Saturday, 6 February 2016

The Overturned Crayon Box

Colouring books for adults. What a fantastic idea, or so I thought. Armed with my recently bought colouring book and a brand new box of a 50 pack of Crayola pencil crayons, I set about colouring the first picture in the book. A tea pot, cup and saucer with a very confusing pattern. I had read that colouring was an avenue to destress, an activity that allows your mind to rest by focussing on one task, similar I gather to yoga when you focus on your breathing. Why then was I getting more and more flustered? I didn't know where to start. What colour was I to use first? You see, I always wished I was artistic, creating beautiful pieces of work that made people happy. In high school art class was a struggle. Symmetry, colours, lines all blurred into one mess. I just could not get it. And then it hit me,  why not use the crayons in the order presented in the box? And I set about colouring.

Tea Pot with Cup and Saucer

Not bad for a first attempt in my humble opinion. So on to my next picture guided by the way the crayons were presented in the box. Red, blue, black, white...I was bored. The 2nd picture in a book of 23 pages. Using the crayons in the order packed by the manufacturer created the 'mindless' stress free activity I read about, but not the fulfillment I thought I would get. I skipped to the 2nd row and picked a green and yellow to add some oomph. Mark you, they were still beside each other, just in a different row.


On to the third, again using colours that were lined up beside each other. That is until the crayons fell out of the box! Noooooo.... My first instinct was to panic. Almost instantly something switched (thank you Helen and Marguerite), what a wonderful thing to have happened. I was no longer restricted to the order of colours that someone else created. I was free. The overturned box of crayons reminded me that someone else's order is not my own, and I will never be able to be who I truly am if I remain confined within the box. Life has a funny way of reminding you of just what you need. I finished the picture with a new outlook. The end result is all mine and I am happy.

Party Dress

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Does Comfort Lead to Inaction?

Tweeting about the PNP Conference the other day, it suddenly struck me that I was more mouth than action. For years all I have been doing is saying what is wrong with our country, our leadership, our schools etc. and I have been doing nothing. It got me thinking. Why am I not acting? Why am I only speaking. The other day when having a conversation with my  daughter I told her "mouth mek to talk", a Jamaican saying which means the mouth can say anything however whether or not it is acted on is a different matter. I realize I am just talking, and what good will that do? All talk and no action will definitely lead nowhere and certainly defend the status quo. Am I that selfish?

So why am I not acting? I am too comfortable. I am not hungry. I can go to the supermarket whenever I choose and buy whatever I choose. OK, so I cannot take that family vacation every year, however my mortgage is being paid every month. Therein lies my complacency, I am not in need.

I wonder if this is the same reason why our Leaders are only speaking. Why limited action has taken place in this beautiful country of ours. A country that has fallen into disrepair with uncollected garbage, lack of drugs in our hospitals, a school system that is turning out illiterate people, minimal manufacturing to drive economic growth.  We are promised every election period of things that will be done to turn our economy around, provide growth and jobs yet they never materialize. What are they waiting on? Are they defending the status quo? Are they also too comfortable? Isn't it their job to put things in place for the proper running of the country? Isn't that why we, the people, voted them in? Or did we vote in 'our' party just so that we can continue to be comfortable?

So I challenge the following:
  • I challenge the current administration to forego the comfort and do what needs to be done to get Jamaica out of this quagmire,
  • I challenge the opposition to get their act together so as to provide a credible alternative so that we  may hold the current leadership accountable,
  • I challenge the Jamaican people to think about the collective whole, and see how providing for the whole will benefit the individual,
  • But most of all I challenge myself to stop talking and start acting.
I truly hope this blog will be the beginning of that action. More to come.

"Action, Not A Bag A Mouth!"

#Jamaica #Governance #Politics# PNP #JLP #action

Thursday, 2 January 2014

My Country

I live in a country where everybody is afraid, where I would not want to visit. Where its own citizens criticize and tear down its very essence, especially those who have left its shores. The only country I am a citizen of. A beautiful country! An ugly country!  A country I want to leave, for my children’s sake? A country where I want to remain because the country is me. All of it, the good, the bad, the ugly.

Barricades, grilled windows and doors, dead-bolt locks, security systems, big black ‘bad’ dogs are the standard features. Gone are the days when my front door could be left open without fear of an intruder. Where trees are no longer the far-away lands of my childhood but where men up to no good linger, awaiting my arrival home.

I should leave my country, so that my children can know the freedom I knew growing up. Riding my bike down the road without fear of being abducted, roaming the bush without a care in the world. I should leave for me, so that I can stop being afraid. So that I can stop looking over my shoulder every time I leave the bank to make sure I am not being followed. So that I can stop holding my breath, releasing only when my husband gets in safely at night.

I live in a country whose citizens nobody wants. A country whose citizens require a stamp in their passports to be allowed entry, and all agents are on alert when the passport is spotted. A passport that our own officials need not fear because they have their own, which gives them immunity when traveling, making them oblivious to what their citizens go through.

I live in a country whose elected leaders only speak to us when it is time for re-election. Who are so disconnected from the people they are supposed to serve that whatever is being served is not meeting our needs. Where the majority of its citizens cannot see that these elected ones have done us no good, because we are not taught to think, we are taught to recite. Where there are no jobs, and the dollar is of little value. Where we are beholden to foreign lands because we take, take, take. We do not earn.

Yet I take no action. I am part of the problem. When will I wake up and do something to change this beloved country of mine? When will I become a part of the solution? For my children, for me?

