It doesn’t take a lot to get momentum going. It just takes one step or doing one thing differently. Watch this video as Teresa explains how to take that critical first step today to make a difference in your life.
What’s the power of a single word? Just one word? If you could only pick one word to guide your thoughts and actions for this year, what would it be?
At the beginning of each year, many feel internal and/ or external pressure to make the traditional New Year’s resolutions. Those arguing resolutions are too esoteric may pen more measurable and realistic aspirations, or goals. Whatever camp you’re in, let me suggest changing up or even expanding upon your approach for 2017.
In The Attractive Trap, I highlight the importance of claiming your purpose and passion to help guide you on your journey. Having a word as your mantra or “word of the year” can help you find that focus. When you go through the grit of a difficult marriage or relationship, you have to refigure yourself out and having a “word of the year” can help you focus and stay on track to your core values and what you want to focus on as you begin to grow and develop your calling or purpose.
For the past several years, I’ve chosen one word as “the word of the year”. Since 1915, Webster has also selected a word of the year so I can’t claim they got the idea from me. In 2015, instead of selecting a word for the year, Wikipedia chose an emoticon/pictograph of the year. A sure sign of the times!
I can’t tell you how or the exact year this idea started for me – only that it’s worked brilliantly in providing focus on what’s important and in guiding choices.
The year I needed to make a major life decision, my word was CHOICES. For perhaps the first time ever, I realized I had a choice in that situation. It was transforming. The next year, my word was ADVENTURE. At the tender age of 47, I started swimming, biking and running, and learned about my love for triathlons. In another year, the word was ABUNDANCE. Everything I needed, and even some things I wanted, found me. The next year the word was GRATITUDE – for my family and husband, my health, and the gift of rising every day to live life doing what I love. Last year my word was SIMPLIFY. My last of three children left for college. For the first time in almost 26 years, the nest was empty so I decluttered, chose commitments wisely as well as eliminated what didn’t feed my soul. This year my word is JOY – having that eternal feeling of inner bliss in all situations.
What’s your one word? Share it on our Facebook page. It’s Just. One. Word. And, it’s guaranteed to help you connect with your purpose and become the butterfly you’re meant to be.
It was a typical humid August day in Yadkin County, NC. I had been in my hometown for just a few days with the family for our annual summer trip. On this morning I was sitting outside in the early hours alone, just thinking – a rarity for a normal day. As I savored my last few sips of coffee, I realized I had seen three yellow butterflies close enough to catch.
Reluctantly moving on with my day, I gathered up my gym bag and headed to the local YMCA. While driving there, I spotted yet another butterfly. Why was this significant to me? My book cover designer claimed a single butterfly months before as the visual representation for freedom on the cover of my book, The Attractive Trap. So for me, these colorful and symbolic creatures now rarely go unnoticed.
Once at the gym, I checked the box on my swim then headed to the stationary bike. Within minutes of choosing my ride for the next hour, a companion cyclist made her way to the bike beside of me. Something on HGTV caught our attention at the same time and in unison we commented to each other. This was the beginning of what will be a long remembered conversation.
Velma introduced herself as we continued our talk. Maybe we were chatting to pass the time, or perhaps it was that we both sensed there was something deeper to our new connection. Ultimately we discovered it was the latter. Velma, a spry 72 year old beauty, had recently moved back to the area to be with family. As our talk progressed, the commonality stunned me.
Velma, one of eight children, had left home right after high school to be with someone she had met on a whim in NYC. She put herself through nursing school, worked hard, and was a strong, purposeful woman. In spite of her spunk, and maybe even because of it, Velma had attracted and married a “trapper”.
Velma continued to stay in NYC, knowing all the while she was being abused. But “it wasn’t that often”, and rarely physical. With so many miles between her and her family in NC, she opted to stay, even though her few eventual confidantes encouraged her to leave. For more than 30 years, Velma stayed in the trap. One day, with an earthshattering awakening, Velma broke free. That was seven years ago and now, she was back home in NC, on a bike – the first claim to freedom for all of us.
The sweat started to surface on Velma’s yellow shirt as she rode and talked. From my vantage point, it was as though the tears cried inside of her had been collected all of those years and were now releasing through her skin. Our collision wasn’t a simple coincidence. It was heaven-breathed. I was Velma and Velma was me.
As the sweat continued to cool Velma, I felt it too. Those were my tears and part of my labored course on the path to freedom. Like Velma, I became free and transformed into a butterfly. That was the part of the story that brought smiles to our faces as our encounter came to a joyful close.
Velma was the last butterfly I saw that day, but I’ve continued to see them. And most of them, like freedom, show up in the most unexpected places.
A few months ago, I published a book called, The Attractive Trap: Freeing Yourself from an Unhealthy Relationship. I was called to write this book because I know there are women caught in a variety of traps in relationships. How do I know this? I lived in The Trap for 23 years. I almost got caught a second time. I’m not alone. Once I broke my silence, I heard countless stories from women who shared the traps of current and past relationships.
This wasn’t an easy choice for me. It’s shameful. It’s embarrassing. Yet, after wrestling with this calling, I had to open the box.
There are many books about physical abuse, but few about the traps of emotional, mental and even spiritual abuse. The signs are hard to recognize at first, and once we do, it’s even more difficult to talk about the experience.
It’s become apparent to me in marketing the book that people are simply uncomfortable speaking out about this epidemic that affects one in four women.
Interestingly, I have 421 personal Facebook friends. Recently, I posted a photo of the fried hushpuppies my family and I devoured during a visit to my hometown. Within hours, it received 40 “Likes.” Contrast that to a July 4th post in which I placed a whimsical and patriotic picture of a bike on The Attractive Trap Facebook page to represent freedom. To generate discussion, I asked the question, “What does freedom mean to you?” Maybe freedom is such a lost concept we don’t even know how to answer. Maybe the 2,359 people it reached were busy eating hotdogs and watermelon. Maybe, just maybe, they were too ashamed to admit they don’t have personal freedom. Only two brave souls were willing to share their descriptions of freedom.
A month before, I posed a more serious and riveting question, “What would you do if you knew one of your loved ones was in an abusive relationship?” I received one “like” (and that was from my devoted husband). No responses. God help us. I hope this isn’t reflective of how we would show up for the people we love. If so, God help them.
It’s been perhaps even more telling to experience what my friends have said and not said. Some are elated. Some are dead silent. One questioned why I would broach this and not leave it in the past.
We’ve got to get over our shame if we are going to face this issue head on. Maybe you’re not in The Trap. I pray you aren’t. However, I can guarantee you know someone who is. It’s your sister or your neighbor or your co-worker or your best friend. What are you going to do about it?
Shame is a trap – for all of us. Not because of what it makes us do. But more because of what it causes us not to do. And that’s the real shame…