Gratitude For 2015

Latest posts by Shannon Braxton (see all)

Photo Credit: Mike Petrucci

How was your 2015? Was it the year of magnificent manifestation as so many leaders prophesized? With little effort, did all of your dreams come true? If so, please invite me to your house for an one-on-one mentoring program because my 2015 was not what I expected at all. Never in my life have I fought such a battle against my own mind.

While I wanted to be painting my new hometown red, I felt more like I was sentenced to a self-inflicted house arrest. The year started with me totaling my brand new dream car and in turn loosing my exciting brand new job. What I was left with was a crappy lawyer, a little government assistance, an emotionally taxing relationship and an opportunity to get clear about God’s purpose for me and my life.

2015, I officially label you “The Year Of Clarity.” Much of this year I spent talking to my “faithful five.” And each of my closest friends were struggling at my side. From the labor of planning and executing a national music tour, to being a black man trying to find employment in a white man’s arena; from managing a 3-year-old who has trouble staying asleep, to breaking up with a lover and long term career; we have gone to the war room y’all and prayed each other through the thick of the thick.

So what are we left we besides our ever growing strength? CLARITY! I am so excited to launch into 2016 with a brand new vision for my life that will serve you and God instead of serving my own ego. My friends are entering this new year with assurance that they are on the right path, a focus on entrepreneurship, holistic healing plans and registrations in programs to start fulfilling new careers.

So, how was your 2015? Was it “The Year of Clarity” for you?

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My name is Shannon Elizabeth Murphy Braxton. If I had to choose a title, I would say I am a PICKY MUSE. A poet, a singer, a storyteller and a person who gets VERY pissed off at ignorance and injustice. I hate the word career. “She is at the peak of her career.””How is this job going to help your career?” “Shannon, you need to choose a career.”

TO HELL WITH CAREERS!

I am a freedom fighter, a person who lightens the mood, and someone who refuses to stay silent about things that matter. I spent a year interviewing children about the struggles they face and being the assistant producer of Childhood Matters Radio Show.

I spent several more years as the personal trainer to some of the most fabulous people in the world. And most importantly, I’ve spent my life trying to make sense out of nonsense and heal myself and the people around me with the transformative energy of love.

If you ask me, to live a life in COLOR should be the one and only career. I am excited to share some of my inspiration, and a little bit of my humor with others who are on this journey of creating a fabulous, colorful life.

I am thrilled to welcome Shan back to the blog to contribute whenever her schedule permits! She wrote and collaborated with me for a little over a year. It’s awesome to work with your bestie / sis.  I’m sure you’ll enjoy her honest and heartfelt writing as much as I do.

No = Next Opportunity

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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
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Twitter is a peculiar place, a mix of self absorption (do we really care how much you hit the bathroom), and intellectual gems. Oh those quotes populating your feed! Amidst the explosion of verbal clutter one phrase stood out a few weeks ago: “No = Next Opportunity.” As time progressed, I found the phrase lingered in my consciousness.

What an insightful way to process rejection, not as complete failure, but an opportunity to begin. Often our perceptions of setbacks limit us more than the obstacles themselves.

Our challenge then becomes not merely accepting the “no,” but viewing it as an invaluable gift, a window for awakening to never imagined opportunities.

Perhaps a job you applied for said thanks, but no thanks. Stop. Think for a moment. What were your motives for applying? Is it in alignment with your passion, or the seemingly obvious next step? Remember, God speaks to us through open and closed doors. The lesson emerges when we listen, absorbing it all with an open heart.

Of course none of this is easy to process. I am still on the journey, working to make sense out of it all.

Two Ways to see Opportunity in a No:

1. Keep it in Perspective : Do you aspire to become an entrepreneur? Did the bank deny your loan request? Take a hard look at your long range goals, and put it all in perspective. One no will not eviscerate your dreams; if anything, it may strengthen your will to succeed, ultimately searching for alternative solutions.

2. Become Your Own Cheerleader:
Celebrate your strengths (intelligence, warmth, courage, etc.). We are rarely gentle with ourselves.

Recently, a good friend implored me to ackowkedge my accomplishments from taking out recycling to caring for our daughter.

Part of seeing no as the next opportunity is realizing the word is not an indictment against you. It’s simply a no, and by celebrating the awesomeness that is YOU, you realize this is a part of the journey. We are all arriving, constantly awakening.

Obstacles, Opportunities in Disguise

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
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It’s 9 a.m. and you are racing to work again, pantyhose running, the mind reels with mounting responsibilities, you feel confined, trapped. Breathe, step back and think about this: our obstacles and problems, from the mundane to complex, are opportunities in disguise.

Last week when I interviewed Pebbles Armwood, fellow blogger and mental fitness advocate she said something which resonated: “perception is reality.” Wow. Talk about an aha moment, and apt reminder about the power of attitude.

Carolyn Malachi, one of my favorite artists insists on her song, “Free Your Mind”: “Wherever you are, your mind put you there.” This is no easy lesson; it means you and I must begin the work of turning our issues backwards, and accept responsibility.

Are you frequently late? How could this be altered by practicing mindfulness, leaving ahead of time so that agitation and stress do not overtake you? Do you long to attend school, but feel there is little time to do so? Take one class, and begin looking for periods during the day when study time would work.

Turn your problems into solutions, your obstacles into opportunities. Here are two ways to begin:

1. Change your perceptions – You are not a hapless victim. Look at yourself differently; use affirmations, prayer and mediation.

2. Shift the Focus – My husband always reminds me to shift the focus. Instead of saying “this is impossible” and concentrating on the “problem”, actively look for a solution, shift your focus.

Think of a problem or obstacle. How can you turn it into an opportunity?