Monday, December 31, 2012

Trust, Release, Flow

There is a beautiful quote by Chelle Thompson, that I shared in my book, Fearless:  Awakening to My Life's Purpose Through Breast Cancer, "Change has long been a fearful thing for human beings and at the same time, it is our most Divine opportunity. Clinging to the banks of the river may seem safe and more secure, but life's possibilities are truly engaged only when we trust, release and become part of The Flow of the Universe." This quote has echoed in my head throughout the past months, resonating through my heart and soul as I begin moving into new territories in my life.  As I shared in Fearless, in many ways, the past six years were spent running from cancer and reaching for life, as I searched to find out who this new person was.  Now, I see that as I learned to trust more in the journey, I found more acceptance, peace within, and less struggle. I became more quiet and was more clearly able to see the things that were around me, and a lot of my judgements of self and others fell away. So, what if I fall down, I can always get back up or start over. That's the beauty of life.

When I looked up the word "fearless" recently, aside from meaning "not having fear", one of the definitions was to be "bold, intrepid". This is the definition I choose to embrace.  Being fearless is to be undaunted by circumstances, and to boldly walk into new terrain, regardless of one's inner doubt.

I spoke at an event recently and someone asked me, "so does this mean that you're not afraid of anything anymore?" I responded, "Absolutely not." I am afraid of something or the other, on a daily basis - as we all are, but instead of letting my fears stop me, I think about the excitment of discovering something new, of being inspired to think a new way, letting go of old habits, or awakening to new possibilities.
It is quite easy to become stuck in knowing who "we are" - in our idea of our selves.  I find it interesting these days, to "upset" things a bit, shake things up and not stay in such a safe place any more.  It's scary, but exciting and keeps me on my toes.  I was inspired by my daughter last night. She did something she has done a million times, but for the first time, it meant something different to me. As I slept, she did this thing where she looks at me until I wake up, and I always do. Then she asked me to go to the bathroom with her. "Why, love?" I asked.  "Because I'm scared." "What are you scared of baby,". "It's dark and I don't want to go alone to the bathroom."  "Okay," I responded, "let's compromise. I will come with you but I'll stay a ways away, so you know I'm close, but I want you to learn to trust that you'll be okay if you walk into your fears." She looked at me like I had two heads. Two a.m. in the morning was no time for life lessons, but I stood there and smiled and eventually, she went in and came out alive.  "You made it, I see." "Yes, thank you, Mommy".  I guess, even though she was afraid, all she really needed was the comfort of knowing that someone was close by to love and protect her, and that's what we all need, at the end of the day.  It's easier to take those leaps when you trust that you are safe with the love of family, friends or a partner close by. 

As the year winds to a close, it touches me deeply to take note of all the wonderful people and energy surrounding me, inspiring me to be intrepid in my quest to be the best that I can be, and who love me - imperfections and all....all of you in your own lives, giving light and life to ideas, creations and manifesting wonderful things.  I, for one, will be taking more risks in 2013 and spicing things up a bit. I'll also be doing things that are a bit out of the box for me...wish me luck!  Happy early new year, my friends.  I look forward to creating many more wonderful, Divine experiences together... trust, release, flow...

Love from the bottom of my heart and happy 2013,


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Your Heart's Desire

As a child, I would sit under or near my father’s desk, always close by, watching him work.  I spent countless hours listening to him negotiate deals, grow his business, inspire people to do things he wanted them to do, and become successful at a young age.  He, in turn, spent hours with me, teaching me how to influence people, communicate effectively and encouraging me to find that thing that made me most passionate in life.

It seemed only fitting that when I entered college, I became a Communications major, later pursuing a Master’s Degree in Business Administration.  My first job out of college, ”coincidentally” was working for a large telecommunications company, then later, I went into marketing.  I tried my hand at a few business ideas, with the philosophy of allowing myself to dabble in fun things I was good at and enjoyed.  However, I never could quite figure out what it was that moved me to my soul. I wanted to find that thing that I woke up thinking about in the morning and that I could give myself to all day – at the end of the day, leaving fulfilled, complete, purposed and with a knowingness that for that day, I had given my best to the world.

In my early 30’s, I began to feel a deep need and an almost near desperation to find that thing that I was supposed to be doing. I woke up daily thinking about what it would feel like to live a life of purpose, joy, and utter “being-ness”. So, in usual Maimah style, I put together a plan.  I would focus all my attention on attracting and cultivating what I wanted. I put together a ritual of prayers that I employed for two years, calling what I desired into my life. I also made a vision board, and I put post-its on my mirror. I needed to see what I wanted all day and everywhere. My desire for my “passion” was part of my waking thoughts, with me all day and the last thing on my mind at night. I wanted it and I wanted it bad.

