A Life Toward Authenticity~

Happy Monday, women of courage! Today I’ve been contemplating on my service work and my thoughts centered on my beginnings. Most of you who follow my work on the blogs or gained insights from my freelancewriting.com articles and magazine and newspaper columns, know a bit about me. But, you don’t truly know, Clara, the woman or Clara, the advocate and activist, who feels called to champion the voice of the “underdog.” Many of my beloved readers and social media connections do not know how I came to live a life of authenticity. You don’t know the path to my becoming, unless you’ve read my first attempt to share my WHY with you through my 2011 self published e-book, A Life Toward Authenticity-My Authentic Woman Story.

Today, I’m sharing excerpts of my story captured in my Authentic Woman eBook. I have to warn you, some of the earlier writings are raw, but it’s most definitely for real:)

“Hello, my name is Clara and this is my story.” Enjoy!

“We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?’ Actually, who are we not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are meant to shine, as children do…and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Marianne Williamson

In 2000 I was caught up in a whirlwind of doubts, confusion, longing and disgust. I wasn’t satisfied with the way my life had turned out. I had married and divorced. Bore two wonderful children who would become my reasons for being present. Yet, there was a recurring and nagging wariness and feelings of unworthiness in my chest.

I didn’t feel like I was living up to my full potential. Why couldn’t I be happy with my children, family, friends and career? Why did I feel as if I was tossed in a sea of choppy currents screaming out for a life-preserver and no one could hear…or care? I wasn’t living. Just co-existing. Why, then, wasn’t I living up to my full potential and becoming the woman I’d always wanted to know?

I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was on a journey to “becoming”.  And I was fighting this change every step of the way. What exactly do I mean by “on a journey to becoming”? Simply stated, I was on a mission to change, and I was afraid of the unknown. I was reluctant to reawaken to my true self, denying the path I was destined to embark upon – the road leading to self-awareness and total authenticity.

To celebrate my journey toward authenticity, I created Authentic Woman, a motivational and personal development website that’s all about “The Woman” in 2008. I felt compelled to offer a platform for our voices, where we share life experiences, inclusive of our hopes, our dreams, our passions and desires.

 

Authentic Woman is the manifestation of my passion and ultimate purpose, which is to embrace, explore, empower and reawaken our woman “truth.” Reading these women’s stories inspired me to write this personal side of Clara. I’ve lived and learned from life experiences, and now I’m living my passion and purpose. I wasn’t always so clear on how this “becoming” thing worked. So, let me share with you how I became the woman I’d always wanted to know!

“With age comes wisdom.” I’m sure you’ve all heard this quotation before. But how many of us truly believe it? As we age, we enter into this solstice of life where we’re either embracing or denying the obvious. We are more aware of our intuitive selves and sense of knowing. We’re no longer hungry for the acceptance of others. We are “becoming” comfortable in our own skin. We are “becoming” truth seekers. It is our journey to authenticity.

 

“Walk out on faith. Don’t let fear of the unknown stand in your way.”
Nelson Mandela


Do You Know Where You Are Going To?

 

In 1975 the movie Mahogany, starring Ms. Diana Ross, graced big screens all across the country. Ms. Ross played Tracy, a young African-American woman set on following her dreams to break into the modeling and fashion business. As she’s headed out from her hometown to follow her dreams on a seemingly slow-moving train, the theme song of Mahogany, written by Michael Masser and Gerald Goffin and produced by Berry Gordy starts by asking the questions:

“Do you know where you’re going to? Do you like the things that life is showing you? Where are you going to? Do you know?” The most daunting line of the song with which I could totally relate was “Do you get what you’re hoping for when you look around and there’s no open door. What are you hoping for? Do you know?”

