Category Archives: Life Lessons

ENCORE (PART 3)

 

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Seth Doyle

 

This is the part of the story that is played after the record has long since finished and is still spinning on the player.

Encore

The sultry sounds of your secret melodies surprise my consciousness.

The love patterns of my thoughts pursue a passion in partnership with you.

The lack of our romantic bliss has cluttered the spaces of my thinking.

My heated desires perspire through my pores.

I drink my thoughts to quench my thirst for you.

My appetite for romance is my habitual hunger that one plus one equals two you.

My mind’s symposium pulsates to the rhythm of your heartbeat.

It feels good to stay stuck playing head-banging tunes of you nonstop and in stereo.

 

At one time or another, we will make a love song together.

Today, I play you on repeat.

Please read my other written work.

I adore you for reading my writing,

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WHY AM I SINGLE? FIVE TIPS TO COUPLEDOM FROM A SINGLE POINT OF VIEW (PART 1)

Cat looking out of mail door slit

The tune playing in my heart is called North Star. It’s a magical melody of flowers, overjoyed loved ones and “I Dos.” While I’m at odds with the big screen’s formulaic script of marriage, I am wedded to the song of romantic love. My relationship experience is limited to my fantasies of countless men fawning over my beauty, grace, and charm. It is funny how the men of my dreams are stuck in ‘La La Land,’ while I am working to unclog the way for Mr. Ty-D-Bol man.

“And I don’t know which hurt more: losing the illusion or never having had the real thing.” — Elisa Lorello

Back in the Day

I came-of-age in the 80s when Rick James’ “Super Freak” was the underground anthem I jammed to outside of the house. Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart” spoke poetic tunes of a lovelessness longing “Once upon a time there was light in my life, But now there’s only love in the dark.” U2’s “With Or Without You” sang the complicated condition of couplehood and the musical band Journey affirmed to my heart “Don’t Stop Believin.”

I was a latchkey kid, washing clothes and cooking dinner in elementary school. My Mom did not get the memo that the fuse blew out on the Home Ec (Home Economics) era. I murmured repeatedly, the ‘Leave It to Beaver’ standard of gender bias household duties applied to houses and not apartments, as I pierced a triangular part of my eyeball out through my hands, to protect my sight from a maternal volcanic eruption. To my Mom, the science of domestication was proved by the redundancy of applied methods of household duties. As far as I was concerned, a statistically insignificant sample size of one was good enough for validating household chores results in a clean house. I learned firsthand from watching TV. A TV house stayed cleaned for 12 seasons after just one cleaning. Yes, I adhered to the social order of things in my Mom’s home otherwise my gluteus maximus were set aflame by the flying movement of a belt that belonged around one’s waist and not my bottom. Since then, my generational timing has been off, and my dating theology is stuck in the dark ages.

“…dating you would be like a series of unnecessary root canals interspersed with occasional makeout sessions.” — John Green

I Don’t Have a Dating Clue

It’s 2017, how do I begin dating? There is no cookie cutter preparation for the various communication scenarios that may lead to a first date. Social media dangles the carrot of the perfect partnership with seductive images of man and woman. Images are perfected to seduce the senses in this reality of fiction. The gloss and floss of a romantic life are downloaded to the cloud of my brain and stored as the aspirational faux fairy tale romance. To compound my confusion, today’s screen culture of connection has me mystified and misty-eyed. Open mic conversations are conducted with missing characters in text and form. Relationships are consumed through the looking glass of digital monitors of (e)motionless characters. The social order is follower foreplay and heart(less) exchanges. Back in the day, the physical connection between two wires of flesh and bones created the spark of reciprocity. Today, touching a screen can lead to electric static between fleshless and emotionless characters. Characteristically speaking, the different touchpoints to connect complicates the dating formula for me. This social media dating terrain is quicksand for my traditional dating ethos. It makes me uneasy and queasy at times. Despite the click-a-heart culture, I have not abandoned my goal of dating courageously and consistently this year.

“The minute I stopped trying to find the right girl, and started trying to become the right guy…the girl came.” — Jonathan Antin

Why Am I Single?

The next person that asks why I am single, I am going to exhale a spitball in their eye. In my mind, the question is like asking: “Why is it that birds can fly, but flies can’t bird?” Answer that standardized society. Because it just is. That question represents the cultural prejudice towards single individuals formed by policies and practices favoring married or ‘coupled’ people. Rest assured, I endeavor to bond in a romantic forever relationship created from openness, insight and sustained application, but until then, I am the ONE. In related news, on my smart-alecky days, I respond “I’m engaged.” Percolate on the meaning of that, standardized society.

“To say that one waits a lifetime for his soulmate to come around is a paradox. People eventually get sick of waiting, take a chance on someone, and by the art of commitment become soulmates, which takes a lifetime to perfect.” — Criss Jami

The Single Life

I am unapologetically single. I enjoy my singlehood, and I relish a life of companionship. I can be both. The pervasive pop culture liter our daily conversations and psyches with garbage that the honeymoon of happiness exists on the other side of the broom. I challenge that belief. The romanticizing of married life is celebrated and admired in our culture. What I have witnessed to be true, if you are unhappy single, you are unhappy married, fo’ sure. “We” should not exist in an impoverished or disadvantaged state of love for the appearance love. That is giving love a bad name. For some, the over-attribution of their romantic relationship is their defining quality and their self-concept. This belief is, to first matter to oneself, you must matter to others. Singleness is not a sickness waiting to be cured by marriage. The dominion of love exists within. I am no self-help guru telling someone to love oneself. For my sensibilities, that is comparable to telling someone to hug yourself, you can do it, but it is hard to feel the electric current. The surest way I’ve experienced the spectrum of love is to dwell in spaces that enrich the mutuality and possibility of love in my life. For me, it is time spent with family, friends, animals and nature. These relentless relationships I create and sustain are the pathways to my personal growth in a life of love.

