What did you do or not do to cause this to happen?

VICTIM OR IN CONTROL?  This morning I was reflecting on the natural law of “cause and effect” and thinking how liberating this law is when we really understand it. We can’t have it both ways.  Either our decisions and input matters and creates or contributes to our reality or it doesn’t.  Either we can initiate, create, mold and shape our reality or we have to wait for input from our environment and always be in a response mode. Our results have a cause.

cause_effect_picWe change the cause and our results have to change too. Our past thoughts, decisions, and actions have created our current realities.  If we want different results, then we have to change the input.

Isn’t it exciting that we are the creators of our reality, that we get to choose?  We get to decide what we will put our energies into and those decisions create the effects we now experience. So many people meander through life following the masses and feeling and acting like victims.  They see the world as pins and themselves as pin cushions, powerless to stop or curtail the pain.  Their primary response to the world is “fight or flight”, and the world from their perspective is a cruel and unhappy place.

Think about it, if you are a victim, then you have no control over the outcome.  If the person victimizing or causing you pain chooses not to change their ways, you’re stuck!  I’d much prefer to own some part of the outcome.  That empowers me to change my circumstances.  “Self-actualized” beings have broken free from the pack.  They realize that they have unlimited power.  They own up to reality and know that what they are perceiving, they had some hand in creating.

In my workshops, I frequently encourage participants to answer this question to help them take credit or responsibility for their actions. Owning up to the life we have created causes us to cease feeling like victims and that is empowering. Whenever they look at a specific reality that is not to their liking, they must answer the question honestly:

“What did I do or NOT do to cause the the happen or NOT TO happen?


What You See Is What You Get!

abstract-19141The moment you open your eyes each day, the world is ready with all its enticing entrapments to seize and take hold of your thoughts. Whatever and whoever controls your thoughts, controls you! We are first and foremost thinking creatures and what we see, we think about. AND, WHAT WE THINK ABOUT WE HELP TO BRING ABOUT! You may not realize it, but you may be unwittingly helping to bring about things you detest or are against, because what you think about, you give energy to. What you give energy to gains power.

Our brains are obedient and neutral and will focus on and try to make sense out of whatever is presented before it. It cares little if the thoughts are empowering (about abundance, joy, and hope), or destructive causing you to think about gloom, doom, and hopelessness.  Empowered human beings have learned that they must protect their thoughts by controlling what they see, hear, and think about.  They have learned that every thought influences their emotions and every emotion influences their actions, and actions are what create reality.  So the question is:

“Are you a responsible caretaker of your thoughts? Do you spend more time seeing, describing and focusing on what you see in your own visions, or like most people, do you spend the majority of your time focusing on, talking (or complaining about), and trying to understand what the world presents and describes as important each day.”

It is true, “What you see is what you get!” BUT, WHAT DO YOU SEE?

Each of us has a powerful brain which only we should have dominion over.  If you like what you are getting, chances are that you have been using your powerful creative energies to focus your thoughts on what matters to you.  On the other hand, if the images, thoughts, and words you see and hear cause you to be angry, fearful, or unhappy, then you have allowed destructive thoughts to take control. We only create reality in the current moment and if we allow ourselves to be distracted, our precious creative power is dispersed trying to describe and understand other people’s goals and perceptions. Some things presented to us educate, inspire, and uplift us; but the majority of useless thoughts lead us like a horse with a noose down the path of destruction.

To be at our best and be true to our own dreams, desires, and visions, we must learn to see beyond what is presented to us. The most important work you must ever do is to learn to take control of your thoughts despite what is before you. We must have clearly defined goals and learn to follow our own scripts, goals, or plans.  Therein lies our power!




Strive that your actions day by day may be beautiful prayers.

We are what we think, feel, talk about, and DO every day. The sum of our actions determine our character and highlight what is valuable to us.  Most people say that their spiritual life (worship) is the most important part of their existence.

But, what does worship really mean to you? Is it something you do on a specific day of the week or is it a part of your daily habit or lifestyle?

To be truly effective, worship has to become a daily habit or a way of life that arises from our deep desire to love and serve our Creator. And be clear, the Most Great Spirit does not need us; we need that abundant grace. We show our gratitude for life and the ceaseless blessings bestowed upon us by habitually serving humanity.  Each of us must extend the love, grace, forgiveness, generosity, patience, encouragement, and justice to others that we want for ourselves. What we send out, we bring about. And this way of life has to become a habit.  It should not be something we only do on a specific day and time that is limited to only certain people or under certain conditions.  We must each strive to live in such a way that every moment of our lives is lived like beautiful prayers.


Pageant Essentials: Beauty, Butt Glue, and Bronzer

Radiance Talley

Radiance Talley

Eighty-six beautiful girls stepped onto the stage, dawning their best smiles, high heels and faces made up to perfection. All were hopeful that they would be crowned the next Maryland Teen USA Pageant winner, but knowing that only one could win.  After several months of raising funds and shopping for the perfect dress, several days of final prepping with the experts, and several hours practicing, primping, and being paraded before judges, within minutes, it was all over!  One lovely deserving girl took home the crown, the remaining eighty-five hopefuls packed their things somberly: some in shock, some sobbing in their parents arms, and others holding back tears while comforting the other girls.

