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Category Archives: recipes for life

pre-holiday detox: 5-day cleanse before you binge

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If this holiday season is anything like last year’s, it will be indulgent. Very, very indulgent. Already, my weekend calendar for the next month is jam-packed with events where hearty food and heavy drink will be the central focus. And that doesn’t even include Thanksgiving.

The chances of me abstaining from this once-a-year feeding frenzy are about as slim as the chances that some portly, older gentleman will slide down my chimney and deliver gifts in late December. Translation: It ain’t happening. But if I’m going to make it to the end of the year looking less like Santa Claus and more like Jesus, I’ve got to do something to counteract the bingeing.

I decided to reach out to my good friend Maria Bee for her advice. Maria and I know each other from our road warrior consulting days when frequent travel, frequent stress and frequent dining out was a part of our daily lives. Since then, Maria has “taken back her life” by teaching everyday slackers like me how to eat and exercise better. And believe me, this lady knows her stuff. As a former fitness competitor (Ms. Figure America Winner, 2009), a personal trainer, and a naturopathic practitioner, Maria is an expert on maintaining overall body health through proper nutrition and exercise. She dishes out tough-love-style diet and exercise advice on her Facebook page and through her blog.

Last week, I mentioned to Maria that I wanted to do a 5-day cleanse each month of the holiday season, and was looking for alternatives to the all-too-strict Master Cleanse that I’ve done a few times before. As luck would have it, Maria was just starting a 5-day pre-holiday cleanse herself and was kind enough to share her daily regimen with me, so I thought I’d pass it along to you, Dear Reader.

 

Maria Bee’s Pre-Holiday 5-Day Cleanse

Upon Waking: First thing in the morning, drink  1 cup of water

 

For Breakfast – Fruit smoothie with vegetable-based protein

Ingredients: 5 strawberries, 10 blueberries, 1/2 banana, 1 slice pineapple, 2 tablespoons flax seed oil, 1 teaspoon spurilina, 1 teaspoon macca powder, 25-40 grams Protein powder, Ice (optional), 1 tablespoon local honey (optional)
To Make: Pour all ingredients into a blender, blend well and serve.

 

For Lunch – Large Salad

Ingredients: Kale, purple onions, cucumber, mushroom, spinach, raisins (optional), broccoli, 1 slice of avocado, Any type of vinaigrette dressing

Drink 16 ounces of water with lunch

 

For Mid-day Snack (after lunch and before dinner)

Mix 16 ounces of water with a pinch of cayenne pepper and 3 teaspoons of lemon.

Drink water mixture along with a handful of almonds

 

For Dinner, Option #1 – Vegetable Juice (requires a juicer)
If you don’t have a juicer, use the veggie wrap recipe below.

Drink 16 ounces of water at dinner

Ingredients: 1 broccoli bunch (with stem), 1 handful of spinach, 2 celery sticks, 1/2 Chayote squash, 1 Chard, 2 stems of mustard greens, 2 pinches of cayenne pepper, 1 stalk of ginger, 2 lemons

 

For Dinner, Option #2 – Veggie Wrap (no juicer required)
Drink 16 ounces of water at dinner

Ingredients: 1 Collard Green leaf, 1 tablespoon hummus, 1 chopped yellow onion, 5 mushrooms cut, 1 green pepper sliced, 1 red pepper sliced, 1/3 cucumber sliced, 3 green olives, 1 broccoli flower cut, 2 slices avocado, 2 teaspoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons vinaigrette dressing, *any additional vegetables can be added

To Make: Take the collard green wrap and rinse thoroughly, lat flat and spread hummus. Add green peppers, red peppers, broccoli, cucumber, olives, mushroom, and onion. Pour olive oil over vegetables, add avocado and vinaigrette dressing. Roll collard green into a wrap, use additional hummus or vinaigrette as a dipping sauce.

 

As you can see, the focus of the cleanse is raw foods, and it’s a great way to boost nutrition and energy before the holidays or any time that your eating habits have gotten out of wack. The supplements and special ingredients listed in Maria’s recipes can be found at most health food stores.

