Don't believe those who you can't even see. Be careful what you believe. Dissect the layers of assumptions that form your beliefs. If someone is deliberately hiding (leader of Q), how can they be trusted? Some of the worst movements have been associated with people who do not show their face. (Example...KKK). This reminds me of catfishing. So often people are deeply hurt by placing their faith and belief in these movements led by mysterious people or by personal encounters with something/someone invisible. Critically think about what you believe particularly if your belief will cause loss of life or cause/encourage you to be unempathetic to others.
I had an employee who was an outstanding leader and program manager. Whenever I asked her to accomplish something, she would look me in the eye when she sensed worry or anxiety from me and she would say "I've got your back". That seemed so personal and it stuck with me. Today, I told my boss, "I've got your back". He is on leave and I'm handling some things for him that he didn't think to ask me to handle. His first thought was to apologize for not giving me a full list of what he needed done...but honestly, that doesn't matter...I've got his back.
I am #1576...the 1576th Black US Air Force Academy Graduate. I was barely 17 and the youngest preppie when I arrived at the USAFA Preparatory School in June 1999. This meant I got to cut the AF cake on the Air Force's birthday on September 18, 1999. What a special memory. I am currently serving as a Reservist at The Pentagon.
My brother (Lt Col Dear Beloved) was 16 when he arrived at The USAFA Prep School in June 1997. He was sent to Marion Military Institute from USAFA Prep on Day 2 since he was too young to legally enlist. When he arrived back at USAFA a year later, he was 17. He's currently serving on active duty at The White House.
My dad (Sgt Gordon Frederick Thomas, now Michael Beloved) of MacKenzie, Guyana voluntarily served in the Vietnam War from 1969 to 1971 as a Precision measurement equipment laboratory technician. He joined the Air Force 19 days after he turned 18. He became a naturalized citizen in 1974.
My oldest sister (SSgt Bloom Beloved) enlisted at age 17. She is currently serving as a Reservist at Wright Patterson AFB.
My youngest sister (Mrs. Draupadi Daley) was the 1473rd recipient of the General Carl A. Spaatz Award in Civil Air Patrol in August 2002 and achieved the highest rank Cadet Colonel
My favorite photo of me and my husband Mark was one outside of one of his favorite restaurants (Cafe Kor) in one of his favorite places (Budapest, Hungary) taken on September 15, 2015.
I left my previous job about three months ago. My old boss was a jokester, appropriate and inappropriate. Last week when I posted this memory photo, he commented "I love father daughter pics!".
This was hurtful. I am hurt. He could have just not commented, but those were the words he chose. As a black woman, I already look younger than my true age and as a white male, my husband looks older. Being a bi-racial couple, we look farther apart. And now that we're raising two tiny humans, we both look super old every day - but it shows more on my husband. I don't need anyone to point it out to me. I live it every day. At least we meet the 'rule of seven' dating rule.
I have always been a writer starting with my poetry about lovers from high school – I loved to write about passionate experiences where I felt joy. I also wrote a small book on mentorship in high school. Growing up, I watched my dad, Michael Beloved, write; he taught me how to type on a manual typewriter and he typed book after book after book on manual typewriters. Whiteout sheets and pens were the editing tools. He even bound his books at home. His books were a family affair. This was long before the self-publishing phenomenon which makes it very easy to publish and reach a wide audience. My father adapted quickly to computers and self-publishing on the Internet. He writes about deeply philosophical and psychological topics and includes translations of many sacred Sanskrit books along with writings on kundalini yoga, astral projection and advanced meditation.
As a young girl not interested in yoga and meditation, I found his writing hard to follow, but I did know that I was interested in reflection and self-improvement. I began writing about what I considered to be every day human experiences; I wanted to reflect on my experiences and writing helped me analyze my experiences in ways that served to improve myself. While this was not all I was writing about, this is what I have chosen to self-publish so far. My mom and dad were my first fans and encouraged me to write and publish often.
