Near Failure of First Grade…

… And the importance of learning that who I am around will either destroy or help me. Realizing how to find a way to create an equilibrium.

Photo by Roman Mager on Unsplash

This was a reflection exercise I did for one of my MBA Leadership Classes.

This class was so profound for me in my MBA. It helped me to learn sooo much about myself and how my life experiences have affected me and thus in-turn as a leader.

My first grade teacher noticed that I was different from the rest in the class. I either wanted to be extremely close with everyone or extremely distant, self-absorbed in my own thoughts sitting alone.

My teacher had hair that extended to the bottom of her behind. When she would circle us all up for story time, she took her hair down from a bun and allowed it to be extended in its full capacity. Most of the classmates would play with her hair while she read. They would awe over her long, beautiful hair.

I sat alone away from everyone and watched them. I didn’t say a word. I did touch her hair, but I didn’t want to play with it nor sit with the kids that did. She pointed this out that I wasn’t sitting with the rest of the kids and told me I needed to come close with the rest of the kids and partake in story-time. I listened, but I hated every minute of it to the point that I couldn’t focus on the story being told but rather just the situation at hand. I thought the rest of the kids were weird! Ha!

I grew distant from my teacher and the kids in my class so much that I stopped caring about the lessons being taught by my teacher in class. My teacher, of course, told my mom about my behavior and my teacher suggested I see a physiologist and be enrolled in the special education for my school because maybe my behaviors had something to do with my parents recent divorce or maybe I had a learning disorder.

My behavior just wasn’t appropriate for a 1st grader and I wasn’t doing well in class. My teacher wanted to hold me back a grade because she said I didn’t belong in 2nd grade yet. My mom took my teacher’s advice about having me see a psychologist and I was enrolled in special education.

It was found that I did have a harder time than others with learning, but that with hard work and motivation I learned well with time and actually I picked up on things that other kids didn’t. I wanted to understand, and I was curious about everything. I often asked my special education teacher about how everything worked and I talked about how I felt the rest of the kids were acting weird.

My teacher still wanted to hold me back to repeat 1st grade though. My mom told her and also fought the school principal to negotiate that I be put into 2nd grade still with the stipulation that I show a good performance within so much time and if I didn’t show good performance in 2nd grade then the school could move me back into 1st grade.

Surprisingly, I did outstanding in 2nd grade and continued to be a straight A student from there on. I did so well that they took me out of special education after a while in 2nd grade.

However, there was one difference and my mom noticed it too….. my 2nd grade teacher was a lovely woman that encouraged me to do well and was very nice to me. I still think extremely highly of my 2nd grade teacher.

The impact of this event on my values and direction in life

I learned that I had large control over my success or failure. I can either fail or succeed depending on the environment and my awareness and control of the situations at hand. I can also let things bother me to a point that I become extremely distant and essentially fail if I allow myself. I learned to point out my frustrations with people and situations and distance myself from them or take care of them in a way that can be useful and to my advantage.

Inner Harmony – I learned that I must value inner harmony.

I must have time to reflect and a place to voice or get rid of my frustrations. Otherwise, I may not succeed and I may start to think about things other than what I need to be at that moment to achieve success.

I have to be able to have own self and my thoughts under control about “things going on that I cannot control”, otherwise I cannot do well.

Affiliation – I learned that I need to feel somewhat a part of the group. Respected at the very least.

My 1st grade teacher focused on my weird behavior and always pointed out my weaknesses. Whereas, my 2nd grade teacher showed a sincere appreciation for me as an individual absent of my flaws and when she did talk about my flaws she always talked about what I did that was also good and made me feel very special.

I’ve noticed this even as an adult, and it has been somewhat of an inner battle with my value for independence because I sometimes view the need to be affiliated as a weakness instead of something that helps me find inner peace.

I need to feel a sense of belonging.

I secretly hated that special education took me away from the rest of the class. I wanted to be in the class with everyone else enjoying the Spanish lessons! I always had my special education time when everyone else studied fun Spanish in 2nd grade. I felt awful about it that I never got to learn the Spanish like the rest of the kids. Haha.

