Good Morning

I’ve never been big on New Years resolutions.  They always seemed counterproductive. People would make them and then break them so quickly. However, I’ve noticed that some of the most successful people (or at least more positive people) are individuals who set goals for themselves.  We live in an age of motivational speakers and affirmation creators.  Social media, bookshelves, and infomercials are flooded with people who claim they can “fix” you.

I’ve had a difficult 2013 and I’m sure I’m not alone.  What happens if what doesn’t “make you stronger” kills your spirit?

I had dinner at my favorite restaurant with my mentor on Sunday.  We laughed and she was excited to see my 6 month old (yes I’m one of those parents who bring kids to restaurants!) We talked about ministry, evangelism, and motivation.  She was glad I was skating by at work, still singing in choir, and squeezing in time to write.  The compliments and praise were pouring in so I was a little stunned when she said :

“So what’s stopping you from really taking it to the next level?  Make your book a reality.  Establish yourself as a writer.  You were published when you were 10! Don’t you want to be more recognized by now?  You qualify for the recognition but do you deserve it?  You want more money at work but do you get there ontime?  Do you dress professionally DAILY? What sets you apart?”

As I picked my ego off the floor, she continued to talk to me about commitment.  She talked about being busy with the Creators work and less self involved.  She said to think about the people who need a word or a push and not to take my blessings for granted. 

Then she challenged me.  It was time to make a pact with the Father and with myself.  She said she practices fasting from time to time, meditation, no devices for a few hours to remove the voices of others so she can hear the answers to her questions.  She tithes regularly to put her money in His “storehouse” and let him decide how to allocate her treasures. 

I’ve been thinking all week about the disciplined commitment that’s right for me…

I LOVE sleep.  I work hard and I look forward to a soft pillow and a warm comforter at the end of the day.  I got lucky because our infant loves sleep just as much as I do.  In fact, right now my typing is interrupting her beauty rest and pissing her off. 
I’ve decided that no matter how late I go to bed due to work schedule, family obligations, etc…
I’m still going to rise at 8am everyday. No excuses.  No rushing. No dodging speeding tickets.  More time for writing. More quality time.  More time for prayer and reflection. 

Its time to take it to the next level.

What commitment do you need to make?


Its 2013! What are you swallowing?

Happy New YearHappy new year and all that. Hope you’re not the same person you’ve been for all the years that preceded this one.  I hate to be cynical but usually by the time you stop doing this –>  2012    , you’ve already broken those resolutions. Why’d you make them?  What do you have to prove and who are you proving it to? At the end of the day we need to be making a consistent effort to improve.  Your other option is to commit to being the same scumbag you’ve always been, wear your flaws on your fitted hat, be strong and wrong and tell everyone to “Shut Ya Mouth and Call Me Ugly.”

It’s not easy to improve.  You may see old habits creep in.  The stealth of habitual hatred or just the act of being stagnant is clinging and clandestine.  You won’t notice what you do to piss other people off!  I can almost guarantee that! It’s natural to you…its organic.  You won’t know you’ve upset them until they’re screaming or silently sobbing.  For a writer that’s an intense response.  One of my favorite writers in Edgar Allen Poe.  In “The Philosophy of Composition” he says, “Beauty of whatever kind, in its supreme development, invariably excites the sensitive soul to tears. Melancholy is thus the most legitimate of all the poetical tones.”  In plain terms, Poe is saying you’ve succeeded as a good writer when you can make someone feel something, more specifically sadness.  That’s great if you’re a writer but as a regular civilian, I don’t think a lot of people will want to be around you.  You’d be the dark cloud.

I am truly making an effort to change.  I’ve got my Pandora set to Marvin Sapp.  I’m back to my church services and my devotions.  When my schedule clears, I’m diving head first back into my ministries.  I don’t use profanity as much.  I reached out to old and gold friends who’ve always added quality to my life.  I drink more water and all that.  At the same time, I’ve never been a “holy roller” or a “pew tosser.”  I love art and literature.  I am a very passionate person.  I’m a people watcher.  I’m an undercover comic.  Being an artist requires a certain level of “worldliness.”  So where do I stand?  You’ll always have to maintain a balance.  You’re a parent?  You have to be the person you are that was chosen divinely to bring new life into this world. Still you may welcome the time alone when the baby is with grandma and you can listen to Kendrick Lamar, watch Pulp Fiction and have a “77” (vodka and 7-up.)  It doesn’t make you a bad person.  It makes you human.

Leave the resolutions for Lucille Roberts commercials.  Just be your best by bedtime each day.  If you fail, try again tomorrow.  As long as you’re trying, you’re not failing.  Medicine usually doesn’t taste good but it usually heals whatever your ailment is.  Are you only swallowing what satisfies a stationary lifestyle?  Are you swallowing seduction and sex and ignoring love and intimacy?  Are you swallowing stereotypes?  What are you swallowing? 

Happy New Year. Bless!


-Shaun M Nickens