 

I never intended to become a well-known designer, actress or household name when I set out to follow my dreams at the age of 18. There were two things I definitely knew at that age: First, I didn’t want to attend the local colleges or universities like most of my friends. Second, I definitely had no intention of settling down and marrying one of the local clerks at the country deli or living on the outskirts of the small town where you saw miles of dirt roads, overgrown riverbeds and beaten down old men who spent their entire lives working for the man, who lived in the white house on the hill with the immaculate green lawn that is protected by a herd of shrewd Dalmatians.

My single thought at the time was to come up from that environment where Jim Crow remained law, and start living the life I knew was out there…

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To read more of my compelling life journey to authenticity, go to my author’s page at https://www.amazon.com/author/clarafreeman and download a copy to read at your leisure. And stay tuned for my new book, Unleash Your Pearls~Empowering Women Voices, awaiting publisher’s release date.

I end every post by reminding you guys to always treat yourself special. Well, I’m taking my own advice and will be away for a few weeks. Hope to see you right back here in June. If you’d like to reach me, send a message via my contact page.

Have a fun and safe summer everyone!

 

Don’t Let Others Take Your Kindness For Weakness

picture-452 pond Happy Monday, women of truth! But, wait, did y’all happen to notice how warm today is? Know what that means, right? Yep, time to escape the busyness of life and make those vacay or family reunion plans. This picture is one taken of a prior family gathering where we tackled cabin living. Now, there’s a challenge for even this country girl. I enjoyed the trees, trails, water, fish and the long fishing dock extending over the lake. Experiencing the ambiance of Mother Nature close up and personal is awesome. Just not so much when the little uninvited creatures and neighbors of the woods want to come over to introduce themselves:)

My message today is about having compassion and kindness for your fellow-man woman and child. It’s also about being of service without feeling taken advantage of. I want people reading this post to come away armed with the  knowledge that you can be kind and show compassion for others, but that doesn’t mean you have to allow anyone to take your kindness for weakness! In the words of Tupac Shakur; “You feel me?”…

Sista Afeni Shakur, you got to be spitting out lyrical messages of love and light, accompanied by the hip hop rapper that is Tupac Shakur, your only son~ the two of you grooving together somewhere in the heavens. May you rest in peace.

Don’t Let Others Take Your Compassion And Kindness For Weakness

Okay, so, How you living? Are you being kind to others? Are you a compassionate person? Contrary to popular belief, kindness and compassion for your fellow-man/woman doesn’t mean you’re weak or that you allow others to use your kindness and generosity to their advantage. If you feel that you’re being used because of who you are or what you know and what you’ve been called to do, you must step up and nix that user preconceived notion. Let folks know you are not going to tolerate their callous expectations. Whoever your offenders are and they could be siblings, your children,  mom, dad or even your beloved significant others; you have to stop the madness by letting them know you’re not the one!

Self–preservation is one of the rules of life. And there will come a time where your kindness in the service of others will leave you feeling overwhelmed and depleted, whether financially, physically, socially or emotionally. When you recognize that folks have made your kindness their agenda for their own advancement, it’s your cue to nip the action of that user in the bud.

When I think of compassion, I think of my mother. She had such a kindness about her when it came to making others feel welcome and important. This need to make things better for another person and somehow set things right by doing what she could to put them at ease and not feel different or less than, understandably, endeared me to my mom.. My mother offered compassion and kindness without expectation. This was an empowering and mirrored reflection in the eyes of a child. My mother’s compassion remains one of the biggest influences from my childhood observations. In our compassion for others, we know “There but for the grace of God…

I believe that a child’s compassion for humanity is taught through observation. I saw how my mother treated elderly folks-the respect and offering she held for a homeless man whom she took in, cooked for and feed at her table.

With compassion comes an inner knowing that all people are special in the eyes of God and no one should be treated unfairly, just because they’re different in gender, age, color or religious beliefs. It is not for us to judge. I am driven by my beliefs that involves caring for the rights of others. I thank my parents for raising my sibling and me with a foundation built on faith, equality, morals, values, humility, respect and compassion.

