Personal Development


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Joy To the World – Finding Ways to Make the Holidays More Meaningful

I am Jude. Tis the season! The time of gift giving and celebration! However, this year I am trying to find more meaning in the holidays. Like many others, I have grown tired of the commercialization of Christmas. 

We seem to be increasingly focused on the exchanging gift cards or Amazon orders that no one necessarily needs or wants. We fulfill impersonal and costly social obligations just because…..

This is leading us farther and farther from the ideals traditionally associated with ‘the most glorious time of the year’. 

Additionally, the Covid crisis has fundamentally changed the way we live and celebrate life. Travel restrictions, safety protocols and fear have further complicated the ability to physically connect with one another. Globally, everyone has had to reconsider established family traditions against the need to protect one another. 

So it is only fitting, we should be demonstrating acts of kindness and selflessness, at this time, with no expectation of anything in return. We need to be acting in accordance with the Spirit of the holidays, as we envision them for ourselves.

Photo by Sean Wells on Unsplash

How do we begin connecting the Holidays with our personal values and the people we hold most dear? Here are three simple ways:

Practicing Gratitude 

Make time to practice gratitude. Utilize the holidays to reflect on all of the BLESSINGS that you have received and currently have in your life right now. I guarantee you it’s a much longer list than you think. 

Prioritizing this simple daily practice has been one of the most beneficial acts I have recently undertaken. No matter what is going on in my life, I regain balance and  perspective when I create time for gratitude. Simply reminding myself of the Cubs, the love and support of the people who care about me, thinking about the beauty of sunrises or the fact that I am living more aligned with my purpose and passions is generally enough. 

Practicing gratitude centers you. It crystallizes what it truly important to you, and what could be more important during the holidays?

Explore your relationship with the Spirit

Utilize the opportunity to explore your understanding with the Spirit and honour that divine connection. I am no way indicating that it must be through organized religion or suggesting that you join a cult. Regardless of your faith, I am simply encouraging you to ask yourself some meaningful questions related to your place in the universe and explore your connection with your Source.

Be intentional about spending QUALITY time with your network. 

If you get an opportunity to get away from work over the holidays, please disconnect completely. Relax, recharge and reinvigorate! Utilize this time to focus on your personal relationships and acknowledge the contributions of the people who love and support you. If you are lucky enough to safely spend time with your family – do it! B.G.T.P. – ‘Be Good To People’, especially the individuals who endeavour to help you Break Free and Be Better. 

Photo by Clay LeConey on Unsplash

Don’t get me wrong, ideally we should be living out our personal virtues all year long. We should be constantly focusing on our relationships, presenting our best selves and honouring our connection with the Spirit in everything with do. However, because of social convention, the Christmas Holidays offer us a unique opportunity to showcase our humanity.

I encourage you to accept the challenge of redefining the holidays for you and your family. In the true spirit of Christmas, create an example for others to follow now and throughout the year. 

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Side Hustle Update – Unshackled Solutions Life Coaching and Consulting 

I have been working to educate myself about business fundamentals and to identify emerging opportunities to reallocate my savings and investments. Unfortunately, I didn’t pay close attention to my personal finances or develop an informed financial plan to direct my spending or actively plan for my retirement. I winged it.

Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in some virtual and in-person information sessions about budgeting, Bitcoin and other emerging on-line technologies. There are a whole new dimension of opportunities with Cryptocurrency, NFT’s, the Metaverse and Play-to-Earn games. They are challenging all of our traditional institutions, systems and services. And there is no turning back……

I find this new technological landscape extremely intimidating. I know very little about NFT’s, crypto wallets or staking. However, when I look back at what I have achieved in the last six months I know I can accomplish anything with purpose and compound effort. So, I am taking some small informed steps into the Metaverse – and in my humble estimation, the future. I encourage you to do the same. 

An unintended benefit has been the collective learning moments with young brothers from the community. It feels good to know that Black folks are actively involved in leveraging these new technologies and are attempting to create generational wealth for their families. 

Your Next Best Read – All About Love by Bell Hooks 

What an amazing book! It’s the first time that I have physically read something in months and I am so pleased I did. Ironically, my wife received it for her birthday last week. Several short days later Bell Hooks passed away. I began reading it as a tribute to her but I know now that I was supposed to read this treatise about LOVE. 