For additional foods that will help you with your pre-holiday clearance, check out Maria’s post: Top 10 Cleansing Foods.

to your health,

k

 

photo:Diet Police fridge magnet by lydiashiningbrightly, on Flickr

life recipe: recipe for a good woman

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life recipe: recipe for a good woman

“A woman is an important somebody and sometimes you win the triple crown: good food, good sex, and good talk. Most men settle for any one, happy as a clam if they get two. But listen, let me tell you something. A good man is a good thing, but there is nothing in the world better than a good good woman. She can be your mother, your wife, your girlfriend, your sister, or somebody you work next to. Don’t matter. You find one, stay there.”  ~from Toni Morrison’s “Love

After reading this passage from Toni Morrison’s novel, “Love”, I knew I’d found a morsel that would become a permanent part of my personal collection of life recipes.

The quote comes from the character, Sandler – a concerned father who is schooling his teenage son on what to look for in a woman. Fortunately, it’s an easy-to-remember recipe that includes 3 very simple ingredients.

Good Food

I don’t care how old-fashioned or outmoded I sound saying it, I’m going to say it anyway. If you’re a woman, you should know how to cook something. I’m not suggesting that you channel Betty Crocker and prance around the kitchen all day in frilly aprons and heels making biscuits and pies from scratch (but, if that’s your thing, by all means, go for it!). But every woman should have at least 3 solid dishes that she can whip up at a moment’s notice. That means not having to consult a cookbook or a recipe, but being able to prepare a simple, elegant meal from memory – preferably with easy-to-find ingredients. As they say, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”. Even in non-romantic situations, being able to cook something tasty for someone you care about (whether it be your man, your mom, your kids, or your friends) is not only a useful talent, but also a satisfying and rewarding experience.

 

Good Sex

I suppose this one should go without saying, since we’re all sexual creatures. But since everyone has different tastes and preferences, what exactly qualifies as good sex? Whether you’re the swing-from-the-rafters type or more of a missionary girl, I think that at the root of it all, a woman with ‘good sex’ is a woman who is equally skilled at giving and receiving pleasure.

 

Good Talk

I’ve heard numerous tales from my guy friends about dates or relationships with drop-dead gorgeous girls that they found extremely attractive… until they opened their mouths. A good woman cultivates interests in things that are worth talking about. A good woman stays abreast of current events (no, not just celebrity gossip), a good woman has a bit of ‘game’. A good woman knows how to give a compliment.

 

Recipe Notes:

Noticeably missing from this recipe for a good woman are inessential ingredients like: big boobs, long hair, thick legs, fat booty, expensive clothes, killer makeup, and similar decorative toppings.

Admittedly, a good woman who comes with one or more of these inessential ingredients will be just as fulfilling and even sweeter than the original recipe. However, a woman that possesses inessential ingredients yet lacks all of the good woman ingredients may be sweet, but won’t be nearly as filling. And really… who needs empty calories?

 

cheers,

k

 

being in love: a trailblazer's guide to finding true love

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P1110354 Fall in Love ... not in line

 

“By the time you are ready to explore the world of love, you are filled with so much rubbish about love that there is not much hope for you to be able to find the authentic and discard the false.”  ~Osho

Relationships are hard. Yes, I know that’s not exactly a groundbreaking statement. But it’s a fact. A fact that I’ve been pondering a lot lately as I witness the many stages of relationships being experienced by close friends and acquaintances.

There are those friends who are engaged or newly married, others who are separated or newly divorced, friends who are experiencing the highs and lows of dating, friends who are content playing the field, friends who are happy being alone. There’s even my own relationship, which many – especially those who know me as a hot-headed, commitment phobic, and often contrary woman – are quietly amazed has lasted as long as it has.

Though my associates and I are all experiencing different stages of relationship, we all share a common trait. None of us have a clue what we’re doing. We’re all just guessing. Rolling a dice and hoping that we don’t lose too much in the process, or crap out completely.

being in love - happily ever after

Truth is, most people tend to follow a pretty familiar script when it comes to relationships. Our expectations of gender roles, relationship timelines, and the ways love should be shown have been stamped onto our psyches over years of conditioning from families, movies, romance novels, r&b love songs. Most of us will never question established ideas of love and romance. Even when something deep inside of us starts to suspect that we aren’t 100% comfortable with those age-old ideas. So without any clear alternatives and with few successful real-life examples to follow, we go on trying to fit ourselves and our significant other into relationship models and behaviors that are considered normal and acceptable. On the rare occasion when one does question and decides to diverge from the “normal” path, one finds that there are no road signs, no footprints to follow, just a wide open wilderness that requires the fearless instincts of a trailblazer to navigate.

