When fashion and image consultant, Mo Cisse first emigrated from his homeland in Africa to the United States, it quickly felt as if the American Dream had failed him. Coming into a foreign country without the slightest knowledge of its language and customs, Mo faced bullying and cultural difficulties that led him to develop insecurity and self-limiting beliefs. But Mo’s story does not end in failure. Overcoming the hurdles that his experience as an immigrant has given him, Mo decided to go all in into his passion and started his own high-end clothing line called Meraki Allure. Bask in the inspiration and good vibes that this piece of good news gives you as Mo bares it all in this conversation with Dorci Hill.
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From Immigrant To Living The American Dream With Mo Cisse
From immigrant to living the American dream is what is on the healthy, happy, fun menu for this episode because it’s that time to get you tuned in, turned on and tuned up with your dose of the healthy, happy, fun hour with me. It’s my mission to turn your frown upside down and teach you how to incorporate play, purpose and pleasure into your daily routine so that you create that life that you want to wake up to every day that’s full of love and laughter. Joining me is Mo Cisse. He is the Founder of Meraki Allure, a clothing line for men and women. He’s a fashion revolution and image consultant with soul. He’s my brother from another mother. No wonder we get along. My sweet friend, welcome to the show, Mo.
Thank you for having me. I’m excited to be here and you have already given me the energy that I needed to make the day even better.
When I was typing up my notes, I was like, “Welcome to the show, Mo.” Periodically, I burst into song for no apparent reason but I was like, “That rhyme, I did not even plan that.” That was awesome. I was like, “Is this what it’s going to be like for the next 30, 45 minutes?”
It’s awesome. The African part of me loves the rhythm that you’ve got going on. It’s all good. Africa is all about music.
It’s no joke to have some of the best songs and rhythms like no one’s business. My notes and stuff are everywhere. I’ve got stuff running all over the place. It’s going to be one of those crazy days.
We like it and it makes it fun. It keeps you on your toes.
First off, I want to get started. How are you doing, my fine friend?
I am doing well. I’m blessed, grateful, loving life and making the best of every day. Truly my heart is full.
I was doing a tele-summit with a good friend of mine. One of his tags is if you ask him how he’s doing, he signs things like this, he texts messages these things and he says, “I’m too blessed to be stressed.” It’s awesome. I love that. I’m tickled to have you here for our little chat. My whole purpose and reason for doing this is because there’s nowhere near enough joy, happiness and fun these days. The world needs more good news stories from great awesome people like you.
You as well. You are the reason we’re here. I appreciate you inspiring this moment.
Thank you. Make sure all of you reading, don’t go anywhere because after Mo and I chat, I’m going to share some more good news with you from around my neighborhood and the world. Let’s face it, we need some more good news. Make sure you stay right where you are, get comfortable and don’t go anywhere. I want to start with a quote. I love this. This is on your business website. “I may not have come from much but my vision is beyond where I came from.” That is beautiful. What exactly does that mean to you?
It’s a personal deep way of me sharing with the world that your past doesn’t equal your future. Sometimes as we all have our own insecurities and doubts about what we feel we deserve in the future and be like, “Mo, stop the down talk to yourself or the limited thinking. If another human being can do it, as long as you’re willing to learn and apply the same work ethic, you can achieve it for you and your family as well.” To me, that was a lot of my journey, getting over those self-limiting beliefs.
That’s the trick to living the divine life that we came with a plan to live and access to all the tools to make our divine plan happen. You see these people that are on TV or like the Tony Robbins and Dean Graziosis and all these big-name people or even as football stars or athletes and you think, “I will never have any of that. They’re the lucky ones.” Every single person that is where they are in an elevated status started off as an amateur not knowing what they know now, the expertise, the experience, the stamina and whatever it is that they’re doing. Isn’t it funny how we put this stuff on ourselves? “I can never do that. They must’ve had some special opportunity that we somehow don’t have.”
[bctt tweet=”Your past doesn’t equal your future.” via=”no”]
It’s true. The longer we stay in that state, the harder it becomes for us to see ourselves in that light. Sometimes the challenge is going from thinking that it’s possible for other people to seeing that it’s possible for yourself. What I went through, no one knows what it feels like but that’s a story that we create and the longer we stay there, the harder for us to bridge that gap between where we are and where we want to be. “Dorci is more lively. She’s more cheerful.” The old me would have been like, “There’s no interview. You can call me, girl. We can have a five-minute conversation but you’re not having me alive and talking to the world.” It’s part of my journey that I have to embrace that, “I’m not Dorci but what part of Dorci can I adapt to who Mo is, to be more interactive, present and fun?” That’s healthy. It doesn’t mean I have to be someone else but could I be better?
One thing that is important to me, everyone that comes on the show with all these episodes, the one common comment and feeling is they say, “This was fun.” We’ve gone for these long conversations that they normally wouldn’t have and they’re like, “This has been the best.” They’re all excited and happy. Here’s the thing. It’s also a choice that I made and we all know these kinds of people. You can get around people that light you up, that inspire you to be your best self. I’m not saying you’re going to be inspired to, all of a sudden have blonde hair with blue, green and pink party. You could, “Go for it.” Knock your socks off honey bunny. I’ve got a pink party in the back and everything. I’m like a living unicorn rainbow.
