Category Archives: Featured Posts

I Saw You Dart Your Eyes When a Homeless Person Approached…

Yep. I saw you dart your eyes when a homeless person approached for your help—and more specifically—your cash? I watched many of you do it. I’ve done it myself. But I am left feeling guilty afterward. Shame in that I didn’t help a person experiencing hard times like so many of us have had.

Recently, I was confronted by a man and woman with a baby when leaving the grocery store. They weren’t begging but they were selling goods in the parking lot trying to make a quick dollar. I approached the woman and asked what they were trying to earn. She said they needed money for a hotel stay and they had nowhere to go. They had $25 and had $40 more to go. I rarely carry cash on me but was glad to have a $20 to give to her.

Please hear this loud and clear: in my opinion, what she did with my money was none of my business. The joy was in giving her a chance to do it. It’s essential that we know we can change someone’s life, even for just a night, by being mindful, everyday givers.

Here are helpful tips to give small with huge impact:

  • Remember your humanity and theirs. Every opportunity you have to interact with another human being is an opportunity to learn or teach another life lesson. If you choose to walk away next time think, what does it say about me that I can so easily and completely ignore another person in need? I am not suggesting that you should feel obligated to give but I would encourage you to at least acknowledge that person. You could look them in the eye, smile and say whatever is on your heart. Just your acknowledgement and your time will be appreciated regardless of your gift—I’ve done it. If my heart leads me not to give or I truly do not have the cash on me, I look the person in the eyes and simply say, “I’m sorry.”

 

  • Use the heart test when giving. Let’s face it, you never really know what someone will use your money to buy but that’s shouldn’t be the point. Take a deep breath, look into the person’s eyes and decide how you might assist, if at all. Don’t try and analyze how the money will be spent but rather how the act of giving it makes you feel. Know that it’s as much about you as it is about them.

 

  • Offer an alternative to cash. If you don’t feel comfortable giving cash, offer something else. If the person tells you they need cash to buy food then offer to purchase a meal for them instead.

 

  • Consider the uplift impact. Although some may use your donation and buy that liquor or purchase drugs with it, that’s beyond your control. Even if this perceived “misuse” of your funds happens, consider what the gesture alone means. Your smile, your donation may show someone that they still matter, that someone cares and could be a little ray of light in an otherwise bleak and self-destructive day. Perhaps, your kind words or kind gesture could be exactly what a person needs to make another choice. What one does with your gift is separate from your momentary expression of love.

 

How do you give in mindful and simple everyday ways? Leave me a comment.

What Sent Me Packing and Off to Tanzania Five Years Ago?

 

Keisha and interns with Jane
Keisha Reynolds with Dr. Jane Goodall and other interns in the 2010, International Intern Program sponsored by the Jane Goodall Institute in Tanzania, West Africa.

Mainly those in my close circle know what really sent me packing and off to Africa several years ago. I was recently asked about it and I realized that I hadn’t formed words around it. All I know is that it was an inner knowing that life was much bigger than the one that I was living. By the way, life wasn’t bad for me—a high paying job, fancy car, large house, great relationship—what more could I ask for? Fulfillment. It was all I really wanted. I wanted to feel like my life was making a difference in this world and it wasn’t in that state.

How many of you believe in omens? I do. I had been offered an UNPAID opportunity to do an International internship with the Jane Goodall Institute in Tanzania for six months. In order to do it, I had to leave behind all of my creature comforts, let alone the ability to pay for myself once I arrived. Here’s where the omen comes in. I wrecked my brain thinking about leaving but I was scared! I couldn’t understand why such a challenge felt right. I wanted to go but I would have probably remained clinging desperately to my 9 to 5 until I was told about the dream.

