The Greatest Blessing in the Whole World is Being a Blessing

“You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestation of your own blessings.” – Elizabeth Gilbert

I had a realization somewhere in the last year. I took a pause from asking God for the things I wanted and started asking what (S)He wanted from me. I declared daily, “God, use me for Your highest purpose! Show me how I can use my unique gifts and talents to be of service to the world.” It was at this point that I became uber-aware of the miracles occurring all around me.

In the past, if I had an inkling to say or do something, oftentimes I would ignore it for fear of judgment. After I prayed this prayer, however, I acted on my intuition, knowing that God was answering my prayer. There have been so many instances since that day where God has used me to be a blessing, and has blessed me in return.

One day, I was walking to meet my friend Caitlin to go hiking. I confused the cross street we were meeting at, and ended up sitting and waiting for her on a stone wall outside of a popular plaza. After a few minutes, the parking attendant, an older Indian man, came over and began speaking with me. We made some small talk about his job before he blurted out to me that he didn’t like black people. I was shocked. Why would he think it was okay to say something like that to me? I remembered my prayer and decided that cursing him out would do no good and decided to try another method. I asked him why he disliked black people so much. He told me that all the people that park in his lot are respectful, except black people who often yell at him and try to physically assault him. I told him I was sorry to hear that he had had this experience, but reasoned with him that these were just a few people, and not reflective of the entire race. He wouldn’t listen. He had had so many bad experiences that nothing I could say would change his mind. I explained to him that he was having these experiences because he expected to have them and that my experiences were quite the opposite. I explained that he could change the way he experienced people and events by changing his thinking. I told him verbatim, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”  At that moment my friend texted me clarifying the correct street she was on. As I went to get up to leave, a beautiful black family in an SUV slowly pulled into the parking space directly in front of us. The black man looked directly at the Indian man, bowed his head, and put his hands up in the prayer pose, respectfully thanking him for doing his job. The indian man looked at me with the widest eyes I’ve ever seen. Once again, I looked at him and repeated, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change,” and happily walked off. Continue reading

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It’s Happening Penny Lane, Just Like You Said

When I was a senior in college, I used to download music all day, every day. I would click on an artist I liked and download hundreds of their songs, CD’s, and remixes. I was downloading Trey Songz one day when I stumbled upon “Replacement Girl.” I listened and heard an unfamiliar voice laying an incredible verse and I immediately needed to know who it was.I saw that it was Drake, and immediately found him on MySpace. I had never written to an artist, but I felt the need to encourage this kid to keep putting music out. I sent him a message telling him how incredible I thought he was and that he needed to keep following his dreams. Looks like he really needed that. LOL When he blew up with “So Far Gone,” I felt so happy and proud.

When “So Far Gone” dropped, I was living in Atlanta, doing Americorps, which is basically like the PeaceCorps, but in the states. I hated it and many things about my situation at the time, but the music was, as it always has been, an overwhelmingly enjoyable escape. We bumped that mixtape so hard the entire summer. I remember pulling up at QuickTrip, or “Club QT” as they called it, bumping the tape and having several bystanders giving me head nods and thumbs up. Everybody was rocking with it. I loved the whole mixtape but remember having a love/hate relationship with “Successful.” It evoked in me the desire to be successful, and not necessary in the terms he was referring to, but it also made me feel like maybe it would never happen.

After a tumultuous time in Atlanta and a brief stay in NYC, I headed home back to my Mom’s house, feeling depleted, defeated, and depressed. I had been through so much in the last year and I needed a safe place to rebuild. I couldn’t get out of bed for months and seriously doubted that I would ever make anything of myself, much less make the move I had always wanted to Los Angeles. Thank God for my little sister Julia, who was also living at home at the time while attending college. She is a workout fanatic and encouraged me in my depression to do the Insanity workout with her. I agreed, but only if I could choose the music. “Thank Me Later,” had just dropped, and I played it nonstop during our workouts. My jaw dropped the first time I heard “The Resistance,” when Drake rapped, “It’s happening Penny Lane, just like you said.” Penny Lane had been my nickname and in all my glory, I had run around yelling “It’s All Happening.” I used to say that quote from Almost Famous constantly, reminding myself that all my dreams are coming true and will continue to do so. When I heard Drake say it, who had such a special place in my heart from when I “discovered” him, I knew it was a sign that I had to keep going and pursue my dream. My Mom was being as supportive as possible and tried to sway me towards more “acceptable” pursuits than running off to California to work with rappers. I made up my mind that I would not get an acceptable 9-5 as she encouraged, but would waitress until I had enough money to make my dreams a reality. A year and a half and 35 grand in tips later, I was ready to make the move. Continue reading

MMG ~ Master Manifesting G’s

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“There is something you need to know about the mastermind. In order to understand the overall concept and apply it to achieve success in all that you do. You must know that you can borrow other people’s knowledge, achievements, life experiences, and even their personal resources in order to execute your own life goals. By adapting this one idea, you can achieve more in a short time than you could in a lifetime otherwise…I said boss and I live that!” – Rick Ross – Mastermind Intro

