Life is Like a Game of Chess

“No one wins a game of chess by only moving forward, sometimes you have to move backwards to put yourself in a position to win. In life, U-turns are allowed.”

I used to get so frustrated at how unfair life was at times. Each time I made one step forward, it was like, BOOM! Something came along to pull me two steps back. Yeah, an arrow has to be pulled back in order for it to propel forward and the farther it’s pulled back, the greater the distance it travels. If you can convince yourself of this way of thinking, I guess it will keep you motivated for a while. At least until life pulls you back again. 

If that doesn’t work for you,  then think of life as a  game of chess. Players don’t win by only moving forward, they must also move backwards across the board. The same goes for life, just as chess players have to sometimes move backwards to win a match, life has to pull us back to get you to that win. When life takes you two moves back, don’t ask why, reevaluate your position. 

Like on a chessboard, in life, not all dead ends are dead ends, sometimes they are u-turns. U-turns into the direction of a new job, a new relationship, a new life or new opportunities. Don’t be afraid to rethink, reimagine and start over, even the best-laid plans can fall apart, don’t fall apart with it. Don’t get frustrated when life seems unfair, evaluate your next move and you could just win the game. 

YOUR TURN…IF THIS POST RESONATES WITH YOU, DROP YOUR COMMENTS BELOW

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©Etta  D. Richards

Creating Worthwhile Commitments to Yourself

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Freedom is not the absence of commitments, but the ability to choose – and commit myself to – what is best for me.”
― Paulo Coelho

Dedication is something we think little about because it comes as second nature when we choose to dedicate our time to our work, our families and our friends. We make commitments to be that listening ear to anyone who needs it, to always get the job done and to take care our family to keep safe and happy. But how committed are you to you? When any of us think of commitments it’s often towards something external, never internal. How much time is spent committing to things which makes us happy? We have become so self-absorbed in the movement of self-love, we think that’s all there is. ” I love myself and that’s enough.”  That’s it, end of story!

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4 Possibilities Of The New Year

January is the most difficult month for many people, coming down from that high of the holiday, trying to stick to those new resolutions can send the best of us into a tailspin. Life has a way of humbling us all and eleven months from now you’ll be looking back on all the foolish things you’ve wasted time on and for losing sight of the possibilities this new year brought.  Life is filled with new possibilities, don’t get caught up in little frustrations. Embrace the possibilities, whatever the new may bring, always remember the possibilities.

 1. Give up the failures that make you so self-conscious- both failure and accomplishments should be celebrated because they are learning experiences. 

2. Nothing in life is perfect, no one in life is perfect, not even you. So don’t expect others to be perfect. Love yourself and others, imperfections and all.

3. There are no quick fixes- like fad diets, quick fixes don’t work, they may give you gratification but they’re short-lived with short rewards. You have to put the work into anything if you intend to accomplish anything long-lasting. To celebrate the rewards in the long run you can’t cut corners.

4. Do something meaningful to you- dust off all those plans that have put on the back burner and focus on the most tangible ones. It doesn’t matter how old you are, how long it’s been since they’ve been sitting, find the passion you once had for that thing and make it happen.

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©Etta  D. Richards

A Christmas Story Pt 4: 6 Reminders for The Happy New Year

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We spend January 1st walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives…not looking for flaws, but for potential.
― Ellen Goodman

We’ve been here before, on the eve of a new year! Whether it’s for religious, cultural or simply by choice, you did not celebrate Christmas, each new year is welcomed by people around the globe in celebration, promises to self that this year life will be appreciated more, all those things that left undone in the previous year, or years will finally be done. We all step into the new year with new hopes of making our days better than ones before.  The year is no different, on this eve of a new year my heart is filled with nothing but gratitude. I am so happy and grateful that I have made it this far with full mental faculties when many days in the past year I questioned whether or not I would. And not to put any additional pressure on me as well as to shield myself from disappointments, I have no great expectations for the incoming year because I will not live an anxious year of imagining what’s coming next.  But rather live my life in the present with the lessons of the past.

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A Christmas Story Pt. 3- The Stories Of Our Lives

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds;
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,
Gave a lustre of midday to objects below,
When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny rein-deer,
With a little old driver so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment he must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donder and Blixen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”
As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the housetop the coursers they flew
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too—
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head and was turning around,
Down the chimney, St. Nicholas came with abound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly
That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight—
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

When Clement Clarke Moore penned this poem, I doubt he knew at the time how timeless this piece would become. Though it was written as a poem, it has transcended into an all-time favourite holiday story. Stories are a huge part of our lives, people tell their past with stories, they recite their present with stories and sometimes the future is foretold with stories. We all have stories to share, they are the collections of our experiences and the fundamental of our lives. Growing up on the island we passed the time with stories of the past, stories were how we kept our family heritage alive because each story was a story within a story. They were stories of love, hardship and many times loss. 


For centuries stories have been used to keep families and communities together. When you tell your story, you become immortalised because you’re not only sharing it with the person you’re telling it to but also all the other persons your story might be shared with. Telling the stories of our lives is a transfer of knowledge from one generation to the next, the stories my grandmother shared with me, I now share with my own children and also with many of my nieces and nephews. They’re not only learning about our family heritage, our family values, but they’re learning about their great-grandparents and their parents before them, the lives they lived, their hopes and dreams for the future. Retelling our family stories warms my heart because they bring not visions of sugarplums dancing in my head but visions of those who are no longer with us and it warms my heart to know that I’m now one of the storytellers in my family lineage.