“Hope for love, pray for love, wish for love, dream for love…but don’t put your life on hold waiting for love.” — Mandy Hale

Five Tips to Coupledom from A Single Point of View

I’ve mastered disaster and learned from my rich collection of experiences. Here are five tips I’ve learned on my endeavor to coupledom.

  • Abandon the absolutes. Throw out the grocery list of mate traits. Otherwise, your ship may never make it to the shore – or it will sink because of the weight of your baggage claims.
  • Create space in your inner mind and your outer world to make room for new experiences and to foster change in your environment. A hot air balloon flys because the air within is lighter than the surrounding air. Release the hot air and fly, baby, fly.
  • Upgrade your prayers. Pray for an enriching journey and not the destination. Call upon a path that grows you vs. a prayer of acquisition – for example, marriage. There is no end zone in love.
  • The Hunger Games. The social media scene has created a flimsy currency of affirmation by way of hearts, followers, and technical interactions. Don’t validate or measure your self-worth by this digital currency. Be self-aware, or you will continually crave this type of validation at the peril of your self-esteem.
  • Move out the way. Participate in outdoor activities that supplement your vitamin D levels. Engage with others in co-located oxygen-filled spaces. Enjoy your singlehood.

Please read my other written work.

I adore you for reading my writing,

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Want to Step up Your 2017 Forecast? You Need To Read This First: Establish Goals. Not New Year’s Resolutions.

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Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every New-Year find you a better man. — Benjamin Franklin

Cheers to another 8,760 revolution hours around the sun. It’s 2017, and I have decided to shake, not stir my intoxicating ambitions to quench my thirst for a changed life. In years past, my New Years’ resolutions were propped up, puffed up proclamations, which were pushed out of the way, as soon as I botched an attempt to exchange a bad habit for a good one.

2016

Over a period of a decade, I have had many starts and stops with creating content for my website. Along the way, like most New Year’s resolutions, the sun illuminated brightly along my path, and suddenly I was drowning in the rain puddles of shallow promises. At which point, all my creative endeavors, drown in the sea of “to-dos” not done. As I do the work, I’ve learned to stop romanticizing the creative process of writing as spontaneous spurts of genius and now I revere the consistent practice of the craft. My self-governing principle is to be consistent. Consistency is the celebrity of life. In the fourth quarter of 2016, I applied a few brush strokes to the canvas of courageous and creative living to create, consumable communal content. I held an experiment to publish weekly stories. By year’s end, I published ten stories, three short for my written, shared quarterly goal.

A Revolution. Not a Resolution.

Character is the ability to carry out a good resolution long after the excitement of the moment has passed. – Cavett Robert

In a 2014 study, conducted by Australia’s biggest comparison websites finder.com.au, the most common reason for individuals failing their New Years’ Resolutions was; 33% didn’t keep track of their progress, and about one in ten respondents claimed they made too many resolutions.

It is no surprise, I’ve defaulted on my promissory note to change. Now, I am making incremental deposits into a new instrument to yield greater returns in my life. The instrument is consistency. Consistency is the catalyst for my performance in the goal marketplace. Like all market indices, I fluctuate in my goal performance. Over time, however, my consistency pays dividends. To keep track of my goal investments, I plot my progress on a large wall calendar. My approach is to commit to three goals per quarter to limit my exposure to diversification risk. Learn more about my quarterly goal setting technique here.

Vision

As I sip and savor over my glittery goals that I have drenched in my heart, my experiences have revealed to me; life is variable. Therefore, my continued focus and rigor with staying the course of my goals in 2017 and beyond is the pulse to my long-term commitment and sustained action in the creation process. My method is to iterate and therefore get better with time. The genesis for my writing rigor came with the commitment to write a book. One thing I know about writing, it’s a muscle, and I must exercise it multiple times throughout the week to see the form I desire. I’ve given vision to what shape that will take by year’s end. At the velocity of publishing a weekly story, I will have written a 300-page book.

Motivation, Mission & Values

Simply, I write to serve and share with others. My aim is to relate to the world differently, through deeper wells of connection assembled in my written words and my spoken voice.

My personal mission is to curate specialty products, create handwritten and spoken words, that spread smiles, stimulate souls and connects us to our sameness.

My values are the hieroglyphics for my humanity. It is how I remain committed to the achievement of my mission. My personal values are love, wellness, kindness, and relationships. My values are at the center of my soul while achieving my mission. It is the unifying force that defines who I am, what I strive to be, and how I serve others.

Daily Work

The core themes that make up my daily work allow me to exercise my values and fulfill my mission. Essentially, my daily work are the pieces and patterns that shape me.

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How do I do it?

“As long as I am breathing, in my eyes, I am just beginning.”
― 
Criss Jami, Killosophy

My core themes are the organizing principles which instrument my life’s greatest hits. It’s how I self-standardize for skillful living.

