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Book Excerpt: The Fire Inside You

It’s finally here. Scott Andrew James and I can now share a special collaboration with the world, and YOU! If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I bet I can catch you up. Have you ever felt stuck in a rut? And you feel like you don’t know the way? That’s exactly how I […]

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It’s finally here. Scott Andrew James and I can now share a special collaboration with the world, and YOU! If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I bet I can catch you up.

Have you ever felt stuck in a rut? And you feel like you don’t know the way? That’s exactly how I felt when I reached out to Scott during month six of the pandemic. Life felt dull, I was avoiding work that I needed to do and quite frankly, I was avoiding conversations with some people because I knew they would see right through my well-practiced smile.

I asked Scott—a poet and publishing coach who believes in everyday magic and the healing power of creativity—if he would collaborate with me on this project. I would write about emotions that I was feeling during the quarantine and he could write some of his world-famous poetry.

The more I wrote, I found comfort and saw sunshine again. I hope it does the same for you. The air around us might feel heavy today, but it won’t forever.

The collaboration between Scott and me has turned into the book “The Fire Inside You.” It’s an honor to share the first chapter of the book (“The Future Is Now”) here. By finding the fire inside of you, you are healing and helping each of us heal. I ask that you forward the excerpt to several friends who need light, love, and levity.

With a passion for community service that began at a young age, I’ve made it my mission to inspire those who want to create positive, lasting change. I believe that we all have moments that define who we are, moments that have the potential not only to transform the course of our own lives, but also the world at large. These are the types of moments that can be turned into movements.

For more content, inspiration and fuel for your fire visit me at my website.

The Future Is Now

For me, the hits of 2020 keep coming.

They’re coming by way of canceled events — a friend’s Parisian wedding, a 50th birthday celebration, an annual girls’ trip.

They’re coming by way of personal milestones moving from live to virtual. I’ve celebrated giving the student speech during my own commencement at my beloved University of Pennsylvania, the book launch of an Amazon bestseller, and my birthday, all at my own home.

They’re coming by way of my most treasured heroes being called home: Chadwick Boseman, C.T. Vivian, John Lewis, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Some on the same day.

At some point, you might have screamed when you heard that one of these leaders passed away. When I read the news that RBG had died, I screamed. Like the loud kind. You know the one where your belly moves. And then I began to tremble. I’m not sure if it was out of fear, the loss of someone I admired greatly, or that “it happened again” feeling.

I immediately ran to my phone and called my mother, followed by my best girlfriends. Then I couldn’t stop scrolling and looking for news. I thought of her legacy, the movements she started, and how she inspired changemakers like me.

While I wanted to say, “Nevertheless she persisted,” that doesn’t always happen. Many days I say, “My heart can’t take it anymore.” Other days I go to bed before the sun sets. And I don’t admit it often, but on some rare occasions, I might wear yesterday’s pajamas today.

How do we turn it around? We can’t.

What we can do is choose to find the positive energy that is around us and lean in. We can choose to band together to ensure solutions to social issues become reality. We can give virtual hugs until the real ones are safe.

And we must remember the future begins now.

In March, we returned to our homes for safety, for our health, and to protect our future. I ask that you allow those three reasons to serve as our North Star or guiding principles.

We have an opportunity to end inequities in our own communities. To create change that is at our fingertips. A society that we choose to live in.

We can fight for our climate, to provide access to healthcare for all, and to ensure that no person goes to bed hungry again.

We can organize and rise up to become the changemakers needed to ensure we have a future, because the future begins now. It’s not 2030; heck, it’s not even 2021. The future is the next minute of our lives.

One day soon, we’ll again venture beyond the comfort of the four walls we know as a home and return to our everyday lives. Will we use our North Star to continue forging ahead, or will we return to a place where we don’t extend a hand to our brethren, don’t give to nonprofits, and don’t even say hello to a stranger in an elevator?

We must do good. We must rally together. We must strive to do better.

With unity, we can build the future we want. By finding the fire within ourselves we become tomorrow’s heroes. And with each other, I know the future will be okay.

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