Don’t Try to Impose Your Values, Beliefs, and Ideals Onto Others…and Please Leave Scrooge Alone!

This holiday season please consider giving pause to your need to fill in the blanks, to make things right, to force others to be spirited and joyful. For other people this isn’t the season to be jolly, and they don’t want to fake it to make you feel better. 

Just because you are feeling good, great, alive, and blessed–doesn’t mean they are. Yet you’re trying to force them to feel about their life and about themselves what you feel about yours. You’re imposing, encroaching, and pushing yourself onto them. 

Stop it!

They want to be miserable. Let them. God gives them free will, so why won’t you let them be as they want?


We feel uncomfortable with the Scrooges in our life. We feel uncomfortable when they want to twist and turn in chaos and wallow in darkness. We feel uncomfortable with their grumpiness and outbursts. We feel uncomfortable with how petty and childish they are acting. We can’t believe that they can’t see their blessings. We feel their negativity and we want instant change because it’s draining us. We try to counter it with an added dose of high energy, laughter and the like. And they come back with a whopper of dread. 

Rather than spend valuable energy and time trying to change their thinking and behavior, just change your location. Exit stage left and go about your business. 


We have a tendency to want to pour our views, values, beliefs, and ideals into others. We want people to see, think, behave, and feel the same way we do. 

Honestly, it’s selfish. 

Even if the intent is to bring harmony, it’s selfish of us to try to manipulate, persuade, or force someone to join us in that harmony. 

Some people need to wallow in self-pity to eventually see their foolishness. 

Some people need to give you silent treatments so that they too must walk around in silence–alone with their thoughts, alone with their Creator. Which is more torturous for them than actually speaking to you, but they don’t see that. 

Of course they don’t realize it when they are doing it, and sometimes they don’t even realize it after they have finished. But sometimes isolation is the best environment for purging old ways. Sometimes giving people exactly what they ask for is exactly what they need to see that what they wanted wasn’t what they actually thought it was cracked up to be. Sometimes you need to let people see the whole picture, rather than constantly trying to paint a different picture because it makes you feel uncomfortable. 

In alcohol and drug treatment programs they make a point of telling loved ones of addicts that until that addict hits rock bottom, he or she may not stop their reckless behavior. 

Why is that? 

It’s simple. An addict with enabling family and friends uses those people as a crutch to continue their recklessness. If the people around you do and say whatever it takes to keep you pleased, to cause no ripples in the water, then they are enabling the addiction and weakening the addict. 

Ironically, this too becomes an addiction. 

The enabling becomes an addiction that the addict craves. It is the one-two punch that they need each day. They have their drug and they have the support of those who either supply or contribute to the purchase of the drug. They will lie, cheat, steal, and some will even kill to feed their addiction. They will turn on you and try to get others to turn on you, and you on them—all with the ultimate goal of getting an addiction fed. When everyone participates in this grand scheme, it enables the addiction and feeds the addict. The addict wins and the rest of you lose. Big time!

When does the enabling stop? When family and friends say, “if you want to wallow in this cesspool, do it alone, but I’m not going to play a role in your foolishness” and then they exit stage left.

You have to stop trying to make people see, feel, hear, think, and believe what you do. If they are closed off, let them be. If their dysfunction makes you feel uncomfortable, then exit stage left. Because if you don’t, they will drag you into their misery. They will work feverishly to turn your light into darkness, your joy into pain. They will work tirelessly to make you feel as isolated and miserable as they do. They will impose upon you so that you can see how they truly feel about themselves. 

If they don’t believe in God, but you do, then just silently pray for them and walk away. If they do believe in God, but you don’t, then just silently walk away and cross your fingers they aren’t cursing you. Now smile. You giggled didn’t you? Good. You do have a sense of humor. You will need it to get through some of the quirkiest moments in life. I eventually find humor in even the darkest moments of my life. A chuckle turns into a laugh, and before I know it I’m bent over at the waist laughing hysterically. That’s because I refuse to be consumed by darkness. I refuse to wallow in misery and hang around miserable people. They can come to the light but I’m not entering their dungeon. 

So my fellow humans, I ask that starting today you simply focus on smiling and laughing, singing and dancing, rejoicing and praising—and doing all of this without trying to force Mr./Ms. Scrooge to join you. 