Instead I felt like an outsider and a freak.

However, I enjoyed my 2nd grade teacher pointing out what made me an asset making me feel like I belonged in my class and I made a contribution.

I still struggle with this one, I feel as though that I shouldn’t require to feel a belonging. That independence and self-control should take more precedent. So, this is something I’ll need to continue to work on to be an effective leader.

The Mom Files…

My Mom and I.

My mom’s birthday would have been last Tuesday, May 21st if she were still alive.

I pulled a few old pieces of writing I did about her and us in honor of her.

Hope you enjoy.

Old Writing #1:

My mother’s death and the value of living life to the fullest and showing a sincere sense of respect and happiness
for those who are meaningful in my life.

“Life is short, live it to the fullest.”

My mom died when I was in my freshman year of college. We didn’t have the best of relationship and we never hugged or showed affection for each other.

She made me hug her before I left for college, and it was the last hug I ever got from my mom while she was in good health. It was a very emotional yet eye opening experience which has shaped my thoughts about life and showing of affection/sharing what someone truly means to you in your life. I never did really until after my mom’s death show affection to anyone nor let them know what they meant to me.

After my mom’s death and to this day, I make it a point to let my friends and those I value know that they mean something to me if they do. I enjoy showing affection to those I most care about.

I also learned that you have to forgive people and move on from things in life a lot more than what I did previous to this life event. I learned that life is short and you must live life the best way possible being appreciative and showing others what they mean to you because they may never know without you saying or showing how you feel.

Old Writing #2:

My Hero – My Mom

My mom is my hero. While we didn’t have a good relationship for many years, now thinking back to how she raised me, never failed to share her harsh opinions and observations, and put up with my bullheaded nature growing up which wouldn’t be easy for nearly anyone – she’s my hero.

She taught me many lessons in life and I still live by many of them. She had perseverance to put up with a child like me that questioned everything and was extremely curious and always standing my ground with my opinions on a wide-range of things that may or may not have been grounded.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but I wouldn’t be the person I am without her personality of speaking back to me in opposition to what I thought, making me question my thoughts and beliefs even though I became frustrated many of times.

All along she believed in me and the success I could have in life. She was the one that motivated me and pushed me to get things done and never give up when I wanted to stop.

She was my punching bag but also my rock. I needed her more than I ever wanted to let onto, and when I lost her in my freshman year of college I realized so much. My mom is my hero.

However, it’s too bad I never realized this until she died because I would have liked to have seen her in this light while she was alive and I could tell her.

The turtle wins… Do something, not nothing.

Last Sunday, I did a 5k run/walk for the first time in over 6 years. I was the turtle…. Slow. I walked a few times but I mostly tried to jog it however slow I was. And… I did it.

Now, you don’t have to do a 5k like I did. We all have our own races we choose or challenges that we face. Our own goals. Our own lives. We can do nothing or we can do something. The choice is ours. No matter how slow or how small, if we do something then we’re ahead of choosing nothing.

It’s easy and can feel comfortable to do nothing, but we don’t overcome, challenge ourselves, or change if we don’t do something. Don’t choose nothing.

The turtle wins. Do something, not nothing. Live by the famous line by Nike… Just do it.

