Now that we are approaching the end of January, how are those resolutions you made coming along? Most of us start off with a lot of gusto, whether with good intent or guilt from hanging out too much over the weekend. Either way, no matter how sincere, by month’s end resolutions start to fizzle, and by February, many are long forgotten.
I personally get around the letdown by only making one resolution. If you have been following this column for a while, then you know what that is: drink more water. Looking back over the years I have found this resolution akin to a roller-coaster ride, with highs and lows, sharp turns and moments of despair followed by moments of exhilaration.
I guess that pretty much sums up life in general. That being the case, it has suddenly occurred to me to add another resolution to my short list. Instead of bombarding myself with resolutions for self-improvement that slip through my fingers like grains of sand, I am opting to evolve.
Evolve, which derives, I suspect, from the word evolution, refers to change. Whereas “change” sounds way too controversial and dramatic, “evolve,” on the other hand, sounds more in tune with nature and the universe. Who among us stays the same? Even if we try our best to hold tight and maintain, life has a way of demanding growth or that we evolve, more often than not, in a good way.
Evolving doesn’t happen overnight. It is a slow and steady process until one day you realize you have crossed the threshold. And don’t it feel good? To help the process along, we can ask ourselves this question: What are we lugging around that no longer serves us? Bit by bit, day by day, we begin to strengthen our resolve to do whatever is needed to succeed in accomplishing that resolution. Yes, we will make mistakes, turn right when we should turn left. But life is a process; evolving is a process. With goodness of heart and strength of conviction, we eventually get back on track.
It was St. Augustine, in his “Confessions,” who wrote, “People travel to wonder at the height of mountains, at huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars … and they pass by themselves without wondering.” Opining on this statement, Mary DeTurris Poust, founder of the website, www.notstrictlyspiritual.com, stated, “Maybe this year is the time to start wondering about yourself, not in a self-indulgent way, but in a curious way. What is inside you that is undiscovered, waiting to evolve and emerge?”
Add that to your list of resolutions and tell me next December how you make out.
Making out very well is the Black Agency Executives, who held their annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. luncheon at the Hilton Hotel. This year’s focus was on “Social Media for Social Justice,” which was very well received. The 2018 honorees were Valerie Rainford, head of Advancing Black Leaders and Diversity Advancement Strategies, JPMorgan Chase & Co.; Ana Oliveira, president & CEO of the New York Women’s Foundation; and Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space. Comedian Chuck Nice served as master of ceremonies, and yes he was funny. The Rev. Tyrone Monroe, from Emmanuel Baptist Church, Brooklyn, N.Y., gave the invocation, “Joining together ideas, shared and sharpened.”
One of the questions posed to the audience by Marla C. Willis, chair of the MLK luncheon, was, “If Dr. King were alive today, what would he be tweeting?”
Some replied he wouldn’t be tweeting anything but shaking his head saying, “What has this world come to, and how can I galvanize people of the world to come together?”
Rainford, who prides herself on coming from the projects to the podium, spoke poignantly, asking, “What are you doing in the service of others? How are you using your talents and gifts to do the things needed to be done to uplift our community?”
Imparting advice that she was given at an early stage of her illustrious career (she was the first female to hold an executive position at the Federal Reserve Bank, where she worked for 21 years), Rainford spoke of the frustrations of not being able to change other people or the world according to our own perspective.
She said, “We all have incredible gifts, niche perspectives and doggedness to never give up. Show them by focusing on what you can control. Use your knowledge, resources and talents to do what you can from where you sit, to do what you can do. It doesn’t matter if two or three are on the mountaintop if others are left behind. Don’t give in to the negativity. Do what you can from where you sit.”
Guest speaker for the event was Paula T. Edgar, Esq. She spoke at length on how we can use social media to spread the word, build community, share ideas and find a common ground. “Fifty years later, after Dr. King, we can galvanize the community with a click,” she said. “Sharing your voice, advancing your mission and helping others is amplified by your voice. We are reminded of a quote by Dr. King: ‘If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.’”
Remarks by Carla D. Brown, president, BAE, urged organizations to join BAE as “membership has its privileges, and can open doors previously closed.”
She added, “For sanity, we need to share with each other. People of color are magic. We have real power.”
Among those in attendance were the Hon. Mayor David N. Dinkins, who received a special acknowledgment; past president of BAE, Mary Redd; Judge Priscilla Hall; Tony Rogers from Urbanology 90.3 FM; Jenelle Hamilton of Bee Season Publicity; Vivian Manning-Fox; Karen Dixon from Harlem Dowling; and Thelma Dye of the Northside Center for Child Development.
Until next week … kisses.