Written, Verbal, those stories of us, the stories we choose to share with others, proves it doesn’t have to be a poem of a jolly guy with a sleigh and reindeers to be memorable. A story worth sharing is a story worth remembering. Have you shared your story?

If this post resonates with you, drop your comments below!

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©Etta  D. Richards

A Christmas Story Pt. 2- Smells, Memories & Emotions

The smells of Christmas are the smells of childhood ― Richard Paul Evans

Our sense of smell is one of the strongest triggers of memories, smells connect us to memories that are of some importance to us, places, people and even things. A smell can trigger a memory of a day at the beach or your favourite city, Paris, New York, London. They connect us to that memory that transports us back to that those persons, places or things. These wonderful smells are the ones that boost the brain and pull those happy memories to the surface melting the stress away. I still buy books because I not only love the feel of the pages against my hands, I also love the smell, it takes me back to my old primary school library and visions of the tiny room nestled between two classrooms, stocked floor to ceiling with books, with Mrs Sumner the Liberian sitting behind her desk buried in returned books or new ones she was restocking. 

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A Christmas Story Pt. 1, Second Chances

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Miracles were just second chances if you really thought about it–second chances when all hope was lost.
― Kaya McLaren

I believe in second chances.  I will clarify, I believe that life gives each of us second chances and it’s up to the individual what they do with that second chance. ‘A Christmas Carol’ is probably one of the best know stories that teach us about second chances and how important change is to our overall existence. It’s also one of my favorite Holiday movies.   Whether in a literal sense or figuratively speaking, second chances give us a new lease on life, a new lease on our relationship(s), or a second glimpse of what could be and for that, second chances should be appreciated!  I have heard people who have survived serious illness or some life-threatening events speak about how grateful they were and how that thing that happened to them, changed them. Twenty-Six years ago I survived a life-threatening event that really made me look within. It made me reevaluate my path in life and the direction I wanted to go, nothing like death to make you wake up and take notice. It gives one a sense of place in this universe, opening our eyes to things we may have never noticed before. 

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Random Acts of Kindness

 

“Three things in human life are important: The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.”
-Henry James

Whether it’s an intentional or spontaneous act of kindness, it is never senseless nor is it futile. The ripples of kindness and compassion have the ability to transcend because even if the receiver shows no sense of gratitude, the act itself can be beneficial to the giver. Acts of kindness not only gives a sense of accomplishment but also a sense of confidence, happiness and being in control and the optimism that your act can be contiguous because the random act of kindness can be paid forward.


Life can sometimes trap us in daily busyness and we get so caught up in our lives that we forget that even the most simple things in life can make a significant impact on the lives of others.  My random act of kindness for today are these four daily reminders to self of how important a simple act can be in the life of someone else. So pay it forward!

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©Etta  D. Richards

A Few More Things I’m Grateful For

As we find ourselves soon to say goodbye to yet another month and prepare to usher in the final month of the year I can’t help but to emotionally reflect on the past few months. Between the borage of hospital visits, trying to keep my sanity while juggling my commitment to family and work in between, I try to take the time each day to make, whether mentally or on paper, to make my life of things I’m grateful for.

1. Good Health, Life and the occasional bump in the road- These are the sum of all things. We are nothing without them.

2. Mitzy- she brought so much life to our family. She was my constant companion, who gave us all unconditional love, it still hurts to even think her name.

3. My daughters-I am grateful for their thoughtfulness and telepathic love.

4. My Mom- I’m just grateful that God had kept her with us and grateful for her love and selflessness.

5. My aunts- There are words for their unconditional love and support.

6. Doctors who work miracles!

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As the years pass, I am coming more and more to understand that it is the common, everyday blessings of our common everyday lives for which we should be particularly grateful. They are the things that fill our lives with comfort and our hearts with gladness — just the pure air to breathe and the strength to breath it; just warmth and shelter and home folks; just plain food that gives us strength; the bright sunshine on a cold day; and a cool breeze when the day is warm.
― Laura Ingalls Wilder

What do you find yourself grateful for as you reflect on the past 11 months of this year?

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©Etta  D. Richards

Keep the Intentions that Fuels Your Desires

Intention is one of the most powerful forces there is. What you mean when you do a thing will always determine the outcome. The law creates the world.
― Brenna Yovanoff

There are many tragedies in life, the greatest of all I believe is abandoning your goals and the things you dream of. That ‘thing’ that stops us from following our hearts or abandoning our goals is usually so painful that it stops us in our tracks. It could be any ‘thing!’  Loss, like the passing of a loved one, the passing of a beloved pet, a bad breakup, that feeling of despair, because life’s not always fair, can be so crippling, it takes all the steam out of you.  

For some of us, that once vibrant soul, so full of energy, wishful dreams, hope, and joy, becomes vacant and discontent.  When we can no longer fuel our desires it’s difficult to keep our thoughts pure, each day becomes just that more difficult to cope with the world’s seemingly relentless urge to break our will and crush our souls into submission.  How do we keep the intentions that once fueled our desire for happiness, peace, joy, love? By remembering life has offered us no guarantees. The guarantees that we have imagined were created in our souls. 

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