My calendaring method keeps me focused on the micro activities that mold the macro landscape of my life. Most vectors of my life are illustrated on my calendar unless the pattern/practice is embedded deep within. If it is not calendared, it doesn’t get considered, unless you are my Grandmother, then all matters are trumped for Queen Bee. Read about my Grandmother here. I iterate often, recalibrating the ineffective activities and patterns. I recheck my calendar to remind me of my commitments. Without my calendaring technique, my neck would have an out-of-order sign hanging on it perpetually.

2017 Goals

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice.― T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets

It is said, you are 20% more likely to achieve your new year’s resolutions if you make them public.

Here are my overarching goals for 2017.

  1. Eradicate all consumer debt.
  2. Pay my business taxes on schedule.
  3. Publish 52 stories.
  4. Publish 26 podcasts.
  5. Read 36 books.
  6. Relaunch https://rochelleaross.com/
  7. Quit sugar three days a week.
  8. Introduce one specialty product.
  9. Go on one date.
  10. FEAR LESS. LOVE MORE.

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it. Make your mistakes, next year and forever.”
Neil Gaiman

Ten Tips for a Better New Year

I invest consistently in being better. This is what I’ve learned about the goal setting process:

  1. Abandon new year’s resolutions, create goals instead
  2. Write your macro goals down for the year
  3. Break down your macro goals into a few micro goals, per quarter
  4. Share your goals with others
  5. Establish a method to achieving your goals
  6. Commit to consistency in your goal methodology
  7. Tweak the method, if your approach is preventing you from reaching your goals
  8. Be patience with yourself, if you missed reaching your goals
  9. Carry unfinished or missed goals to the next quarter
  10. Reach goals and Rejoice!

Join me in creating a changed life. Share your 2017 goals. Many thanks.

Please read my other written work.

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I adore you for reading my blog.

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My heart’s ode to the universe of love

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Mirror, mirror on the wall

Why is my prince charming coming at the speed of a crawl?

Is it due to his high cholesterol?

As I work through my muck,

I believe my fairy godmother will send me a hunk

Thank you, in advance,

For the chance to dance with romance.

Faithfully yours, Rochelle

Please read my other written work.

Until the next time – I adore you for reading my blog,

blogrochellesignature_18october2016

My 6 Areas of Reflection from 2016 (with My Humorous Wisecracks), My Oath for 2017, and My Goal Setting Technique

“If I speak of myself in different ways, that is because I look at myself in different ways.”
Michel de Montaigne, The Complete Essays

My 2016 experience was a mixture of good and bad habits plus good and bad events. Here’s the summation in my quirky quips.

  1. Bad habit: “My money is funny.”
  2. Good habit: “As a matter of fact, my meal game is ‘tight’”
  3. Good habit & Bad experience: “A body in motion, stays in motion – unless that body has been in an accident.”
  4. Bad habit: “My messy mind.”
  5. Bad habit: “I need to move from stalemate (no one wins) to checkmate (I got the king)”
  6. Good experience: “My mission is to lay bricks and to build bridges for a changed life, for you and me.”

“Learning without reflection is a waste. Reflection without learning is dangerous.”
Confucius

A Look Back to The Start of 2016

I kicked-off 2016, using the technique below with my accountability allies (aka the “Goal Digging Gals”) to strive for victory in achieving my goals. The overarching aim of our technique — is to size the goals into small tangible chunks for success in a three-month period.

The “Goal Digging Gals” Technique

  1. Write down three goals to accomplish in the quarter
  2. Share goals with accountability allies
  3. Review goals, repeatedly
  4. Report out periodic updates
  5. Receive feedback
  6. Revise as necessary
  7. Repeat = Missed goals + New goals

2016 Midyear Assessment

During my 2016 midyear assessment, I was frustrated with the characteristics of my goals, yielding small personal results. My successes were resulting from my goals being anchored in the safe place of certainty. My low-grade achievement was in effect, maintaining a sustainable life. My goals were primarily a maintenance plan for my ego. Thus, I was sabotaging my soul and maintaining an ecosystem for sustainable living.

My 2016 goals started off narrow in scope (sustainable goals), and consequently, my goals did not encourage the expanded vision that my soul was conjuring up. I decided it was time to “level up” (stretch) my quarterly goals to enrich my life in meaningful ways.

The lesson. My goals should consist of:

  • Sustainable Goals support the state of “what is”
  • On the Edge Goals support a hybrid state of “what is” and “what is possible”
  • Stretch goals support the state of “what is possible”

goalmix_3january2017

Ecosystem, Sustainable, Mummies Are Uncommon Words Used for Goal Setting

Let’s talk about the words sustainable for a moment. The definition of sustainable is to support “what is.” Previously, I mentioned my goals were “maintaining an ecosystem for sustainable living,” which refers to the perseveration of my existing state. How can this be bad — you ask? I’ll answer that question with an analogy. When a dead body is mummified; the body is preserved in its current state, to keep it intact and to prevent further deterioration from occurring. However, in this state, life expansion ceases to happen. Similarly, sustainable goals will keep the “what is” intact and not facilitate life expansion. Sustainable goals, doesn’t change a life — it maintains your current life state. Now let’s add a layer to this thinking. The process of achieving goals should be sustainable. That is, the technique used to reach our goals should be viable and be easily continued. (Refer to the ‘Goal Digging Gals’ technique cited earlier in this story)

My 6 Areas of Reflection from 2016

My 2016 reflection story explores my habits and experiences in six areas: Money, Meals, Motion, Mind, Mate, and Mission.