My life experience is full of love, heartbreak, fear, hard knocks and opportunities. It is a series of leaps from shaky foundations. I know I am not alone. I am passionate about empathy, service, and knowledge – and- the empowerment and advancement of women and people of color. As I mature, I am more apt to share this passion widely. The knowledge piece is the key to unlocking infinite empathy. Service is at the center of who I am.
I am a self-proclaimed introvert but reading and writing has opened me up and given me the ability to desire human connection in a way I could not have imagined growing up. My deepest human connections are still being formed right now as I prepare to exit my 30s.
My books are the names of beautiful flowers and I call them brownBerry Books. My brown berries are my three children. They are brown and they are sweet like berries. In each brownBerry book, you will read content that makes you feel encouraged to be present and be your best. By changing your perspective, you can change your life and start reaching for the stars!
In CHERRY, A Personal Growth Compass, you find short chapters full of fresh insight and advice that you can apply everywhere. You will find yourself assessing who you really are and you will learn practical ways to increase your present awareness and to control responses to the parts of life you love and hate alike.
In MAGNOLIA, The Benefits of Adversity, I discuss parts of my experience which are probably not unique to me. Somewhere in the world, there is another human going through the same things you are going through if not worse things. Keep life and experiences in that perspective and stay on your feet. No matter how hard things get, they can also turn quickly to something wonderful. Ground to something so that you can understand the volatility and stability that life provides. Be ready for both. The hardest part about life is heartbreak and the most wonderful part of life is love itself. Love yourself so you always have something to come back to…you can always return home.
And on the horizon is a book for women with all the things women 30+ wish they knew in their 20s in the areas that are most important…physical, relationships, kids, money, career and education, adventure and YOU!
And after that, I am trying to find the courage to publish some really raw content.
Who I Am:
I am a Dayton-based non-fiction author. I am a United States Air Force Academy graduate. My number is 1576. I was the 1576th African American graduate of that prestigious institution in 2004. I have served over 16 years in the United States Air Force and the United States Air Force Reserves. I am also a combat veteran and have lived in Guyana, Missouri, Mississippi, Colorado, Texas, Japan, Iraq, and Ohio.
My favorite part about being an author is the conversations my writing sparks with my friends and family. Every chapter means something different every time you read it. It is this fluidity of application that should drive us to continuing this experience called life and to constantly seeking to improve. My writing teaches me about myself, others about me, and others about themselves. My children inspire me to document my thoughts. I hope that one day it will provide them encouragement to thrive in a world where so many are surviving.
I have always worked in the fields of project management and intelligence in the government sector. When I am working, I am often too mentally full to write but when I am doing what I enjoy, the thoughts flow with ease. When I am not working, I enjoy spending time with my husband, kids, family, and friends. I also enjoy helping others, gardening, writing, building things, working out, traveling, and watching documentaries.
Let people know that you support them taking care of themselves. Your employees and teammates do not assume that you support them taking care of themselves. You have to let them know this. Here's some ways to let them know:
Getting outside can make you more mindful. The act of walking can improve your mental well being and physical health. Being outside forces you to be in the moment - that's a good thing! Immediately you must pay attention to what is happening right around you.
When you are one member of a team, don't think or assert that you are the team.
My little guy Liam was just two months shy of 2 years old. He came home from school with a low grade fever and was being a 'sad sack' which is what we call Liam when he's not feeling well. Usually he's a happy kid so we know when he's not feeling well. I had thought he should take a nap, but he wasn't interested and was sad and hungry...and tired. I decided to take him outside because going outdoors almost always makes my kids feel and behave better.
We went to the wildflower garden I decided to plan this summer in one of our garden beds that had not fared well with vegetables. The wildflower garden has been a great place of respite for our family during a summer that has been full of strange twists and turns under quarantine. In our time in the garden, we often observe bees and butterflies and ladybugs; we watch them work and move about. We learn our colors and talk about what flowers we think are pretty. Sometimes we pick flowers to share with each other and we touch flowers gently.