Thankfully, even trailblazers have certain tools to help them find their way.

I recently came across a book entitled “Being in Love: How to Love with Awareness and Relate Without Fear” written by Osho. Since being introduced to Osho’s writings a few years ago, he’s quickly become one of my favorite philosopher-teachers, and this book is  testament as to why.


I’ll be frank. You may not agree with everything in this book. Some of it may even upset you. But I guarantee you will find some common-sense wisdom and thoughtful insights that will challenge you to think differently about how you love yourself and others and may even cause a complete paradigm shift for you. Fortunately, Being in Love (and every other Osho book I’ve read) is one of those books that you don’t have to read from beginning to end to get the benefit of it; you can just pick up and start reading from anywhere.

Here are just a few snippets from Osho’s Being in Love:

 

What is Love

“It is almost like somebody asking, “What is food?” Would you not be surprised if somebody came and asked you that question? Only if somebody has been starved from the very beginning and has never tasted food would the question be relevant. It is the same with the question “What is love?”

Love is the food of the soul, but you have been starved. Your soul has not received love at all, so you don’t know the taste. So the question is relevant, but it is unfortunate. The body has received food so the body continues; but the soul has not received food so the soul is dead, or is not born yet, or is always on its deathbed.”

 

Parental Love

“Just think of your own parents…. They are victims just as you are victims; their own parents were the same. And so on…you can go back to Adam and Eve and God the father! It seems that even God the father was not very respectful to Adam and Eve… he started commanding them, “Do this” and “Don’t do that.” He started doing the same rubbish that all parents do… each parent threatens to expel the child, to throw him out. “If you don’t listen, if you don’t behave, you will be thrown out.” Deep down the child starts hating the parents because he is not respected; deep down he starts feeling frustrated because he is not loved as he is. He is expected to do certain things, and only then will he be loved.

And children learn the ways of their parents—their nagging, their conflict. Just go on watching yourself. If you are a woman, watch—you may be repeating, almost identically, the ways your mother used to behave…. If you are a man, watch: What are you doing? Are you not behaving just like your father? Watch and see when your mother is there, functioning through you—stop that, move away from it. Do something absolutely new that your mother could not even have imagined.”

 

The Perfect Man or Woman

“That idea too has been put into your mind—that unless you find a perfect man or a perfect woman you will not be happy…. A loving person simply loves, just as an alive person breathes and drinks and eats and sleeps…. You don’t say, “Unless there is perfect air, unpolluted, I am not going to breathe.” You go on breathing even in Los Angeles; you go on breathing in Mumbai. You go on breathing everywhere, even when the air is polluted, poisoned…. People who demand perfection are very unloving people, neurotic. Even if they can find a lover they demand perfection, and the love is destroyed because of that demand.”

“Love ordinary people. Nothing is wrong with ordinary people. Ordinary people are extraordinary! Each human being is so unique; have respect for that uniqueness.”

 

Gender Roles in Relationships

“Watch people, see how they take each other for granted. If your wife prepares food for you, you never thank her. I’m not saying that you have to verbalize your thanks, but it should be in your eyes. But you… take it for granted—that is her work. Who told you that? If your husband goes and earns money, you never thank him. You don’t feel any gratitude. “That’s what a man should do.” That’s your mind. How can love grow?”

“At home, the woman is a wife and the man is a husband. Now when these two persons meet there are really four persons: the husband and wife, who are not real persons but just personas, masks, false patterns, expected behavior, duties, and all that, and the real persons hiding behind the masks.

Those real persons feel bored.”

 

Give and Take in Relationships

“People are more interested in how to grab and get. Everybody is interested in getting and nobody seems to enjoy giving. People give very reluctantly… they always go on watching to make sure they get more than they give—then it is a good bargain, good business. And the other is doing the same.

Give, and don’t wait to see how much you can grab…. In the beginning it will be hard, because your whole life you have been trained not to give but to get. In the beginning you will have to fight with your own armor…. In the beginning it will be difficult, but each step will lead to a further step, and by and by the river starts flowing.”

