life curation

The Art and Science of Being Focused and Flexible

Once upon a time, I had another blog that I wrote on frequently. Now, I’m looking over those essays and cringing (nothing humbles you like looking over your old writing!) But, I think it’s worthwhile to rewrite those posts, because the points – while not fabulously expressed in the original posts – are still salient. Here’s a HEAVILY edited essay that I wrote nearly 12 (!) years ago. Enjoy!

This particular post will speak directly to two personality characteristics that are crucial to finding your own version of success: flexibility and focus. I decided to group these two together since they are a good example of polarity and interdependence: these are relative opposites but you can’t talk about one without at least touching upon the other. Flexibility implies a willingness to look at all of the options available, while focus generally refers to devoting one’s attention to a singular goal. It seems like the two cannot peacefully co-exist, but they CAN-and they SHOULD! In fact, one without the other can very well leave you unfulfilled and always falling short of your goals.

Why do some of us need to improve in the areas of flexibility and focus? Well, when it comes to flexibility, some of us have been given an overly simplified life formula-behave yourself, go to college, get a degree, get a career, get married to a man, buy a house, make a few kids, give freely to the church/mosque/synagogue/temple, and live happily ever after. The problems with the formula are its rigidity, and the lack of emphasis on QUALITY experiences and EMPOWERED choices. It also doesn’t allow for circumstances beyond a woman’s control or her personal choice. Not everyone is interested in attending college or working in a traditional career. Some women have zero interest in getting married at all, and those that desire marriage aren’t encouraged to accurately gauge the quality of their partners. Not all of us are interested in white picket fences and having babies, and, believe it or not, religion =/= spirituality, and some women have no interested in being part of a religious organization in order to connect to the Divine. Those that ascribe to the life formula commonly taught to women are often hyper-focused on accomplishing each thing on the “to do” list, to the detriment of a life that allows for magic and joy to unfold unexpectedly and organically.

In opposition to being hyper-focused, many women who reject the prescribed life formula mentioned above end up living life as a tangent of randomness, going here and there without a goal in mind and getting a whole lot of nothing accomplished in the meantime. This is often the case because life on the “fringes” is discouraged by society, meaning that those who reject any part of the aforementioned formula don’t get support for creating meaningful lives outside of the template they’ve been given. There are many women who are living purely in flexibility and not putting an adequate amount of time and energy into focusing their energy into a handful of things that will give them lasting satisfaction. Many will pour their energy directly into career or material possessions (nothing inherently wrong with this), without any forethought regarding what meaningful things they should be cultivating simultaneously.

It can seem like living in either extreme is the only option, but being focused and flexible at the same time should be a goal for all of us. Focus gives us direction and stability, while flexibility gives us depth, color and moments of ease in our journeys.

Here’s the best way to merge the concepts of flexibility and focus: find out what you want for yourself (get your focus together) then think of the many ways you can get there (exercise flexibility.) I’ll present an exercise that may be of use (I’ve done this for myself more times than I can count, and it’s not from a singular book I’ve read but, rather, a hodgepodge of ideas that I’ve picked up here and there.) First, name the things that you want for yourself. For this example, I’m going to use some really common desires: getting a degree, getting into your dream career, traveling, and getting married. Name whatever it is you want, no matter how crazy it sounds. It’s good to be very specific when naming what you want: getting a degree from Harvard, becoming a world renowned artist, traveling to Thailand, etc.,. This list can be as long or short as you like, but it helps to keep it brief (less than 5 things) – it helps you have more time to dedicate on the things that matter most.

After you name what you want, brainstorm various ways to get what you want. This seems a little daunting, especially if you’ve been taught to see things only in one way. People are always amazed when I tell them how I got into my prior career before I was awarded my college degree and without the advantage of an internship or nepotism. Unfortunately, many of us limit ourselves by having such a narrow view on how to get what we want. That’s the downside of associating regularly with damaged minds, pessimists, and perpetual escapists, who spend too much time keeping up with trivial things and not enough time doing things to increase their personal value and the quality of their lives.

