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To Get Clear, I had to attend a CLEAR Program

By Dr. Mary 


Everyone is on a journey at some point in their lives. As I approach 50 this year, I reflect on my life and ask what have I done?  I have five degrees including a doctorate but feel I have not reached my full potential. 

What have I really accomplished?  What have I contributed to my community?  What am I going to leave between the dash of 1969 and ---?  What legacy will I leave for my children? 

So, this year I have embarked on a journey to “find myself.”  Several times I have asked myself: ‘What do you want to do when you grow up?’ It seems I know more of what I don’t want, than what I want.  What is my passion and my purpose in life?  I want to know, ‘what was I sent on Earth to do?  What has the Creator gifted me to do’? 

One of the first things I did was fast and pray.  At the time, I was teaching elementary school and was miserable.  I kept looking for alternate employment before I left but found nothing, and the more I prayed it seemed the worse things got on the job; I finally took a leap of faith and quit. 

I began putting things in place to begin my practice, all the while thinking there has got to be more that I’m supposed to do.  I am currently an entertainment writer but that I do as a side gig; I love my work but still want more. I have taken many one-day workshops, read self-help books, spoken to life coaches, attended a wellness conference and completed the CLEAR program.  The CLEAR program is one thing that brought about an ‘aha’ moment.

CLEAR (Community Leadership on the Environment Advocacy and Resiliency) Miami is a Climate Resilience Leadership program which “provides graduates with a groundwork to become climate resilience educators, leaders, and innovators in their own communities and beyond.” When I first heard about this program --- that it was 10 weeks, free dinner and project at the end -- I said, ‘oh no, not for me’.  I am not interested in climate change although I believe it is real, but after a couple weeks of being unemployed, I thought why not, it’s something to do and I may just learn something.

CLEAR is a part of Catalyst Miami which was founded by Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava as the Human Services Coalition. Its “defining role is to identify and launch innovative community building strategies.” Their vision is “A just and equitable society in which all communities thrive.” Their mission statement is, “To identify and collectively solve issues adversely affecting low-wealth communities throughout Miami-Dade County.”

CLEAR Miami has been one of the most rewarding trainings for me.  I have never thought about climate/social change but as the weeks went on I felt myself falling in love with social change. I have always been interested in helping the community and done several volunteer jobs, but CLEAR is helping me take it to the next level. 

One of its requirements is to develop a program and present it at the end of the course.  The project I am designing involves incarcerated individuals and while it is in the infancy stages, it gets more exciting as the time goes by.  It’s too early to say I’ve found the answers to my questions, but I have made great progress.  Going outside my comfort zone led me to a place I would not otherwise be unable to conceive.

If you are like me and feel that there is more to life than where you are currently be patient with yourself.  Trust the process, take the time to explore, go outside of your comfort zone, be open.  There are many books, coaches, counselors and psychologist who will help.  Choose a path that’s best for you, and as Nike says, ‘Just Do It’.  It is such a rewarding feeling to think, ‘this feels right’, or get that ‘Aha!’ moment.

Don’t settle for less.  Life is short and we only have one life to live.  Live yours!



This article first appeared in I Am Queen magazine in October 2019.



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