 

Being Alone versus Being Lonely

“There are two types of love. One is the love that happens when you are feeling lonely: as a need, you go to the other. The other love arises when you are not feeling lonely, but alone. In the first case you go to get something; in the second case you go to give something. A giver is an emperor.”

 

Sex

“Most people’s sexual life is nothing but a kind of relief. Yes, for a moment you feel relieved of a burden, just like a good sneeze. How good it feels afterwards! But for how long? How long can you feel good after a sneeze? How many seconds, how many minutes can you brag that “I had such a sneeze, it was great.” As the sneeze is gone, with it goes all the joy, too. It was simply something bothering you. You are finished with that botheration, now there is a little relaxation. That’s the sexual life of most of the people in the world.

For afterplay to happen it needs a romantic mind, a poetic mind, a mind that knows how to be thankful, how to be grateful. The person, the woman or the man who has brought you to such a climax, needs some gratitude: afterplay is your gratitude. And unless there is afterplay it simply means your sex is incomplete; and incomplete sex is the cause of all the troubles that a human being goes through.”

No matter what stage of relationship you’re in – whether you’re starting one, or ending one, or you happen to be alone – Being in Love will give you fresh perspective on what it  means to make the most out of every relationship and blaze your own trail to true love.

cheers,
k
photo “Fall in Love … not in line” by Martinho, on Flickr

inappropriate dinner conversation: the curious case of the Cherokee Freedmen

The year is 1983. 6 men arrive at a voting precinct in Oklahoma. The men are of varying ages and statures, but there is at least one trait that they all share. They are all black. As they approach the door of the precinct, their leader, a Reverend called Nero, issues a quick word of encouragement to his band of braves. The men steady their nerves and their resolves. Not one of them is sure what may happen next.

It only takes a few moments for it to all be over. The men return to their vehicles, not a single vote cast among them. They have been turned away from the polls this day for the simple fact that only citizens of this nation are allowed to vote. And, because they are black, these men are not considered citizens.

Though the details in the story above were imagined, the story itself is very much based on actual events that happened in these United States in the far, far away state of Oklahoma in the long ago time of 1983.

The men in the story are descendants of a little-known group of people referred to as the Black Freedmen. Once ownedblack indians - a hidden heritage as slaves by wealthy and usually mixed-race Cherokees, the Black Freedmen were emancipated and granted full citizenship in the Cherokee Nation in an 1866 treaty between the Cherokees and the US government. Since then, the Black Freedmen’s story of equal acceptance into the Cherokee Nation has been a twisted one fraught with legal entanglements, questions of culture and identity, and sturdy allegations of fraud and good ol’ American racism.

I’d really never heard of the Black Freedmen until a Facebook friend of mine shared an article from MSNBC outlining the most recent in a long history of legal battles between the Black Freedmen and the Cherokee Nation. Like many of you might have, I’d heard stories of Blacks and Natives intermarrying and having children together, but I never knew that there was an established and officially recognized group of Blacks that were considered Cherokees – by blood or by naturalization. I’d venture to say it was left out of my required history classes as a young lass.

But after reading the article, it quickly turned from a curious little historical sidenote, into a current-day political conundrum that threatens the concepts of sovereignty and democracy that define our modern government, and brings back into focus basic civil rights issues that, before now, I naively believed had long ago been put to rest in this country.

After a little research, I was able to piece together the following timeline of the Black Freedman’s history from various sources (Gawd, I love the Internets!).

1863 – Cherokee Nation officially abolishes slavery; Some Cherokees who side with the Confederacy continue to hold slaves and fight against the Union in the Civil War

1866 – The Cherokees sign a treaty with post-Civil war US government extending Cherokee citizenship and enfranchisement rights to the freedmen and their descendants. The Cherokee Nation Constitution is amended to reflect the treaty’s language concerning freedmen’s rights.

1880 – The Cherokee Nation conducts a census to assist with the distribution of proceeds from sales of Cherokee land. Cherokee freedmen are excluded from the census and thereby, the distribution of proceeds.

1888 – US government passes An Act to secure to the Cherokee Freedmen and others their proportion of certain proceeds of lands.

1896 – US government commissions the Kern-Clifton roll to identify Cherokee Freedmen that were entitled to Cherokee land sale proceeds. The Kern-Clifton roll identifies 5,600 Cherokee Freedmen.

