Finding the Right Words to Say

Words to Say

The ‘Right’ Words to Say

It has been a really long time since I last wrote and I have about a million great excuses for you. Reasons like, “I’ve been super busy”  and “There’s been a lot going on.”  Truth is, I felt like I didn’t have the ‘right’ words to say.  I waited for and even anticipated the perfect juxtaposition of words.  I was sure that once inspired, my words would flow like tapestry on virtual paper.  It simply did not happen. But eventually something clicked.

Finding the right time and the right words have a lot to do with what we value.  It isn’t that we do not have demanding schedules or that we don’t have to choose among choices.  Fact is, that’s life.  Life requires us to make choices among competing options.  It expects us to prioritize the more important things and very importantly, to balance and harmonize them. Otherwise, we risk not getting things done or getting many things done but in the wrong direction.

“Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they  are after,” Henry David Thoreau.  We can spend a lot of time and effort on a good thing, a great project, even a worthy goal.  But is it consistent with the direction your life should move towards?  Where are you investing your life? Are you making the time for what and who really matters?  Had I continued to wait for the perfect words, I could not share this blog with you.  Life is a mix of relationships and decisions.

Check your life’s compass to make sure you are on course.  You’ve got what it takes and What You Do Matters!

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The First Duty of Love

Couple“The first duty of love is to listen.”  Wow, that quote by Paul Tillich held my attention from the moment I read it.   Then the slight twinge of guilt followed as I evaluated myself.  “How good of a listener am I?”  The last two years in my new business have been fast paced and extremely demanding – physically, emotionally and financially.  It seemed as if I didn’t have enough time to really listen to me much less anyone else.  But, how does that affect the people who matter to me?  I think of my fiancé, my family, my team, my close friends and most importantly, GOD.  How well am I listening?

As a relationship coach and talk show host, I’ve had the privilege to invest hours listening to persons share their thoughts and concerns.  Yet, I hold myself in contempt when it comes to how well I have listened otherwise.

For example, I love my ‘special lady’ and my folks and make it a point to tell them.  Yet, as I look more closely at my level of listening, I become more self-critical.  I’m not saying that I don’t listen but rather that good isn’t good enough when you can do better.  In the words of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, “Sometimes doing your best is not good enough. Sometimes you must do what is required.”

So I challenge you as I commit to being an effective listener.  More so, an ‘active listener.’   Starting with my spiritual life.  My level of listening impacts the quality of my life and relationships.  By the way, your level affects yours too.  Active listening can be compared to the way the pores of our skin opens in response to hot water vapour.   It expands our awareness as it benefits both the sender and receiver.  Relationship experts Linda & Charlie Bloom says ‘The Three Magic Words in Relationships‘ are ‘communication, communication, communication.’  They say that in good communication, speaking is only half of the equation.  The other is listening.

With active listening by all involved, relationships become stronger as friends and love ones see life through each other’s eyes.  Stress levels lower.  Arguments and misunderstandings are avoided or amicably resolved.  Conversely, failing to actively listen can corrupt even the most promising relationship.

What is active listening?  Essentially, it is the act of making someone else the priority by focusing your attention on understanding and validating their message,  even if their view differs from yours.   In his article ‘Become a Better Listener,’ psychologist, Dr. John M. Grohol says active listening is all about building rapport, understanding, and trust.

Hence, I will hold my tongue and open my ears to honour my special lady.  To be her safe harbor where she can freely express her thoughts, hopes and dreams.  I will set aside distractions and decidedly listen to my love ones and to my inner voice.  I will make it a part of my daily life to listen to GOD as he speaks to my heart.  Ours is a commitment to actively listening to each other.   Are you already committed to the same?

What you do Matters.  ~ Kirk Johnson

Meeting Oscar-Winning Actor Sidney Poitier

Sidney Poitier honoured by President Obama

Sidney Poitier honoured by President Obama

My meeting Sir Sidney Poitier was without the extended entourage, fine tailored suits and clamoring reporters we often see.  It was not at the renaming ceremony of the Paradise Island Bridge in The Bahamas, nor was it during his guest of honour  appearance at Oprah’s “Dinner of a Lifetime with Sidney Poitier”  or President Obama’s honoring ceremony.

Rather, It was last weekend on the set of a video shoot for a new production by Regal Shine Films.  We were shooting in a cemetery near historic Nassau in The Bahamas.  However, the internationally acclaimed actor and diplomat was there for a completely different reason.  His limousine quietly drove into the cemetery’s parking lot and after a few minutes, a small group of persons made their way towards us.  It wasn’t until he was within 30 feet that I realized it was Sir Sidney, a few family members and a single bodyguard.  I would also later discover that the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the honourable Fred Mitchell, his driver, a press officer from the government’s Bahamas Information Services and a few others were present.

However, they, like us were not the focus of his attention.  We would later greet him, shake his hands and listen to his personal words of inspiration.  But right then, it was as if we weren’t there.  Understandably, he had a singular focus.  He was there to visit his parents’ place of rest.  He first walked to his father’s gravesite and spent a few minutes in quiet contemplation.  Then he walked the extra 50 yards to visit his mother’s grave and there he sat alone with the woman who gave birth to him 85 years ago.