Let the “ghosts” of the past, present, and future do what they do best. Either Scrooge will come around or they won’t. But it’s not up to you to control their destiny, to alter their course, or to make them do anything. You’re here to live your life, not theirs. Don’t feed their addiction and don’t create your own. Be at peace with your peace, and don’t let anyone or anything steal your joy!

With love,

~Natasha 

What Do These Photos Have in Common?

Can you guess what these photos have in common?   

    
   
Read this post and find out…Enjoy!

http://natashaforeman.com/2016/03/02/in-honor-of-my-amazing-hard-working-and-dedicated-mother-my-maternal-grandparents-and-the-legacy-of-our-family/

Copyright 2016. All Rights Reserved. Natasha Foreman Bryant. The Paradigm Life. 

How I Choose to See and Live my Life Each Day, Regardless of my Circumstances

How I Choose to See and Live my Life Each Day, Regardless of my Circumstances

I’m smiling because I’m blessed and no one, and nothing can ever change that. It’s me and God rolling through life together each day!

Listening and Responding to the Still, Small Voice Within: My Recent Experiences

By Natasha Foreman Bryant
 
 I’m not sure what you call the Creator, or even if you believe that you were created by a higher power greater than humans. I call the Creator: God, Father, Father-Mother God, Lord, Love, Light, and Good.
 
 Since I was a small child I can remember my dad telling me to always listen to, answer, and obey the faint voice within me. He used to say, “Tasha you can never go wrong when you obey that voice“. You can call it intuition, your gut feelings, or “something” that told you to do or say something. I believe that all of these things are God speaking to and through us. Now please don’t confuse that with the battle of multiple personality disorder, etc.
 
 Why and what else could have easily swayed me to pull over and rush to the aid of two drivers, and one passenger involved in a car accident Saturday afternoon off I-75 southbound between the exits for Zoo Atlanta and Atlanta Technical College?
 
 I didn’t know any of the individuals involved, but the voice inside said, “pull over and go help“. So I did. I didn’t think twice. I didn’t contemplate that I was in my business wear, coming from the Women 2 Women Conference that just wrapped up at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis hotel, and that I just wanted to get home and relax. I obeyed and pulled my car over and jumped out.
 
 What I saw moved me. I saw a dark-colored (possibly burgundy) Monte Carlo with damage to the front and rear of the car. I saw the road signs it had ran over, now underneath the car. I saw a young African American girl (maybe 11-years-old) and her father with a look of panic on their faces. I saw another vehicle parked several yards back, a smaller white car, missing the front end, and the driver, a young white woman in the driver’s seat looking frazzled.
 
 I approached the father and daughter and asked them repeatedly if they were okay and if they needed medical attention. The father told me that they were okay, and that his daughter said she was okay. The young girl confirmed that she was okay, but her eyes said something else. I knew that look. It was pure fear. The father was on his cell phone, so I told him I was going to check on the other driver.
 
 As I approached the driver who at first was in the driver’s seat, had gone to the trunk of her car (when I approached the father), then the passenger seat (before I finished speaking with him), and was now quickly approaching me with her hand inside of her purse. She looked infuriated and very focused. That’s when the small voice said, “stop her and calm her down” so I did. I verbally reassured her that I was a concerned driver who wanted to make sure that everyone was okay. I put my hands up slowly and I told her that I knew what she was going through. She then said, “he called the cops and he’s going to lie on me and say this is my fault“. I could see the panic in her eyes and it was coming through clearly in her voice. At that point I knew that I needed to spend more time with her. She was alone with no one to comfort her and tell her it would be okay. The father had reassurance coming from the other end of the phone line, and his daughter got reassurance from him.
 
 I asked the woman had she called anyone, and she said that the other driver called the police. So I asked her again had she called anyone, someone she knew who could console her, and help her through this. She started crying and said, “no“. So I did something without thinking about it. I obeyed the next two words that came to me. I saw her name tag said, “Carrie Ann” and that she worked at Zoo Atlanta, and I said, “Carrie Ann right now you’re in shock and what you need more than anything is a hug. So I’m going to hug you Carrie Ann.” I leaned in and gave this total stranger a hug on the side of the highway. I didn’t think about it. I didn’t contemplate what her reaction would be. I obeyed that voice that said, “hug her, comfort her“.
 
