Chasing Purpose in My Life: My Reflections from the #MTYRetreat Pt. 1
I was motivated to apply for The Retreat by Myleik Teele, Founder of CurlBox and Creator of the MyTaughtYou podcast, because I knew the #MTYRetreat was a place where I can find my tribe of ambitious Black women. Women who are ready to go deeper within their own personal journeys while elevating their sisters and investing in their communities.
Plus, I admire Myleik! She is an “astute businesswoman,” a caring mother, a dedicated life partner, and a loyal friend. Myleik overflows with sage wisdom for life + business and is the epitome of, as she puts it, a “lit candle that lights candles.”
So, I applied! Not worrying about if I will get accepted or not. I said, “God, if this door is for me, open it. If it is not your will, I accept it.”
I’m currently learning how to live a life that is intentional and authentically mine. I don’t believe that I have to be an expert to help others do the same. I just believe that I have to be transparent with my journey. I cannot recall a moment in my life where I felt as empowered as I do now. Even so, I still have a lot more growing, learning, and reclaiming of my power to do.
I wrote these words while completing my application to attend The Retreat. I don't journal much, but those words jumped off the page at me. Why? My past desire for "perfection" and "to please" manifested as me striving to achieve the dreams + assume the identities that others wanted for me. I realized my actions weren’t even in alignment with who I really am or my purpose. Since then, I've been dedicated to dismantling old mindsets that don't serve me, rediscovering myself, and finding ways to serve others.
Upon receiving Myleik’s invitation to attend The Retreat, I broke down in tears. It wasn’t so much that I felt validated. It was more that I felt seen and understood.
After the #MTYRetreat, all I wanted to do for several days was write down and digest my experiences! I wish that I’d taken time off from work after returning back home– mental note for next time lol. I also knew that I was going to have to come out of my blogging hiatus because I have so much that I want to share too.
Though I originally expected I would write a recap of the entire weekend, I am inspired to share my own personal reflections instead.
This year, God has been speaking to me. Saying, "Trust me. Nah, bigger!"
He has been asking me to allow him to shift my mindset of what it is that He is capable of doing in and through my life. Yet, I continued dragging my feet. Refusing to explicitly ask Him for help in the most important areas of my life. My prayer life was weak, and I was not making true efforts to change it.
However, the month before the #MTYRetreat, I was motivated to complete a 21-day prayer challenge. I was tired and ashamed of going to everyone but God, though I know better, in regards to my life. Every night for 21 days, I challenged God. I asked for CLARITY in my purpose as well as in my business Cubicles to Cocktails. I requested to be taken to NEW LEVELS in my relationship with Christ as well as in my marriage.
Let’s fast forward to The Retreat…
The #MTYRetreat was a phenomenal experience. Myleik, Karleen Roy (Founder of The Vanity Group), and their teams left no detail untouched! Every detail, speaker, and experience was thoughtfully curated to transform our experience, lives, and minds.
Once I stopped psyching myself out, connecting with the other women was one of the most refreshing feelings I’ve had in a while. We didn’t have to persuade one another to believe in our dreams or convince anyone to embrace our quirks and listen to our interests. We literally just “got” each other! It was awe inspiring to be surrounded by so many Black women wanting to see each other win! Plus, let me tell you how amazing the energy felt to be among 130+ successful Black women hyping each other up while we “Back that Azz Up” on the dance floor! There is incredible beauty in watching the sun bless the melanin of 130+ successful Black women enjoying the sea breeze and the ocean on a private yacht! The #MTYRetreat is more than a retreat, it is a sisterhood and an experience of unapologetic indulgence.
As the weekend continued, my curiosity about Devi Brown’s Dropping Gems: A Business with Purpose masterclass started to increase. Though I knew of Devi from a few of her podcast interviews, I’ve never met her or experienced any of her in-person masterclasses or meditations. So, I didn’t know what to expect. But, I was open to receiving, especially after asking God for 21-days straight, “help me to get clear on my purpose!” I was so ready to move even just one step closer to receiving an answer during her session.
The way Devi kicked off her session, I knew I was going to have a level up the caliber of self-work I do after.
Devi guided us through the following self-inquiry meditation:
Answer the question “Who am I?” first by stating your name and then listing your familial and career titles (Example: I am Christa. I am a wife. I am a project manager).
Answer the question “Who am I?” by stating your name and then listing your familial titles.
Answer the question “Who am I?” by stating your name.
Answer the question “Who am I?” without using your name or any titles.
Devi explained how even after stripping away the titles we elect to our lives, we still exist. We still exist, and we still have a purpose to fulfill. This exercise challenged me. I realized regardless of my years of self-work, I’ve still tied a core component of my identity and value to someone else’s perception and projections of me. *insert shocked emoji*
“Purpose is meant to be explored over our entire lifetime,” Devi shared. “Purpose is using your unique gifts, your unique abilities to be of service to other people.”
