art · culture

Celebrating the Arts

One of the greatest joys of my life was visiting museums. Prior to 2019, I regularly worked in Washington, DC, which meant that I could easily go to a major museum during my lunch break or after work. I loved walking those corridors and taking in art from all around the world, as well as art that documented the history of America. Nothing was as soothing to me as spending time at the Smithsonian and checking out the latest exhibitions.

However, things changed drastically at the end of 2018. I was unable to walk more than a few feet without getting winded, I could only sleep for an hour or so at a time, and the unrelenting body aches that I experienced left me frustrated and frightened. As someone that was used to being far more active, I was terrified of these mysterious symptoms that took away my basic abilities to navigate the world like I’d previously done. As it turns out, I had fibromyalgia, and I immediately started a telework schedule that would allow me to rest as needed throughout the day. Unfortunately, my condition made traveling to DC absolute torture. So, I had to put my museum mini-trips on hold until my health improved.

I still haven’t gone back to visit the museums in DC, though I have spent some time at my local museum earlier this year (I was thrilled to finally be able to walk around a bit without experiencing excruciating pain). However, it’s National Arts and Humanities Month, and I just want to take a moment to share some of the amazing things happening at the Smithsonian in honor of this month-long celebration.

On October 23rd, the Smithsonian will be kicking off its own craft show. The show will occur virtually, and the theme is Celebrating American Artistry. The crafts featured in the show are created by carefully selected artisans that create work that reflects American aesthetics and sensibilities. What better way to celebrate art than to purchase some for yourself? Interested shoppers can securely purchase items through the Smithsonian platform, adding a layer of assurance for both shoppers and the craftspeople that are involved in the exchange. The event ends on October 31st.

The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Asian art museum within the Smithsonian, is the host of the DC Turkish Film Festival. The films that are featured in this festival are all available online for free, so anyone can enjoy from the comfort of their homes. The films will be available through the Sackler Gallery through October 31st.

The companion to the Sackler Gallery is the Freer Gallery. At the Freer Gallery, the Hokusai: Mad About Painting exhibition is a fascinating dive into the art of Katsushika Hokusai, a Japanese artist that is arguably among the country’s most famous painters. The Freer Gallery has an impressive collection of Hokusai’s work, and anyone interested in learning more about this gifted artist would do well to check out this exhibition. But hurry: it will only be at the gallery until January 9, 2022.

The National Museum of African Art (located just one block from the Free and Sackler Galleries) is currently displaying Heroes: Principles of African Greatness, an exhibition that centers on how art is used to tell the stories of heroism and the traits of effective African leaders. This one is definitely worth checking out sooner rather than later, since the end date for this exhibition is still to be announced. Nothing is worse that postponing a visit and finding out that you mistimed your travel and lost the opportunity to do something that you wanted to do (trust me: it’s happened to me, and it was no fun!)

Finally, the Archive of American Art is hosting the exhibition, What is Feminist Art? This exhibition is a continuation of a discussion that was initiated back in 1976, and some of the same artists that participated in the 1970s also participated this time around. This exhibition promises to be an eye-opening discussion on feminism and how it has changed, or remained the same, over the past 45+ years. This exhibition closes on December 31st.

Would you check out any of these exhibitions? Or, do you have other plans to celebrate National Arts and Humanities Month? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!

writing

Writers Wednesdays – Setting Up Your Own Writing “Retreat”

October 11th was a federal holiday in the United States (Columbus Day or, as the better informed among us prefers, Discoverer’s Day or Indigenous People’s Day). I initially planned to join a forest therapy retreat being hosted at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. However, the event was cancelled, and since I was off from my regular job, and I had already blocked off a portion of my day for the retreat, I figured that I shouldn’t waste the time.

So I planned my own retreat at home.

I planned this at the last minute, so the instruction I’m giving you all are close to what I did, but not quite the same. I did the best I could: after all, I had initially planned to be forest bathing in a gorgeous botanical garden, so this last-minute change was unexpected. When I take time to do this again (before the end of this year), I’ll use these points as a guide. Here’s how I would – and did – plan an ideal writing retreat.

Pick a day and time, and block it out on my schedule. I already had the date and time, based on the forest therapy retreat. I mentally blocked it out of my schedule, and made sure to plan my activities for after the retreat. I also took care of what I could over the weekend, and I scheduled anything that wasn’t pressing until the following day.

Select what I’m going to work on during your retreat. I already had three books that I am working on actively (as shared in the previous Writer’s Wednesday post), so I knew what I wanted to work on. However, if I was planning this during a month when I didn’t have a writing plan, then I would select the book I’d work on before I embark upon my retreat time.