Liam's "sad sack" mood immediately lifted as we went outside to check out the flowers. We saw a large monarch butterfly and spent the next 20 minutes watching this large beautiful butterfly move about from flower to flower. We even tried to touch the butterfly! After some laughs, curiousity and wonder, we went back inside. It was nice in that moment to just see him smile and feel better.
What garden are you taking people to around you? What butterflies do you see? What makes you curious and joyful and do you share that with someone?
I (Bhakti Devi Beloved) have three siblings born as Bloom Beloved, Dear Beloved (called Priyah), Draupadi Devi Beloved, Here is how our names came to be.
My eldest sister Bloom was born on a day when wild flowers were blooming in profusion in Northern Minnesota, and at a time when Sir Paul Castagna and my father were intensely focused on going to higher dimensions in meditation, making books, doing art and making musical instruments.
My brother Priyah was born at a time when our dad was reading Bhagavad Gita and noticed the word priya (priyo) in reference to Arjuna. Translated into English that word means dear. Here is the Gita verse:
मन्मना भव मद्भक्तो
मद्याजी माांनमस्कुरु ।
मामवेष्यै सि ित्यांते
manmanā bhava madbhakto
madyājī māṁ namaskuru
māmevaiṣyasi satyaṁ te
pratijāne priyo'si me (18.65)
manmanā — be mindful of me; bhava — be; madbhakto = madbhaktaḥ — be
devoted to me; madyājī — sacrifice to Me; māṁ — to me; namaskuru — do bow;
mām — to me; evaiṣyasi — eva — in this way + eṣyasi — you will come: satyaṁ
— in truth; te — to you; pratijāne — I promise; priyo — priyaḥ— dear; 'si — asi
— you are ; me — of me
Be mindful of Me, be devoted to Me. Sacrifice to Me. Do bow to Me. In this way you will in truth come to Me. I promise for you are dear to Me. (18.65)
I was born at the time when my dad was making a detailed study of a book on devotion which was written by Bhaktivedanta Swami. This book is Nectar of Devotion. Therein there is a detailed lay out of examples of devotion to Krishna. Bhakti means devotion. He used the middle name Devi because of the Vedic method of naming girls using Devi as the middle name. Devi really means goddess. This name Devi was not granted to Bloom because at the time of her birth, my dad was not thinking of using any Sanskrit names.
Just before the birth of my youngest sister Draupadi, a goddess appeared to my dad and asked him to name her Draupadi, after the person who was the wife of the five Pandavas. Just after this apparition, thinking of the difficulty of pronunciation for English speaking people, he decided not to use the name but he did not have any other name even though the name Rose came up mentally. On the day of her birth, the goddess again came back to my father and said that her name should be Draupadi in honor of Draupadi, the conjoint wife of the Pandavas. History of Draupadi is explained in the Mahabharata. He also had a flash of her past life and her dealings with males in her immediate past life and that convinced me to use the name.
Draupadi is an adaptation from Drupada who was a king in the time of the Pandavas. Draupadi was the daughter of that king.
I spent my late teens and early 20s being attracted to the wrong people who were not prepared to invest on the level I was. I looked at people who were uniquely challenging and I saw them as being worth more due to their unavailability and I assigned qualities to them that perhaps they didn't have. I thought people were out of my league or hard to get and I chased them.
I couldn't think of someone I truly loved and cared about. My family didn't raise me using words like love and caring. In fact, I didn't 'love' my dad and I probably knew I cared about my mom. I wouldn't say I loved my siblings. I could not and did not think of myself in the light of what treatment I deserved and so I accepted far less than what I deserved all the time in that time.
Yes, now I know differently about love but my foundation is what it is and it haunts me and lives in me. It is for fear of judgment that I don't write more about my reflections on my 20s. My truth is the truth of so many....one day I will write it.
Don't mistake a firm stance for an informed stance. As leaders and followers, we often encounter people making firm stances but rarely are firm stances informed. It is an art to learn how to make someone above us informed especially when they have publicly taken a stance. As leaders, being humble will help you come from being firm to being informed. We always learn more with time. How do we gracefully and humbly share that knowledge with others or change our opinions based on it?
