness” that shows face at the most random moments. However, I’ve also recognized how much I needed this time WITH myself….it truly has brought me closer to my SOURCE. Going home feels easy, predictable, safe and quite honestly it lacks any real genuine excitement. Don’t get me wrong….reconnecting with the people I love most will clearly be worth it but I wonder where my head will be after the reunions. Will those old feelings I felt prior to moving overseas return after a few months? Will I fall back into debt? Will I feel like I cut my overseas experience to short? Sigh……….and this is a perfect example of…..MIND CHATTER!

I read somewhere that when you don’t know what to do…..just be STILL and LISTEN. It’s interesting because I’ve ALWAYS taken the road less traveled. Hell, I’m infamous for going off the path and creating my own lane. It’s always been the reaction of friends and family that let me know that I’m aligned with my PURPOSE. So when people don’t understand my choices, or question the why, or wrinkle their forehead out of curiosity and confusion……THAT’S when I know I’m aligned with doing what feels right. Because what feels right to me has always been difficult for many people to understand.

I know exactly what I want to do….but I continuously am battling with my EGO. It’s telling me to go home, settle down, work on my retirement, develop a routine, and save money for a rainy day. Be close to family and friends and acquire success by moving up the ladder of hierarchy that has been instituted across the spectrum of all fields. Why? Because EGOs recognize happiness as being connected to what you HAVE, what you DO, and how you LOOK (ECT….)……in COMPARISON to the people around you.

I love my country despise the systems of norms that are in place but if one deviates from these systems they simply will get ‘left behind’. Often referred to as the rat race…..working extra hard just to keep your head above the water. The rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. Paying taxes, expensive healthcare, debts, bills, and the constant reminder of what you don’t have. It’s a lifestyle I have no desire of returning to right now.

Then why do I battle with the decision of returning home or staying overseas? Well…like I said I will focus on the big influences. When you have nobody to share your greatest moments with, living overseas can be a very LONELY life. I’m thankful for each and every moment I’ve experienced overseas but when I look to my left and then my right and no one is there…(that I love)…it can be a very difficult moment to truly embrace.

However, I’m killing my curiosity and living out my dreams. I could leave this earth tomorrow and truly rest in PEACE because I am so grateful. I truly believe we are put on this earth to evolve and serve. I continuously ask myself…..how can you be better than you were on yesterday? And are you passionate about the service you are doing right NOW? And my answer is YES!……

Love and happiness come as a result of you doing what you were put on earth to do. And I think it’s important to recognize that love and happiness comes in many forms. A person just needs to be open to receiving it……..so SELF do yourself a favor and continue to just let life lead this dance. Follow your heart fearlessly because ultimately you know you are going to be okay. You were put on this earth to do a service. More importantly upon your departure your legacy will live on. Your legacy will continue to be one that speaks to people changing their fears into curiosity and living out their greatest dreams.

Consider these thoughts organized….now LET…..THEM…..GO!

 

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my TRUTH my CLARITY

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my TRUTH my CLARITY

 

I am so thankful for each day I get to open my eyes and take in a breath of fresh air.

 

As I reflect on my 31 years of living……I sip on this satisfying glass of Chardonnay, take in a deep breath of air, kick up my feet…throw my head back and let the following words, “thank you”……. dance down the walkway of my tongue, and through the tunnel of my lips………..

 

Out into the physical space of my villa these two words dance around the room and then propel up towards the infinite space that envelopes our global community………

 

I sit comfortably on my couch grinning at my reflection in my living room window because I know the alcohol is beginning to invade my blood stream….

 

But suddenly life stops for a split second and ALL becomes clearer. I receive a thought of knowing that I am EXACTLY where I’m supposed to be.

 

I put my glass of wine onto the table, stand up and suddenly feel the urge to dance with life …….because today is a celebration!

 

As I embrace my thirty first year of living……I invite life to lead this next dance into year thirty two.

 

Raise your glasses folks!…..CHEERS!

 

Here’s to letting our individual journeys unfold.

 

#LIVEonPURPOSE

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food for THOUGHT

Food for thought:

 

I truly believe we are placed here on this earth for two reasons.

 

1- The first reason is to grow and actively find ways to be better than you were on yesterday.

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2- The second reason is to serve on purpose and with love. Anytime you are putting the needs of others before your own…….you are living on purpose.

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This simple recipe will lead you to a place of true and  authentic happiness…which is what we all desire. Pay it forward folks and continue to grow. :0)

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…..consider this myTRUTHmyCLARITY. :8)

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When the UNIVERSE speaks….LISTEN

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When the universe speaks….listen

Where does the time go? Had it really been two weeks already? I was on the plane headed back to Abu Dhabi (as I typed this entry). ****A look back in time****

 

I am flying Saudi Airlines. :0/ I don’t know how I feel about that but it’s to late now. Their airline had the lowest fare! Lol. I have a connection in Saudi Arabia and then I land in Dubai. And then 24 hours later I’ll be back on a plane headed to Sri Lanka. Lol. Poor planning on my part, but I’m gonna just go with it.