So Many Lessons Learned

My daughter participated in the 2014 Miss Maryland Teen USA Pageant on November 2-3, 2013 and was one of the eighty- five that left without the crown. And, although she did not win the crown, nevertheless she left a winner.  She was a winner because she took a risk and tried something outside her comfort zone.  The Pageant world is a world of high heels and makeup; she had only worn makeup once before the Pageant and that was to get a photo for the Pageant. She is a winner because she learned valuable lessons that she would never have learned looking in from the outside.  For example, she remarked, “I had to wear a fake smile at times because there was so much to think about that I wasn’t really enjoying the experience.”  She said she got more joy out of reciting her poetry to audiences and tutoring little kids. She was a winner because she learned to experience loss with gratitude, grace, and beauty and to focus on others (which is her nature).

Radiance’s Most Notable Experience

Now the most fun was hands-down the Saturday night party. When I asked her to share one notable experience of the Pageant, her face lit up when she shared how she had helped the makeup artist who desperately needed someone to talk to. The lady had arrived late to do her makeup because she was sick,  had cancer, and was being treated meanly by the other makeup artists. Radiance joyfully concluded, “Maybe that was the whole reason I was there!” After the Pageant, while all the girls were scurrying around saying their final goodbyes, she insisted we find the makeup artist so she could get a picture with her as she had promised. The lady beamed and explained how she got goosebumps from talking to Radiance and felt that she was the winner. Radiance however felt that God’s Will had been done, “If I had won,” she said, “I’d have to wear a two piece bathing suit at the USA Pageant,” she said.  “And I feel that would be compromising my values.”

Well, that’s the overview.  In part 2 (SMH x2), I share my observations from a mother’s perspective on pageants.  Now, you’re probably wondering why I titled this article butt glue?  Well it is the one thing that can make or break a Pageant hopeful.  I didn’t even know what the stuff was.  Evidently all models and pageant people know about it.  It glues your swimsuit to your butt so that it doesn’t slide up or in.  You can even lose ten points from your score if that happens.  Imagine that!  As for the bronzer, they were selling that stuff at the orientation like it was the secret to the fountain of youth. Anyway, check out part two for my SMH conclusion.


Are You Drowning in A Thimble?

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Once after a talk, I had just given,  a lady came up to me and said, “I thought I was drowning in a ocean, but after hearing your story, I realize that I am just drowning in a thimble.”  She explained,

“I’ve magnified my problems in my mind to such an extent that I’ve felt like I’m drowning in an ocean and I now realize they aren’t as big as I’ve made them out to be. Thank you for helping me put things into perspective.” 

What she meant was that her problems (from her new perspective) were minuscule or thimble size in comparison to mine. I had an impact on her that day and she in equal measure, had an impact on me.  Just as her problems paled in comparison to mine, so do my problems when compared to others. So let’s put things into perspective.  Some people are dying; others are homeless or refugees; many have mental or physical illness; some are jobless!  Some are losing a loved one, a home, or a marriage today. Others are losing their freedom, their ability to walk, see, or hear.  All of us I suppose tend to make our situations worse than they really are by focusing on the worst outcome.  But, in all cases, our stories (trials, tribulations, or woes)  when compared to others may not be that bad.

It Could Be Better, but It Could Be Worse

I felt like I too was drowning in a thimble after hearing a prison account of a young girl in Iran who was imprisoned because of her faith in God. Imagine this: A young girl was imprisoned for three years simply because she was trying to teach the youth around her about God.   She was only able to get 30 minutes of sunlight a day and lived in isolation, no refrigerator, no mirror, no one to talk to.  And yet her account of the experience was filled with gratitude.

She faced each day prayerfully, reciting “Is their any remover of difficulties save God…” over 1000  times a day!   And, the brief time she was out of prison, she was comforting families of the imprisoned, typing her notes so that she could share her prison accounts,  and getting books so that she could continue to learn.  She was a Baha’i in a Muslim country teaching the youth to love everyone, that there was only One God, One Human Race, and One Unfolding Religion, from time immemorial.  For wanting to promote unity, she had all of her freedoms stripped away from her.All I can say is, “What a jewel.”  I pray that God continues to protect and bless her and keep her strong.

Put Things into Perspective

When I heard her story, I too had had to put things into perspective.  For while I too had felt that I  drowning in a ocean, her story helped me to see that it was only a thimble.   What a wonderful message of faith, patience, radiant acquiescence, and service she taught me by her encouraging words written from that prison. Many of us think we have a reason to complain. And we begin and end our days spreading our pain, gloom and doom.   But when we hear a story of adversity, like the one of this young girl, all of our problems pale by comparison. We can change our perspective IF we choose  to. Now today, you have a choice on how you will choose to view the world.  Will it be from a perspective of gratitude, hope, or power?  We can spend the day parroting bad news or we can focus our thoughts on the good around us.  You can choose to view your circumstances as an ocean and picture yourself powerless, sinking, or  drowning OR view yourself and your God as powerful and put all of what you are going through in perspective.  Ocean as a thimble?  Your choice will impact your joy, happiness, and that of those around you.

I’m Barbara Talley, the poet who speaks and inspires.  To find out more about me check out my promo sheet or visit  my website.