I had been praying and praying and asking and asking for a guidance on whether this was the right move. I had only about two weeks left before the time I needed to depart and I hadn’t even decided if I would. But then, one morning, my co-worker told me she had a game-changing dream about me—one that made no sense. She said I left work in a short-time frame and everyone was looking for me, mourning me. She was sent to find me and once she did, I looked the happiest and the most beautiful she had ever seen. She tried to encourage me to return to work and I told her no, that I was fulfilled and that it was worth it to step out on faith. I told her that life was about taking risks and that anyone who would not was spineless. My friend also mentioned that in the midst of our discussion, I was running my own enterprise and she said I was surrounded by people and directing them here and there. When she finished, she said something like, “wasn’t that a silly dream?” Then I told her what I was grappling with and how everyone of my questions was answered through her dream. Her mouth fell open. The thought still gives me goose bumps.

It was the sign I was awaiting. I printed off my resignation and took it over to my boss within the hour. What was I felt? Hope. The chance to push pause and make sense of my life. The chance to offer more to others and the world. The chance to make the difference. I instinctively stepped out on faith and it did not disappoint. God provided accordingly and it was just enough to get by like how the day I landed in Tanzania, a tenant finally rented the house I left behind. And so it went. When one thing became undone during those six months, something else would happen to make it livable, survivable. When I came home my bills and affairs were sloppy. But slowly I pushed through and began realizing that that single trip exposed to me, my life passions. Writing. Teaching. Building. Inspiring. Connecting with others—it was all a part of it. It’s what I do today and it’s primarily because I answered the call half-way around the world.

Have you been called to serve or inspire others? I would love to see your comments. If you haven’t felt a call or do not know what your life’s purpose is…sign up for my free gift, “The Inspired Life Journal,”from my home page and it will help you figure it out!

 

 

Reiki Anyone?

Have you ever tried Reiki? If not, you should consider giving it a try.

It’s a touch energy healing technique developed in Japan nearly a century ago. Reiki practitioners believe in healing oneself or others by using the infinite divine and universal energy found in all living creatures, sometimes known as Chi. It is similar to the familiar practices of Tai Chi or Qigong that use exercises to reestablish healthy energy flow to balance the body.

Last year, I started my journey in learning about the healing art of Reiki. I’ve practiced on many willing friends who reported feeling the lessening of pain areas or the brilliant flow of energy coursing through their bodies after a treatment. Again, Reiki can be used on all living creatures. I use it regularly on my plants, particularly one that droops easily and seems determined to die.  But after a healing session, my plant perks up and stays vibrant for longer and longer stretches of time, even if I forget to water it. 

The other day my Dad’s dog was ailing. For such a young dog (2 years old) she’s had a number of medical setbacks and surgeries that have resulted. I decided to do Reiki on her, which was difficult because it’s hard for her to sit still. Nevertheless, once she laid down I was able to place my hands on her body and send her loving energy. In much the way a massage therapist would feel physical knots in the body, similarly, a Reiki practitioner can feel energy knots in the body caused by pain and misalignments. As I unknowingly felt along the dog’s body, I could feel an energy cluster near her hind legs. Once there the dog actually let out a huge sigh and wrapped her neck around one of my arms. It was an indication she was experiencing relief. My father informed me that was the area where her surgery had taken place. I am new to this healing technique but I am often pleasantly surprised at the healing and relief it seems to bring. Also, some hospitals, like the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, now include Reiki as part of its in-hospital healing regiment for patients, if they would like it. If you haven’t already, check it out.

I would be glad to answer any questions you have about Reiki and if I cannot answer them, I will engage my teacher for answers. Do you have a self-healing technique that works for you? I’d love to hear about it in my comments section!

 

 

Where do You Find Inspiration?

Finding inspiration is sometimes a journey. In the everydayness of life, it is hard to sort out the moments that are inspiring from the moments that are routine. Life gives you both. The gift is in recognizing where the inspiration resides.

I took this while in Belize, San Pedro. The locals call this bird the "Jesus Bird" for obvious reasons.
I took this while in Belize, San Pedro. The locals call this bird the “Jesus Bird” for obvious reasons.

I constantly think about this. When times are horrifically busy, I get lost in the bustle, like everyone else. But then I take a moment to walk. That’s when things always look up, quite literally. Looking up at the sky and observing the majesty of the clouds, the moon, the stars, always amazes me and reminds me that there’s more than the mundaneness. The ordinariness of an ordinary day. It lets me know that there is something, someone, greater than what we perceive to be important. And all you need to do to recalibrate is to simply look up.