1902-1906 – The Dawes Commission, enacted by the US government, requires registration of American Indians. The Dawes Rolls classifies individuals as either: Indians by blood, intermarried whites, or Freedmen. Dawes commissioners generally listed all visibly black people as freedmen regardless of Cherokee blood ancestry that would have otherwise qualified some as ‘Indians by blood’. The Dawes roll lists 4,924 Freedmen.

1970s – Under pressure from Indian activists, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) begins to provide certain benefits, such as free health care, to members of federally recognized tribes. As citizens, Cherokee Freedmen are also eligible for benefits.

1983 – Ross O. Swimmer, then Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, issues an executive order requiring Cherokee Nation citizens to have a “Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood” (CDIB) card in order to vote. CDIB cards were issued by the BIA based on those listed on the Dawes Rolls as ‘Indians by blood’. Rev. Robert H. Nero and 5 other Cherokee Freedmen are turned away from polls when they attempt to vote in the 1983 tribal election.

1984 – Rev. Nero and his associates file a class action lawsuit on the basis of racial discrimination against the United States, the Office of the President, the Department of the Interior, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the tribal election committee, and Principal Chief Ross Swimmer.

1989 – The court rules against Rev. Nero and fellow plaintiffs, citing jurisdictional issues.

2001 – Bernice Riggs, a Freedmen descendant, sues the tribal registrar for citizenship based on blood ancestry. The Judicial Appeals Tribunal (now the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court) rules that Riggs adequately documented her Cherokee blood ancestry, but ultimately denies Riggs citizenship because her ancestors were listed only as Freedmen on the Dawes Rolls, not as ‘Indians by blood’.

2006 – The Cherokee Nation Supreme Court rules in favor of Freedman descendant Lucy Allen. The ruling concludes that acts barring Freedmen descendants from tribal membership are unconstitutional , since the 1975 Cherokee Constitution did not exclude Freedmen from citizenship, nor did it have a blood requirement for membership in the tribe.

And this is where the real fun begins.

Read the rest of this entry

how to get that game show buzz

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picture of family feud game show

 

The mission: attend a live taping of the game show The Family Feud (hosted by Steve Harvey) at the Atlanta Civic Center. A good friend of mine had scored tickets to the show and had invited me along for the ride.

I call it a mission because, of course, it couldn’t be as simple as just showing up and walking into the studio. We arrived 5 minutes earlier than suggested, only to be told that we were too late for the 1st taping, and we’d have to come back about 2 hours later.

Ah well, what do wise women do when hit with unexpected delays? We brunch. Hard.

For the next couple of hours, my friend and I shared a booth at Home Grown, talking and reminiscing, sharing and confessing. I think I can safely speak for her when I say that in those 2 hours we both learned more about each other than we’ve learned in years.

With our bellies filled and our friendship expanded, we returned to the Civic Center, waited some more, and were finally, finally let into the studio.

Just as we were getting ready to file into the next to last row, the plump, older lady in front of us asked one of the production crew, “Can we take two of those seats on the front row?” “Sure,” was the reply. One glance between me and my friend was all it took, and we immediately followed suit. As the plump lady and I claimed our seats next to each other, we both blurted out, “Never hurts to ask!” then cracked up at our synchronized timing. Out of nowhere, she hugged me like we’d known each other for ages.

Before the show began, the ‘audience wrangler’ trained us on our responsibilities. We learned when and how to clap and smile, when to cheer, and when to go “Awww…”. Important stuff, you know. To boost our energy from a long day of waiting, he led us all in a couple of rousing dance-alongs. One to The Isley Brothers’ “Shout”, and another to the Jackson’s “Blame it on the Boogie”.

Soon, the main event started. Steve ‘Longcoat’ Harvey appeared onstage. The feuding families followed, and the cameras started rolling. Like dutiful participants, we clapped and smiled, and smiled and cheered, and ‘awwwed’ and clapped some more. Everything the contestants said or did required us to emote. It was hard work.

At the end of the all-day game show adventure, I returned home with a pleasant, good-feeling buzz that lasted the rest of the day.

So what did we learn from all this, kids?

I don’t know about you, but a good-feeling buzz that lasts the whole livelong day isn’t something that’s always easy to come by (at least not legally) so when I do get one, I like to take a minute to figure out how I got it, in case I should ever need it again.