It had been an eventful decade since I last talked to an old college flame. I guess old is the term you use when something is a decade old. You always wonder how old loved ones are doing and what their life has become. When we became reconnected on LinkedIn, it was with trepidation because all these years later I was still hurt. Women are often hurt like this over and over again particularly if they don't find the love of their life early on. I commented that "I often reflect on the past but I don't dwell." This was me passively saying - I have not forgotten but you don't affect me the way you used to and it hurt. What came next, I could not have anticipated.
I want to apologize for my actions as a younger person-I don't think I treated you as well as you treated me, and in fact, looking back, my actions were generally shady, unnecessary, and disrespectful. I think I was probably caught up in trying to ensure that I could never be accused of being a chump or "whipped" or whatever juvenile term you want to assign to that behavior. Nonetheless, it always made me place a wedge into our relationship, and keep you at arms-length. I want you to know that that there was nothing wrong with you, and that the problem was with me. Hopefully, I didn't bring about the development of any issues that you've carried around since, but if I did, I want to sincerely apologize. At this point in my life, I aim to make my internal values align with my external "expressed" values, so I can be a good model for my daughters. As to whether or not I am successful at that remains to be seen. I hope that you're not just mentally well, but that you are thriving, and that you are able to pursue all of the things that you wish to in this life.
Here's the thing - clearly he too had been thinking about his impact on me. He wasn't hurt the way that I was. He was "caught up" but not devastated. Like many men of my past, he offered an apology which I suppose is what one would consider "closure". But it's never really closed. I know that if I saw him today, everything would come rushing back. The only closure is a relationship made right. All the men I loved, I still love...I have never hated one. I just wanted them to make things right.
For many years after this relationship and probably still today, I was broken and I tried to understand what I did wrong. I left thinking I was not good enough and that I didn't deserve the love that I was seeking. I moved past it as well as I knew how into more failed relationships with the same pattern. What is left today is still that sting which makes a message like what he sent bring tears to my eyes and I recall the pain and hurt and the layers of effort that were met with arm length wedges.
There is no way to undo the pain caused from relationships like these even after an eventful decade. Having a man acknowledge his role in that hole I have inside of me at least confirms that it was not me. The apology is everything, yet it is nothing.
When I was 16 or 17 years old, I used to sneak out of the house occasionally to go hang out with guys and friends. There were two guys in high school that I was crazy about - Jonathon was a "good guy" and Donald was a "bad guy". I LOVED Donald so much. One night, Donald took me to an old abandoned church on Monroe Road (the road I lived on) where he and 3 other guys proceeded to rape me. I didn't even know some of the other guys and I couldn't see them. It was dark, cold, and dirty. In 2011, Donald reached out to me to ask for help with a paper he needed to complete in order to graduate from college. I refused to help him until he discussed that night with me.
He said, "I think about that all the time and hate a lot of things I did then. I'm really different now u would be proud!!"
I said, "Do you feel bad about it? Do you remember what happened?"
He said, "Hell yeah. I feel bad and yes I remember. I think about you all the time too! I wish I was different then. You would love the new me!!"
I said, "I hate you for that".
He said, "I know you do. I am sorry. Please forgive me."
I said, "All of y'all who were that way to me are all happily married with families. I've never been able to get things right."
He said, "I wouldn't say all that! I think I'm cursed. I see you doing good."
I said, "I know you were just a kid too but I can't help feeling the way I do."
He said, "I know. I was just a kid too. I am nothing like that now. I am good."
I said, "I am not doing good. I have never had a great relationship and I always think back to that night and other times too."
He said, "Are you going to forgive me?"
I said, "I have but it does not mean that I am not hurt about and it doesn't mean that I understand why it had to me. I have been nothing but a kind nice person my whole life.".
He said, "It wasn't just you! It was a lot of bull.... went on then but that's the past. This is now and I have changed."