Where do you find inspiration? Please leave me comments below and share this post. By the way, the bird in the picture for this post is affectionately called the “Jesus Bird” by the locals of Belize where it resides. Simply because it walks on water. Just an inspiring image to ponder.

 

Valentine’s Day Travel without Leaving Home

 

As Valentine’s Day approaches, many of us may not have the money to travel to a romantic destination, but be encouraged, you can bring the destination to your home. This is just what I have to do this year. My husband and I have just had our first child and he is three months old. As you will learn from reading this blog, we had been blessed to have traveled to exotic international locations and have had spontaneous get-aways. Now we are adjusting to life with an infant and getting two hours alone, let alone traveling, is much more of an ordeal.

Creating a romantic travel destination at home is simple:

  1. Decide on your romantic location. Pick a location that you can create a romantic theme around. For instance, imagine that you are on a gondola in Italy. Or, perhaps you are on an art tour in Barcelona, Spain—choose a setting that speaks to your heart and inspires your creative and passionate side.
  2. Create a meal from the culture of your location. If you decide to transport your date to New Orleans, for example, then you might stew up a big pot of gumbo. Visit one a recipe site (i.e. www.allrecipes.com ) and learn how to serve up delicious food and big points with your loved one. Don’t forget about including a delicious dessert!
  3. Create the ambiance. Go ahead and download music reminiscent of your location’s culture. Using New Orleans as a theme again, giving inexpensive beads that can be picked up at any dollar or party store, will help to set the stage. You can also select many of the romantic and peppy jazz tunes to set the mood.
  4. Enjoy! I know that we will!

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Cultivate Relationships in the New Year

Happy 2015!

The start of my year was met with an all too painful reminder that I am not quite where I want to be for my fulltime work. After three months of maternity leave, I returned to my consultant work. Although I received feedback for doing good work; my return didn’t seem to matter really. It was a blip on the radar. Please don’t misunderstand, it’s not that I expected a parade, however, I did expect perhaps a second of “chit chat” and an occasional question about my new little one. Instead, I was met with a quick, “welcome back,” and the conversation was back to business from there. Now, I do work remotely but should that be an excuse not to spend a moment longer connecting with me?

At the time I did not know it was so rare but I have been in work environments that were family-like. Environments where they cared about the work but also the people. My recent experience let me know that my work mattered but not me as a person, nor my experiences.

I believe that every interaction that we have with others is divinely ordered, meant to teach you something. There should be a grace in the way we interact with one another because isn’t it at the heart of everything? When we go to answer to our creator, do you think he she will quiz us on the project deadlines and work deliverables that we prepared? Or, do you think he/she will quiz us on our treatment of one another? I know that for many work is money. But it doesn’t just have to be that. Work can be an opportunity for you to cultivate learning experiences, different perspectives and insights and dare I say it—friendships.

Please share this post with others and feel free to leave a comment, I am interested in what you think.

 

Be a Miracle this Holiday Season

I have had the pleasure—blessing really—to experience real-life miracles in my life. Even more, I am fortunate to recognize when they are occurring. One of the most prominent in recent memory occurred about five years ago when I was renting out space in my house.

I posted an ad and got a response from a woman. She was in a rush to move in and came to look at my property with a discerning eye. She liked it a lot and stated she was planning to move in. Since this was just a viewing, I had not done a formal application with her with a credit check etc. was performed. However, when she indicated interest, I gave her the application and let her know the expected deposit to hold the place upon approval.

Now, it is important for me to mention that I was desperate. I was barely making ends meet and had determined that if I did not get a tenant then I would have to let the house go in foreclosure. I had gotten myself into one of those interest only loans (being young and naïve) and didn’t see a way out of it once I started drowning. Even buying gas to get back and forth to work was a struggle as my hefty paycheck went mostly to pay the mortgage.

I prayed and prayed for some sort of assistance. Some sort of miracle.