We asked 100 people what they’d do to get that good-feeling game show buzz *. Survey says:

Open Up to an Old Friend

I think we take old friends for granted sometimes. We think that since we’ve known each other since way back, we know everything there is to know about our friend, and they know everything there is to know about us. But there are stories that we haven’t shared. Little bits of ourselves that we’ve never opened up about. Sharing those things gives us a chance to strengthen the bonds of our friendships. Even if the only feel-good you get is a twinge of happiness from talking about something different than you normally do, it’s worth it.

 

Always Ask for What You Want

Fortune favors the bold. A closed mouth don’t get fed. The squeaky wheel gets the oil. All these old adages are saying the same thing. If there is something you want or need, not only is there no shame in asking for it, it’s often the quickest way to get it. The worst possible thing that can happen is hearing the word “no”. The best possible thing that could happen is front row seats.

 

comic strip of a hug fail

Hug a Stranger


Look. I am not a hugger. Hugs are often awkward moments for me that involve over-thinking the position of my arms, the distance from the other person, the angle of my head… it’s too much, really. Still, I appreciate a really good hug. And there’s nothing better than a hug from a genuinely friendly person, even if they’re someone you just met. And especially if they’re a plump auntie figure.

 

Be Silly in Public

When’s the last time you seat-danced to 50s and 80s rock and pop… in public? Yeah. Me neither. Public displays of silliness are the perfect way to whip up some instant feelgood. But the opportunity to be silly with a large group of other people doesn’t come along very often. When you get the chance, take advantage of it. Join the wave at the baseball game, do the hokey-pokey and turn yourself around, robot your way down the Soul Train line. Of course you could always be that guy standing off to the side because he’s just too sexy or too cool to be silly. Don’t be.

 

Clap and Cheer for the Little Things

It’s really hard to feel bad when you’ve got a big ole cheesy grin plastered on your face and you’re clapping like your life depended on it. Something about that eventually takes over you and makes you all happy and junk. Now I’m not suggesting you go around being a 1-person studio audience all day. But try being a little more liberal with the high-fives and the ‘good jobs’ for a bit, and see if that doesn’t make you and the people around you feel a little bit better.

cheers,

k

*We didn’t really. I made them up myself.

balm for a tuesday – a poem from rumi

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friendship-theme-photo

 

I’m away on a working vacation this week, Dear Reader. But something told me that this poem by Rumi might be something you needed to hear as much as I did today.

If not, tuck it somewhere safe for a rainy day. 😉

 

come on sweetheart
let’s adore one another
before there is no more
of you and me

a mirror tells the truth
look at your grim face
brighten up and cast away
your bitter smile

a generous friend
gives life for a friend
let’s rise above this
animalistic behavior
and be kind to one another

spite darkens friendships
why not cast away
malice from our heart

once you think of me
dead and gone
you will make up with me
you will miss me
you may even adore me

why be a worshiper of the dead
think of me as a goner
come and make up now

since you will come
and throw kisses
at my tombstone later
why not give them to me now
this is me
that same person

i may talk too much
but my heart is silence
what else can i do
i am condemned to live this life

~rumi

 

cheers,

k

how to lose like a winner

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A couple of weekends ago, I got invited to watch a friend’s daughter compete in the National American Miss pageant. I’ve known this young lady since she was a toddler, and over the years I’ve watched her blossom into an awesome little woman. She’s bright, energetic, savvy, and beautiful to boot. You know, one of those kids that makes you feel confident about what the next generation will be able to do with their infinite potential. So I was thrilled to join her parents in the audience to hoot and holler like a madwoman whenever she appeared on the stage.

That night, we watched all the contestants do their opening numbers and have their individual moments in the spotlight. We also watched watch as girl after girl got picked for various and sundry titles – Miss Congeniality, Most Likely to be a Top Model, Most Likely to End Up as a Trophy Wife and Get One Helluva Divorce Settlement when the Dog of a Husband Gets Caught Cheating (or something like that). Even with all her charm, poise, and intelligence, our girl didn’t get a single trophy or accolade, and she didn’t even get to move on to the next round of competition. Needless to say, we were crushed. She, of course, was even more crushed. After she’d changed back into her street clothes, she joined us to head to the car. She held up pretty well for a few moments, then the tears came. “It isn’t fair,” she cried. “They weren’t as good as me!” she protested. And we agreed, clucking over her and consoling her like dutiful supporters. There wasn’t any use in trying to rationalize the outcome of the pageant to her. Even if there had been a rational explanation, it likely wouldn’t have made a dent on her emotional state. So, I thought that the words her mother offered her were the best that could be said at that moment. She simply told her daughter, “Baby, it wasn’t your time.”