Here are a couple examples of flexible thinking – both of these I personally have used:

  • If getting a degree is your goal, then take advantage of all sorts of learning opportunities. Going to college for 4 years, as soon as you exit high school, is not the formula for everyone. If it suits you, take credit courses here and there, looking into credit-for-experience programs (my book, Degree Hacking, gives you an actionable, inexpensive and easy-to-execute plan to accomplish this). Some schools even offer tests to demonstrate proficiency in certain areas; if you’re a student, you can take those tests at a fraction of the cost of a college course (my book discusses this, too). Also, remember all of the resources you have that can give you an educational edge up: local libraries usually offer free courses in a variety of subject areas; you can take free classes online in any area you can imagine; on the internet, you can preview course syllabi for any class you’re taking, and preread material that will be cover in the course (again, check out my book for more information about this).
  • If you want to travel, the first step is really easy: get a passport! It’s good for 10 years and you don’t have to be outside of the country to use it. Start setting aside a small amount per month to fund your dream trip (even $10 a month will get you there eventually.) This gives your focus (travel) some energetic momentum without having to commit a large amount of money up front. Consider buying a token that symbolizes your travel goals (like a travel journal). Join interest groups that will feed your desire to travel (meetup.com and local colleges can help with this, as well as the myriad Reddit, Facebook and Discord groups out there) or feel free to create a group of your own that indulges your travel desire. Check out travel websites regularly to find deals on flights, hotels, and rental cars – keeping up with the costs can help you to figure out how much you need to save. This research also crystallizes what things you actually want and need for your trip. Also, remember that, depending on how much travel you desire, there are many organizations that will pay for your airfare and lodging in different locales if you are willing to either teach English or help with humanitarian efforts.

Having a particular focus doesn’t mean that you can only achieve your desire in a singular way. I dreamed of attending an Ivy-league university, but I had no interest in pursuing a full degree. I ended up taking a grant funded program in a topic that really benefited me. I could have never anticipated that would be how I’d get my Ivy-league experience, but because I’m flexible, my desire was met with ease. It’s important to remember that it’s not the lack of options that causes problems, it’s when you lose sight of all the ways to get to your goals that discouragement sets in. People get discouraged when they see no way out: if you creative, though, you won’t feel discouraged for long.

I recommend, no matter what you do, that you get in contact with someone that can help you. You won’t always have every resources you need to get what you want. You have to make connections with people who will assist you on your path. You should not automatically feel entitled to their assistance. It is usually easier to ask for assistance from those who required to assist (school counselors or customer service representatives, for example.) However, the most powerful individuals are normally people who don’t owe you anything – convincing them to assist may be more challenging. If you can get one of these heavy hitters on your side, it will make your path infinitely easier. It should go without saying that showing your appreciation to everyone who helps you is a must. Being appreciative will 1) give you great karma and 2) make it easier for someone else who, later on, may ask for assistance from these same individuals. Showing appreciation can be a thank you note or a gift (be careful with gift-giving: you don’t want anything that can be misconstrued as bribery.)

That’s it for today, friends! I hope you’re having a fantastic day. I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

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books · culture · reading list · relaxation · words of wisdom · writing

Writers Wednesdays: What I’m Reading This Month

Happy Black History Month! I know I’m a bit late with this post, but I’ve been trying to get back on track with my writing and filming schedule (no easy feat, but I’m getting there!)

I posted a video on my YouTube channel last week, discussing the Black authors that I will be reading this month (I originally had five hardback and paperback books, but also added some digital books to the mix, just in case I finished before the end of the month). I’m focusing on reading up on a few different topics (not just self help!) and branching beyond American-centered stories, which is new for me.

Here is my book list for the month: I’m looking forward to diving into these.

I Am Your Sister by Audre Lorde is the book I’m reading first. You all already know about my love for Audre (I posted some of my favorite Audre quotes a few years back). This book is DENSE, so I already know it’s going to take me a bit more time, and a subsequent read (or two, or three . . . ) to get a good grasp of what she believed and taught. After I finish that, I’ll dive into Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. I’ve heard the title before but I’m completely unfamiliar with the plot of the book so I’m really looking forward to this one.