Money

“Do not be obsessed with expensive things. Instead, be obsessed with excellence.
Things don’t make you excellent. However, excellence will make you expensive.”
Janna Cachola

At the start of 2016, I met with my financial planner to get a handle on my finances. Keep in mind; this was a carryover 2015 goal (quarter-over-quarter). After meeting with him, I reluctantly changed my approach and thinking to improve my financial health. Instead of maximizing my savings, the goal was to annihilate, yes destroy my consumer debt. I had some sustainable successes in 2015 and 2016 with paying down my consumer debt lines. However, I always fell short with the annihilation of my entire consumer debt portfolio.

“Hell is full of good meanings, but Heaven is full of good works.”

Ok, I am not blameless. I cheated on my finances. I snuck around spending on my debit cards to avoid purchasing on my credit cards. Smart, right? (rhetorical) The effect. I had little to no money left over to be aggressive with paying down my outstanding consumer credit balances. Now, I want a divorce from my consumer debt (it’s been many years in the making). And because of my bad money habits, I finished 2016, not like a budget pro, but as a defeated debtor, a busted borrower, a credit chump (let me have my moment of self-pity). What does this mean for 2017? I am carrying, an unsuitable bag of debt into 2017. I must stop playing budget bingo with my dollar bills and resist this down payment democracy fueled by credit’s capitalism. The Struggle. Some lessons take longer to learn.

Meals

Consuming green leafy matter in abundance is a priority for me. Especially, as I am approaching, a half of century walking the grounds of mother earth. I have been green juicing since 2006, and in the year of 2016, I leveled up my commitment to juicing to 5 days a week — Monday through Friday.

Let me take you through my progression. I began 2016, juicing two days a week, mid-year I increased it to 3.5 days per week and during the summer, I upped my weekly ante to 5 green juice days. I’ve also modified what I eat during that period, which pairs nicely for my clean eating lifestyle (for most of the time — continue reading).

I’ve implemented a standardized meal system which consists of, mainly: raw broccoli, cauliflower, tortilla chips, a dip of my choice and seasonal fruits. Not to be left out, eggs, when I can get to the Union Square Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings. The effect. My five day a week clean eating habit has got me on a healthy high. Because ‘on a regular,’ I ingest (& eliminate) some ‘real-good’ green shrubbery. (Gulp. Gulp. Pass. Most people, respectfully pass on my green juice generosity. I don’t take it too personally.) In other related news, my Kangaroo pouch is shrinking because of my healthy meal habits. What does this mean for 2017? My formed and fortified routines are building a body of work; I continue to be proud of. The Struggle: Remember, you read, I eat clean five days a week. What about Saturdays & Sundays? The remaining two days, I reward myself, by eating, whatever the hell I like. Which means, in most cases, I squander my health currency on my sugar cravings. No Bueno.

Motion

“Commitment is a promise to a cause. Being non-committal is a promise to catastrophe.”
Craig D. Lounsbrough

Since 2012, I’ve worked out on a consistent basis. In 2014, I tumbled into a new routine and integrated strength training into my movement mix. Before that, I was a Cardio Chica. Engaging in long cardio routines. After experiencing the benefits of High-intensity interval training (HIIT), my philosophy has moved to quality over quantity, and lengthy cardio routines are for Henrietta, the hamster.

In unfortunate news, my four days a week fitness routine was stopped due to a car accident I was in, July 2016. Up until the car accident — I did not fully understand how monumental exercise and movement were to my overall existence. Initially, I thought of exercise on a monochromatic spectrum; benefitting only my body. Following the crash, I now think of exercise on a mosaic spectrum; benefitting not only my body but my mind, too. The effect. I was in a funk because I couldn’t move the way I was accustomed to and I was experiencing intermittent pain. And morsels of my mind were slowly chipping away, because of my motionlessness state. What does this mean for 2017? My treatment plan concluded right before Thanksgiving 2016 and I am back to my ‘badassery’ behavior in the gym. My body and mind are better because of my pivot back to my formed and fortified fitness routine. The Struggle: I am weak. However, I continue to push through my physical and mental states of discomfort to complete my entire fitness routines.

Mind

“Don’t worry. You’ll find your message in your mess.”
Richie Norton

Mastering my thoughts has been a series of sporadic starts and stops to create stillness in my inner and outer ecosystems. In other words, it’s been a struggle. I constantly retreat in the unsafe space of mind during times of confusion, challenges, conflicts, and chaos. Warning label. My mind is unsafe because I lack control over it. The parroted fables and fairy tales I tell myself are just not true. These repetitive tales my mind peddles, I labor to resist. My mind yearns for constant stimulation — fact, or fiction. The effect. These fear-based mind patterns I harbor are buried deep within. Resulting in, a mind maze of messiness. My previous, avoidance tactics and “do-nothing attitude” are not the behaviors that support a changed life. What does this mean for 2017? I am dealing with my head issues, head on (pun intended). I need to crack the code to my cranium patterns. The thoughts that no longer serve me or others must be flushed out (like sh*t in a toilet bowl). I will no longer carry this weight. To that end, I have a yearly subscription to Headspace, to form and fortify the routine of daily meditation and train my mind for better life outcomes. Getting my mind right is the goal. I must create new circuitry currents in my cranium. The Struggle. I must stop the behavior of brushing dirt under the rug. All this does is hide the mucky brain buildup. I need to deal and feel my way to freeing my mind from fear. Yup, agency over my mind is a challenge.