No doubt, losing sucks. Hard. Especially when it’s something you’ve worked hard to get, or something you feel like you’re naturally more qualified to have. So when you don’t land that job, or you get passed over by that girl or guy you had your heart set on, or someone else snags that grand opportunity that you know was meant for you, it makes you want to scream at the top of your lungs, “It’s not fair! They weren’t as good as me!” It’s irritating as hell to see the lesser-qualified get your moment in the spotlight, with the crowd cheering and the fair maiden planting a wreath of laurel leaves on their unworthy head. When it happens more than once, you may stop screaming outwardly and start whispering inwardly to yourself: “Maybe I’m not good enough. Maybe I don’t know what I’m doing. Maybe no one will ever want me.” Even the most confident and self-assured person has their moments of uncertainty when met with a consistent stream of losses.

I thought back to one of the girls in the pageant who had advanced to the next round that evening. It was her fifth year in the competition, and she’d never made it beyond the first round before. Yet she kept showing up every year. Kept donning the glitzy gown, kept flashing the perfect camera-ready smile, and kept being sent home with nothing to show for her efforts. I wondered what she must have felt like after two years of not winning. After year three? I wondered how she even mustered up the energy and optimism it took to come back for one more chance at winning, though she was a repeat loser. By the colloquial definition, this girl was insane. She kept doing the same thing and expecting a different result. But eventually, after five long years, she did get a different result.

So how exactly do you distinguish the insane person from the winner-to-be?

“Sometimes losing is a wake-up call in disguise, a universal conspiracy that’s letting you know that you’re chasing the wrong dream…”

Winners recognize that there may not be any logic to the fact that they lost, but they take the loss as an opportunity for assessment.  A time to prepare themselves for the win that will inevitably come. After a loss, winners ask themselves the following questions:

Am I losing because I’m playing the wrong game?

If you’re going after something that doesn’t align with your purpose or your true values, why would you want to win? Sometimes losing is a wake-up call in disguise, a universal conspiracy that’s letting you know that you’re chasing the wrong dream, and you need to set your eyes on a different, more fitting prize. If you feel certain that what you’re after does align with your purpose, it’s much easier to deal with temporary losses on the way to your goal.

Am I losing because I’m not yet prepared to win?

If you were to get that job, land that cutie pie, or be granted that opportunity, are you currently prepared to make the most of it? Do you have the skills to maintain the thing you’ve won after you’ve won it? You’ve heard the stories of lottery winners who are penniless only a few years after their big win, because they had no money management skills. It’s almost impossible to believe, but it happens all the time – and not just with the lottery. Winners take time after a loss to continue to hone their skills. They visualize what they’ll need to do after the win to make sure they’re ready to perform when it happens. Winners know that a gift given to the ill-prepared can easily become a curse.

Am I losing because it just isn’t my time?

So you know for sure that you’re after the right thing. And you know that you’re well-prepared to maintain that thing after you’ve won it. So what gives? Why do you keep losing? Well baby, maybe it just isn’t your time. While you’re fuming about how unfair it all is, maybe there’s someone else out there who had just as much right to the ‘big win’ as you did. They may have waited longer or worked harder, or maybe it was simply ‘their time’. Maybe you’re like that year-five winner, and you’ll have to lose many times before you win. Just remember to re-assess, re-equip, and reapply yourself… even if everyone else thinks you’re insane.

As it turns out, our girl made it through the pageant ordeal without too much emotional or ego damage. After a post-pageant dinner out, she was mostly back to normal. The following week, she got an unexpected phone call. It came from a talent scout who’d seen her at the pageant and wanted to know if she was available for other opportunities.

So let that be a lesson to all you losers out there. The next time you lose, go ahead and have a good cry, check to make sure the makeup is still ok, then treat yourself to something tasty.

And know this… your day is coming. Maybe even sooner than you think.

cheers,

k

photo: total loser by bamzin

photo: …and the winner is by notsogoodphotography