 As I held her in my arms I told her, “I know what you are experiencing and it’s fear and gratitude. Fear in knowing that you just experienced a trauma, and gratitude that you are alive and unharmed. Carrie Ann you survived this and no matter what you are thinking and feeling right now, you will survive the aftermath of this crash. There could have been serious injuries even death, but all is well and right. You are okay Carrie Ann, the father and daughter from the other car are okay….” As I spoke Carrie Ann embraced me tighter and at that very moment I told her it was okay to cry and let it out, so she did, and hugged me tighter. Once we could both sense that small ‘release’ we let our arms down and looked at each other.
 
 A tow truck pulled up and I said, “see, it’s almost over” and as I directed her to sit in the passenger seat of the car or on the guard rail, a fire truck pulled up. Carrie Ann sat on the guard rail, and even though still shaken, she was better than when I first approached her. She was no longer looking like the panic-stricken woman who thought she would be blamed and found guilty of causing an accident. As the first responders approached I thanked them for getting there quickly (lovingly ignoring the rolling eyes of the first guy who approached), and I gave Carrie Ann another hug and told her she would be okay. As I began to walk away she burst out in tears. I think she was having that big ‘release’ we all get when it hits us that we’re being ‘saved’.
 
 I approached the father and the tow truck driver, and asked the father again was he okay. He said yes and thanked me for helping. The tow truck driver asked how was I involved, and I said that I was a concerned citizen who just pulled over to help. He thanked me and said that we need more people willing to stop and help. After checking on the little girl and gaining reassurance that she was okay, I left the drivers with the fire fighters. I asked the tow truck driver to slide the sign that was crushed under the car, off the highway on ramp so that other drivers wouldn’t hit it and possibly cause more damage to the father’s car or to theirs. The tow truck driver agreed and slid the sign out of the pathway.
 
 Even without knowing how things would turn out, or if the drivers would turn their fear and confusion on me, I was filled with such peace the entire time. As I walked to my car I just kept repeating silently, “thank you“. Inside my car I looked through my rear view mirror and saw a second fire truck pulling up. I had done what I was supposed to do. Be there for people in need, and bring some calm during a time of chaos.
 
 I think of the multitude of cars that drove by before I got there, the large number that drove by while I was there, and the countless others that drove by after I had left. There were tons of looky-loos but no one pulled over to help.
 
 How many people considered for a brief second, “should I pull over?” but didn’t. How many people said, “that’s not my problem, it’s not me or a loved one”? How many people saw a black male driver and a white female driver, and thought to themselves, “that may turn into a volatile situation and I don’t want to get caught up in that mess”? How many people were torn with their decision to keep driving even when they saw the little girl with fear all over her face?
 
 I’ve done it before. Matter of fact I couldn’t even tell you how many times over the years when I said a prayer for those involved in car accidents or seemingly stranded on the side of the road or highway, but out of fear, preoccupation, or convincing myself that it really wasn’t my issue, I didn’t stop. I’ve called 911 when I’ve seen accidents, even in real-time, but I haven’t always stopped to check on those involved.
 
 Heck, Saturday evening (maybe 3 hours after helping out the three in the car accident) I didn’t stop to help a man in a black SUV with his hood up. I obeyed the voice that said to check to make sure he was okay, so I visually saw he was and that he had a passenger (although I couldn’t see their face) but I didn’t stop and ask if they were okay. I didn’t verbally confirm that they were okay. Maybe it was the area that I was in and that it was dark outside, that he hadn’t turned on his hazard lights, I was with my mom, and I couldn’t clearly see their faces, so fear and self-preservation overruled everything else. It happens to all of us. But when those variables (of safety) aren’t present, and that faint voice tells you to act, we should act.
 
 No matter what you call God, no matter what you call the voice you hear that tells you to do or say something in love, no matter what your gut tells you, just obey. You could be the very presence someone needs at that very moment. You could be the balance needed to create or maintain calm, peace, and order. You could save someone’s life. Your presence could prevent someone from being victimized. Maybe your act of care and kindness will be returned to you one day. Let’s pay it forward in advance!
 
 Remember your ‘gut’ keeps you out of harms way, it’s ignoring it that draws you in to drama and danger.
 