Mate

Ever since I can remember, my dreams have been filled with desires of experiencing life with a mate. The Effect. My mate mishaps are surely connected to my messy mind. What does this mean for 2017? I am tidying up my mind to let go of fear-based fables to free up space for faith-based thinking and living. Hence, my prince charming is on a chariot coming my way. My heart’s ode to the universe of love.

Mirror, mirror on the wall

Why is my prince charming coming at the speed of a crawl?

Is it due to his high cholesterol?

As I work through my muck,

I believe my fairy godmother will send me a hunk

Thank you, in advance,

For the chance to dance with romance.

Faithfully yours, Rochelle

The Struggle: Letting go of years of stinking thinking ain’t easy.

Mission

This is the part of the story, where I leveled up my goals. The summer of 2016, I embarked on a journey in pursuit of my mission to create content comprising of my experiences, my self-discovery, and my behavioral experiments to share with the world, in hopes that you and I may be inspired informed and entertained. The decision to be a consistent creator of content has cleared the way for my changed life.

“Your greatest self has been waiting your whole life; don’t make it wait any longer.”
Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

What does this look like in 2017?

I am co-creating with one of my allies (Lisa Deveaux) from the famous ‘Goal Digging Gals’ group (you’ve heard of us by now). We will chronicle our stories to be shared in the following formats:

  • A podcast program
  • A book

The Lesson: Sustainable goals, doesn’t change a life – it maintains a life. The Struggle: What I know to be true, every grand idea and grand intention are not without the perils of disappoint, setbacks and failures. The key. (I am preaching to myself)

Master the art of consistency.

In other words, during confusion, challenges, conflicts and chaos, the production process of creation should continue and not cease. (Self-responds) This is easier said than done.

My Oath

My commitment is to give, my all, and my best efforts to the integrated segments of my life as I have shared in this story, my story. So, that, when the bell strikes 2018, I would not have misused the gift of 365 days of my life in 2017 by staying the same, I would have created a changed life.

Join me in creating a changed life. Share with me, how you plan to change in 2017.

Please read my other written work.

Until the next time – I adore you for reading my blog,

blogrochellesignature_18october2016

Find out the 5 “F”s that Make My Family’s Thanksgiving Storied Experience Very Special

Our family’s 2016 Thanksgiving celebration took place at my 88-year-old Grandmother’s tenement apartment. This is where we gathered to give thanks for our shared histories and scribe new stories on the scrolls of time. For this reason, Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays.

Today’s Thanksgiving Paradox

I’m adultly aware, our American history is full of paradoxes. Withstanding the fact, that the origin of the Thanksgiving holiday was not a picturesque scene of provisions, but smithereens of distorted truths amplified to absurd conclusions. This Thanksgiving mythology has been narrated for generations, harvesting untruths in our historical memories. This currency of romanticized American history, where dead white men are perfect gods, subsidizes a bankrupted belief system at the expense of cultural and individual freedoms.

Standing Rock Sioux Reservation

Our historical knowledge informed our talk about the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and the harm it will bring to the indigenous people of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.*

The talking points discussed were:

  • The environmental warfare from water contamination, and
  • The decimation of burial sites and sacred places.

My family concluded, this reckless capitalistic behavior is to aid:

  • America’s addiction to fossil fuel, and
  • To endow riches to the corporate bobble

*Newsworthy update: On 12/4/2016 the Army Corps of Engineers denied permission for the Dakota Access Pipeline to cross under a section of the Missouri River.

My Thanksgiving learned lessons are simple

  • Tradition is powerful.
  • History is repeated.
  • Freedom is at a cost.

The 5 “F”s that are at the heart of my family’s Thanksgiving storied experience

Family

My family experiment is varied and messy at times violates the Hollywood family formula. In our family, there is no room for cowards when it comes to loving each other wholeheartedly. I am thankful daily to practice courageous acts of love and forgiveness with my familial folk. And despite everything I know to be right about perfect love, familial love ain’t always easy.

Family forgiveness is a labor of love and a constant practice.

I flourish as an individual moving in this world because my family is the supporter of my intangibles, the hidden crevices that are invisible to the casual onlooker. My family provides a protected space for care, cover and cohesion for my human spirit.

“But obviously, this is not the love of complacency, or affection, that is, it was not drawn out by any excellency in its objects.”
As quoted from the: Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words

Faith

My family is a praying body of souls. However, my cousin who is not the church-going, bible-quoting, amen-saying, religious kind, is often the first to prompt our family tradition of praying before we eat. I am unsure if it is because she is hungry or her spirit hungers for a different kind of soul food.

Loving is an act of faith.

As we prepared for our public worship of the food, we gathered around my Grandmother’s bed which included my Grandmother’s Home Health Aide. With our heads bowed, eyes lowered, and hands held together — my Grandmother led us in prayer to give thanks for our shared lives of compassion and love.

Food

Food is the love language of my family and cooking is a heated expression of that love.