My emotions were torn between the enthusiasm of meeting the man who inspired my father and whose cousin was  my mother’s neighbor and the sobering sense of loss that he was likely experiencing.  It was not the first time I had met Mr. Poitier but I can’t help but wonder if it was my last.   It made me think about how fortunate I am to still have my parents alive. More importantly, the need for me to fully value them in ways that are clear to their understanding.  Truth is, we can love someone all we want but if they don’t interpret it as love that meets their need, then there’s a shortfall.

In your case, my encouragment may relate to a friend, love interest or coworker, a family member or a complete stranger.  Life doesn’t always give us that “second chance.”  Make every moment count.  What you do matters.

KJW

Parasailing at Sunset

Kirk & Charlene Sunset Parasailing

Kirk & Charlene Sunset Parasailing

At hundreds of feet in the air, our feet dangled.  Then we extended our arms like sea gulls as the fresh ocean breeze gently moved us back and forth.  What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve done? What’s the most romantic thing you’ve experienced?  Can you imagine bringing both together and sharing it with someone you think is awesome?  I did that and what a fantastic experience it was. Today, I treated Charlene  to a surprise parasailing adventure.

About two weeks, I told her I had planned an “experience” for her and that it may include getting wet.  I answered her questions with skillful ambiguity and she accepted.   Even after we arrived at the beach she still did not know why we were there.  No doubt, the collection of jet skies gave her an idea but it was the ideal distraction to the real surprise.   The weather was a cool 70 degrees fahrenheit and the sun was setting.  The perfect time for a romantic soar for two at two hundred and fifty (250) feet.

The team at J. R. Action Water Sports ferried us by jet ski to the launch pad.   Charlene and I slipped into our life vests as the father and son team joked about what we were about to do.  We all laughed about medical insurance.  They were just as friendly as Marcia, who had greeted us near the water’s edge.  We were soon harnessed to our chute and off we went from the platform.

We rose higher and higher until we could see many of the notable landmarks on New Providence and Paradise Island.  Below us were miles of crystal clear ocean and to the west of us, one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen.   I was in no hurry for it to end and neither was she.   We locked arms in a pose similar to Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Rose (Kate Winslet) “flying” on the bow of the Titanic in the movie of the same name.  It felt great to see her smile.

Parasailing is not for everyone but quality time certainly is.  Today, make the extra effort to make that someone special feel valued and treasured.  The love you give is an investment not only in the person but equally yourself.   You’re worth it.  What you do matters.

~ KJW

Happy People!!

Over the weekend I met Ashley and Casey, a lovely couple from Iowa.  They were in town for their wedding and brought about 20 cheerleaders.  They were actually family members but how was I to know the difference?  You should have been there.  They were all very friendly and obviously excited.  Like a skilled photographer, I saw their first dance, cutting of their wedding cake and the throwing of the bouquet under a cabana on a beautiful beach resort just yards from the crystal clear waters of the Atlantic in The Bahamas.  Anyone who enjoys a sappy love story would have thoroughly enjoyed being there.

Congratulations newlyweds!

What about You?  What makes you happy?  Is it attending or participating in a wedding, traveling, your career, community work, your spiritual life, family time, your beau, your baby or your personal time?  Whatever it is, make time for your happy place.   What you do Matters.

KJW

 

If I Could Turn Back the Hands of Time

Today, my fiance unexpectedly had to travel to an island in The Bahamas.  We had plans for our date night but an emergency came up that needed her immediate attention.  I took her to the airport and even waited for a while after she checked in.  However, our time together was a little strained.  Honestly, my logic fully understood her having to go but my feelings weren’t so cooperative.  It was our date night and after two very busy weeks for us, I was looking forward to us sharing some quality time.

Nonetheless, she was about to leave for her trip and my attitude could’ve been better.  She even gave me a kiss on the cheek as we waited.  We hugged and said our goodbyes just before she left the main terminal but I was still withdrawn.  As she turned to leave, I  was already missing her and knew that my pride had gotten in the way of making the most of our time together.

Life comes with twists and turns, pleasant surprises and disappointments BUT we must DECIDE to make the most of every moment. What’s more, we must talk about what’s going on inside.   It  can help to relieve a tense situation.  It’s said that attitude determines altitude and today my attitude sucked.  Still, I can’t turn back the hands of time.  It’s a lesson I won’t repeat.  The mind is a terrible thing to waste  and so is time spent on negative feelings (smile).  There are some things we can change and others not so much.   I can’t change what I should have done but I’m going to apologize, work to better communicate and to look for the good in a “bad” situation.  What you do Matters.

KJW

When Doves Cry

Today I spoke with Melissa during my weekday talk show.   Her doctor had told her that she had a rare form of cancer and could possibly die in 3 months to a year.  And to think that I thought I had things to stress about!   She had cried constantly for about four months as she tried to wrap her mind around her mortality.  Then, with the help of those around her, Melissa packed her bags and traveled to Texas for treatment.  Despite the days she felt discouraged, she kept her hopes high.

Thankfully, it’s now more than 5 years since that first diagnosis. Melissa fought to stay alive and won!  She credits the treatment, a loving husband, a praying family and the healing hands of GOD for her life today and now reaches out to the community with her story of hope.

We’ve all had reasons to cry.  I certainly have.  Men, it’s ok for us to cry.  Ladies you too.  Crying has a cleansing power and laughter a rejuvenating benefit. Let us all be willing to drop a tear or two but still keep hope alive.  Let us remember that even with the long Winters of the Arctic and constant rainfall in England, a brighter, warmer day does come.  It must!   Expect it, anticipate it and share it with someone who needs a little sunshine.  What you do Matters.

KJW