 Oh, and if anyone knows Carrie Ann from Zoo Atlanta, tell her that Natasha is thinking of her and praying for her. If anyone knows the father and his brave daughter who were involved in the car accident, tell them that I’m thinking of them and praying for them. Tell the father that I commend him for keeping focused on his daughter and getting help, and not feeding off the energy that was trying to grow from the situation.
 
 
 ~Natasha
 
 
 Copyright 2014. Natasha Foreman Bryant. All Rights Reserved.
 
 
 

99-Year Old Woman Earns Her High School Diploma

When I saw this I could not wait to blog it and share it with anyone willing to read it. Some people will make every excuse under the sun to avoid going to school or back to school. I’ve heard it all from, “I can’t afford it”, and “I don’t have enough time” to “I’m too old”. Well this 99-year old woman should shut a lot of people up. Audrey Crabtree could have given up and convinced herself that she was too old, that it was too late, and that it wouldn’t benefit her this late in life to earn her high school diploma. But she didn’t.

Audrey knew that she was only short of one credit when she dropped out of high school in 1932 due to a swimming and diving accident. Instead of dismissing this fact, she instead contacted her old high school to see what she could do to finish what she started. Not only was she granted her diploma, the school also presented her with her last report card and school memorabilia from the era when she first attended, which also included a jacket and homecoming pins. This entrepreneur of over 28 years could have been satisfied with her other accomplishments, but earning her degree was of great importance to her—-and once her mind was focused on achieving that goal, she didn’t stop until she was finished. This truly is a lesson for all of us. Never ever ever ever ever give up and don’t settle for “can’t” and “impossible”.

To read more about Audrey Crabtree visit: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_DELAYED_DEGREE?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2013-09-24-16-13-41

Copyright 2013. Natasha Foreman Bryant. Some Rights Reserved.

Natasha’s Inspirational Quote of The Day 1.4.11

“Be a blessing today. Even a smile and ‘hello’ can be just what someone needs to start or end their day in a positive way.”
-Natasha L. Foreman

Natasha’s “Discipline and Focus” Quote of the Day 12.15.11

I learn the lesson and move forward, not dwelling on what once was because I’m too focused on what I’m doing now and how it can impact my future. I’m not concerned with those I once encountered who I walked away from because if they were meant to be in my life today God would have kept them by my side…I am not concerned with what once was or if something could have been differently; the woulda, coulda, shoulda is for people who will always be less than where they need to be in life. I am also in no hurry to get to my future for I am still amazed by what is taking place today, the present, and the gifts that I receive daily by just being receptive and accountable. I strive to lead, live and make decisions in and through excellence not fear, doubt, or insecurity. Those who don’t see things that way usually don’t last walking next to me on this path. I lovingly allow them to stay behind or sprint ahead, because I’m on a long-distance mission of greatness that can’t be rushed or held behind.”

–¬†Natasha L. Foreman, MBA

(a portion of this quote is an excerpt from her 12.15.11 “Breaking Bread With Natasha” posts. Check them out here:¬†WordPress and Blogger)
Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

>Dedicating this Song and Video to the Superwomen of the World

>

Ladies, I just wanted to tell you that through it all you CAN survive, thrive, and accomplish anything you set your mind to- but it starts with the belief in ‘YES I CAN…YES I WILL’. Those of you who are struggling to make ends meet, yet every day you rise to get your positive hustle on for yourself and your family- I commend you. To those of you who are focused on earning that diploma, whether it’s for high school or your PhD- I commend you. To those of you who are working 12-18 hour days- it doesn’t matter if you are an employee or self-employed, your hard work and dedication WILL pay off.

I commend those superwomen who are looking for a hand up not a hand out, and in turn they reach their hand back to help the next person. We are only as strong as our weakest link. Let’s focus on building each other up, not tearing the next sista girl down. Let’s look at what we have in common, and work towards what we stand for rather than focusing on fighting about our differences and what we are against.

There are days when I just feel worn out, beat down, cried out, emotionally and physically drained- and then something comes over me… a sense of joy that each and every day God wakes me to walk on the path He has placed before me. It’s not supposed to be easy- but it’s a path that is all yours! We may not see tomorrow, so let our today work for us and through us, and let it last for as long as it can. Be grateful for waking each morning- able to experience heartaches, triumphs, set backs, and successes…and the blessings that come with sharing your stories with others.

