Developing An Identity is Like Making HUGE Spiderwebs.

Spiderwebs
A Brighter Light. by JennRene Owens

Sometimes finding our selves is like making a spider web. It’s intricate, detailed, contemplative and sometimes involves a lot of work.

I think I began this journey quite honestly, at a young age. Maybe even before age eleven. Eleven was when my life changed. My Dad decided to live differently. To become a man and dare to love and trust his family. I became an aunt, (of two) in 1978, that summer I turned eleven. It’s the year o began being an example for the next generation. And at eleven my father came home a new man. He stopped drinking. And I stopped crying myself to bed every night living in fear of what might happen.
Eleven is the number of inheritance.
Ironic? (Nah.)

We have hallmarks of our identity: the first time as a young lady you get your period; the first time your graduate; the first time you get a real boyfriend; the first time you get your own apartment; or marry someone , or have a baby and become a parent…
But what about when you first “do the work?”( What work? – yet they say actions speak louder than words, right?)

Doing the work looks like becoming emotionally , mentally, and physically responsible. Sometimes it means creating emotional safety, in order that you cultivate safe relationships, with the people surrounding you, as well.
What does that look like? Developing trusting relationships, being forgiving and having forgiving friendships; and tolerating and loving on folk we don’t even like. It involves being spiritually mature about things, because it is  the right thing to do. Choosing to being honest in accepting  others and being open enough to hear the truth about ourselves and tell others the truth, choosing to speak the truth, in love. I used to have the hardest time dealing with conflict. Then I took a few courses and learned about the skills I needed and began to practice them. To my surprise, they worked!☺️

And the journey to my road of personal growth and development began. I must admit, it’s taken years to pull the layers off. Yet my age has helped me develop into someone “ I “ can trust. And if I can trust me, and my actions, that’s true empowerment. But I will l never let anyone treat this soul negatively again. Stomp all over this mind, this will and emotions til they die again. No, not I.

This woman arose again.

She figured out when she left this country, touched the hearts of youth and  led   them to dream again, she had purpose.

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She found out when she traveled over 8,115 miles to chase her dream and GOT THERE, she was on to something. That life and purpose was worth pursuing and she through these actions could BECOME ALIVE.

And help others to keep living too.

When she looked in the eyes of those young people, heard their pain and hurt, and complete desperation, see he youth follow her around as she was hope; when saw them living without parents and brothers lost in other countries saying:”I’ll come back for you”– trying to make a living to help them survive- but never return… these 13 & 18 year-old youth – thriving in their communities, despite the threat of their peers committing suicide daily; and seeing THIS woman come from another land and tell the miracle of her journey, and how God really DOES fulfill our dreams… and believe her….

It was time to LIVE.

And build that “web”. That meaningful large, connection that harnesses hope, no matter how far you are apart in the world, and speak the same language that helps people believe, past themselves. Webs that carry weight, identity, purpose and ingenuity, strength and capacity. Webs that offer hope, healing and love.

This trip to Africa changed my life , and purposed me further into my destiny and my identity. I went home and began establishing my business. It had gone international, and I was beginning to share that I had spent time with youth and encouraged and mentored them through my business: OtherSide Enterprises, LLC. ( See Africa video here.)

And so Identity wins. It speaks loudly, and saves lives, it rids desperation and offers us hope, it fuels our purpose and “makes our name great.”

( Genesis 12:2 )

And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing.”

On Being Authentically Happy.

I’m learning authentic happiness is often  unearthed in the places we least expect.

So… after a very challenging  week last week, and more contemplation on just what it takes to remain in a positive state of mind and be: #NthabiHappy , I have found that it takes effort and a soul- searching and it helps to also be aware of your state of being and having tools & resources, mentors , even to help you manage to shift it; even noticing at times when it’s okay to NOT shift it, and to “just be.”

One of my girlfriends asked me today in the midst of my coping with my grief – “how I was managing?“. To be honest, I literally didn’t have words. I told her that I was just trying to be “present” with my grief because at the moment that’s all I knew how to do.   I learned that here.