On February 28, 2006, I was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer. My life turned upside down. Everything I’d known to be true was no longer, and over the next five months, I struggled to understand what was going on.  I wanted my old life back. What was happening was so “bad”, that I wanted no part of it; now, my prayer was, “if only things were normal again”.  After my shock began to wear off and I had time to think, I realized a few things, which I’ll share here:
  • Recognize and Accept – I recognized and accepted where I was – the challenges, and the infinite, beautiful possibilities of what I could create – in spite of and because of this challenge – my cancer diagnosis.  What this means to you is this – look at where you are – assess your emotional, mental, physical and spiritual surroundings. Look at the blessings and gifts in your life – and whether the situation is ideal, consider the possibility that where you are now holds golden nuggets that could catapult you into your dream.
  • Use your third eye – to see beyond natural and physical realm – by this I mean that if you look at your state of affairs, it may not seem the ideal place or time to do what your heart desires.  Well, there is no ideal time to start living extraordinary is there? There is no ideal time to start creating things that aren’t “normal”. There is no time that will deliver unto you perfect timing, funds, people, and the like.  See above and through that – and you create the circumstances and situation you desire.
  • Find what feels spectacular – and do that thing.  While I was in chemo, I had hours to think – about everything. I knew that this was a turning point in my life. I could complain or I could create. I could be victim or I could be victorious. I could be a drama queen…or I could decide to use all that was happening, tie it into what I enjoyed doing best and create something that felt right.  For me, that was creating my non-profit, Tigerlily Foundation, to help other young women going through breast cancer, with a twist – it would be about empowerment and education, but would also be like me, fun, crazy and out of the box. As I began to create it, I felt a way I never had before. I felt amazing.  As you start to move into creating your passion and vision, you should feel like a million bucks.  For me, I was tying in my creative, communication, business, marketing, personal experience, crazy self, compassion and all that I was together into one thing and, I could do it every day – on my terms. Amazing! It felt great.  What would that feel like for you?
  • Don’t think big – think gargantuan.  If you’re trying to make something happen and you think small, you’re never going to go anywhere. Trust me.  You have to think gargantuan.  Thinking small is for people who don’t what to win, people who don’t want to give their best to the world, people who don’t want to be extraordinary – and that is not you. You want to win. You want to be a game changer. You want to change the world. I never for one second thought that I’d create this little thing and help a few people and that would be okay.  I never thought modestly about it – modesty doesn’t suit me or you. I wanted my thing to be big and make an impact. You can create a plan to implement it in increments, but create in a way that excites you and others. Make big things happen!
  • Keep it real – be you. Don’t try to do what someone else is doing, don’t be jealous of people’s success, don’t think, “if I’d only thought of that first. Just be authentic, create from a place that is pure and you’ll find that there are ideas and ways of doing things that only you can do. There is something special that only you can be. Be that person and out of that wonderfulness and joy will flow.
  • Lead by Example.  I lead with my heart. Now, I know that flies in the face of everything we’re taught in business. We have to have plans, policies and procedures in place, think first and act later and so on. I’m not saying that is wrong. I employ all of those tools, but I follow my heart first. It never leads me wrong. I try to lead from a place of truth, I try to be the best example I can be, I honor and respect my staff, the responsibility of my work, my supporters, sponsors, the people I serve, their hearts, I employ compassion, honesty and all the things I ask others to be. When you do that, when you are your best, and you shine, and you don’t have to ask others to follow. Light attracts – people will naturally follow – even the ones who don’t like or support you, may at some point, be able to see and respect your truth.
  • Believe. In yourself and others. People often ask me how I have gotten Tigerlily Foundation to where it is so fast, and even though I have heard the question countless times, I understand it, and at the same time, I don’t, because I never saw things happening any other way.  I never thought that it wouldn’t be a success. I never thought people wouldn’t get it. When they didn’t I smiled and moved on. I was so sure of my success that I felt it as if it existed, even as I lay in the bed sick. The thing was, I didn’t see myself as sick or as having no money or resources. I believed – and my faith was so strong that others believed too. Within a year of my diagnosis, I was published in an international print magazine the rest just came over time, but I wasn’t surprised. I expected success.
In closing, I’ll say this. Life is now, this moment. We don’t get a second chance at this unique time.  Claim what’s yours now. Be it, live it.  Be relentless in your faith, design your life so that you give what you uniquely have to offer to the world.  Most of all, breathe joy into every moment that you create, my friends.

Love, M