That's how all of these conversations go - Yes, I remember - Yes I am sorry - I am not the same now - Please forgive me and move on.
When I think back to the the first time I had sex and I can't really remember much of that encounter except I just sort of gave into what was happening and didn't know what was going to happen...or what it even meant. I was gang raped shortly after that experience, perhaps the same year which was the experience in the abandoned church. The timeline is fuzzy but it wasn't long apart. Following this, I had a lot of sex. I later read about what rape is and came to understand that rape is about power. To consider the first occurrence which involved four guys to my memory, I did not know what was going to happen but clearly before I was picked up that night, those guys had decided my fate in a nonchalant way...they methodically carried out their plan and did so many other nights when picking me up to take me to various houses. I was powerless, there was no one on my side, I was afraid and I was alone. That night reinforced the worthlessness I felt about myself. My father never told me I was worth anything. My father controlled my mother and my sister's mother. One by one, those guys came and stole away from me something I can never have again. I try to remember but I honestly can't - I think one of the guys was the guy that first took my virginity. I think two of the guys are actually married with children. Do you think they remember that night? I can't even remember who the other person might have been. I just see the darkness that I saw that night and I feel the cold that I felt and the thin mattress on the old wood floor. I've replayed this in my head many times. Since that first rape, I have felt isolated and have been unable to truly connect to anyone. Every time I tried to connect with someone, they broke my heart. There has always been walls up or imposed distance between me and others. I found superficial ways of connecting to guys which I did in the form of sex. I kept these things inside for many years. I have always been embarrassed about it among other things.
While sex is a form of intimacy not to be confused with rape. I wanted to have sex, I wanted to feel powerful in my sexuality again, to take control of my body and how it was used. The damage of the self-inflicted promiscuity was as terrible as the rape itself. The first time I had sex, there were no feelings or emotions tied to it, and this was the case many many times. I did not know what a healthy, safe, normal sexual experience was. In my thoughts, another reason for my promiscuity was that I was afraid if I did not surrender my body, the guy would tell me no, he would reject me and I didn't want to be alone. I felt like I had nothing. Even when I didn't want to sleep with someone, I wouldn't say no and I felt like I became easily emotionally attached to anyone near me. I tried to hang on to guys when nothing was there to hold onto. I had false hope...false sense of emotion and feeling. I began to equate sex to love and thought if I had sex with guys, they would love me and love me more. I wanted anyone to show me affection and love. Through all of this I gained a feeling of normality for abnormal sexual expression. I also equated sex with communication. I did not understand the dynamics of a real relationship and could not distinguish between a relationship and someone using me.
In some sick way, when I was raped, those guys had power over me and if I could seduce a man and make him sleep with me, then I was in control of him. I could have anyone I wanted. I also felt validated when I could sleep with a guy. In these moments I was worth nothing to anyone. I was lonely and I wanted to be worth something - I would have sex even when I didn't want to. Some of the guys would insist and I would consent perhaps out of fear sometimes that they would take it. But in the end, I felt like I was good for nothing but a fuck but a fuck was the only control I had and really it was no control but use and abuse. I had a hard time finding what I was worth and I rarely had someone reach out and love me, male or female. I have been rejected and used. I have been lied to, I have been promiscious. I have felt hurt from the way my father treated me and the way I saw him treat my mother. I never saw them hold one another - never remember them kissing, never remember mom holding me in her arms and nurturing me...I always just wanted someone to put their arms around me and hold me so when I'd have sex with someone, and he would hold me, I would imagine that there was something about me he liked or found loveable, but then I'd end up alone again. What a line of bullshit I was feeding myself.
And when women enter into new relationships, if they are honest about their emotions, they risk their loved ones never looking at them the same again. They risk everything.
Ms. Bhakti Mary
I am an optimistic, positive, generous and driven author who is passionate about self-improvement.
The essence of who you are does not lie in the past. What matters is what you are willing to do NOW. You are the presence.