Clean up the space where you’ll be writing and retreat-ing. Or, if your budget allows, get a hotel room for at least 24 hours (48 hours would probably be best). I didn’t want to book a hotel room, but I knew that I could tidy up my office and make it feel pretty and relaxing. I took some time during the weekend before the 11th to wipe down surfaces, unbox some stuff that was overdue for a permanent home, and clear space for my laptop and anything else that I may need.

Add things into the space where I’ll be writing that will make it easier to feel like I’m getting away from it all. Fragrances I enjoy (that make me feel creative or inspired), a tray of fresh fruit and sparkling water, a cozy blanket, a yoga mat, and a playlist of great tunes were all prepped and ready for my home retreat. I also brought in my Himalayan salt lamp and a few fun crystals, just for good measure.

Have a variety of writing equipment and material. Since my retreat happened in my office, I already had a plethora of pens, pencils, markers and even crayons nearby. I also have a variety of notebooks and journals nearby, for convenience. If I want to write by hand, I have everything I need, and if I want to type, my laptop is always nearby, too. And, if I feel like voice typing, my headset is in my office and ready for use.

Set a timer for my writing. I set my timer to start, and I stuck to it, just as I would if I was scheduled for a meeting at work, or if I had a tutoring student session on my calendar. I set the timer for the length of my retreat, and when the timer goes off, I do a couple of yoga stretches and then continue with the rest of my day. I don’t allow anything to interfere with my time during the retreat.

Last but not least, I prepped my loved ones. I told my beloveds that I was not to be disturbed during this time, and I left food where they could easily access it. I put up a sign on the office door to confirm again that I was not to be disturbed. I turned off my ringer and let them know that I wouldn’t be reachable until after my retreat time.

Those are my tips for creating a fantastic writing retreat at home. Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments below! Also, if you need a pretty journal for your own writing retreat I got a cute one for you. This journal has wide ruled pages and each page has an image of one of five Black American opera singers from the turn of the 20th century: Mamie “Bronze Melba” Flowers, Matilda Sissieretta Joyner Jones, Elizabeth Greenfield, Flora Batson, and Marie Selika Williams. The journal has 179 pages, so LOTS of writing space for your journaling needs. I think you’ll love it!

That’s it for today’s Writer’s Wednesday! I hope you got some tips that you can use. I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

***This post contains affiliate links.

food · health

My Favorite Black Vegetarian and Vegan YouTubers

Last week, I shared that I thoroughly enjoyed Dr. Tumi Johnson’s work and her YouTube channel, Performing Healing. I purchased her book, Delicious Healing, to give me some ideas on how to improve my health by using self care, mindfulness, and a nourishing diet. Dr. Tumi is a medical doctor that has been living a raw vegan lifestyle for a decade, and her transformation from overworked and undernourished clinician to radiantly healthy performer and holistic healer inspired me tremendously.

Dr. Tumi’s page inspired me to peruse YouTube for other vegetarian and vegan YouTubers. While I’d followed a few of them before coming across Dr. Tumi, I thought it would be nice to compile a few of my favorites over here. As I explore more options with plant-based eating, I’m certain I will have to do a second part to this post, which works for me. I hope you all enjoy this list!

Performing Healing – As I mentioned previously, Dr. Tumi is a medical doctor and raw vegan. Her channel doesn’t focus solely on recipes but it does highlight what a fully vegan lifestyle entails. The recipes that she has provided are often simple to recreate, but it has to be noted that she is a raw vegan, so adjusting to this eating style may require a bit of effort. However, for those that are interested, she’s a wonderful resource. As a bonus, her videos are all lovely, with excerpts of dance and fantastic little wellness tidbits sprinkled throughout each of them. And naturally, she’s written a book about her wellness philosophies. You can learn more in her book, Delicious Healing.

SweetPotatoSoul – Jenne Claiborne, the lady behind the wildly popular SweetPotatoSoul YouTube channel, is truly one of the OGs of the vegan YT community. She has over 600,000 subscribers, and has also published her recipes in the cookbook, Sweet Potato Soul: 100 Easy Vegan Recipes for the Southern Flavors of Smoke, Sugar, Spice, and Soul. If you’re interested in beautiful videos with tasty recipes, you should definitely check out this channel.

Rachel Ama – Similar to SweetPotatoSoul, Rachel Ama also has over 600,000 subscribers and a longstanding commitment to the vegan lifestyle. On her channel, she focuses on flavorful dishes that borrow heavily from international cuisine, such as dishes from Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. I like that her recipes are great for transitioning vegans that may be concerned that they’ll have to compromise flavor for this lifestyle (nothing could be further from the truth!) Rachel has also published 2 books, titled Rachel Ama’s Vegan Eats: Tasty plant-based recipes for every day and One Pot: Three Ways: Save time with vibrant, versatile vegan recipes.