At the end of her session, Devi challenged us to write our own life’s mission statement:
Identify your top 4 core values.
Write down a description of what it means to live out each of these 4 values in your life.
She shared how she identified her most essential values, designating them the pillars of her life’s mission statement: faith, loyalty, intimacy, and adventure. She explained how this mission statement helps her to be intentional in chasing a life of purpose.
In Reflection… on Purpose + Self
I realized that discovering my purpose is not a one-time conversation with God, it is a lifelong relationship with Him. Identifying my unique gifts and my unique abilities to serve others will not happen after a “couple of years” of work. It is a lifetime’s worth of self-inquiry and exploration. We must always chase our purpose, aligning our life’s actions + beliefs.
Throughout the weekend, my roommate Olaide— she’s dope, follow her— kept telling me how “self-aware” I am. Mindfulness is something that I have been practicing for several years now because I desire to become self-aware. However, I personally did not believe that I was that self-aware. So, I was surprised to hear this from someone I only knew for a few hours. After The Retreat, I made time to think about her comments and why I would immediately tell myself and her, “I’m really not self-aware,” every time she said it. Now, I realize what Olaide saw in me was evidence of my growth that I’ve instinctively discredited. Like purpose, my spiritual journey of self-discovery and self-awareness will always evolve and is meant to last lifetime. It is not that I am not self-aware, haven’t dismantled limiting mindsets, or discovered my purpose, it is that I am always becoming.
I deserve to honor where I’ve been, where I am, and where I want to be.
In Reflection… on Purpose + Partnership
Though The Retreat was very much about self-actualization, there were two moments that I immediately thought about Jacob and our marriage. The first moment was during the sunrise service when Sarah Jakes Roberts spoke a word over all of us women. “You are a connector. You're going to connect cultures and industries,” she said. The second was during Devi’s masterclass, when she described her life’s mission statement and assigned us to create our own.
On the ride home from the airport, my husband was surprised by how quiet I was about The Retreat. I was deep in thought about what I wanted to share with him first as well as still processing many of my thoughts. Closer to home, I told him that I wanted us to create a mission statement for our marriage. He replied, “Ok, cool.” I wasn’t exactly sure why I was so excited about this task.
It took me a few days of reflection to finally reach my epiphany.
These moments spoke to me because I was being reminded of a word spoken over my marriage. Throughout our engagement, my uncle— he also officiated our wedding— explained how God will individually shape our spheres of influence and collectively use us to create a lasting impact on society. One morning during our engagement, my uncle emailed Jacob and me because God placed us on his heart during prayer. “Guard your hearts from the trivial and mundane things of this life. Capture the essence of the importance of your covenant to be,” he encouraged us. My uncle ended the message instructing us to, “develop [our] own culture and measure each pillar of it by the WORD of God.”
I realized God commanded us to create a mission statement for our marriage, years ago. *insert shocked emoji*
I burst into tears of joy and gratitude. I cried because I was joyful to see how clearly God spoke to me at that moment in my time of reflection. I cried because I was grateful for God’s grace in my life and marriage.
We are all placed on this earth to fulfill a purpose. When you dedicate yourself to a lifelong union, I believe that you are now not only called to support your partner in fulfilling their purpose, but also you are now called to fulfill a joint purpose together.
I’ve previously written how Jacob and I did not marry solely for love because we both believe that marriage is a calling to build. Several years ago, I could not understand the true depth of our belief and did not recognize the significance in what God and my uncle shared with us. Truthfully, I’m uncertain if we were spiritually, or even emotionally, mature enough at the time to create such an important creed to shape how we will live out our shared purpose through our marriage. If I did not trust and challenge God over 21 days prior to The Retreat, I am certain that I would not have heard God as clearly as I did that the time to “develop [our] own culture” is now.
God used my #MTYRetreat experience as the catalyst for mindset shifts and revelations that will have a lasting impact on my life, marriage, and business.
I was reminded of the importance of reflection. It is in moments of prayer, thoughtfulness, and silence that I will hear God’s voice the clearest, but He is always speaking.
The beauty of the #MTYRetreat is that it is truly a gift that keeps giving. The conversations among 130+ women amplify the value of the content offered during the masterclass sessions, fireside chats, and Q&As. The level of reflection and self-work that you must commit to after will cause a ripple effect across all areas of your life. The wisdom that Myleik and her tribe poured into you will spillover into the lives around you. The experience of limitless living will cause you to seek that same energy in your everyday life.
So, what do I want you take away from my reflections? It is to remember:
When chasing your purpose, listen to and obey God.
Commit to the lifelong business of self-work, and honor your process of becoming.
In order to live in your purpose, define your mission and align your actions accordingly.
Purpose is fulfilled over a lifetime.