It wouldn’t be my book list is I didn’t include at least one self-help/advice book. Drop the Ball by Tiffany Dufu promises to show me how to achieve more while doing less. Less effort, more results? Sign me up!

The next two books are about the history of Black entertainment in the US. The Power of Pride by Carole Marks and Diana Edkins spotlights the superstars of the Harlem Renaissance, including some lesser-known luminaries of note. Then, I’ll be enjoying Brown Sugar by Donald Bogle which focuses on Black actresses, singers and other entertainers from the 1920s to 1970s. I’m really excited for both of these books, since I’m in love with all things vintage.

*If* I can get through the main book list, then I have a few others that I can read, that should cover me until the end of the month. The first is The Source of Self Regard by Toni Morrison, a book that I purchased last year in anticipation of a book club meeting that I planned – and failed – to attend. In any case, I’ve always loved Toni Morrison (I’ve posted about her here and I also wrote about her here, after her passing) and enjoyed her works immensely, so this should be a great one.

Finally, I have one more book that made it onto my back-up list: Clay’s Ark by Octavia Butler (I previously read Wild Seed and Mind of My Mind, in this set: “Seed to Harvest: The Patternist Series“). As a huge Octavia Butler fan (I posted about her ages ago), I’ve been eager to get back into reading her books, and Clay’s Ark was next on my list. And, since March is Women’s History month, I can always continue my reading streak and carry this book and the Toni Morrison one into the next month, if I run out of time in February.

That’s my reading list for the month: I’m looking forward to each of these! Do you have any books you’re reading this month? I’d love to hear all about them in the comments below. Also, here’s my YouTube video, discussing these books a bit more:

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goals · health · life curation · luxury · reading list · travel · writing

2022 – What You Can Expect from Bronze Butterfly

Hi friends! I hope you all are doing great. You all already know how much I love the new year: it is literally my favorite day of the year (even more than my birthday!). The energy of the new year inspires to do retrospective, introspective and future-gazing exercises. In the spirit of looking forward, I asked myself a simple question,

What do I want to do with Bronze Butterfly?

This blog has been my pet project for several years, and I want to set a theme for 2022 that will guide and inspire my writing. I thought about the things that matter to me right now, and what I want to explore more in the future. I think of my previous posts as reflecting a sort of larva stage (staying with the butterfly analogy here): I consumed a lot of information, engaged in a lot of activity, and I had a chance to use some of that knowledge but not to the maximum expression. I want to enter a bit of a chrysalis (cocoon) and eventual butterfly phase with this blog: reducing information consumption and instead being focused on using my energy stores. I will use this energy to actively craft the life of my dreams, instead of simply theorizing and experimenting here and there.

On that note, here are some of the things you can expect from the blog in future posts:

More interviews and deeper conversations – I had one incredible interview this year, and I want to add more to this space. I want to get the actionable tips, wise counsel and pure inspiration that comes from interacting with people that have done “hard things” and succeeded. So look out for more interviews in the upcoming year.

More Kibbe discussion [with a twist] – I think of how much our wardrobe reflects the times we live in, the things we value, as well as how we want to be perceived by the world. I really want to explore what certain Kibbe-verified celebrities expressed through their wardrobe, both pointedly and inadvertently. So that’s another topic I’ll be sharing more about in the months to come.

More book chats and writing tips – This is a continuation of the past couple of years of Writers Wednesdays, but here’s hoping I can share even more about the writer’s life and events that are relevant to writing. Also, I’ll be going back to doing book reviews (which I put on hold over the past couple of years, for the most part). I’ll be focusing on books that impact my life significantly, not just reviewing books simply because I read them.

Diving deeper into curating a beautiful life – This is also a continuation of the past few years, but I want to go deeper than the surface, and discuss the underpinnings of high quality living and all of its components.

More finance discussions – This is a topic that I’ve touched on briefly here and there, but I really want to dive more into this, exploring how to live well regardless of your current income, as well as how to increase your income to the level that you desire.

On a side note, I’ll be incorporating more of my previous blog content, my other active blog (which is finance centered) as well as my YouTube channel content into this space, as some topics are best explained via video.

