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boUnd

racing

 

It’s 6:30 am. Time to get a few miles in before the sun really comes out. My preference is to always be outdoors on the track, instead of inside on the treadmill. There’s something about being outside with nature that helps me think with more clarity. Besides, I enjoy looking at and speaking to the bunny rabbits and the birds. Now the geese? Let’s not even go there! LOL

 

As I crossed the 1 mile marker, my question remained unanswered. When am I going to get this blog done? You see, my time has not been my own lately. I recently completed an intense 2-month class at Temple University and am now a certified Community Health Worker. (WooHoo!) AND, my comedy show fundraiser is quickly approaching. (Got your ticket? www.nspiredbynicolle.com) But when I settled on the topic, I knew I had to make the time.

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Weeks ago, my attention was drawn to the words “limit” and “less.” Hmmm. If I simply “limit less,” I can be “limitless.” This morning, I heard the word “bound.” Ideas began to bounce around in my head and I was off and running (well, not quite – I’m a race walker). What keeps a person bound? And more importantly, why? I found the answer in the middle of the word. The reason why you are boUnd is because of “U” (YOU). The faster I walked, I clearly saw an illustration using the body.

Head – What thoughts leave your mind bound? Forget the “should-a, would-a, could-a” reason. The past is behind us and re-dos don’t happen in real life. Why do we spend so much time focusing on the past? Why do we allow people to take us back there? I refer to this as rear view mirror thinking. The rear view mirror is small for a reason – we’re not going that way. Focusing your time and attention here means missing the bigger picture that the front windshield provides.

 

blindfold

Eyes – What is covering your eyes so that the vision that you have for yourself and/or your family is no longer in sight? When vision is blurry and blocked, or distorted and dim, moving forward can be extremely challenging. At times when the light at the end of the tunnel is nowhere to be seen, it’s easy to simply settle and adopt an “it is what it is” mentality. Changing the lens through which you view life in order to bring the vision back into focus, will require patience and possibly assistance.

 

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Mouth – What is gagging and preventing you from using your mouth? Perhaps you are now unable to speak up, speak out, or speak into the lives of others. Perhaps you have been silenced, suppressed, or censored. Perhaps you can no longer cry out for help. Contained within your voice is the power of life and death. Words can build up or tear down. You have the ability to nurture a dream or destroy it at the root level. Be mindful to not only speak the truth, but to speak your truth by being true to who you are.

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Hands – What has your hands bound so that you are unable to accomplish your life assignment? Whether it’s a rope, handcuffs, or maybe even a wedding band, restricted hands prevent you from reaching out to touch the people who need you most. No longer will they receive comfort as you embrace them or wipe away their tears. No longer will they be encouraged from your pat on the back or that high five to acknowledge a job well done.

Feet – What has your feet bound so that you are unable to walk in your destiny? You were created with purpose and on purpose to fulfill purpose. Chains, shackles, and ropes negatively impact your life journey. Don’t become the elephant tied to a stake by a rope. It has the strength to break loose, but remains stationary because of the mental rope conditioning that began at a young age. 

Are you bound in any or all of these areas? If so, you don’t have to remain bound. Acknowledge the fact that YOU possess the key to the handcuffs and shackles which have restricted the movement of your hands and feet; and that YOU have the strength to rip off the bandages which have silenced your voice, blinded your eyes and clouded your mind. The next step is to take action.

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Ironically, another definition of bound is “to leap forward or upward, to spring, to jump.” The choices that you make, or fail to make, are directly connected to your destiny. Will you be bound, confined and limited, or will you move forward by leaps and bounds? Today is a great day to remove those internal and external factors that have kept you bound. Take the limits off and decree and declare that you are no longer being held hostage. Experience freedom one day, one step, and one decision at a time. Oh, and when you’re strong enough, go back and rescue someone else!

 

be NspireD!

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Black History – A New Conversation

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Although February is Black History Month, we must be careful not to restrict the subject to merely one month of the year. As an educator who was often the only teacher of color on staff, I saw this happen in the classrooms of my colleagues. In an effort to reverse this pattern, I brought the issue to the forefront by speaking up about my concerns. I made it my business to help young, elementary students expand their view of the world. Black history goes beyond the color of one’s skin. Black history impacts world history.

During Black History Month, we are often exposed to men and women who have contributed to fields such as medicine, education, science, entertainment, politics, and sports. I believe that health history should be factored in to what is highlighted during Black History Month. In the same way that learning about the past can help us understand and appreciate our present so that we can prepare for the future, the same is true of our health history. We need to know what is being passed from one generation to the next.

black history pioneers

Perhaps it’s a cultural “thing,” but family health matters are often considered “hush hush” and swept under the carpet. You know, the proverbial “elephant” that everyone sees, but no one talks about. This is not beneficial and has gotten us no where – except to an early grave. I encourage dialogue about family health as part of my platform as an inspirational and experiential speaker promoting health and wellness as a lifestyle. We must have the conversations, ask the questions, and then use the information to take action.

Some chronic illnesses can have a generational impact. If we don’t know what’s in our family blood line, then it’s possible to be blindsided unnecessarily. Let’s look at breast cancer. Guidelines state that women should get their first mammogram at age 45. However, a daughter of a survivor needs to get her mammogram 10 years earlier than when her mother was diagnosed. Without this knowledge, the daughter may miss that early screening and find herself embarking upon her own cancer journey. Did you know that even though white women are diagnosed more frequently than Black women, Black women are dying at higher rates? Additionally, Black women are being diagnosed with advanced stages of breast cancer. This can limit treatment options and result in higher death rates.

benefits-vs-risks-diabetes-supplements

Diabetes and high blood pressure are other chronic illnesses that can impact multiple generations. These conditions may be the result of something more than heredity – cultural upbringing. Lifestyle plays a role in the presence or absence of disease. I’m referring to the foods and beverages that are/are not consumed, food preparation, as well as whether we are/are not engaging in exercise. We can control and change these variables. But if no one is willing to have the conversations, to ask the questions, to do something different, nothing changes and the unhealthy patterns continue.

“Nothing changes if nothing changes.” How true. We have to address the health history in the Black community and in every community. It may mean the difference between life and death for current and future generations. Did you know that in some places of the world, babies are being predisposed with conditions such as diabetes in utero due to the food and drink choices made by their mothers? What?! Life is tough enough as it is. We should want the unborn to enter the world with the healthiest start possible.

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Conversations about family health history have to start somewhere, with someone. YOU can be the voice that initiates an ongoing dialogue. To help you get started, the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition has created a Family Health History Tree.

http://debreastcancer.org/pdf/DBCC_Black_History_Month_2017_full_tree.pdf

Print it out and do your research. Then, talk to family members and your physician about genetic risk factors that may exist, as well as lifestyle changes that can be made. 

History is just not something we celebrate – it’s something we create. 

 

be NspireD!

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