The Stay

Photo by Mink Mingle on Unsplash
Note: This is not a picture of the actual room from the stay. I didn’t take any pictures to keep, unfortunately. This was the best I could do to portray the comfort, simplicity, and vintage like style of the stay based on my memories. Oh, it was divine!
  • The smells of old wood and an old home are the first I notice.
  • A family keepsake and strong heritage.
  • A family tree in the hall hung with pride.
  • Beautiful memories and strong, close knit loved ones.
  • A beautiful bedspread, so soft and fluffed… Then I get in and the sheets feel so crisp and clean… Flowered and old feeling… so refreshing and calming. So nice for a nap. They smell like the outdoors with fresh flowers just picked. Sheets were hung on a line outdoors to dry, I’ll bet.
  • Beautiful lamp – Very classic yet minimal.
  • The pillows feel amazing & divine. Feathered.
  • The walls wallpapered.
  • The bathroom is even more beautiful. White porcelain sink with hot & cold water that comes out at the most extremes in temperatures on either end. Can’t keep the hot on too long. Love the mix of temperatures… refreshing to feel.
  • The soap – so luxurious and feels and smells divine.
  • The bathroom walls are covered in pretty floral old style wallpaper.
  • Metal baskets & decor.
  • A perfect lotion and soap of the bar type that smell so refreshing in a basket on top of the metal toilet stand.
  • Q-tips in a glass jar.
  • A white framed mirror.
  • Old style windows with white blinds.
  • White cotton sheets… white, thick, comforting cotton towels.
  • The meal in the morning was crafted and delicious, served on the very best china.

Memories from my overnight stay at Peaches Bed And Breakfast – http://peachesinn.com/

Time to smell the reality flowers and stop smelling the turds of imperfections… my people.

For many years now, when it came to starting a business of my own and creating action towards my entrepreneurial passion I’ve had since high school, I have sat in my own head creating endless loops of thinking and overthinking. Downing myself and putting away this passion as something that’s just not for me. Literally any excuse I can create for myself or hear from others, I’ve allowed to dictate my movement forward. I’ve finally decided…. I can do this and be this and I don’t care what my former self told me as true or anyone else for that matter, and I need to get out of my own head and move forward.

For years, I have sat around and thought and thought and thought and thought and thought about business ideas and written endless business plans and gotten excited and then, sadly, torched my own beautiful fires.

Mostly, it’s been myself entirely… my own insecurities not allowing myself to move forward with my own thoughts of myself. But, it has also been the people I’ve told my thoughts to over the years who have helped me to add to my list of endless excuses and crutches with moving forward.

There have been VERY FEW people in my life that have encouraged me and I mean really encouraged me to go after my entrepreneurial passions. They say, “Take the safe road, you’re not ready, you don’t understand the work involved, you’re an accountant – you aren’t going to be good at sales & marketing – why do you think you’d make it?, just wait – you’re young, laughing at me for my creativity for my business ideas because apparently they think this is just some funny shit to add to their entertainment and not something serious, that’s not good enough of a career for you, etc etc etc etc etc etc etc”. Mostly, I haven’t thought I actually WAS listening to them and taking those things to heart, but I was indirectly as much as I wanted to think I wasn’t. I figured, hey great they want to say what they think and offer me little golden nuggets that I can choose or not choose to use in my life. (Yea, I still think that’s true…. but what the bad part is about it is coming…)

What listening to everyone with all these crutches concerning moving forward did to me was that it slowly crept into accepting those truths about myself and they gave me endless excuses for myself even in ways my own mind couldn’t….. it just added to all the misery that kept me away from passionately and positively pursuing my own gems in my life.

I’ve been stuck in my own head… examining those worries or allowing them to be truths for too long. So, recently I decided…. you know, nobody – including myself – can stop me. I don’t care if I fail at this or not – I’m doing it. And I don’t care about perfection anymore.

People, including myself if I let myself, can hold onto every imperfection they see or think, or even smell from afar as a turd even if it truly smells like a beautiful flower in reality. Time to smell the reality flowers and stop smelling the turds of imperfections… my people. Go forth and get out of that head and everyone elses’s head too!… GO FORTH!

(Yeppp… Got into my real crazy, nutty writer’s head here on that last paragraph! LOL!!)

Photo by Nicole Honeywill on Unsplash

Sitting Beside the River in Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Fishermen are the first I see.

Then a runner, then more…

A homeless man walks with his cans hoping for a little more.

He sits dead center the bridge…praying.

The river, so calming.

The birds… they’re flying.

Two dogs walking… all magnificent as they seem.

A man in transit, with his lunch in a tote carried beside him.