Black Forager – The creative behind this channel, Alexis Nikole Nelson, has an extremely strong presence on other social media (such as Instagram and TikTok). However, she also shares her recipes on her YouTube channel. I love her fun energy and the fact that she makes vegan dishes with foraged vegetation. This takes a special level of creativity and vision, and she absolutely knocks it out of the park each time. I’m waiting patiently for her book . . . She hasn’t announced that she’s writing one, I’m just putting that wish out into the Universe. Until then, I’ll console myself with the NPR interview that she did.

From the Comfort of my Bowl – I love that this channel features vegan comfort food. Despite the fact that I have loved experimenting with raw vegan meals, sometimes I want warm, cooked food that is both satisfying and still cruelty free. As a bonus, many of the meals featured on this channel are also gluten-free. The channel has a companion blog with all of the meal details.

This Infinite Life – This adorable family of 8 lives a vegan lifestyle down in the deep south (Atlanta, Georgia). On this channel, the family tries packaged vegan items, but they also indulge in varying eating challenges and share recipes. This channel is an especially good option for anyone that is experiencing difficulty with transitioning to a vegan lifestyle: the videos show how easy it is to replace your favorite animal-based products with vegan alternatives. There is a companion website which also features three ebooks written by the creative minds behind the YouTube channel.

Those are some of my favorite Black vegan and vegetarian vloggers. Do you have any recommendations? I’d love to hear all about them!

*** This post contains affiliate links.

health

Fibro Fridays – Why So Many Symptoms?

Happy Fibro Friday! To all of my fibro family out there, I hope that you all are having a pain-free day, full of energy and zero fibro fog. And, if you are having a not so great day, I hope you’re able to rest a bit and give yourself what you need to feel better <sending hugs>

As the seasons change, I know that many people diagnosed with chronic pain conditions notice an uptick in their discomfort. While not every fibro warrior experiences discomfort from the same weather stimuli (some difficulty when the weather gets hotter, while others struggle with cooler temps), it should be noted that weather changes are generally hard on everyone, but the effect is amplified even more so when you have a chronic pain condition like fibromyalgia.

I am one of those people that doesn’t enjoy the cooler weather for various reasons, with increased fibro symptoms being my main reason for disliking autumn and winter. As I reflected on ways to make the seasonal transition a little less shocking on my body, I thought about the many symptoms that I need to consider when coming up with a game plan for the cold months. I thought about how I need to increase my iron intake, so that any fibro symptoms wouldn’t be worsened by being anemic. I pondered what my morning routine need to include, in order to help properly warm up my muscles upon waking, without overexerting myself. I considered the textures of certain clothing and linen, and how some of them felt painful against my hypersensitive skin and how these needed to be given to a thrift store instead of staying in my wardrobe and linen closet. I thought about warming essential oils that I could add to my muscle balm, so that it’s more comfortable to apply.

These thoughts are what led me to the topic of this post. Thinking about all of the symptoms that needed to be managed during the fall and winter brought to mind how all of my fibro family have to make adjustments with each seasonal change, that go beyond putting new pillows on the couch and changing out the floral arrangements in the house. I mean, I understand having fibromyalgia symptoms, but why are there so many symptoms? According to one YouTuber that I follow, fibromyalgia has been attributed to around 200 distinct symptoms that fibro warriors experience.

Let that number sink in.

200 symptoms is literally one symptom each day for more than half of the year. Just think of having one distinct, random, uncomfortable thing happen to you daily for the first 6 months of the year, then for another 3 weeks, just for good measure. Those are the possibilities that exist when you have fibromyalgia.

Thankfully, the average fibro warrior experiences the main, classical symptoms of the condition, and only a few of the “extra” symptoms in the average day. Altogether, these total less than 20 symptoms on average. However, the potential to experience all of the symptoms over the duration of the condition (which, for the majority of us, is the remainder of our lives) is there. The good news is that you probably won’t ever have more than 50 symptoms in any given day. The bad news is that you’ll probably live long enough to have a brush with most of the 200 or so symptoms that have been documented as possibly being attributable to fibromyalgia.