 

Interestingly enough while waiting to board the plane (in NYC), I was randomly approached by this black guy (Ramon) around my age who currently works in Saudi Arabia. He said he worked for the US military and that he’s been living and working there for about a year. I asked him, “How is that? ” (with a crooked look on my face). But as soon as the words left my mouth I realized my reaction was the same reaction I get when I tell people that I work in Abu Dhabi. Lol. Most folks still think I’m teaching in Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, or Afghanistan. Needless to say I let go of my preconceived notions and opened my eyes, ears and mind to his experience. Oddly enough his experience sounded a lot like my experience. Only difference is that he’s making a heck of a lot more money than me! He mentioned retirement in a year and I promise he’s about 35 or so.

 

It’s interesting how the universe works because right before he approached me I was sitting alone and waiting patiently to board the plane. And while I was waiting I was THINKING. I’m sure you all know about the mind chatter. It’s the conversation we have with ourselves in our heads. I try my best not to do this because some thoughts can literally drive me crazy! So I’m sitting there and I was just thinking about my trip home, my upcoming travels and teaching for a second year in Abu Dhabi. Right before Ramon approached me I was going back and forth (THINKING) about completing a second year of teaching overseas or finding a way to leave the program early. I was thinking about whether I’m doing the right thing or not. I was thinking about how much I’m going to miss my mom, family, and friends. I was thinking about what’s next after teaching overseas. I was basically thinking about my life choices. Just a lot of stuff! I started to get sad, overwhelmed, and just began feeling off. Of course when you are emotional it’s never a good time to make decisions. But as usual ……..my EGO won the debate in my head. I was literally planning my escape from the two-year commitment I made to teach in Abu Dhabi. Lol.

 

This is when Ramon approached me and I’m so glad that he did because my mind was in overdrive. Talking with him really reminded me as to why I needed to complete my second year. Save, save, save money! And opportunities like this don’t come often. Ramon is set and I really appreciated how focused he is on his goal. He was adamant about setting him and his family up financially so that eventually he could return home, retire and live comfortably. And he seemed so okay with being away from his wife and new-born baby. I really envied how at PEACE he was with the decision he made to work overseas. He explained how its hard being away from his family but a sacrifice he chose considering the economy and lack of jobs. We both agreed that Americans have to work so hard to get minimal pay. He referred to the middle east as the best kept secret to making good money. Touché! lol The conversation really helped put my emotions back in check because I’ve learned no matter what you decide to do in life, your EGO will ALWAYS convince you that the other choice would have been the better choice. As we parted ways (his seat was further back on the plane) we exchanged email addresses and I encouraged him to reach out if he ever found himself in the United Arab Emirates. Technically speaking Saudi Arabia is Abu Dhabi’s neighbor. Lol. But seriously I really needed that conversation with a complete stranger. No judgment, just simple rhyme and reason. I truly felt better about getting onto the plane because I was so close to running home to mommy. Lol.

 

Life is so hard folks! But ultimately you’ve got to listen to your SOURCE (god, the one, higher power) which speaks directly to your heart, have no fear, and just surrender. That moment truly was the universe (GOD) speaking to me through Ramon. It is always on time! :0) BTW did I mention Ramon is also a Pastor and owns a church in Texas. Crazy Right!? When the universe speaks, I listen!

 

So I board the plane feeling better after having received a clear message from GOD. And then I notice another message being sent my way. Guess who I’m sitting next to during this 12 hour flight? No not Ramon. But a boy, who is about 9 years old. And I was instantly reminded of my purpose. Often times our egos are constantly thinking about me, me, me, me. And we lose sight of the purpose we are destined to fulfill while we are here on earth. For me, it’s always been to inspire youth and the classroom is the platform in which I fulfill my purpose. I’m sitting next to this boy whose name is something I have no idea how to spell. I’m not even gonna try. Lol. He is traveling with his mother. I believe his english is minimal because he constantly stares and just smiles at me. I smile back. He began playing with the entertainment module but had no headphones so I let him use mine (I had a second pair). Needless to say, just being next to him warmed my heart and reminded me of why I have chosen to serve youth. I reach out to shake his hand, he reaches out to shake mine. I tell him thank you and he says why? I say……”because you’re a cool kid”. He grins at me and throws himself back into the seat. His mom smiles. I sit back and enjoy the peace of mind!

 

The universe speaks and I listen! You’ve got my attention. My mind is finally at peace…… :0)

 
SIDE NOTE: It’s a year later and I’m so thankful I hung and there and saw my two  year commitment through. :8)

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International Teaching Advice

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I have been teaching and living in a foreign country for just about two years and the end of my contract is near. Therefore, I feel compelled to give future international teachers some much-needed advice. Where do I begin? Where do I end? There’s so much I can reflect on as a ‘veteran teacher’ in a middle eastern country. Yeap, that’s right! Lol. You are considered a veteran teacher if you made it through a year of teaching and return to do additional years. You become the ‘go to’ person for many of the new teachers. I believe they have hired over 500 additional teachers……probably more than that for the upcoming school year! Naturally, these teachers have many questions and seek veteran teachers via Facebook.