She deconstructs love and defines it in clear, practical terms. She provides context through narratives and personal accounts. She outlines how the misconceptions about love we learn growing up, inhibit our ability to give and receive it effectively as adults. 

We can give ourselves the unconditional love that is the grounding for sustained acceptance and affirmation. When we give this precious gift to ourselves, we are able to reach out to others from a place of fulfillment and not from a place of lack.

Bell Hooks

Most importantly for me, though, the work was a stark reminder of my power and privilege as a heterosexual male. Her writing requires us to consider how the social constructs of masculinity and patriarchy poison our understanding of love and contribute to lovelessness. Wow!!!!

All About Love: New Visions was an unexpected gift. It has contributed to a better understanding of myself and the intersectionality of race and patriarchy. Well done sister.

Bell Hooks was a true Afrikan and feminist literary giantess. Check her out. REST IN POWER QUEEN!

Photo by Robert Thiemann on Unsplash

Public Service Announcement

In keeping with the Christmas theme, seek out Wise Women and Wise Men. I simply refer to them as Good People. They are individuals who affirm you and encourage your efforts to Be Better. They add value to your life through their positive energy, kind words and meaningful gestures.

Good People are happy and they inspire you to find more joy and fulfillment in your life. They see possibilities instead of obstacles and limitations. They are realistic and practical but they choose to embrace optimism and positivity in how they see and operate in the world. 

They encourage you to be Break Free of toxic thoughts and behaviours and pursue your best self. They provide you with constructive feedback and challenge you to be accountable to your goals – and more importantly to yourself. 

We all have self-doubts, lose our way and experience adversity. Good People remind us to have perspective and help us navigate through the detritus of life. They remind us that regardless of our circumstances we always have the ability to choose. 

Photo by Riccardo Annandale on Unsplash

There are many other monikers to describe these people. Mountain climbers, to highlight their never ending desire to take on new challenges and to Be Better. High Flyers, to acknowledge their lofty standards and commitments to excellence. Or maybe Beacons of Light, to recognize their purposeful efforts to think and live differently, and in doing so, illuminating the way for others.

When you are blessed to have people in your life with these attributes and a good heart, KEEP THEM CLOSE. They are far more precious than diamonds and gold, or in 2022 Crypto terms, Bitcoin and Ethereum. Respect and value these relationships. Your investment will be rewarded tenfold – I promise you. 

Tops in :: Things to Do in Lexington KYTops in :: Things to Do in Lexington KY

Positive Reflections – What’s good?

The Christmas season allows me to acknowledge Kwanzaa, an African American celebration created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga. This week-long event has been adopted by Afrikan people throughout the Diaspora. It is held from December 26th to January 1st and celebrates family, culture and tradition. Each family celebrates Kwanzaa differently but there are some common practices such as candle lighting, libations and communal meals. 

Kwanzaa has seven(7) cultural symbols called the Nguzo Saba and seven(7) core principles. Each day emphasizes a different principle. 

Unity:Umoja (oo–MO–jah)

To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.

Self-determination: Kujichagulia (koo–gee–cha–goo–LEE–yah)

To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.

Collective Work and Responsibility: Ujima (oo–GEE–mah)

To build and maintain our community together and make our brother’s and sister’s problems our problems and to solve them together.

Cooperative Economics: Ujamaa (oo–JAH–mah)

To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.

Purpose: Nia (nee–YAH)

To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.

Creativity: Kuumba (koo–OOM–bah)

To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.

Faith: Imani (ee–MAH–nee)

To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

I believe there is power in these unique Afrocentric principles. They are transcendent, widely applicable and provide purpose and direction. In essence, they are an Africentric manifesto that everyone should adopt. They inform and inspire my efforts to Be Better and remind me of my connection to something bigger than myself, and I need that.

CBC Kids – Kwanzaa


Free Online Kwanzaa Events on Eventbrite–events/kwanzaa/?page=1

Official Kwanzaa Website

Read Aloud – My First Kwanzaa

On behalf of Team Clyke, I want to wish each of you and your families a Happy Holiday season, however you choose to spend it, and Joyous Kwanzaa. I am Jude.

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