I know, you didn’t expect a “Happiness” article to be about grief, did you? (It’s Ok. ) – it’s just authentic talk. Contentment comes with acceptance . I’m learning that the more content you are in your soul, the better you exude happiness. We have to deal with the unrest in our souls in order to be truly authentic human beings.
Sometimes being present to life and living it , it’s what necessary to thrive. The effort we put forward in being one who lives with purpose and living in faith, are what sustains is.

And movements of faith looks like : Finding others who share our faith, encourage us, those who treat us with love and kindness, taking care of our soul: our mind , will and emotions… and living in peace with ourself and others. It looks like praying, and sitting and being honest with yourself, telling yourself what you need, then pursuing that. This year, I knew I needed a group of women praying with me. So I created a group called SHINESisters Helping Intercede Nurture and Excel. Shine is doing so much more than I ever imagined! (And it’s only six months old.) Yet I am excelling and I’m being nurtured by women who are awesome leaders.

As I look back and think about my answer, I realized that was great for an answer, because if we live in the present, we are not numbing out . We are living life and not allowing it to happen to us, but we are being conscious to what we need to be in this life.

Sometimes when you aren’t sure “how to be”; you have to just focusing on BEING. And then feel what you must, in that moment, even if it’s the most saddest, painful and unspoken fear you’ve ever had. Then call a friend, get some professional help if it surfaces too often or is too heavy for you; or perhaps get a mentor to guide you through it or help with combined perspective; and don’t walk it ALONE.

This “processing” of myself and my pain, I literally decide to ’embrace’ and ‘move through it’, in order to become a better me. And that’s quite alright.

As I therapist, I’ve learned that moving through your pain with someone who understands and makes you feel totally and absolutely validated in that pain, can actually help you to move past the most painful part of it.

But it still takes some time. Make some attempts at being as authentic as you can possibly be.
What does that mean? It means to not deny what is inevitable. Practice acceptance and just move through your emotions feeling every part of who you are.  But after a while letting go. Remembering that this has made you a better person, accepting that it’s meaningful, and embracing the lessons learned.

Being #NthabiHappy ( that’s my video blog series) Today, NthabiHappy means just allowing myself to be authentically me. Feeling the good, feeling the not so good, yet determining to still be happy, despite myself and my emotions. When we learn to embrace emotions instead of run from them, we’ll find that life can be a rewarding presence and those emotions can transform into Pure Joy.

Selah.

Birthdays, Smiles, Joys & Even Some Sorrow. #50DaystoFifty

This past weekend was possibly the longest I’ve ever had. I lost my father in law. We didn’t expect it , and there was a wall of grief around us as I determined to enjoy my birthday weekend. Two days later I turned 50.

Some may say when grief impacts a weekend that’s supposed to be joyful and celebratory, and then … to celebrate, when we’re supposed to be grieving, it’s just—- wrong.

I disagree.

Grief is supposed to involve emotion.

It’s supposed to be embraced. To grieve means to express sorrow. And that, I did. With close friends and also the love . The love for my love one, the love for my life lived fully, to fifty. I expressed my love for learning and living 50 years; and yet welcomed the joy of its arrival. I expressed, embraced and enjoyed it all.

To the FULL.

And considering that this YEAR my word for 2017 was “Embrace“; I had to challenge myself to do more, be more, reach for more. I knew year 50 would never come again, & if I were to be present with my grief, then I must receive all that was for me in that moment.

Yes…Grief impacted me, the pain, the loss, the sadness, yet I also celebrated the life of a man and how he lived it to the very moment of turning it over; to the turning of a century over my life. Wow. Almost cataclysmic emotion, it was. To experience such highs and lows in only a few days. A new page, a new era for myself, a life to celebrate & memories left behind to share with friends & family….all rolled into one.

I can smile. I can embrace this life with all its sudden and exclamatory emotion, and STILL be at peace with God, my family and myself.

Yes …because this life And...his life… was celebratory, too.

Selah.