 

When I heard Rick Ross’s latest intro a few months ago, it hit me that this is exactly what I have been doing my whole life with hip hop. I have been soaking up stories, confidence, ambition, passion, and inspiration from my favorite artists and using them to fuel my own life goals. Growing up, I spent hours every day ingesting stories from 2Pac, Biggie, Nas, Jay, Big Pun, AZ, Big L, Kanye, Jada, Mobb Deep, and many more. I began to see a life for myself outside of the norm. I longed to experience the things I was hearing about every day in music and the music itself gave me the courage to pursue this dream. When you listen to someone overflowing with passion, courage, and charisma over and over you begin to adopt those qualities in yourself.

Before moving to LA, I was listening to MMG heavy every day when I worked out. The music made me feel a certain type of way. I was inspired. I was happy. I was ready. I was being injected with confidence, clarity, and purpose. Ross’s calm, cool delivery paired with his impeccable beat selection made me feel like success was eminent. Meek’s tenacity and ambition poured out of his lyrics and into my mind and heart. I literally felt changes in my body listening to this music. While I was watching an interview one day, I heard Ross say that when he met Wale at King of Diamonds, Wale was by himself. Ross remarked how he thought it was dope that he had rolled solo. Highly respecting his opinion, I decided that his was something I needed to adopt. When I moved to LA, I didn’t know a soul. I began going places alone and testing myself, first a nice restaurant, then a club, then several industry events. There were times when I was uncomfortable, but I pushed through it knowing how important it was to develop this skill. After being consistent with this for over a year, I can now confidently walk into any room, party, event, etc. alone and feel totally at ease. The opportunities that have presented themselves in many of these situations have been unbelievable. I’ve been able to experience life in a way I never had before because I don’t have to worry about relying on other people. I am eternally grateful for watching that interview and really taking to heart and applying what Ross said in my own life. Adopting Ross’s knowledge and Wale’s experience significantly changed my life.

Dreamchasers and Dreamchasers 2 contain many of my inspirational anthems I listened to heavy when I was moving to LA. I’ve listened to “Dreamchasers,” “Big Dreams,” and “On My Way” hundreds, if not thousands of times. Meek is a master manifester, as is Ross. Meek has literally spoken everything into existence from day one and I’ve watched closely as his words and beliefs have created the exact lifestyle he spoke about from jump. When Dreams & Nightmares came out, I bought the hard copy and rode around the Hollywood Hills until I had ingested the album from top to bottom. I was filled with gratitude listening to “Maybach Curtains,” reflecting on how far I had come in my journey and was motivated by “Young Kings,” to keep filling my circle with only the best. I felt like a queen listening to “Young Kings,” and often blasted it with the top down riding down Sunset. I’ve had guys roll up like, “I’ll be your young king”. LOL I used  to ride around incanting (saying over and over with feeling and emotion) “I’m a Boss,” at full volume. Within weeks, many of my behaviors changed. I started speaking up and demanding respect from people with whom I had let things slide in the past. I began, completely out of the blue, drinking Macallan 12 and thoroughly enjoying it. Many of my preferences changed and I began embodying what I had been incanting. When DC3 came out, I took it as a personal challenge when Meek asked, “The world is yours and everything in it. You gon’ go get it?” and happily reflected while agreeing that “I used to pray for times like this”. It’s an indescribable emotion to be in your dream city, dream industry, surrounded by people amazing beyond your wildest dreams and realize that you (and God) created this life. You had the courage to pursue something that you used to not even want to speak aloud because people would make fun of you for it. I truly don’t know if I would have had the courage to chase my dreams without the dreamchasing music I have been blessed with from my favorite artists.

When I heard Lil’ Snupe freestyle, “Mama and Daddy, they had a king for real. Man, I swear I’m living all my people’s dreams for real. I do my thing right now. My Daddy ain’t livin’ dreams. Mama ain’t livin’ dreams. Granny ain’t livin dreams. Cousins ain’t livin’ dreams, so you know what I’ma do? I’ma live out all through Snupe, we gonna rock,” I was moved to tears. I saw how Meek had given this young, super talented kid the opportunity of a lifetime. It’s one thing to live your dream, but the masters understand that sharing this with others is the greatest gift of all. After his passing, I was watching videos of them in the studio where another young kid came in to rap for Meek. There was such a positive energy in the room, an energy of love, passion, ambition, loyalty, and respect. I’ve been around so many negative environments and watching this video opened up a whole new possibility in my mind of how my experiences could be moving forward. Hip hop is laden with negativity, but there are so many positive aspects that are highly motivational. To come from nothing, achieve your goals, then give back to your community with resources, inspiration, and motivation is the ultimate fete.

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