Now, there have been times in my life where others have taken my kindness for weakness and have taken advantage of my soul services. That is why I’m so fortunate to have people in my corner to remind me that, saying “no” sometimes will keep me strong, focused and perceptive in my sowing seeds in the service of others. Compassion can be exhausting when you’re being taken advantage of.  And no one wants to feel used. Make sure you use your gift for those who truly deserves and need it.

Always treat yourself special.

If you feel the call to share with us at Authentic Woman, please do. There is healing in the sharing…

 

 

 

Aspire To Inspire Yourself And Others!

Aspire

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Aspire

Happy Monday, women of compassion! My Mother’s Day was grand. I hope all of y’all enjoyed your special day and took a moment to send well wishes out to others. I see that quite a few of you stopped by Authentic Woman on Mothers Day and I’m so encouraged by your support!  Today, I want to touch on what we can do when all of those negatives in our living threatens to put a damper in the spirit of our being and keep us feeling down.

There’s so much happening in our world today- explained and unexplained and is it any wonder that people are falling victim to bouts of anger, confusion and depressive behaviors? As more people are confronted with uncertain job security, news of children being neglected and abused and a less then stellar financial future, stemming from an unstable economy, worry and stress is on the rise in many households across the nation.

Concerns about family, workplace sustainability and healthcare crisis mounts and starts a roller-coaster of self-depreciating thoughts and actions that could topple the man of steel or Wonder Woman, herself.

I have a message for all of you who are mired in defeat and regret. Don’t cry for spilt milk. Hold your head up, muster the strength from the ancestors, embrace your faith and sing for what you are about to do! You are on the precipice of doing something great and you will no longer live your life in regret of past disappointments and failure. You can turn your negatives into a positive by not accepting a defeat mentality. Every problem has a solution, but you have to do the work to find the answer that works best for you.

You know for yourself that with every failure, you’ve grown wiser and determined to reach your goals. Failure leads to success. Just keep stepping up and being accountable.

Everyday will bring struggle of some sort to your door. Re-purpose your mind to let the negatives go.

Where, in the past of your yesterdays, you might have lost out on a loving relationship, been downsized or let go from a good job, lost connection with your children or even received a devastating diagnosis; never give up the fight to live the rest of your life better than you’ve ever lived it before.

Arm your heart and soul with passion and purpose. Insert positives in your subconscious mind; Think and pray for a miracle over your life and keep getting up, putting in the work and meet every challenge head on!

Never lose sight of who you are and whose you are. I’m not just talking the talk here, I’m walking the walk. I’ve been through the fires of regret, equal amounts of pain and sorrow where it seems everyday another negative hurdle lies in wait…don’t let it derail you from living out your purpose.

When you’ve come through the fires at each and ever turn, don’t sit back and say, “Look how far I’ve come. No, you spread your wings of knowledge, acquired through your personal setbacks and struggles, and go ahead and you sow them out in the world where people are in need of your authentic truths.

Be, as the great poet, Maya Angelou, dictates, “a cloud in somebody else rainbow.” When you’re in the midst of trouble, go on and help somebody else who’s in need of making their lives better.

You will discover as you walk, talk and live your truths, the strength you have acquired on your journey will encourage, empower and inspire others to win the battle and claim victory. Always pay it forward by using your life to help inspire the gifts in others, whether as friend, concerned citizen, mentor or coach, your experiences are valuable and can enrich the lives of others!

“From steps to ladders to bridges your truth begins with you!” A Life toward Authenticity My Authentic Woman Story, eBook.

I hope you had a grand time on Mother’s Day. I hope you allowed compassion and love to fill your heart for all of the motherless and neglected children of the world. I hope that your voice serves as an advocate for the “voiceless” and I hope that your service for others bring immense joy and abundance into your living!