For this 2016 Thanksgiving harvest, we got: “…Beans, Greens, Potatoes, Tomatoes, Lamb, Ram, Hogs, Dogs, Beans, Greens, Potatoes, Tomatoes, Chicken, Turkeys, Rabbit. You name it”! Oh wait, that was Shirley Caesar.

Our family feast included the traditional African American dishes of slow-cooked collard greens, slow-cooked stuffing (dressing), potato salad, yams (sweet potatoes), pineapple ham, turkey breast, and cranberry-orange relish to name a few. The cranberry-orange relish dish made its table debut several years ago after my Grandmother insisted on the cylindrical rippled cranberry sauce from her past. I was against such table rubbish. I decided to master-mix an old classic to appease my taste buds and hers. Upon sampling the cranberry-orange relish, my Grandmother rubbed my culinary ego and gave the dish four stars (★★★★). One thing to know about my Grandmother, she is the Czar of food reviews. In other words, she is the human upgraded version of Yelp.com with the added feature of year-over-year comparison data to spew. As heard from my Grandmother this Thanksgiving, “Your potato salad is better this year. Last year, it was a bit dry and needed more mayo”. When you are almost 90, you have the license to say whatever you feel and think. This provision comes in the aging contract.

To everyone’s delight, Thanksgiving dinner wasn’t single digit body mass index (BMI) approved. Because in Grandmother’s house poultry and people ought to have meat on their bones. My Grandma would say to me growing up: “Girl, you better put some meat on those bones.” Nowadays, I’m working hard to do just the opposite.

Fun

When my family gets together, our communication rituals are multiple conversations swinging back and forth to a clock that has no arms. We are distracted and entertained by each other and not devices.

After dinner, we played the game Heads Up! This was my first time playing this game. My gaming behavior is a cross between a turtle, a shark, and a parrot. That is, I am slow, competitive, and redundant — I’m an all-around badass. Well actually, my Grandmother is the Original Badass (OB) of the family. My Grandmother participated in our tomfoolery responding with the correct answers to our animated clues and getting high-fives along the way. During the game, I doled out descriptions and stories for words shown on the screen instead of short clues. Since I was caught up in my head space, I would continue my rhetoric, long after the player guessed the word correctly. My cousin would repeatedly say, “Rochelle, move on.” My rebuttal, was “Y’all should have detailed the rules of the game in a .pdf form and provided a copy for my review. This way, I would know how to play the game correctly” Otherwise, I’m gonna make “ish” up, as I go.”

In my Smokey Robinson voice, “I’m the life of the party because I tell a joke or two.”

Freedom

My Grandmother has been talking a lot lately about a facet of freedom that occurs when flesh changes to an otherworldly form. This is the evolutionary agenda for our human condition. I fret over such monologues but understand the transitions and passages of the living.

I am thankful, my Grandmother is breathing life into our family story. Fortifying traditions at every turn. Rhetorically, wondering why freedom still isn’t free?

My Thanksgiving lessons are simple.

Tradition is powerful.
History is repeated.
Freedom is at a cost.

Read my other written work.

Until the next time – I adore you for reading my blog,

blogrochellesignature_18october2016

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12 Personality Traits That Define The Obsessed Hair Product Junkie

“I love my hair because it’s a reflection of my soul. It’s dense, it’s kinky, it’s soft, it’s textured, it’s difficult, it’s easy and it’s fun. That’s why I love my hair.”
Tracee Ellis Ross

hair_22november2016v2

I dwell in communities on and offline saturated with images of glorified crowns from colorful beauties of the global majority. These images seep into the crevices of my cranium and set a flame hair aspirations that can hardly be achieved with a brew of potions promising pretty. The over concentration of hair hustlers pushing beauty in a bottle has left me weak in my knees. It’s hard to “Just Say No”.

In my community, Korean beauty shop owners are the biggest distributors of trafficking transactional pretty to African American women. Heads up! — African American women spend an estimated $7.5 billion annually on beauty products. For which, the Korean beauty dealers monopolize the supply chain in communities of color.

Today, outside my community I pace back and forth in the aisles of one of my favorite mashup Halloween beauty shops to find the grease that will outdo this mundane mop to a magical mane. Looking for the perfect hair care product can be scary — because every label is a masterpiece of trickery. Ignoring this knowledge, I believe the flowery words of every tonic that promises my locks will blossom from weeds to Pocahontas lengths. Because of this masquerade marketing, I buy the placebo Pocahontas tonic and use it for several days to discover my hair hasn’t grown an inch. Instead, I have uncontrollable itchiness for days on end. Circle, circle, dot, dot — now, I need a hair product junkie shot.

Bewitched by smoke and mirrors, I am mourning yet another potion pushing-up-daisies in the hair product graveyard labeled “the bottom of my closet.”

I am now slouched on my sofa watching YouTube videos while simultaneously scrolling the ‘Gram to coax my latest labeled disappointment. I am lured once again by the representations, reviews, and raves about products promising pretty pictured tresses. I closely observe each Beauty reppin’ a side of the beauty shop aisle. I ponder, “Which side of the aisle do I represent”? Probably all, I muse. My hair product junkie habits are messy, irrational and hard to bottle up.

Here are the Hair Product Junkie personality tribal traits I brush-up against on my hair product exploration (scratch that) acquisition journey.