Well, the woman whom I mentioned, viewed my house at the end of October but decided not to move in since her situation changed. She did not put in an application, nor did she leave a deposit so I had nothing promising that she would move in nor did I expect it. Come December, I was down and out. I showed my rental space to a few others but had no takers. I did not know how I was going to make it through that month, let alone, the Christmas holiday with friends and family.

The answer arrived at my door. The lady that originally looked at my rental space approximately a month and a half before, left a Christmas card. It’s the one on displayed  on this post. She put it in my door’s window and inside it simply said, “Keisha, best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.” But the kicker was the $750 check included. It was the cost of one month’s rent. I could not believe it. I called her and explained that although she indicated she wanted to move in, she made no commitment and so I could not accept her money (though I really needed it). She said she didn’t do it cause it was an obligation, she did it because she felt in her heart it was the right thing to do and she really wanted me to have it.

So yes, a total stranger that I met one time left me a Christmas check for close to a thousand dollars for no good reason. God is good and he will use us to provide miracles for people around us. This holiday season, please see how you can be miracle-worker and game-changer in someone else’s life. I owe that stranger so much and I am so glad she showed me the true spirit of the season.

Please share with others and leave your comments below.

Standing in Your Truth

Stand in Your Truth

Last year I stood up to speak in front of an audience of approximately a couple hundred people attending a spiritual conference in New York, led by The Daily Love’s Mastin Kipp (www.thedalilylove.com). I stood because a young African American girl shared her feelings of shame at being considered Black. You see she was a biracial child, the product of a white mother and Black father. However, because of her brown skin and hair texture, people identified her as Black—a label she did not want and felt in many predominantly White environments, that she was automatically labeled as lazy and stupid.

Mastin asked if other Blacks felt like that judgment in a room of white people. Yes. I explained to the girl and to the audience, that I have been blessed enough to reach heights in my career that are not afforded to all. At the time I held an admiral position at a college and I often sat at the table of advisers to the president. The people I sat amongst were all white and at least a decade older than myself. That was not the first time I have been in the position and, if I live long enough, not the last.

Could I feel judgments about me as I sat at the president’s table? Of course. But I carry with me a foundational belief that I deserve to be there and that the group is better off with me among them. First, I sit at tables such as these because my ancestors could not. And, as an African American I feel the obligation to repay, with dignity, the opportunities that their blood, sweat and tears availed me. Secondly, I always know that in time they will see how powerful I am and the value that I bring. It is not something that I go out of my way to prove but rather I let my work, the way I carry myself, and my interactions, become the proof. In those moments, I take a deep breath and I know who I am. I do not let others beliefs about me define me.

Even more, I know that there is a point in all human interactions where people lessen their judgments about you and allow the spirit of who you are and who they are connect and transcend any manmade, stereotypical foolishness to which we fall victim.

As I stood in front of The Daily Love’s audience that day, people were moved to tears and they hugged me and kissed me in the hallway afterwards. I was surprised. Perhaps they were moved so deeply because it was a spiritual conference and they were already emotional? Or, perhaps, they recognized a fellow spirit, God’s child, with boundless capabilities standing in her truth and sharing her testimony from that vantage point.

Do you carry your truth, the truth about who you are into all of your life experiences? Please comment below and tell me all about it.

Keeping Your Spiritual Awakening Alive

I believe a spiritual awakening is not a singular event. If we are lucky, and attuned, we will experience a myriad of moments that speak to our spirits and transform us throughout our lifetimes.

Last year, I visited Peru on a spiritual journey. I met a Shaman, practicing in Columbia, Maryland who organizes the annual trip (Harriet McMahon http://harriet.mcmahon.com/. The plan was to visit sacred Peruvian sites while offering cleansing and healing ceremonies as well as many meditation opportunities. It did not disappoint. I visited ancient Inca civilization sites and felt the pure energy of mountains and lagoons while eating wholesome and delicious food in the clean, open air. My energy was vibrating and my intuitive tools were sharpened. I became “unplugged” in a number of ways and I became clearer about my life’s purpose. Life as I knew it before the trip would not be the same. Or at least I thought. IMG_3123

Slowly life went back to normal. I worried about money and reattached myself to consultant work that I knew wasn’t a good fit for me. Understandably, I worried about the bills –we need money to sustain our lifestyle. It is sad to feel the magic of an experience waning.

