Identity In Progress

Recently, I saw a social media post of a former classmate in reference to his ancestry results. Like most African Americans, I have wondered about my own lineage. When I’ve asked the question, few family members can speak beyond their great-grandparents. A few years ago I attempted to create a family tree but when suggestions for next of kin appeared I was be completely lost. I didn’t know who was married to whom or all the children names to keep up the momentum. After several attempts, frustration took over and I pushed these ideas to the side.

The furthest generation I know about is my great-grandparents. I knew my father’s family was from Memphis because we traveled every summer there to celebrate my great grandfather’s birthday. He lived to be one hundred years old. After he transitioned around the time I was in middle school, the trips to Tennessee got far and few in between. I never got the opportunity to meet my paternal great-grandmother but I always heard that she was a very pretty Native American.

 

My mother’s family was from St Louis. However, we never traveled to Missouri as a family. I only remember meeting my maternal great-grandmother once. Her reputation proceeded her so I wasn’t upset about not getting to know her. My mother spoke often of her quick temper and no-nonsense approach toward kids. The only memories I have is of her scowling and looking like a mirrored image of my grandmother. My maternal great-grandfather had already transitioned so I never set eyes on him in this lifetime.

 

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When my maternal grandmother transitioned in 2014, I took on the task of creating the obituary. That was a very eye-opening experience. I discovered for the first time that my maternal family originated in a small town outside of Little Rock Arkansas. In all my years it had never been mentioned. I attempted to do the last name search on my grandmother’s maiden name but my search didn’t yield any results. So once again I pushed the idea out of my mind. Over the years I’ve wondered about where my family originated but felt frustrated with each dead end. However, it is my hope that this ancestry test will provide another starting point in my journey to find out more about my lineage.

 

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I’ve had all kind of dreams on the subject in the last five years. When I started horseback riding back in 2016, I was often visited by what felt like a paternal great great grandfather. I often felt like he was guiding and protecting me as I learned to ride. I got the impression from his visits that he was a great horseman. In the visions, he was always seated on top of this beautiful brown horse. I felt very connected to him and as if he had chosen to help me discover a deeper part of who I was on that journey. In the dreams, he appeared to be Native American. For months we trotted along in slow motion then one day the horse took off running and instead of being scared I felt at home and protected. That experience gave me a greater appreciation for nature, animals and my inner wild child. I am a firm believer that spiritual beings and ancestors are very much a part of our everyday lives. It is my hope that I can confirm some of my experiences through this process.

 

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It’s funny how things around you start to happen when a particular decision is made. I have wanted to travel to Africa for at least two years but to be honest felt a little nervous about traveling their solo. I have traveled to several countries by myself at this point. In retrospect, I know my ignorance and fears have kept me from taking this journey sooner. As a youth, I remember being bombarded with negative images of Africa. Most imagery included war, rape, and starvation. But I also remember being very intrigued by the continent as well. As I book lover, I’ve read a wide array of books about African life and culture. However, unconsciously some of those negative ideas have still lingered somewhere in my psyche. But I made the decision a few months ago that I would journey to the motherland in 2019. Since I made that decision I have received two invitations to travel there with friends.

 

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I’ve also started having dreams about doing work over in South Africa. I don’t know what the work is at the moment but I feel that it will indeed be life-changing. All these I interpret as spiritual nudging. My dreams never lie to me and when I indulge in them I always come back feeling enlightened and more unapologetic about the choices that I have made in this life.

 

 

Peace and Blessings

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2018 and Beyond

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It’s halfway through 2018 and I finally feel like my year has started.  It started six months ago but I was feeling off centered and not like my normal self.  I wasn’t feeling motivated to do anything besides go to this contract position and sleep.  Everything had kind of fallen by the wayside including meditation, exercise, networking, writing, and blogging…all the things that kept me on course in 2017.

I felt drained the first half of the year. I struggled with trying to find my balance so I stopped trying and shifted my focus.  I decided to focus on my diet and attempted to cut meat.  I did pretty well the first thirty days until I smelled meat one day and an overwhelming craving for it took over. Although I don’t intend to be a vegan I love glancing at the lifestyle and learning about it. This gave me something different to focus on.  I also started back reading.  Since I was home laying in bed most of the time, it felt natural to occupy my mind.  So I surrounded my bed with biographies, self-help, and metaphysical books. My awareness of quantum metaphysics, gene keys and archetypes has dramatically expanded. I also watched every mythological movie I could find on Netflix.  I have always been curious about the human psyche, patterns, and life stories. So I fed my mind and extended my vision. Although I felt physically drained for the first half, all the other things made me feel mentally strong and intact.