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Staying Positive in the Face of Increasing Rejection

Three months ago my position was made redundant. I was out of a job. Yes, that dreaded word had finally become a reality in my life. I now knew what I had put so many people through (being in HR you sometimes have the not so pleasant however necessary task of making positions redundant). The initial shock wore off pretty quickly. I had an inclination that this was going to happen so I had started putting things in place. Those things were however not quite ready to be acted on. I acted anyway.

I set up my company, MACSPEN Services, and with my Project Manager, +Ruth Proctor , we began drumming up business. MACSPEN Services grew out of the fact that HR is one of the first areas of a company to be cut in times of hardship. I therefore thought that if I offer HR Services to small companies that do not currently have an HR Department, I would be providing an invaluable service. And the interest was there! People were happy that there was someone willing to provide the necessary but laborious work that needs to be done.

Everything seemed to be moving along just fine. Persons kept telling me that I was doing well for a start up. Three (3) clients. I am truly thankful for those 3 clients. In the meantime, because bills need to be paid, I have been putting my resume out there and have been applying for jobs. Six (6) to be exact. Then the regret letters started coming in, my Project Manager was offered an opportunity of a lifetime which she could not refuse, and the work for my clients was coming to an end. Depression was setting in. Why wasn't I getting calls for interviews to those jobs I had applied to? Why weren't more interested parties actually signing contracts for my services? What was I not doing right?

In walks +Helen MacMillan and her abundance. The first positive. I am where I am supposed to be, sending out to the universe my needs and accepting what the universe is giving me. What a glorious feeling it is to know that God (the universe) is actually on my side and is just waiting for me to acknowledge it. 

The next positive was +Francis Wade. He practically cajoled me into becoming his Assistant Producer for his radio programme on CaribHRForum. In doing so he has opened a world of opportunities and possibilities that I now need to take advantage of.

And here is where the next positive +Marguerite Orane comes in. I had taken her course Free and Laughing in Crises and have learned how to Be Present, Observe, Accept, Trust, Release and Love every moment of my crises. (And trust me there are many). With Marguerite's help MACSPEN Services now has a vision, mission, values and a plan to move forward. 

Life will always be a mixture of positives and negatives. It is what we do with the negatives that determine our well being. Everything has a time and place. Take a few minutes and look at your situation, no matter how uncomfortable. There is a lesson to be learned, and once learned, you will move to a higher place. Stay positive my friends. Rejection is just another way of letting you know that that path is not for you.

Blessings and abundance,


Sunday, 4 March 2012

Crossing Off The To Do List

So maybe I really do not understand what a blog is about. A few comments on my first blog was that it did not say enough, did not have enough meat, thought process was not fulsome enough, and persons were not sure if I had anything to say at all. I re-read my friend's blogs and began to question my ability to continue this blog. Just starting it was a victory in itself as it was something on my to do list for years that I just had not gotten around to doing. And that got me thinking. How many of us have a to do list? Not the regular Saturday running around list, but a list of things we would like to accomplish/do that we think will give us a sense of being/happiness?

Regular Saturday Running Around List

Life is what it is. A series of mundane tasks that get us from day to day. From going to the supermarket, to picking up the dry cleaning and buying the new pair of tights your daughter needs for dance class. Especially if you have children. It is always something. But at the end of the day what have you accomplished for you?

As I grow older, I am more and more realizing that if I am not healthy (both physically and emotionally) then I am of no use to anybody. A realization that struck me around 6 years ago when one of those catapulting life moments hit. It was then and there that I knew I wasn't living for me. I was going about my day doing what was expected. But what was expected was not making me happy. So I wrote a list of things that I wanted to do before I depart from this earth. Here are some of those things I will share with you.

  1. Write a song
  2. Blog
  3. Write a book
  4. Live in a Spanish speaking country
I have written that song. Recorded it on my phone and sent it to my brother-in-law to have it produced. It has not been produced but guess what? It is one thing I have crossed off my list and it feels wonderful. I am now empowered to continue. I was emboldened. I sent a phone recording of me singing (and I did not make my High School choir) to persons other than my immediate family. I now had the confidence to do it all. So I started to blog and the first lines of my book are on a sheet of paper.

Just crossing the first item off my to do list was the catalyst I needed to go on. If we all stop and take the plunge, write a to do list that reflects who we truly are, then crossing off the items one at a time, no matter how long the time between each item takes, we will become closer to living our true persona.

I will now leave you with a few lines of my song. Whether or not it is actually produced is not important. The fact that I wrote it and sent it to different people is all the self actualization I need. Self actualization ... that is for another blog.

You do what you have to
In a world where you don't fit in
You do what you have to
When you know your life depends

On playing it safe
To stay in the race
Take care don't fall on your face
Oh the disgrace ...

Love and blessings.

Toni Yolande Spencer

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

The Need To Communicate

For a while now I have been toying with the idea to set up a blog. I feel this need to speak my mind, to let others know what I see and how I feel about what I see. The courage I got to start this blog was from a childhood friend, who has her own blog. Her insights on everyday life got me thinking that this is an excellent tool of letting others know how we feel. Thank you Kelly Katherine at

How many of us need to tell our story? How many of us need to get something off our chest? If we had a safe avenue to do so, we would be so much more a peace with oursleves. There would be less stress, less anger, less hatred. There would be more acceptance and love. Imagine what can be accomplished with more acceptance and love. Anything will be possible. There will be no roadblocks.

The transforamtion that will unfold when all the roadblocks are cleared. Starting with yourself, one by one, the family, the community and then the nation will be transformed. What a wonderful state of being.

Let us make it happen. Speak up to free yourself all all things negative and enjoy the positivity to come.

Peace, love and blessings,

Toni Yolande