Lessons from 90s R+B

You know who I love? En Vogue. For all the reasons that any lady who grew up in the early nineties might. They were powerful women. They talked about feminist ideals, cultural inadequacies, and sexuality. But my most favorite reason for loving them… one line in one song.

Free your mind and the rest will follow. Hear that. Think about it. Analyze it. The things that are holding you back are the things that are caught up in your pretty little head. Your thoughts are caging you in like a little song bird. No one is meant to be caged in. You’re meant to soar. You are meant to feel like you are living above the world and the wind.

How do you do this… how do you release the things that have you stuck with a curtain keeping it nighttime all day… how do you open the little metal door so that you can slowly creep out and see what is outside…

You do the following...

  1. Find your dreams: Did you know that dreams are a wish your heart makes? It’s not just Disney magic - though Disney is magic…  We bury our heads in the sand and ignore the things that we dreamt and wished to be as a kid. We accept that life has to be a certain way because we are… wait for it… adults. Why does adult feel like a dirty word??? If the last time you were able to dream was when you were ten years old then that is precisely what you have to do. Right now. Paint with your fingers. Build a sand castle. Hula hoop, do cartwheels or make silly fart noises with your mouth. Let go of your adult and see if you can dream again. Find that passion and excitement you had for so many years. Ask yourself:

    1. “What makes me happy?”

    2. “What do I want to do?”

    3. “Who makes me happy?”

    4. “What is fun?”

  2. Define your needs: To live you need food, air, and water, right? Sort of. We definitely need nourishment. That’s totally undebatable. But we often, too often, ignore the other kind of sustenance that we truly need... mistaking it for money over love... things over people... ego over support. At the end of the day our need is generally to be seen, touched, felt, heard, and supported. Put together your treasure map to your heart. Send your mind on a scavenger hunt until you squeak out a pitter patter and you truly know what you need to live for a day, a month, a year, a lifetime…

  3. Establish your successes: Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you fail. Aside from the fact that I don’t believe failure is a reality… if you fall into thinking that you can’t ever achieve that which you want, then you won’t. And that would be an absolute shame. Look at how many things (little or big) that you’ve already achieved in your short life. Honor that. Get a little perspective on the strength of what you’ve gone through, what you’ve learned and how much better you are for knowing that you are that strong.

  4. Release the restraints: Patients in the psych ward at any hospital run the risk of restraints… if they are a harm to themselves. And early on we’re told that choosing certain things in life will be a harm to ourselves. So we sit having put the restraints on our brains. Believing something we ingested at a very early age (or even in utero) that we know might not be the case. I’m giving you the key to open those restraints and slide your wrist out of the fuzzy cuff. You won’t damage yourself. You will be able to keep it together. You will be able to exist without protection of a padded cell.

I want you to know everything you are capable of. I want you to know that you can love yourself. You can honor yourself. You can outdo yourself. You can dream. You can accomplish anything (and everything) that you set out to accomplish.

I know... I'm taking liberties with En Vogue's lyrics. They are singing about racially charged prejudice and I am talking about living and enlightened life. But what if for a second we look at their song as asking someone to shift their beliefs and understand that what they've been taught might not always be right... I think it's pretty right on. 

So starting right here and now... at the end of reading this article I am going to tell you that you can be what you want to be. I am a professional. I know these things.

Heather Kohos