His advice was simple: Keep doing you. I needed to hear that because sometimes we get lost along the way. The journey itself begins to take a toll and you start to wonder if God has left you in the wilderness all alone.
I talk to my best friend Luke, who works in media, about it all the time. He thinks that on one level, some of it is age discrimination. I will be 49 in May, and when "young" was in my title, I was in demand, demand, demand. And on another level, today's culture is always looking for the next best thing, looking for the next Rae Lewis-Thornton instead of utilizing all of my wisdom and knowledge of Rae Lewis-Thornton. And yet on another level, utilizing me means they will have to face the hard facts and deal with substance rather than fluff. And I'm not sure if we really want to deal with the hard reality of this disease in our community and have a honest discussion on how to change the fact that we are 13% of the population and 46% of the HIV cases in this country.
Delta Sigma Theta as a honorary member on my "lifetime achievement to help improve the human condition" ten years ago, I was the best thing since sliced bread and HIV/AIDS was one of our major service issues. Now, when Black women are 72% of all new cases of women infected with HIV, and AIDS is the leading cause of death for Black women between the ages of 25 and 44, it is not even on the table! And when I ask, I'm told, "Well, we did that." It's discouraging!
United States Conference on AIDS is in Chicago this year and I have not been asked to participate in any way. Yes, all of this, combined with the fact I have $70 in the bank makes me wonder about my purpose.
Deepak's words were clear, "Keep telling your story." And for sure I have never stopped. Even when the speaking engagements dried up I took my message to social media, and in just a year's time, I have done some groundbreaking work utilizing these awesome tools of Facebook, Twitter and blogging. Deepak also confirmed the power of social media as a tool. In fact, I was able to see Deepak because I won the ticket on Twitter. Deepak states, "The entangled mind is influenced by social media." And when I get a tweet from someone who was inspired to go get tested, or to use a condom, or to keep pressing on because of my tweets, then I know that I have done what I am supposed to do.
I shared all of this so you could really see what's going on in my life. There's no point in hiding in the truth. I do the work because I know that this is my purpose in life and even when traditional methods seem no longer available, I press on. Deepak said that "A leader is an agent of change by definition." So today I am even more renewed in my work. I will continue to be an agent of change even if it's one tweet at a time.
Deepak suggests to us all that while human beings are self-aware, we can also self-regulate, that we have to see the future with intent. If I am going to continue to make headway in this work, I must stop and take some time for self-growth. Sometimes I stay so tangled in the busyness and the panic of how I'm going to pay my bills, I can't see the road ahead of me. That has got to change if I want to maximize my potential. As my starting point, I will dive into Deepak's latest book, The Soul of Leadership. The next thing I'm going to do is add meditation into my life. It is a requirement in all of his leadership classes. Meditation will help me get my mind away from the busyness. Now I gotta be honest, I need help in that area because I can barely sit still to pee. So I will be in search of guidance, #ForReal.
I am so glad that I braved the cold on public transportation to hear Deepak Chopra. His wisdom has been sealed in my heart. The Power of Social Media!