12 Personality Traits of the Obsessed Hair Product Junkie

  • Miss. Black Market — This Beauty only buys B L A C K.
  • Miss. Budget Friendly — This Beauty is price sensitive and buys products that are easy on the pocketbook.
  • Miss. ‘cone FreeThis confused Beauty doesn’t mess with products that have ‘cones but will use other products with ingredients that coat the hair strands and don’t easily wash off with water.
  • Miss. On the ground — This Beauty cops products that are locally stacked on convenient store shelves.
  • Miss. Free Loader — This Beauty product acquisition tactic is based on reaching the purchase quota to obtain free shipping.
  • Miss. Ingredient Identified — This Beauty buys products like she orders her meals. It can’t have this, this, and that.
  • Miss. Naturally, Organic — This Beauty demands every product she buys be environmentally friendly and made with easily pronounced ingredients that are between 1 to 3 syllables, each.
  • The Kitchen Chemist — This Beauty buys primary products to master mix hair libations to intoxicate the dullest strands back to liveliness.
  • The Follower Influenced — This Beauty buys products based on her favorite social media personality. It doesn’t matter if they don’t share the same hair type.
  • The On-Sale ‘Couponer’ — This Beauty picks up products only on sale or with a coupon code. She scours the internet for a coupon code and feverishly tries multiple codes before one works to complete her online purchase.
  • Miss. Better Bulk-up — To protect from production delays in the kitchen supply hair care chain, this Beauty buys products in bulk. Because her favorite boutique hair care mixologist is frequently out-of-stock of the top-selling items she enjoys.
  • Miss. Eye Candy — This distracted non-woke ‘Beauty school drop-out’ buys products based on imagery.

After spending six hours on the internet, I identify three products to conduct an investigative discovery to the product’s mysteries. I start by identifying the ingredients of each of the products. This time I will outsmart myself and I will not be bamboozled by the brands. These bombastic claims are weaponized marketing. With this knowledge — Why not create a computer program to differentiate the product ingredients among the three product choices I’m eyeing? Genius. I start writing the program and I am interrupted midway by thoughts of hair product junkie brilliance. “Why not, also associate each ingredient’s benefit and apply a ranking system based on the value attribution of the benefit? The value attribution is to give a higher rank to the natural ingredients and the ‘cone-less ingredients when compared to the other ingredients”. This is when I stopped and came to my senses. I navigate to the website to make my online purchase. My buying decision was based on the imagery, the coupon code I found after a two-hour search on the internet and the free shipping I received after having to buy $500 worth of products.

“Hi, I am Rochelle and I am hair product junkie”.

Read my other written work.

Until the next time – I adore you for reading my blog,

blogrochellesignature_18october2016

A Vacant Love Story

digital_love_hires

I need the punctuation of your persona to pierce my soul.
I’m lost in this flattened world.
The Christopher Columbus discovery of inhabitants already existing in this vast space underscores the sensational over the substantial.
The brevity of images defines the senses.

I am burdened by the binary sight and sound of you.
I’m enslaved by the thought of you.
The liability of your absence disrupts our connection.
The sum total of 1 plus 0 are not adding up 2 you.

I need to experience your truth, to inform me what I believe about you.
I’m filling the gaps of the unknown with figures of what is not fortified in my reality.
This confusion conjures beliefs once confirmed by warm and cold sensations.
You are a collection of curiosities.
Your casual hearts strings me along.
Your customs are not customary to me.

I lay my face on the screen to get as close as possible to your words.
Your texture is intoxicating unfamiliar.
I’m bathed in your light.
Your brilliance quickly dims because I haven’t touched you.

I long for your touch, taste, sound, smell & sight.
My eyes hold conversations you have never seen.
But in return I get syllables of silent sentences.
Your words are missing notes and are toneless.
The skeleton spaces between your characters are not fleshed out.
This longing for you is betrayal of my senses.

I sleep with you next to me, but I am restless and unsatisfied.
I need your sacred substance of significance stuffing me with the familiar.
I crave for the vibration of your organism.
I dwell in anticipation.
You respond.
I consume your fleshless character.
We light up the darkness with our back and forth intercourse.

Our characters
collide &
climax
2
completion.

Read my other poems.
A Different Kind of Love
Morning’s Prelude

Join Rochelle’s mailing list to stay up to date with my written musings.

****

Until the next time – I adore you for reading my blog,

blogrochellesignature_18october2016

 

3 times when having ‘dirty’ breath is good for those around you

“Sir, I had thought all men breath had smelled so”.The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene

Today, I had the usual for lunch — my green juice tonic. After guzzling down my lunch, I walk the mazed pathway to my cubicle. Before arriving to my seat, I am signaled in mid-gait and questioned about a technical glitch from a team member. I abruptly, did a little pirouette twirl from my runway walk to address his earthly concern. I am standing outside his domain, separated by his cubicle fencing. I respond with the data I have around the systemic known issue. After I spew all the ‘dirt’ I have — I then stop talking to give him time to digest my words.

My co-worker responds “Do you smell dirt”?

I reply “What do you mean by dirt? There is no wrongdoing involved. The code is broken”.

He replies, “No. Dirt. Soil. Don’t you smell it”?

My muddled mind struggles to process his words. “Is he referring to the dirt from the earth”? At that point, a floodlight of sun clears the cache in my brain and I am reminded today’s green juice was actually my red juice. My Bordeaux juice. My juice of the earth which consists of beets primarily and other secondary vegetation.

