Thank You

I read a Dear Abby article in the newspaper last week (yes I read the daily local paper) about a woman who went through a tough time in college and had one friend in particular who without being asked went above and beyond to support her through a severe bout of depression. Life happened and the two friends lost touch over the years. One day the woman decided to reach out and thank her friend for her support and was sad to discover the 10 year old obituary for her friend who had battled some personal hardships herself later on in life which contributed to her death. In her letter to Abby, the woman asked to share two important lessons that she’s learned through this experience. “(1) Thank people and tell them you care before it is too late, and (2) be willing to lend a hand and an ear to someone in need, because you may be that one person who affects their life.”  I read many different articles and stories on a daily basis but this one really hit home for me. It has challenged me to reflect on my own journey, allow myself to vulnerable like I often challenge others to do and think about the people who I am thankful for as well.

I am so truly grateful for the people in my life. I’ve been blessed with some amazing opportunities and a career that has allowed me to meet some great people from all over the world. Unfortunately, not everything in life is always rainbows and sunshine. I’ve had days this past year where happiness was nowhere in sight for me. I’ve had days where I wouldn’t get out of bed because I didn’t see the point. I gained a ton of weight, (literally)and way to many interactions where I’ve had to paste a smile on my face so I could please the people around me even though they could care less about what I was going through. I had honestly started to give up on me. I felt more alone than I had ever felt and I had lost my faith and the excitement for life that had always been so easy for me to find. I knew something had to change. When I decided to come home to Florida, I didn’t have a plan but I knew I needed to work on me in a place that I love and be surrounded by people who know and love me as well. You really never know what people are going through sometimes, especially the people who are the best at making sure that those around them are doing well. To say that I am grateful for the people whom I’ve gotten to spend these past few months with would be an understatement. Thank you to the people in my network of support for the daily conversations, calls, texts, meals, hugs, pop ups, random check ins or messages just to say hello, but most of all thank you for reminding me that love, friendship and support systems are not one sided. You all have allowed me to fall in love with my life again and get back to doing what I am most passionate about; being a part of that support system for people who are not as fortunate as me. 

Truly from the bottom of my heart,

Thank You!

Philip

 

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Are you living for you?

people_living_life_to_the_fullest_640_97-640x393 (1).jpgWhen is the last time you sat and actually reflected on your life? When is the last time that you have given thought to whether or not you or actually doing those things that you’ve always wanted to do? Are you living the life that you’ve always dreamed about or are you living the life that someone else has imagined for you. At some point you have to start living for YOU. You have to start doing things simply because they make you happy, not just because they make someone else happy. You have to set personal goals because you want to accomplish them, not to impress other people. You have to start saying no to things that go against what you believe in or that you are just not interested in, without feeling that you owe anyone an explanation. At the end of your life will you be able to say I lived my life in a way that made me happy or will you have lived someone else’s life?

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You

Just incase no one has told you lately, you…. Yes you, you are beautiful, you are loveable, you are capable of doing anything you put your mind to and don’t ever forget that you matter. This world wouldn’t be what it is without you!

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Keep working!

When you are continuously working towards accomplishing your goals and reaching your dreams, you learn to say “when I” instead of “if I”…… Keep on pushing!  

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Aha!

Woke up this morning feeling so grateful for this past week. Sometimes our human tendencies cause us to get caught up in the moment when things don’t work out how we want them to, or our plans change and things are out of our control. My plan this week was to take advantage of being out of the city and not do anything work related. I planned on going to the gym everyday, wandering around downtown, catching up with some people I haven’t spoken to in a while, and sitting in a Starbucks somewhere drinking a latte. Real Laguna Beach type stuff. My reality though was sleeping ALOT, (normal nights I sleep about 5 hours max) watching tons of movies, meditating, a lot of much needed quiet time by myself, quality time with people who make me smile, a tiny bit of work related stuff, some light reading, a runny nose, nasty weather and a good amount of writing. 

It turns out that was exactly what I needed. Sometime life knows what we need more than we do, and you just kinda have to learn to just go with it. Sometimes you end up around people who teach you things about yourself by just watching and listening to them. Then sometimes you have those aha moments where you realize the things and changes you need to make in your life to allow for growth. For that I am grateful. 