Canoes floating… on a river so calming.

The bridges, they’re beautiful…

And this peaceful rest…

Wonderful.

We are great. I’ll say that again… WE ARE GREAT. <3


Photo by Miguel Bruna on Unsplash


We are great. I’ll say that again… WE ARE GREAT. ❤

Oftentimes, we don’t give ourselves enough credit for the very person we are that makes us amazing. We’re more than the amazing parts though… our good, our bad, our beautiful, our ugly, our worst and best habits and self…it’s all us. And well, that’s all fine! Every part of us. Stop the comparing. Stop the trash talking about ourselves. Stop thinking we are no good and putting ourselves deeper and deeper into a pit of awfulness that leads nowhere. We only hurt ourselves. We are great and beautiful in every way we are and aren’t.

Instead of comparing, look at all those things you love about someone and be so happy and thankful for them for all their grandness. Love them to death. And the parts you don’t like about yourself or others… Have patience, stop being so harsh, and find relief and joy in the fact that we don’t and will NOT have everything perfect in life. This is life. We all have things to work on.

Be grateful and thankful for all you’ve done and became given the circumstances you were delt in life. Nobody’s history is the same. We’ve had to do and become things through our lives, not just all because we wanted to, but because sometimes we had to. And those traits and skills we’ve developed and/or some of the downfalls we have collected in ourselves over the years are the remnants of history and battle wounds of our lives. Stop putting yourself down for things that were out of your control.

We are great. Don’t compare. Don’t trash talk anyone including yourself.
Love yourself and love others to death too.

Transitions for Life Has Beautiful Learning Blog are Underway. Would you like to financially support the blog? – Now you can!

Dear Readers,

Life Has Beautiful Learning Blog is amidst a huge transition from Blogger to WordPress, undergoing site and branding changes, creating more defined strategic planning for the blog’s future, and beginning to think more and more about the very best ways to help readers. With all of this, there have been some financial needs.

I myself have used my own funds for the blog transition to WordPress and all of the enhancements this offers because I so strongly believe in Life Has Beautiful Learning Blog and all I’m doing. I know this is a great investment for myself as well as for my readers. If you would like to financially support Life Has Beautiful Learning Blog and/or Aleesa for all of her behind the scenes efforts and creativity, you can now do so. See the option below.

Thank you so much for your support whether financially or simply by reading content. No financial support is expected of readers but sincerely always appreciated.

Warm wishes for the holiday season to all.

Sincerely,

Aleesa

Donation to Support Life Has Beautiful Learning Blog

The price listed is for a $1 donation. You can donate more by adjusting the quantity should you choose. Thank you for your donation. It sincerely means a lot and is very helpful. NOTE: Any donations are not tax-deductible as Life Has Beautiful Learning is not a nonprofit. The term donation here simply means there is not a product or service that you will get in instant return as a result of the money paid. Though, you are financially supporting the blog by your funds. Any questions about donating can be addressed to: aleesatoman@gmail.com

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Thank you to the Young Man Cleaning Tables Today – Good Reminder of Doing a Good Job & Being Proud of It

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Photo by Denisse Leon on Unsplash

I went to a restaurant by me today for a bowl of soup. I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather. There was a young man about 15 years old or so cleaning tables.

He didn’t miss any detail and was fully emersed in doing his work the very best he could. Nothing else mattered while performing the task and he was happy to do the work. No spec of dirt missed. As he finished every table, he’d look it all over and smile so proudly and humbly. It meant a lot to him to have those tables clean and tidy and do a good job.

This impresses me and makes me think of the little things in life that are so great. You don’t have to have a fancy job to do a job well and be proud.

Do things well and complete to the best of your ability in all you do no matter what that is. Be proud and humble too.

Thank you to the young man cleaning tables today. You inspire and teach us all very valuable lessons.

My Journey with Minimalism – The Mindset Change

To Readers: Read the free e-book version of this post by providing your name and email at this link.