Still not certain it was my lunch he was smelling, I neighborly step inside his cubicle entryway. I need more data that the lawn smell is coming from me. My distance is HR approved. I lean in and begin talking. He leans back.

badbreathimage_4november2016

He is now talking in exclamations “What did you have for lunch”!?

I reply in green juice jargon. “Bordeaux juice”.

Him “What the heck is Bordeaux juice”?

Me: “Green juice with beets. And for the record my breath doesn’t smell like dirt”.

Him gasping for air “Yes, it does”.

Me: “My breath is nutrient dense for the record. Your casual sense of smell doesn’t know perfectly PH balanced breath when it’s slaying you in the face”.

Him: “What I know is your breath is an occupational hazard”.

Me: “I’m doing my part by spreading health one breath at a time.”

We laugh. I offer him what’s left of my juice. He adamantly declines. I return to my seat with my good vibrations intact. I put my hand up against my mouth and blow a few times. To me, my breath smells fine. I pop a piece of gum in my mouth for special effect.

3 times when having ‘dirty’ breath after consuming green juice is good for those around you.

  1. The spread of wellness.Sharing green juice by any means necessary is a win for all.
  2. Cleaner air.‘Dirty’ breath from green juice may detoxify the surrounding airspace and spark brain activity in others.
  3. Lower health care costs.‘Dirty’ breath resulting from consistent green juicing sows the seeds of improved health outcomes which may cause the pool of health care costs to go earthward.

******

Until the next time – I adore you for reading my blog,

blogrochellesignature_18october2016

 

12 Sleep Strategies for an Improved Life

I gave a talk last month on Healthy Hack Tips. The tips I shared, were pulled out of my toolbox of practice like a magician pulls a rabbit out of a hat. Sleep was second on my list as an actionable item for each Beauty to re-consider as a tangible part of her self-care routine.

sleepimage_31october2016

Sleep deprivation is romanticized in our culture. Like you, I have participated in this culture of sleep deficiency. I was the poster child for team no-sleep. In my investment banking days, I coined the phrase “Sleep is for Suckers.” I have laid to rest that way of thinking. My nightly goal is to win at sleep. It’s no longer a badge of honor to be sleep deprived.

The Caffeine Conundrum

It’s time to reset your alarm to prioritize good sleep over caffeine. Percolate on this — sleep and exercise are important factors for good cognitive health. Good sleep improves the brain’s performance and aids in the aging process. Sleep cleans the brain’s cache, improves memory and bolsters creativity.

For example, if your morning coffee receipt is greater than the hours you’ve slept last night, you are adding wealth value to the coffee company and subtracting health value from your existence by your sleepy ways.

sleepequation_31october2016

Sleep is selfish, natural & healthy. A good night’s sleep is one of the best ways to be selfless to your body.

Sleepy Brain Teaser

Sleep sweeps the brain of stuff and spruces up your marbles to stockpile new material.

Sweetie, let’s see if your brain is awake reading this story. Choose the one common word to associate to each word on the following list.

sleepgame_31october2016

How did you do Sweetheart with this sleepy brain teaser? I bet you were distracted by that nagging Sweet Tooth.

Sleep Intelligence for Improved Sleep

I am intentional about how much sleep I get each night in order to wake up energized. For instance, if I need to get up at 5am, I’ll target a 9pm bedtime. My optimal sleep duration is around 8 hours each night. This number is different for each of us. One way to measure this for yourself is to observe your sleep patterns over a 30-day period. Track the days you wake-up refreshed and lifted by calculating the quantity of optimal hours slept by the number of optimal nights slept. Use that number as your baseline — your sleep standard.

sleepstandard_31october2016

Record your sleep habits over the next 30, 60 or 90 days. Healthy sleeping habits makes for happy days.

Consider the following strategies to start a sleep revolution in your life.

12 sleep Strategies for an Improved Life

Start Slow. Plan for an extra 20 minutes of sleep each night and build from there.

  1. Start Slow. Plan for an extra 20 minutes of sleep each night and build from there.
  2. Sleep Smart. Wake-up and bed down the same time each night.
  3. Power down. Climb into bed 90 minutes before your sleep time. (Adjust the suggested minutes based on your social media/internet consumption.)
  4. Set your alarm an hour before you need to wake up. There is something so delicious about snoozing.
  5. Blinded by the light. Blue light disrupts sleep at night. Filter blue light out with a screen protector or with an application for your device.
  6. Sound off. Silence your hand held devices before bedtime. If you need to allow important communication to sound through use an application for your device or the device settings.
  7. Get a few Z’s. Power nap to power through your day. Nap for 20 or 90 minute increments between 1pm-3pm.
  8. Partner-up. There is something darkly poetic about yawning in unison with a person or your pet dog.
  9. No. No. No. Nix Java Joe after 12 noon. The aim is to build up sufficient sleep pressure to fall asleep quickly at bedtime.
  10. Be extreme. Wake-up at 4am each morning with planned activities to accomplish for 30 days to trigger new sleeping habits.
  11. Sheet music. Your bedding should excite your senses and create a harmony between your body & soul. Take note and level up.
  12. Sleep is served. With Happy Endings.

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Until the next time – I adore you for reading my blog,

blogrochellesignature_18october2016

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