This morning the weather was much better, my runny nose had cleared up and I felt full of energy and ready for the world. For the first time this week I understood why I am exactly where I need to be right now. Sometimes when the noise of life gets so loud in our heads we forget to sit still, shut up, focus and just pay attention to the lesson it is trying to teach us so we can experience that full growth.
Thanks life, I’m listening again.
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How do you see your glass?

Sometimes it feels like we live in a world that majority of the time sees the glass half empty instead of half full. That’s exhausting! Today make a choice to see your glass half full. Make a conscious decision that whatever this day throws at you, (the good, the bad and the ugly) you will take it head on and see it as a challenge or obstacle that you will get over and not as a road block; decide that you will focus on the good things happening and not dwell on the bad. Continue to do that again and again. YOU and only YOU can make your life the best it can possibly be. 

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Smiles and Blessings

My happiness is defined by the number of times I smile in a day. Those smiles are brought on by thinking about the amazing people who are in my life, (family, friends, loved ones), the blessings that fill each day, and knowing that I have the ability to be not only a blessing to someone else, but their reason to smile as well.

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My black is beautiful 

I have learned that my blackness is a privilege and a blessing. I have grown to understand that not everyone would be able to handle all that goes along with having this beautiful skin. I am wonderfully and beautifully made this way because my creator knew that I would be strong enough to handle the good, the bad and all the ugly that comes along with it; and I will continue to work hard so that other men and women who look like me understand the same. Being black/brown is a blessing not a curse.

-Philip D James-

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Because I’m Happy…..-

 Have you thought lately  about what  makes you happy? Have you thought about what motivates you to get out of bed in the morning and look forward to the day ahead? Not about what you think the people in your life want to see or what they expect from you, but what truly deep down inside makes you smile.

I spoke to someone recently who said to me, “I don’t think I know who I am anymore.” My response, “I disagree, I believe that you know exactly who you are. You just have to get comfortable with who you are again and allow that to be the person you give, show or present to the world; and take care of that person (yourself).”  I feel like as I get older and more and more people reach out to me for advice on all kinds of things that they are struggling with, there seems to be one common denominator as to why (in my opinion) they are struggling. People have forgotten what makes them happy. We get older, we start families that we focus on taking care of, we jump into careers that we allow to consume our lives, we shift our attention to making sure that we are making enough money so that we can be comfortable when we retire, we turn into the people who we think our employers or our co-workers or our spouses want to see, but along the way there we lose or forget who we are. We forget about that person from high school or college who woke up in the morning after a late night of fun with friends and still managed to take care of what needed to be taken care of. Yes we grow up, and yes people change but that doesn’t have to mean that you can no longer have fun or be a more responsible version of that person that you once were. That also doesn’t mean that you have to lose the things that once made you YOU. Is it probable that the way you go about having fun or doing things that you enjoy may change a little, absolutely! But, in order for us to be the best version of ourselves and to be able to best take care of whatever responsibilities we may have, we have to remember how to take care of ourselves.

Self care is one of the most important things that anyone can do to take steps towards becoming the top notch version of who they are. For some people that might be setting time aside each day or week to write, for some people that might be setting that time aside to work on art or some other craft. Then for other people that might mean taking time out each week or month to get together with a group of friends or family and  for some it might be using that time for yoga, meditation or maybe even a spa day. Whatever the case, you have to figure out which of those things allow you have some fun (however you define that). Which of these allow you to forget about your mundane daily lives. Get back to doing those things that remind you of what it means to just be HAPPY!

scientific-ways-to-be-happy

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Tunnel Vision 

  1. I have a hard time entertaining people who knowingly or unknowingly feel the need to constantly point out negatives. I get it, trust me! I notice too, we allll do, but that’s not what I’m focused on. You can’t grow or progress in life if your stuck on all of and only the bad. God knows it’s hard when you have people always reminding you of the bad but never talking about the good. There will always be bad things that happen and I acknowledge that too, but let’s put a larger spotlight on the good in this world and let that be what we’re talking about. Let those things be the catalyst for change. We have to figure out how spin those conversations. Today make a conscious decision to only highlight the positives that are happening around you. Do that more and more each day and I promise your life will start to change. “If you’re not a part of the solution, you’re a part of the problem.” It starts with you.
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