Whew, I think that’s enough for one day! I’m so looking forward to you all joining me on this deeper journey into the Bronze Butterfly world. Thank you all so much for your continued support, and I’ll chat with you all tomorrow. Take care!

reading list

Books Read in October 2021

Hi everyone! I’m so excited that I made great strides toward my monthly reading goal, and I’m still on my way to hitting my annual reading goal well before the end of the year. Here are the books that I read in October:

One of the books I read, The Black Girl’s Guide to Calm

Thomas C. Hinkle, How to Eat: A Cure for “Nerves”

Melanie O’Hara Salyers and Susi Galloway, The Traveling Tea Ladies Death in Dixie

Admiral William H. McRaven, Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life … And Maybe The World

Oprah Winfrey, The Path Made Clear

Jamie Fleming-Dixon, The Black Girl’s Guide to Calm

Cassie Parks, Retired at 32 (not available for sale)

I initially intended to read more than 10 books this month, and I was well on my way at the beginning of the month. However, I actually put in major efforts toward my October writing plan, so I simply didn’t have enough time to read, write, edit, publish, and maintain my offline life. I still count it as a WIN that I got to read 6 books this month, and, while I’ll be throwing most of my energy into NaNoWriMo, I aim to read more than 10 books during the month of November. I’m also considering doing a review on one or two of the books that I read in October, but we’ll see: I don’t want to overextend myself!

Do you have any reading or writing goals for the remainder of the year? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

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health · life curation · reading list

Book Review – Delicious Healing

Hey friends! Today’s book review comes courtesy of my research into the health benefits of grape leaves. You see, I have some wild muscadine grape vines choking out my lovely rosebushes. A little research revealed to me that grape leaves confirmed what I already knew, which is that they can be used in savory dishes (dolmades, anyone?). However, I was looking for a recipe that would allow me to easily incorporate the leaves into something else that I would consume regularly. After perusing some videos on YouTube, I found recipes for smoothies that included grape leaves (yay!)

Under one of the videos I viewed, I saw a recommendation for a video posted by the YouTube channel Performing Healing. I was drawn in by the picture used for the recommendation: a sepia-hued woman with sunkissed freeform locs and wide doe eyes looked back at my earnestly. Curious, I checked out her channel, and quickly found myself bingeing on her content. The woman behind this channel, Dr. Tumi Johnson, is a medical doctor that has transitioned out of a conventional medical career into a holistic healing practice that incorporates nutrition, lifestyle management, and creative arts to support overall wellness.

Enter Dr. Tumi’s book, Delicious Healing. I bought the Kindle version of this book so that I could do a deeper dive into Dr. Tumi’s philosophy and approach to wellness. I was not disappointed. The book is brief but packed with pertinent information to help readers craft their own paths to optimum health. As the title suggests, the basis of the program is using food (specifically, a raw vegan diet) to properly nourish the body, while integrating other holistic health practices (such as joyful movement, adequate and restorative rest, creative expression, and meditation, among other things) into a wellness plan that truly heals the reader on multiple levels.

Dr. Tumi’s relays her own experience of poor dieting, a unimaginably stressful career, and a brush with death itself, to assure readers that she has walked her own path to true healing. Her current lifestyle – living in her off-the-grid dream home with her adoring husband and precious little boy – is a testimony to the kind of goodness that can unfold when we do the work of healing ourselves and prioritizing our values. Her journey to happiness started with working through her own poor health and aligning her life with her values and knowledge as a medical professional.

I think what really impressed me most about this book is that the information is “common sense” that most of us fail to implement consistently, written in a way that invites readers onto a healing journey, rather than lecturing them on what they need to change about their lives. Dr. Tumi’s tone is exactly the kind of energy I look for when talking to my own healthcare team. She doesn’t scold: she gently invites and offers unwavering encouragement. I loved how she discusses how poetry supported her healing, and it inspired me to reconnect with the creative arts that feel nourishing to me.

In short, I highly recommend this book! It’s a great reference for anyone that wants to know exactly how to determine the most crucial pillars to improved health, as well as a guideline for how to integrate these pillars more fully into their lives. You can check out Delicious Healing here. Also, you can learn more about Dr. Tumi on her YouTube channel or on her website (DrTumiJohnson.com). Here is one of my favorite videos that she’s shared.