There is a good reason why fibromyalgia can be linked to so many symptoms. Fibromyalgia isn’t a muscle condition: it’s a neurological issues that shows up as musculoskeletal pain, cognitive dysfunction, and extreme fatigue (along with a slew of other things). The nervous system, which includes our brains and spines, affect every other system within the body. A little nerve dysfunction can make an entire body system go off of the rails, so it’s not a huge stretch to understand that fibromyalgia could mean haywire internal temperature regulation, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), anxiety and depression, irrational pain, skin sensitivity, headaches, etc.,.

In short, a fibromyalgia diagnosis could mean a grab bag of assorted symptoms that don’t make much sense when considered individually, but make perfect sense when set against the backdrop of fibromyalgia. Fibro is the tie that binds all of these symptoms together.

That’s all for Fibro Friday! I hope you all have a safe and enjoyable weekend. Take care, and I’ll talk to you all on Monday!

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!

  • This post contains affiliate links.
goals · writing

Writers Wednesdays – The October Writing Plan

Happy Writers Wednesday! Recently, I’ve been thinking about the remainder of this year, and how I’ll be approaching this time frame as respects my writing practice. And to be clear, this is DEFINITELY a practice: I’m aiming to make it more of a consistent habit going forward. Fortunately, I’ve already been improving my writing consistency over the past couple of weeks and seeing the results.

That being said, I found myself taking an hour long ride with one of my friends, and I mentioned, very briefly, my October writing plan. It was such a succinct, easy way to vocalize how I envision some of my works-in-progress (WIPs) moving forward. So, here’s my little plan, as I would like for it to play out:

  • Finish a book (Part 1)

This part of the plan is all about finishing a rough draft of one of my WIPs. This isn’t about editing; as any writer will tell you, trying to write and edit simultaneously severely impacts your speed and disrupts your creative flow. So, I’ll just be writing the ideas as they arrive, with the focus on completing a story. I’m really excited about this, since I have several books that have fallen into my creative purgatory of sorts.

  • Complete the first round of edits for a book (Part 2)

This is my focus for one of the books that initially completed several years ago (2013, as a matter of fact). I’ve started doing the edits a while ago, but never made it past the first few chapters. It’ll be nice to see this book finally get the full editing treatment. I know this is only the first of (what I anticipate will be) multiple rounds of edits, but I can’t get to the finished product until I do the editing process to my satisfaction. This will probably be the most intensive part of my plan, but it’s also the part of the process that I’m most looking forward to completing.

  • Publish a book (Part 3)

I could do a really simple book (like another children’s book), just to ensure that this goal is met. However, I’d rather take the time to actually publish something that I have already edited and that has been waiting to be released into the world. I have one book in mind, but if I don’t choose that book, there’s at least one more book that is pretty much ready to go (outside of some light editing, and some formatting magic).

I’m anticipating that I will spend roughly 10-12 days on part 1, 15 days on part 2, and 3-4 days on part 3. But, those are just rough estimates, based on nothing more than what I expect will take me more or less time. I could easy finish all of these things before the end of the month, but I don’t want to rush myself (in case I have a day or two when I really don’t want to be bothered). Also, I know that I’ll likely hop from task to task, based on inspiration, and any given day could include me working on all three parts of my plan. Time will tell what this actually looks like in practice.

That’s it for the October plan! Do you all have any writing plans for October? I’d love to hear all about it!

life curation · style

Welcoming Autumn

Well friends, it’s the first day of autumn. Some of you may be quite happy with this, while others among us (namely, me) are sad to see summer end.

Yes, I know that unbearably hot temperatures are challenging for most people, especially those that live in my region (Mid-Atlantic USA). But I love the hot days and steamy nights. I love having sunshine until nearly 9 PM every night, leaving my home with no need for a jacket, and seeing the plants around me bloom and hit their annual peaks. Summer is undoubtedly my favorite season, and that won’t be changing anytime soon.

Meanwhile at my house …

However, since my ability to bend time, space and nature hasn’t fully developed yet, I will have to contend with the seasonal changes that come from living in this region. And, instead of being resistant to the point of obstinance, I felt that my best approach would be to embrace the change and make it feel festive. After this past year or so, who doesn’t need to feel more festive?

In honor of this seasonal change, I filmed a YouTube video featuring the autumn wreath I made for a family member. Also, I included a picture of my own autumn wreaths above (I had to make two since I have double doors). The video is a very easy and inexpensive DIY that can add a darling touch of autumn to your doorways, signaling the change from hot days to cool breezes, and lush green foliage to brilliant displays of gold, copper and cranberry. I hope you enjoy and, if you decide to make a wreath of your own, please let me know! I’d love to know how it turns out for you.

Have a great day, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

goals · health

Fibro Friday – The Wylde Protocol

Happy Fibro Friday! I’ve been working on a few things behind the scenes, but I couldn’t end this week without sharing another protocol that I saw recently on YouTube.