Then I realized that life is made up of moments. During the trip, I made the decision to focus on my spirituality, ask the big life questions, and view the world in a way that was mystical and surprising. It occurred to me that I could decide to bring the magic into my everyday life. And you can too.

I am not perfect and struggle with these items every day, but these are some actions that work for me.

Pray – I try to begin and end my days with prayer. Both are usually a thanks to my creator for having another day and a talk about what I’ve learned or need help solving.

Meditate – Perhaps my greatest tool and my greatest challenge. Morning meditation (for at least 15 minutes) helps me connect with my creator and allows answers to my life challenges to flow into my consciousness. Someone once said, and I agree, that prayer is when you talk to God and meditation is where he answers.

Walk – I like to take short walks, particularly if I can connect with nature. Although I am an extrovert, when I walk I can review the day and work through goals with myself. I also practice deep breathing during my walks, all life starts with the breath, and deep breathing actually recharges you.

Journal – I have always documented my life. Committing my thoughts to paper at least a few times a week helps to release the stresses or joys (energy) of everyday life. It also becomes my living record. It is fun to review your life at the end of a year.

Do you do any of these already? Or, do you plan to incorporate them into your life to keep you spiritual awakenings alive? Comment and let me know.

Three Travel Destinations for Your Spirit

Have you ever traveled somewhere that electrified you? Made you feel like new?

If so, that’s what it’s all about. And, that’s what traveling is for me—spiritual. It’s a time when I let loose, let wonder, and let exploration consume me. A new sun rise, a new landscape, a new orange-streaked nightfall—all recharge my spirit and put me in deeper touch with the creator.

When I travel I feel like I am a student of the world. In addition to the fascinating people and the way they relate to, and interact with one another, I love the breathtaking landscapes and the unique energy of a place. I have been fortunate to visit many countries, and among them, here is my list of soul-stirring, must-sees:

1. Lake Atitlan – Located in Guatemala, this is the most sacred of locations for me. The lake sits 5,125 feet above sea level and 50 square miles wide. It is surrounded by three volcanoes, sweeping mountains and tree-trimmed, grassy terrains. There are seven Mayan towns that surround the lake and it is mainly regarded as sacred from the villagers as well. When you arrive by boat to any location surrounding the lake, you can feel a shift. Time and worry no longer matter. You are in a healing place and victory over life’s challenges is yours just by inhaling the scene around you. Lake Atitlan is the picture of inspiration; it is a place that will truly speak to your heart.IMG_0967

2. Machu Picchu – Located in Peru, people travel to this destination from all over the world. It is a 15th century Inca site, located approximately 7,000 feet above sea level, mainly on mountains. The site contains ancient temples, sleeping quarters, calendars and many statue and carving symbols that were sacred to the Inca, like the puma. Amongst the relics of the ancient civilization, there are many places to tuck away to pray and meditate. Many meditation groups can be groups can be found in scenic areas overlooking the land below. Here, you may get the feeling, as I did, that the Inca’s with their knowledge of the stars and their beliefs of the different levels to life, knew far more about the nature of the universe than we would ever know in modern times. This is a place of wonderment and wisdom.IMG_2779

3. Maji Moto, Arusha (Natural Hot spring) – Located in Tanzania, this site defies belief in that it is about an acre oasis, lush with trees, vegetation, birds and warm, aqua-blue waters, juxtaposed amongst a vast desert-like area. It is quite surprising when you arrive although quite difficult for the average tourist to venture there. If you go to visit from Moshi like I did, the last leg of the journey has to be made from the spring’s closet town to the remote location. There are people on motorcycles that let you purchase a ride. Simply put—this place is magical. It is quite an unexpected surprise amongst an otherwise desolate terrain.