I hope you all have enjoyed this post! If you decide to check out Dr. Tumi’s channel or book, please let me know!

***This post has affiliate links.

life curation · reading list

Books Read in September 2021

Happy Monday, everyone! I’m so happy to finally update this post, which went out prematurely a week or so ago. I’m sure you all are used to that by now: I often schedule posts that end up published before I can finish them. I’m working on improving that: it’s a struggle LOL!

In September, I read fewer books than normal. However, I actually read one book that was in digital format (as opposed to relying solely on audiobooks). I’ll be posting a review on that digital book tomorrow, as it left quite an impression on me. The books that I read in September are as follows:

Joseph Benner, The Teacher

Joseph Benner, Wealth

Dr. Wayne Dyer, Your Life Begins Now

Emmet Fox, The Hidden Power and Other Lessons

Emmet Fox, The Mental Equivalent

Neville Goddard, Awakened Imagination

Dr. Tumi Johnson, Delicious Healing

I’m looking forward to exceeding my monthly reading goals for October and November. I’m more than halfway to hitting my annual reading goal of 100 books, so I’m not going to let up now.

I am transitioning away from reading so many mindset books and going into the realm of mysteries (my favorite genre) and other topics of interest, like finance, strategy and herbal instruction. This is shaping up to be a fun shift into some other topics that I’d been neglecting in favor of my mindset audiobooks.

Have you read anything interesting lately? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

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reading list

August Books Follow-Up: Observations and Reflections

Hi friends! I mentioned last week that I would be giving some additional thoughts about my August reads (you can see that post here). I had to split this into two posts because I was way too busy last week to share all of the thoughts I had about the books I read.

Firstly, I’m still a huge fan of doing lots of audiobooks, since I frequently find myself short on time. And all of my August reads were audiobooks that I found for free on YouTube (though, my September list will have some non-audiobooks on it).

Last month, I dove a bit deeper into Wayne Dyer’s work, which I found to be invaluable in modifying some of my thoughts about myself and how I show up in the world. I also loved the quick reads that provided tips on accumulating and maintaining wealth. Sometimes, it’s just really good to get a refresher, and to remind ourselves that we have more control over our resources than we may believe.

Additionally, I finally got a chance to read The Art of War in its entirety: I am really excited to think of practical ways to apply the strategies listed in that book. A lot of people think “war” refers strictly to engaging in battle against an army, using weapons and hoping to survive and win. However, all of our lives have elements of “war” to them: the more we understand about the various ways to guarantee success, the better we can equip ourselves to create the success we desire. And, military strategy is just as helpful for navigating our regular lives as any other strategic philosophy out there.

Have you all read any good books recently? I’d love to hear all about it!

reading list

Books Read in July 2021

Happy Monday! Today, I’m doing a quick rundown of all of the books I read in July 2021. This month, I didn’t have as much free time, so I had to listen to audiobooks instead of trying to read paperbacks and ebooks. I still met my goal of 10 books for the month, so I’m please. Here’s what I read:

Wayne Dyer, Manifest Your Destiny

Wayne Dyer, Real Magic

Wayne Dyer, Everyday Wisdom

Francesc Miralles and Hector Garcia, Ikigai

Neville Goddard, The Feeling is the Secret

Neville Goddard, At Your Command

Henry Harrison Brown, Dollars Want Me

Annie Rix Militz, Prosperity Through the Knowledge and Power of the Mind

Elizabeth Towne, Just How to Wake the Solar Plexus

Mark Twain, Luck

Most of the books I read were related to mindset, abundance, and law of attraction. I find that it is very easy to listen to these sorts of books, since they feel very encouraging while providing instruction. In August, I’m intending to read far more physical and electronic books, though I’ll still probably have one or two audiobooks on my roster.

Per my current count, I’ve read 34 books this year. However, the springtime was considerably busier so I wasn’t able to read as much. In light of this fact, I’m confident I’ll still meet my goal for the year. I’m keeping my fingers crossed and feeling hopeful!

reading list

Books Read in June 2021

Happy Monday, everyone! I hope you all had a lovely weekend.