I know that you all may be a bit weary of Fibro Friday protocols by now (I’ve reviewed 6 so far), but I have a few more to share, then I’ll be doing this far less frequently. I’m really focused on providing as much information as possible, so that there is a consolidated list of ideas for effectively treating fibromyalgia.

Also, as you all know, curing my fibromyalgia is one of my goals for the year. I want to get as much information as possible so that I can create a plan that eliminates my symptoms and helps me return to good health. So I’m doing my research so that I can craft a plan that really helps me to feel my best and finally get my symptoms under control.

Today’s protocol is the Wylde Protocol, as promoted by Dr. Bryce Wylde. Dr. Wylde is a Canadian alternative medicine expert who take a functional medicine approach to treating fibromyalgia. While Dr. Wylde has spoken extensively on a range of health conditions, I could only find one video where he specifically addresses fibromyalgia. I’m linking the video below.

Some of Dr. Wylde’s recommendations are:

  • Avoid sugar, gluten, nitrates, nitrites, aspartame, and nightshades (such as tomatoes and potatoes)
  • Try elimination then reintroduction to determine if there is a food allergy or inflammation at the root of the pain
  • Supplement with d-ribose, chlorella, fatty acids, and magnesium
  • Seek out functional medical practitioners to determine the root of the fibromyalgia

I find that Dr. Wylde’s recommendations are in line with some of the other protocols that I’ve reviewed (particularly, the PainFreeKitchen Protocol and the Mandell Protocol). Elimination diets are always a good idea, especially since these offer a way of determining whether there are food sensitivities that may aggravate fibromyalgia symptoms. Also, supplements are really good for ensuring that the body is getting the raw materials it needs to function better on the cellular level.

That’s it for today. I hope you all are having a great, pain-free day, and I wish you a fantastic weekend. Take care, and I’ll talk to you all soon!

life curation

Becoming Thomas Hobson, Or How to Accept ONLY That Which You Want

This post feels like it should be a reblog, but, oddly enough, I never wrote about this topic on my now defunct blog. However, this topic was too important to ignore, so I had to share it over here, and I invite conversation about how you all have either seen this or applied it in your own lives.

Back in a previous life, I worked as a paralegal (fabulous work, by the way). I remember sitting through a hearing and a few of the opposing attorneys mentioned the term “Hobson’s choice”. As soon as we had a recess, I looked it up, because I didn’t want to be confused over what it meant. I felt some relief when I realized that the attorneys I worked with had also not heard of “Hobson’s choice”.

In short, a Hobson’s choice (named after stable owner Thomas Hobson) is a “take it or leave it” scenario. It often presents itself as two options, but in reality, only one option is feasible, and this option is always in favor of the person presenting the offer. Most of us present Hobson’s choices to our families regularly: in the case of dinner, instead of saying “take it or leave it”, we’ll say, “You can either eat the dinner I prepared, or you can cook your own meal, and clean up afterward.” See how the option creates a win-win scenario for the offeror?

One of the challenges of stepping into my personal power is interacting with people that intentionally or inadvertently attempt to undermine my boundaries. It’s natural for humans to advocate for their own preferences or to try to sway others to their points of view. However, it is never okay for someone to overstep the boundaries of others, or to treat other’s preferences dismissively.

The question is, then, how can we become Thomas Hobson? It starts with listening to our gut, and learning to trust our visceral reactions. Instead of ignoring how we feel, we have to learn to be honest with ourselves and acknowledge when we hear something (or are offered something) that we don’t like. Becoming Thomas Hobson requires that we realize when our heart and gut say, “No” to an offer, and opt to NOT judge ourselves for saying “No”. It’s hard to not judge ourselves, especially since we live in a culture that thrives on people’s inclination to second-guess themselves. But learning to silence our inner critics is key to embracing our inner Thomas Hobson.

After we recognize that we feel an authentic “No”, we can start experimenting with how to offer solutions that give us a subtle win-win situation. The key to this is subtlety: no one wants to accept a “hard bargain”. We have to become skillful at offering solutions that have the appearance of being somewhat fair, while still offering us what we prefer, regardless of the solution being chosen. The best solutions make the offeree feel empowered, respected, and acknowledged: the moment we can offer ourselves win-win scenarios that generate these sort of feelings in the offeree, we have mastered the Hobson’s choice.

I’m still learning how to do this, but on the few occasions when I’ve gotten it right, it felt AMAZING! I encourage everyone to start experimenting with this concept and see how it works in your lives.

That’s it for today. I hope you all are doing well! I’ll talk to you all tomorrow.