We have accomplished so much in such a short period of time. The only person who can tell you that you CAN or CAN’T do something, is YOU!

YOU ARE A SUPERWOMAN!
Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. Some Rights Reserved.
Alicia Keys Superwoman video from YouTube.com
paradigmlife.blogspot.com

>Never Losing Sight of Who We Are and Where We’re Going

>Let me first start by saying that I am truly blessed. I have had my share of ups and downs. I have enjoyed acquiring countless worldly possessions. I have also experienced the heartache of losing them to theft, oversight, or total disregard that they weren't mine to begin with, but God's gifts to me on loan. I have seen, experienced, and felt great loss through death, personal economic downslides, and career and relationship failures. This young woman, soon-to-be age 35 in 22 days, has experienced many things that some people will never witness; but I'm blessed for these experiences.

I can recall the day when I was around the age of four when my parents and I walked though our huge storage unit, to see that only a few items were there. Our beds, furniture, and the majority of our personal belongings were gone…stolen. How traumatic an experience at such a young age. My Holly Hobby playhouse, bedroom set, and so much more was gone! What about when 1993 rolled around and once again, personal property was stolen from my family- this time, directly from our home. Then the knockout blow came shortly after when we lost that same home. Yikes! We were homeless by definition, but to my family, home is where the heart is- and our hearts were connected together and intertwined with God.

It seems just like yesterday, but it was actually 1999, when I received a phone call that almost everything I owned was stolen out of a personal storage unit. The few items I possessed I had stored at my uncle's home, and at my mother's home. Something about those storage units, even with so-called top-notch security, my stuff always seemed to come up missing. That same year my prized BMW was vandalized by someone who didn't want to see me happy. I lost yet another material possession.

Several of my first posts to this blog shared my experiences of loss through death. I have had so many loved ones pass away that it was at one point seeming like a sick, twisted joke. I was questioning God why I was experiencing all of this loss, why did it have to be so painful and agonizing. I noticed I was becoming even more fixated on death, on losing things and the people that I loved and still love deeply. I began to miss my childhood, when everything seemed perfect and as it should be…depression caught ahold of me and placed me in a series of bear and sleeper holds that was crippling for many, many years.

Depression caused me to lose faith, lose sight of what my plan and purpose is here. It caused me to not extend my hand when opportunity was dropping 'loaves' for me to sustain, to build, to grow. I wasn't seizing the moments that were presented as gifts. I was letting life pass me by. I was so obsessed with not losing anything that I didn't notice that I was still losing plenty. My career spiraled head-first into the ground, partly because I sacrificed it in order to appease a man I was dating; and partly because I was so fearful of losing something that I wouldn't trust and believe in myself consistently to make the right decisions. I soon exhausted all of my savings, my credit sank like the Titanic, and I began to have serious health issues. I was at a low.

Now let me stop here for a moment and say that this isn't one of my deep spiritual posts. It is spiritual, but I'm not trying to go directly there with you. You can visit my other blog breakingbreadwithnatasha.blogspot.com if you want to lovingly break bread with me and share some daily scriptures, prayers, and reflection. Now let's continue…

It takes a strong person to face loss, fall flat on their face (figuratively shattering every bone) and then get back up on their feet. I have been one-two punched, jabbed, caught a hook to the kidney region, sucker-punched in the gut, and undercut dead center on my jaw by life countless times. I just find a way to dig down deep, pray for strength and guidance, as I look for something to grab ahold to so that I can pull myself up to my knees, then my feet. Once standing it can cause your vision to be blurry because the hit you took knocked the wind out of you and jogged your faculties. Slow, steady breaths help to cleanse you and clear your mind so that you can reconnect. The tingling from numb extremities eventually dissipates, and you know that your body's blood flow is back on its normal pace. There is a constant reminder that you just got your butt kicked, because your face still hurts from falling on it…but even that is okay because at least you know that you survived, and are alive!

It is important to look back and ask yourself, "okay so how did that happen?"