Always treat yourself special…

 

A Mother’s Day Manifesto For The Motherless Child

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Evergreen

Good Morning, women of courage! It’s such a beautiful rain day:) Mother’s Day is Sunday and I wanted to encourage the love and appreciation we have for our mothers in a special tribute that speaks to all… especially to the motherless. Do you like my photo? I caption it “Evergreen“, in honor of our mothers~

A Mother’s Day Manifesto For the Motherless Child

May 8th is Mother’s Day, a special day for sons and daughters to celebrate and honor their loving moms. It is befitting that our selfless and loving moms get a day off to be pampered and shown just how much their children care for and need them in their ever-changing and busy lives. It’s a beautiful day set aside for worship, gratitude and making lasting memories with mom.

My mom passed in 2001, on the same month as her birthday. When that month comes around, I’m honoring her birth and remembering her passing. It’s hard-pressed for motherless children, of any age, to have a happy day on any given day, in the absence of moms, but it’s especially trying during birthdays and holidays. I’m far from being the only motherless child who will be missing their mom on Mother’s Day. So, today, I’m sharing the special way I’m remembering my mom. You can remember and honor your mother by creating your own mom manifesto in a beautiful tribute that keeps your memories of her evergreen.

I’ve decided to pen a Mother’s Day Manifesto that honors the memory and legacy of my mother. What I remember most about her, based upon her teachings, beliefs and actions, I continue to incorporate into my on life, in some aspect of my living.  My mom’s living life values system might appear a bit outdated in these times, but what she demonstrated to my sibling and me, in some ways, helped shape the people we are today. I  hope that while you maneuver life as a motherless child, that by deciding to create your mom’s manifesto, either alone or with loved ones, you will feel better equipped to show up and be present in the lives of your family, friends and loved ones when celebrating Mother’s Day and every day that you live and breathe life.

What I learned from mama:

Love and sacrifice for family

Show compassion for the less fortunate

Do the work and don’t complain

Protect the children

Quietly showed me the immeasurable strength that women can muster when times are hard

It’s okay to laugh, cry and pray

Extend your hand in friendship when introduced to a stranger

Honor the land and the provisions it provides

Respect your elder wisdoms

Faith as small as a mustard seed will sustain through trials and tribulations

Grief comes and grief passes in its own time

Appreciate the beauty and the power that is Mother Nature combined

Be kind.

I’d like to think that by teaching me independence, my mother taught me to make my own path and to guard my mouth, so as not to bring unintended harm to others…

Creative Suggestions for the Motherless on Making a Mother’s Day Manifesto:

Not everyone is a writer, but everyone can write. Not many of us are carpenters, but, we know the basics of using a hammer and nail. Having cleared the way for doubt in whether you can create this loving project for your mother, here are a few suggestions you might want to consider when creating your special Mother’s Day Manifesto:

Get in your feelings and pen a special poem from your heart. Make copies and send to friends and family or have it framed for mounting on your wall where all can see.

Create a montage of your mom as pictures in action, where she’s posing, playing or being present in quiet moments.

Write those special mom quotes that keep ringing in your ears!

Share your mom’s favorite foods, movies or books.

Share handwritten letters exchanged between you and mom before internet and emails and publish them as memoir or keepsake to share with loved ones. I basically penned a letter every two weeks to my mom before the surge of emails and internet. By 1999, I’d slacked off from writing mom every two weeks and she wasn’t pleased about it. I remember when she didn’t get a letter, she would write back to ask me why. I hadn’t the heart to say, “Mama, that’s why we have the telephone.”:)

How about immortalizing those gardening tips, dating and relationship advice or favorite foods your mom was adamant about?

It’s your manifesto, your tribute that’s composed of loving moments from memories spent with your mom.

Write it

create it

Print it

Frame it and hang it in full view of your coming and goings, as a beautiful reminder of a reciprocal love between mother and child.

However you choose to honor your mother in your Mother’s Day Manifesto, I guarantee you; it will make your memories of her so much easier on those birthdays and special mom days, where you’re missing her physical presence…

Happy Mother’s Day…All!