 

I figured I’d post a few of the most popular questions I have received from teachers who are planning to relocate overseas and teach in The Middle East.

 

1) Do you have any regrets?

– Absolutely not! This experience has afforded me opportunities I never would have experienced had I not taken this leap of faith. I have grown on so many levels; spiritually, emotionally, physically, intellectually, professionally. More importantly, I now view the world through a global lens. This shift (in how I view the world) has motivated me to continue living and serving on purpose.

 

2) What was your biggest challenge?

– I had two really big challenges that I had to deal with on a daily basis. The first challenge was surrendering to the culture of this country. Culture shock is very real and there are stages you will go through over a period of time. Get familiar with these stages so that you are prepared to respond appropriately to the roller-coaster of emotions. Over time you will gain a better understanding of the cultural norms and how things work, but you must be patient with the process and simply let go and surrender to the way things are!

 

The second challenge was my biggest challenge. The challenge of being so far away from everything and everyone that I know and love. I genuinely missed my family and friends to death. As a result, I have and still experience a whole new type of loneliness. But I’m grateful for it because it has forced me to really appreciate the company of myself. This new and enriching relationship I have with myself has afforded me a newfound spiritual connection with my source. I needed this time alone to really get to know me and the one above. Point to ponder: They say a person begins to feel lonely when they no longer enjoy the company of themselves. Ways I dealt with this challenge included Facebook, Skype, Magic Jack, Voxer, and Text Now which all kept me in constant communication with everyone. Additionally, I made an effort to create new friendships. However, be VERY careful about who you surround yourself with. It’ll make or break your experience. Needless to say, it helps to chat and hang out with people who can relate to what you are feeling. Also, I have come to realize that our thoughts are just thoughts. And when you are feeling a particularly way it is simply a thought in motion. If you change the way you think, you change the way you feel. I have found a few ways to dismiss the negative thoughts. However, sometimes I simply allow for them to just pass. It takes a lot of practice, but after 2 years I’m managing my negative thoughts a lot better than I used to in the past. Lastly, I constantly remind myself that I am serving for a purpose greater than myself. I am living a dream that is dreamt by many. I tell myself to be in the moment and embrace it……why? Because this too shall pass…so live on purpose!

 

3) What is your best advice for an incoming teacher?

– Expect nothing and everything all at once. Lol. It doesn’t make sense right? Lol. Welcome to life overseas! A person who can keep an open mind and exercise infinite patience, flexibility, and tolerance will be able to embrace the foreign experience.

 

4) What’s your most memorable moment over this past year?

A) My mom taking her first trip overseas to visit my new normal.
B) When the plane landed in this foreign country, it symbolized the start of my journey.
C) The first day I met my students and they looked at me like I had five heads.
D) Being able to afford trips to places like Sri Lanka, Paris, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Qatar, ect….
E) The first payday. No taxes taken out of my check! Incredible!
F) The day I met Abdullah (Emirate) and he introduced me to his family.
G) The day I walked into my free two bedroom, 2 bathroom villa.
H) The day I realized I was making an impact globally.
I) The moment when I realized how blessed I am to be an American.
J) Immersing myself in the many cultural activities in the this foreign country.

There are so many memorable moments! I could go on forever but I think you get the picture. :0)

 

5) What was your teaching experience like?

– I felt like a first year teacher all over again. Why? Because my students didn’t understand much of what I was saying. I had never taught English as a second language and was shocked that the school didn’t provide me with an Arabic translator. I had to exercise humility and be willing to ask for ideas, strategies and resources. A teacher who is truly reflective and open to stepping outside of their comfort zone will exhibit success in the classroom. Point to ponder: your number one priority is to find some way to develop a relationship with your students. Without that, you will fail. You do whatever it takes to win the kids over and then keep doing it! Trust me, it’s the only reason I had a successful 2 years in the classroom. The kids liked and respected me as their teacher and friend. More importantly, they knew I cared.
6) Do you think I’m making the right choice by going to a middle eastern country? I’m so scared!

-Relax! Your feelings are normal. We all were feeling what you’re feeling and it’s okay. You’re making a big move in your life so naturally you will begin to experience every possible emotion. I will leave you with this thought; they say a person doesn’t truly start living on purpose until they begin stepping outside of their comfort zone. The choice is ultimately yours and I invite you to change your fears into curiosity. Only then will you afford yourself life changing experiences.

This is myTRUTHmyClarity…. ;8)

Categories: Life Lesson, School Teacher | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Reflective Teaching

imageTeaching is the type of profession that will always bring about new challenges on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis. My favorite teacher (sarcasm) is the one who will claim 25 years of experience yet he/she has been teaching the same exact way for each of those years. In this case, I’d push back and say he/she actually has one year of teaching experience. A great teacher is reflective and recognizes that no one group of students is the same. Therefore, if a teacher finds himself/herself teaching the same grade level and subject, modifications and adjustments MUST be made in order to meet the group exactly where they are. Teach on purpose!

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