This labor of love took reflection, self-critique, dedication, and self-actualization. So, today we are going to acknowledge how this process can be the result of pearl-forming activities. I took the past 22 months to write the first installment of my journey as a village keeper. Traveling down this road of reflection required a lot of soul-searching, speaking truth to those things that held mental manipulation in my life, and building my knowledge about the behaviors and psychological attributes that impact my perspective and outlook on life.
Grace Under Pressure helped me build my strength as a woman because I learned a lot about myself and truly understood my pieces. Reflection and Self-critique allow for one to seriously consider their thinking, how it originated, and how one's thinking has developed over time and will enable one to determine how to change thinking or perspective to progress or maintain a better and more positive step forward. My self-reflection made me consider behaviors that drive me internally and innately. Self-reflection also made me acknowledge my foundation and what has made me who I am. My first pearl came from a journey that enabled me to strengthen my footing in this world. Though some reflection was challenging and emotionally unraveling, revisiting memories of my village was the key to penning my adventures. My village has helped me to build that mental muscle needed to navigate life's obstacle course. Establishing my why, how, what and who brought a sensibility to my purpose. Thus, understanding is similar to a muscle that must be exercised or atrophy, rendering no use to anyone, including oneself.
As I continued on this journey, the words didn't come fluidly. The reflection didn't render any new thoughts or reasons why the length of time on the journey was exasperating, or the time spent on certain aspects proved to be negative baggage that required disposal. There were at least 90 days where my trek was just a mere blip on my radar. I had too many distractions and a full-grown dead weight, totally slowing down my progress. It took away from my rhythm and added too much to my blues. Then, on January 1, 2021, I realized my second pearl. I'd have no one to fault but myself if I didn't keep going on this journey. People clamoring to be in my inner circle were merely spectators, not faithful village members. This night was the most revealing for me, and I shared my thoughts on my journey forward into 2021, and it didn't include the concurrent events. So my second pearl was generated after I created a mental timeline of the disposal of obstacles that kept me from "going on" and replaced their occupation with dedicated writing opportunities to maximize positive outcomes related to my goals. Dedication to the Cause was my mantra. I realized that dedication to my walk, purpose, and charge as a village keeper was foremost the penultimate. The more opportunities I created for writing, my self-efficacy increased, which impacted my resilience when distractions would come along in the future.
Dedicating to the cause became even more tricky with school returning to in-person learning. I had more demands on my time, with additional classes and reports, meetings, and obligations that required more focus. The series of meaningful distractions formed my last pearl, which transpired over the next few months that rolled into July 2021, and my self-reflection and dedication evolved into self-actualization. I began to see my goals on my list now with a completion date, a blue checkmark! My efforts to create more opportunities to write and focus on my goals created positive experiences of accomplishment. Personal milestones that I had on the list for at least 10 years were checked off the list, and senior status in several organizations I have been dedicated to began to pay off suitably. Sefl-Actualization is addictive. It triggers a level of gratification, satisfaction, and increased ambition (Though I feel like I have too much ambition), and Sparkle! I have 2 additional milestones on my list coming due before 2021 is done. Still, with those 3 pearls, the most demanding venture on my list has been the self-actualization of my authorship of Grace Under Pressure: A Southern Belle in the City! Harnessing your Sparkle is the payoff for all your hard work.
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