 

 

It’s Okay To Mourn

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Nature Heals

Good Morning, women of purpose!…Immersing myself in the healing powers of Mother Nature always guide me through my suffering.

I captured the blue skies in this picture at the turn of an early spring morning and felt its ethereal essence. I captioned it Nature Heals. I ‘m in no way a photographer, just a nature lover:) This picture helps me focus on the beauty among the ashes.

It’s okay to mourn. There is healing in your mourning. There is recovery in your grief” CF

You don’t have to know someone personally to mourn their passing. Compassion and empathy for another human being are ethereal qualities that come with being human and being a part of this wide spectrum called ‘humanity.’ With the passing of Prince Rogers Nelson on Thursday, I became part of the world who grieved his transition. I, like all of you, felt an overwhelming and consistent sorrow. I felt a void beyond tears and the grief held me captive, to the point that I pushed back the expected post at Clara’s writer’s blog.

The timing wasn’t right and I felt an odd sense of allegiance to the memory of Prince. I also didn’t want to be that callous person who would not take time out to pen condolences to the fallen musician, who had become a household name in the industry of music… and to his fans. Also, I didn’t want to short change my expert and special guest at the blog for that day, by mindlessly posting our beautiful interview.

On the days that belonged to the memory of Prince, I didn’t answer the phone or engage in conversation. I watched many newscasts and testimonials about his life, until I couldn’t bear to watch any longer. While the world went purple in respect and honor of the man, his music, his penchant for fashion and his overall genius, self taught and could play 27 instruments by the age of 12, my thoughts turned to all the other musical visionaries whose passing still leaves a void.

When Michael Jackson died, I was asked to pen a tribute by the editor of The Chicago Bulletin Newspaper. I was reluctant to do so because Michael’s death caused the darkness that was my grief to rain down to such an extent that my voice was mute and “I had no words.” In my tribute to MJ’s memory, I began by writing~ “I have no words.”

The unexpected loss of Whitney Houston caused the editor of a London magazine to add a footnote to an article I’d penned about Whitney, likening her comeback from a troubled drug addicted path to the rise of the phoenix.  The world was pulling for Whitney and later, for the survival of Whitney’s grieving and troubled young daughter, Bobbie Christina.

Musical visionaries like Prince, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, David Bowie and countless others; all gone too soon. The world will mourn their passing and keep their memories alive via their music, telling their stories and recounting fond accounts of~ “remembering the times.”

There are unknowable things that occur in the world that we have no control over. And when someone dies or suffer horrible and irreparable physical damage, we feel deeply. We are spiritual being living a human existence and so, every time a person dies, be it family, friends or celebrity, we are forced to come face to face with our own mortality. And so, with the death of one of my favorite musical entertainers, standing right alongside Michael Jackson, the “King Of Pop,” I join all who mourn; “Gone too soon.”

Prince’s passion, dedication and love for the music teaches me to stay my course and not be swayed by other folks opinion in the creation of my art. Prince Roger Nelson didn’t try to be anything, to anybody, but himself.  This was a man who remained true to his creativity that fueled his outstanding body of musical works. The man loved his music, loved penning songs for himself and for others; all while living life on his own terms.

GLORY!

Always treat yourself special and live your life doing and being the one and only you!

Do You Know Your Why?

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Beginnings

Good Morning, women of faith and beauty! I hope you’ve been enjoying your spring, as much as I have. This photo is the view outside my window when I wake up in the mornings. Imagine what the trees look like blanketed by snow or shaken by gigantic winds. I have captured a few of those photos with my cellphone to share with my growing audience. Keep in mind, I’m no photographer, just a nature lover. I’m so happy to be in such close proximity to the awesomeness of Mother Nature again. This beautiful space allows for the tranquil moments I seek during unsettling times when a world is fraught with chaos and troubles. In this place, I find an inner peace, strength and resilience. I can relax, rejuvenate and create every morning, noon and night.