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Today I finally feel like I have come full circle and have slowly eased back into my routine but not without deciding to make some changes in my life. I have been in Atlanta for eleven years and although I have grown to love it, right now I feel a sense of stagnation.  Granted I’ve made dramatic changes in my life in the last year, I still feel like there is one more thing I should be doing. I feel completely free to write my next chapter in any way I chose.  I’m choosing to write it outside of Atlanta. So I’m off to my next adventure in another city for the next six to twelve months. Maybe all the rest from the first half was preparing me for this moment.  I feel like I still have so much to accomplish and so much more to share with the world. So I am ready for the next phase. I know when I look back over my life this will turn out to be one of those pivotal moments that changed everything…

Peace and Blessings

 

Employee vs Entrepreneur

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I am five months into an accounting contract.  I originally only planned to be there three months. The company extended the contract due to internal turnover. So, at this point, they still have a need for me. I’ve been asked more than once to come on as a full-time employee and every time I decline the offer.  Although I think it’s a great company, I cannot with a clear conscious commit to fulltime employment. Here is why

  • I am not ready to go back into employee mode at this juncture. I’ve spent sixteen years as an employee, so I know intimately what that life is like. That is not to diminish the experiences, knowledge or accomplishments I had as an employee. Everything I learned in that format I use daily as an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship is a new challenge and I am still learning how to navigate its terrain. I have acquired so many new skills and even tapped into parts of myself that I didn’t know existed.
  • I feel more freedom to create the type of work that is both empowering for myself and others. While accounting has provided a lot from a financial standpoint, it has rarely been the career that has made me jump out of bed with excitement. It is practical, logical and analytical.  As an accountant you rarely get to live outside of the lines of that structure, however, as a consultant, you have more freedom to suggest and create. There are day to day task that must take place but there is also a space for new ideas and new ways of doing things.  Consultants tend fit in that space and to focus on more project-based work. Consultants attempt to find solutions to problems that either the daily task master don’t have time to resolve or are too close to the process to be innovative.
  • I have a far greater plan than being a team of one. Let’s be honest after closing the books for that many years I can literally do it in my sleep at this point. What I am hoping to start creating from my sleep is a team of efficient and effective accountants who want to continue that legacy or create their own. I feel like my role has transitioned from bean counter to bean connector, meaning offering the opportunities for others to find and fulfill their own purpose. I feel like I would be more useful at cultivating these opportunities as an entrepreneur as opposed to a being a full-time employee. My goal is to have connections within both corporate and small business spheres to then refer these trainees and mentees too. It has been my experience with millennials that they are looking for something more than what currently exists. I also believe it is a part of my purpose to empower others so they can carry the torch.
  • Flexibility is one of the other perks I enjoy as a consultant. While most people are pigeonholed into 2-4 weeks of vacation, as a consultant I can take off as much time as I want. I have always lived far away from family and friends. As I’ve gotten older I have become more attuned to getting reconnected with loved ones. This tugging is far more important than a paycheck. So a vacation schedule in alignment with my current life is more like 2-3 months. This concept is a hard sell to a boss who has not even made this an option for themselves.  In most cases, the sentiment is that you must have a higher pay grade to demand that kind of work-life-balance. However, as a consultant, you learn how to creatively balance the concept of ‘if you don’t work, you don’t eat’. For me, that just involves demanding a higher pay rate and creating more cash reserves on the front end.

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  • I truly enjoy this adventure into the unknown. The truth is I don’t know what is going to happen next. I always feel like I am being lead spiritually so there is no need to know all the steps just yet. The mystery is somewhat of a balancing act.  There are times when nervousness and uncertainty bring to the surface all my worse fears.  There are other times when I hear or feel that people really see and connect with my vision.  Those times confirm that I am headed in the right direction. Even in my failures, I am taking them as just an extra step needed to get the bigger picture. Almost like a rinse and repeat step just to make sure you got it.
  • Finally, I am attempting to get two businesses off the ground at the same time. My first business is going into its third year but still requires my attention. It still requires branding, marketing, sponsorships and new connections. It’s in a good space but I am now struggling with figuring out how to transition from startup phase to expansion phase. The accounting business is a lot more profitable, so I must also focus on making connections to keep it that way. Also, to somewhat merge both lives I’ve started to think about how to create a financial wellness platform to form a creative new perspective at looking at your health and your finances. The two are tied and who better to speak on that relationship? I believe this will open the door to more speaking opportunities and of course more travel.

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Needless to say, there is a lot going on at once in my world.  Although there are moments when I am exhausted, I rarely feel spiritually drained and unhappy about what I am doing.  Every day I wake up I feel more optimistic and closer to my long-term goals.  I think I will always teeter between corporate and entrepreneurship, the two are so ingrained in my experience.  The two questions I ask when I wake up each day are where do you want me to be and how can I empower others using my natural gifts and talents? I accept where that will lead me.