Y’all. Y’ALL. I FINALLY read ten books in one month! That was my initial goal, but I fell short every month. It feels good to hit my target. Here are the books I read this past month:

Dr Joseph Murphy, How to Attract Money (YouTube audiobook)

W. D. Wattles, The Science of Getting Rich (YouTube audiobook)

Neville Goddard, Prayer: The Art of Believing (YouTube audiobook)

Florence Scovel Shinn, The Power of the Spoken Word (YouTube audiobook)

Dr. Joseph Murphy, Riches Are Your Right (YouTube audiobook)

Robert Collier, Be Rich! (YouTube audiobook)

Aromatherapy: A Comprehensive Guide to Get Started with Essential Oils by Jessica Thompson

Wicca Herbal Magic: The Ultimate Beginners Guide to Wiccan Herbal Magic (with Magical Oils, Baths, Teas and Spells) by Sophia Silvervine

Wicca Magic: Your Complete Guide to Wicca Herbal Magic and Wicca Spells That Will Fulfill Your Life by Vivienne Grant

The Hidden Power of Herbs: A Basic Guide to Herbal Magick  by Holy Santo

If you noticed the last few books I mentioned, you’re probably wondering,

Girl, are you a witch/Wiccan?

No, I’m not. But, I’m an aspiring medicine woman (AKA herbalist). In my experience, no one has a better grasp of the multifaceted power of herbs than people who use them in their spiritual practices. Beyond the instruction related to herbs, I didn’t focus on the other information (though there were a few passages here and there that I found useful).

The majority of my reading focused on upleveling my mindset and remembering the power of creating the world I want through intention, powerful affirmations and afformations, and believing that I deserve to live my best life. Believe it or not, I still have to work on my mindset as regards entitlement. I logically know that I deserve a wonderful life, but I’m still unpacking the programming that many of us have received when it comes to having financial abundance.

So many of us have been running a script in our minds, both denouncing “too much” money while simultaneously longing for MORE money to live more comfortably. It’s not impossible to have lots of money yet feel undeserving, but those emotions make it difficult to be comfortable with abundance. For that reason, I’m continuing to work on my mindset and increase my comfort level with the amount of money I want in my reality.

Have you all read any of these books? I’d love to hear your thoughts below!

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reading list

Book Review: Double Your Business

I’ve mentioned Cassie Parks in previous posts. She is one of my favorite law of attraction (LOA) coaches, and her simple, practical approach to crafting your dream life is refreshing. In a world full of coaches that make LOA complicated and inaccessible, it’s wonderful to have someone that breaks away from the pack and does it her own way. So, in my quest to learn more ways to create a stronger, more lucrative business, I turned to Cassie’s book, Double Your Business.

The full title of the book is, Double Your Business: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Double Your Profits Without Doubling Your Hours So You Can Actually Enjoy Your Life. But, as you can see, I’ll be using the abbreviated title. In this book, Cassie reveals her step-by-step strategy for increasing your revenue without requiring additional time or extraordinary effort. Her approach involves using clear intentions and embracing your future lifestyle in order to align with your desired reality.

What I appreciate about this book is that it doesn’t give you a quick fix for business growth. As Cassie explains, “quick” strategies are rarely effective over the long term. We have to dive in the day-to-day reality of the lifestyle we desire in order to co-create our best lives. The exercises are easy to follow, Cassie’s writing style is engaging, and, if you follow her advice, you will absolutely double your business without having to work harder or increase your hours.

Additionally, I can see how this would support my goals for 2021. Cassie is careful to avoid the word “goal”, as it implies something very limited, as opposed to an “intention”, which is far broader and more flexible. I love that her approach is so much more wholistic/holistic than some LOA coaches. Instead of focusing on something finite (like a singular goal), she expands your focus so that you can design a business that easily accomplishes all of the goals that you desire to achieve.

I cannot recommend this book enough! If you have it, or would consider buying it, let me know in the comments. Talk to you all soon!

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