On this beautiful Monday morning, I have a song on my lips and gratitude in my heart and I’m thankful and humbled by how far I’ve come as I accept and embrace the ‘Why’ of my existence. My parents used to joke that I came into the world, “screaming & hollering”, in fact, my sibling used to think that description of my birth was hilarious! Little did we know that I would come into the world, “Protesting”. We’re taught at an early age that Jesus came to save souls. At the age of eleven, I knew that I was somehow born to serve those who walked unaware; those who remain silent in the uprisings; those who take life as it comes and doesn’t want to challenge the world’s apple cart of injustice, human beings civil rights, women rights, internet trolls, racist and haters. I believe in my why.

For the last 5 decades, I’ve made it’s been my mission to empower the voice of women, children and the elderly. These are the voices, I feel, that have gone unheard for too long. Little children of abuse and neglect depend upon adult authority figures for their protection, and often are told to speak when spoken to, if at all. Many women guard their tongues and are afraid to speak their truths, for fear of backlash or personal consequence. The wisdom of our elderly, oftentimes goes unrecognized, ignored and taken for granted. My goal is to keep these “underdogs” in the forefront of change.

Do you know the reason for your existing? Do you know your why? Don’t stress if you haven’t awakened to your truths. Trust and believe, purpose will reveal itself during the time of your “Becoming.”

A bit of news on Unleash Your Pearls~ Empowering Women Voices. Unfortunately, I haven’t been given a release date as of yet, but the good news from my publisher is that I will have the book’s cover to share with all of you very soon!

 

“This book was written for all of the “underdogs”, who, for whatever reason are not allowed the opportunity to speak from a place of authentic truth. It is for women, who don’t know that their voices matter. This book champions all women to unleash your pearls.”

Unleash Your Pearls~Empowering Women Voices, 2016. Pending release date

 

 

Springtime Messages To Alienate Distractors and Keep You Focused And Inspired

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Happy Spring, women of valor!

Have you every gotten carried away with a project and you look up and it’s “getting late over in the evening and the sun is going down?”  Well, this is what happened on Monday and I was so tired that I just took my body burdens to bed…

A few months ago, I shared how an internet troll tried to engage me in heated conversation by calling me demeaning names and attempting to attack my character. My initial reaction was shock, of course, being that I’m such a fair-minded individual. And when I tried to speak on the matter in question with a sound opinion, the hater, stuck to his hater induced rants. I’m sure he didn’t expect “Crickets”, but that’s exactly the end result he deserved~ absolute silence! When you know who you are, whose you are and why you are, “ain’t nobody got time for that.”:)

Today, I want to share a few springtime messages to alienate distractors and keep you focused and inspired on your purpose journey:

  1. Wake up smiling and keep a positive mindset
  2.  Have a grateful heart
  3. Shine a spotlight on the accomplishment of others
  4. Be kind to strangers
  5. Think before you speak~ in essence, don’t feed the trolls. Instead, let them hear “Crickets.” Trust and believe these folks need your voice to make them relevant!
  6. Have compassion and empathy for others
  7. Don’t be a validation seeker~your greatness will shine irregardless of what others in the world might think of you.
  8. Say no to what doesn’t feel right and yes to what does. Use your intuitive gifts
  9.  Continue to be a woman of faith and trust and believe with your true heart that your needs will be met
  10. Strive to live right and turn a negative into a positive.
  11. When you achieve something great, rejoice in your accomplishment, but don’t go getting the big head. Stay humbled by your blessing.
  12. Words are like bullets. They can hurt, cripple a dream and cause injury to another. Use your words wisely.
  13. Keep your eyes on the prize…

Sometimes we need to let go of the grind. I’ll be taking a Spring break with the kiddies after this week. Thanks to all of you for Authentic Woman’s ever-growing support base. I’m always happy to be of service.

Always treat yourself special.