The answer is simple yet possibly hard to grasp, and even harder to implement a solution- You lost sight of things. You weren't paying attention in the boxing ring of life. You instead did one or more of the following:

1) You stood there in the middle of the ring and took a pounding
2) You were too busy looking out in the audience trying to see how many fans were cheering for you, and didn't see that hook coming towards the temple of your head.
3) Your foot action got sloppy because of your lack of conditioning, and being tired, you allowed yourself to rest and eventually be pinned against the ropes, as your opponent tagged their name into your forehead, chest and rib cage.
4) You should have been bobbing and weaving, making sure to keep your gloves up, arms tucked in, and feet moving. You got anxious and dropped your right hand trying to land that TKO, but instead life tapped you with it's left fist and you landed face first on the floor.

It is very easy to lose focus when our focus is on fear, a desire for power and privilege, and or, on acquiring worldly possessions just because we want something to possess- to prove our success, and that we made it. It is also easy to lose focus when we turn our eyes away from our path, and focus on someone's path in hopes of walking beside them. If we are meant to walk on the same path with someone, then that will be revealed, and our eyes are never diverted from what we were doing before we met them. It should be a natural flow and transition, no delays or derailments. It should be seamless.

I can admit that I can be hard-headed. I also believe that my Creator, God, obviously has a great sense of humor dealing with me. He obviously also loves me dearly because He could have easily zapped me out of here a long time ago. I do know that He often thumps me in the back of my head when I'm veering too far in one direction, when I should be going another route. Let me share why I say this.

After realizing that my career had spun out of control, that my financial prospectus was nothing worth sharing with anyone with a pulse, and that I had a weakness for loving love more than I loved God and myself; what do you think happened after I worked diligently to rebuild my credit, purchase a cute, affordable car (that wouldn't tear my vital organs out if it were vandalized), and gradually see a steady lifeline in my career?

I screwed it all up.

I lost my focus while in love, and let someone else's dreams and path deter me from mine. I forgot who I was and what my mission was. I leveraged my strengths and opportunities to counter and uplift his weaknesses and threats. The more I helped him on his path, the farther I walked away from mine. The more I helped his financial situation and career hiccups, the worse mine became. Eventually his credit became better than mine, his savings account balance grew, as mine was depleted; his career had a brighter outlook, and mine was almost in the toilet. I had walked so far away from my path that I was lost in the wilderness.

How could I do that to myself? How could I lose focus? How could I place more importance on someone else, and not on myself, especially when they weren't even helping me reclaim my footing on my path? I let someone's self-serving ways lure me towards servitude as their 'property', instead of staying true to myself. Guess what I received for sacrificing myself for him? Guess what I received for my loyalty, encouragement, and investments (both in time and money)? I received the gift of loss, enlightenment, humility, and wisdom all in one huge box with fancy wrapping paper and a bow. That was definitely my "ah-ha!" moment.

I'm truly blessed. I'm blessed to have experienced it, this time in a different way. I learned in that relationship exchange how to be giving, nurturing, supportive, caring, and understanding. I learned how to sacrifice my need for instant gratification in order to provide for what I considered my 'family'. It was a humbling experience. Going from breadwinner to just-over-broke in a few short years can do that. Having to rebuild alone, but never truly alone (I have grown to discover the past 13 months now), and having to believe that even that initial pain would pass, and lay the foundation of wisdom to grow and share with others.

Am I mad at him? Heck no, why should I? How can you be mad at someone else for something you did to yourself, for something you were a willing participant in? Duh!

I am blessed. My life so far has shown me that although I have been beat up from the tip of my toes to the scalp of my head, I am a fighter and I will thrive. I needed to see how it feels when I lose sight of what I'm supposed to be doing; when I get comfortable in accepting mediocrity in myself and others; and when I ignore that voice in my ear or that tug in my stomach warning me that I'm about to fall off the course.

I share this with you in hopes that you don't lose sight of the path you're supposed to be on. Make sure you aren't jumping on someone else's path, even if it appears to be more exciting or rewarding. You never know, their path may also be short-lived. I also hope that you remember that when you're in the ring to bob and weave, always keep your feet moving, keep those gloves up, and your arms in close…and remember…never lose sight of what you're supposed to be doing, who you are, and that you have the strength and ability to get back up when you're knocked down on your rump!

Natasha

Copyright 2010. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.
paradigmlife.blogspot.com