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Photo by Kirill Zakharov on Unsplash

I’ve always been cheap and haven’t been too materialistic…  or so I thought until my journey with minimalism. 🙂
Back about 4 years ago, I started to really get into reading. (Shocking, I know! Nobody would ever think that about me, but it’s true. I could probably count on two hands the number of books I’d read before then.) Being a lifelong cheapass until then (ha!), the reading material I was drawn to were those about living a great life but not needing to spend a lot of money. I’ve always loved finance and accounting also. I read and read and read. A common theme I started to see was that which cores to minimalism. So, I started reading about minimalism! I got rid of a lot of things (and yes it’s still a journey – always will be) after reading about minimalism. Then, after the things went away…. I realized my mindset was still focused around materialism even though I wasn’t buying many things. This is where things became deep… real deep. Below I share some tips from my journey with minimalism. I hope to inspire you to think beyond ownership of things when comes to your minimalism journey… A mindset of materialism vs. minimalism is pretty huge I think in this journey also.
Tips for the Journey of a Minimalistic life you may not always hear (because some of them are brutally hard to hear but soo true.) –

Even if you are not purchasing physical items…. ask yourself then are you still spending your time fantasizing about physical possessions?

  • My example: I would spend literally hours on the internet looking at clothing sites awing the beautiful clothes there. While I didn’t think this was a materialistic mindset and life, it was. Even if you aren’t physically purchasing items, the mindset of materialism is still there if you’re daydreaming about material things to an excessive amount.
  • Lesson: Be intentional about when you truly NEED something and only do your browsing and looking then. Be focused and intentional about what you need and also what you want. This will help your time management and also help you with your focus and mindset. I didn’t need to spend a significant amount of my time looking at clothes online for fun. There were other ways to spend that time that are so much more meaningful.

Are the activities you do centered around materialism even though you aren’t purchasing things? 

  • My example: Before my journey with minimalism I would spend literally at least a half a day or more every week browsing through thrift stores (Or Big Lots! No joke!) for fun. And I always thought…. I’m not materialistic – I hardly buy anything; I just like to look! 🙂 Ohhhh was I wrong. Mindset, mindset, mindset…. how are you choosing to spend your time and where is your focus?
  • Lesson: You don’t have to buy or have things to be constantly thinking from a materialistic mindset. Where is your mind at and the joys in your life coming from?…. Are you still bubbling and getting excited over a Big Lots store? haha. 🙂 Not saying that’s wrong at all though! We all choose how we want to live our lives and spend our time and what we get excited over is nobody else’s business. (I cannot say what is right or wrong for everyone. That makes no sense to me.) BUT, if you’re wanting to focus your mindset and life around a journey of minimalism then this is one subset of mindset and activities in your life to look at possibly examining.

Are the goals you have in your future wrapped around materialism? 

  • Do you daydream about having a hugeeeeee house with a ton of things in it even though you say you’re not materialistic?… Even if its JUST A DREAM and you’d actually be perfectly happy with way less. How about what you think about what you have in your life materialistically now vs. in the future? Is that centered in your thinking more than it should be? My example: I would dream about a garage or a having a dishwasher and having a washer/dryer when I was living in my apartments that didn’t have these. Ok, so it’s something to look forward to for sure!
  • Lesson: There are certain things that enhance and make our lives better (some we think would, but honestly they don’t!). Those enhanced material possessions shouldn’t be something that kills the simplicity mindset of where you are NOW and what you find of beauty. It’s OK if you don’t have a dishwasher right now. It’s OK if you don’t have a washer or dryer in your apartment right now. Constantly thinking about wanting material possessions and daydreaming about a big huge life filled with things isn’t too minimalist centered. In all honesty, it destroys the simplicity of the life you live now. It’s ok to have some materialistic goals, but don’t allow that to destroy the simplicity and beauty in what you do have now. Don’t let it become something you constantly think about either. Let it be… write it down and say “Yes, that would be nice one day. However, until I get there this is perfectly fine and ok. Life is not a race.”
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