However, that doesn’t mean you need to be like that. It’s sometimes being around that energy, if you’re open, that gives you opportunity and permission to say even if it’s simple as like, “All you’re doing is wearing these cool brightly colored socks or this cute pair of undies that only you know about yet it’s awesome.” That one little thing can be freeing and creative. You meet these other people in your life that suck the life out of you and like standing there. I call them energy vampires because they suck every bit of goodness out of you and I never ever wanted to be that person. I wanted to be the type that you instantly felt at home, happy and better being around instead of the person you go, “Thank God she’s gone.”
Can I ask you a question?
First and foremost, congratulations on the revamp of the show. That’s most important because it’s a perfect example to show that with everything happening in the world and our own personal lives, to continue to adapt and overcome. I know a little bit about the stories behind the scenes so I had to say congratulations for sticking to your guns.
The main question is, do you remember what it was like to hesitate to go after this show or to accomplish something else? We talk about athletes and things but for your readers, it might be beneficial for us to touch a little bit about what was it like Dorci or myself overcoming that moment? I know life is not always the way we want it to be and it’s truly amazing to connect with someone like you. That’s like, “I get it. This is happening. I’m going to pivot. I’m going to make it happen.”
You’re the first one that I have had on this relaunch, these new episodes that have asked me a question. I’m glad you brought that up because I’m telling people I’m the happiness expert and I love helping people create healthy, happy and fun life roadmaps so they know how to navigate life through a state of balance, ease and a happy heart. Let’s face it, everything comes easier when you do that. The solutions, new opportunities and problems are solved faster, all that stuff. However, it doesn’t mean we’re delusional saying that because I have colorful hair means I live in an alternate universe that is surrounded by glittery pink unicorn roses. As much as I love glittery pink unicorn roses, I also know that there are peaks, valleys, fears and it’s the overwhelm.
I cannot tell you how many times something has gotten me in what I call a spin or an energy loop where I sit there paralyzed with the what-ifs. Am I good enough? Who’s going to read? Who’s going to buy? I’ve co-authored three books, before I even did the first one, it took me more than ten years to write the first anything. It’s like, “Why?” My mom passed away unfortunately when she was 47, I was 21 years old. She died of a rare form of internal skin cancer. You sit and think 47 when you’re younger, you think 47 is ancient. When you start to get into your 30s and 40s, you’re getting started and a handle on what’s going on in life in your 40s and then all of a sudden, you’re not here. Things finally started to click. I said, “We truly are only granted today, yesterday is gone. There is not a darn thing I can do about yesterday until they develop some time warp, and I can get into little DeLorean, whiz back around to a different timeframe and maybe tweak a little bit of something.”
Although, I’m also of the mindset that whatever happened in the past led me to where I am now and I would not change anything because I’m digging to where I am now. Tomorrow, I can’t do anything about it either. It’s over there, as the Texans come out, over yonder. Let’s face it, if I worry about tomorrow and all that tomorrow is fabulous, I have spent energy worrying for nothing. The key thing for me and you too is we have mentors and we have people we can reach out to say, “I’m in a spin. I’ve got something going on and I’m terrified yet I’m going to do it afraid.” You answered this for me. Every time I’ve done something that I’m terrified about, “Is this going to happen?” The world’s going to come to an end and then I do it. I’m like, “It was nowhere near as traumatic as I thought it was going to be.” Is that the same experience that you have?
Thank you for sharing and answering my question. I am sorry about your loss. I didn’t even know about your mom. It’s been the journey and I’m sure someone is reading to this and appreciate hearing the fact that it took you ten years to do the first book because to see the end result that, “She must be surrounded by a bunch of happy things that must be watched and she wants to share happy fun things with the world.” People need that perspective. For me, the hardest part of my journey is getting over myself and those thoughts. The fact that I am worthy and the way that I see myself will reflect on how people treat me. I even had that thought some time with my nieces and nephews. One of my nieces was joking about not being pretty. I was like, “Don’t say that again. Be careful because whatever you think of yourself, people will treat you that way. How would you feel if someone walked up to you and told you weren’t pretty?” The same thing goes for myself and other adults out there. It’s like, “Why should I expect people to respect me or embrace who I am if me and my stuff, I don’t hold myself to that standard.” It’s not congruent.
You and I both believe that you come to everything and you hear newly when you’re ready to hear it in a new way that you can take it, learn from it, incorporate it and move to your higher and greater self. Somebody made a comment somewhere. I don’t recall where, it doesn’t even matter because it was the message that was received. It said that, “When you say the self-deprecating things to yourself, change it.” That’s like your niece. If she’s like, “I’m not pretty,” put God in front of it or whoever you believe is your higher power. I’m a Christian. I believe in God. There have been moments where I would say, “I can’t do this. No one will listen to me. I’m not worthy. I can’t figure this out. I’m fat or I’m this.”
When you start changing that to, “God is fat, God is not worthy and God can’t figure this out.” You go, “Wait a minute.” It’s always language. When you reframe the language because the mind only goes to work on what you tell it and make you right. If you tell that, “I am fat. I am unworthy. I will never get there,” your mind will show you exactly what you said. If you change it and say, “I can have everything. I have everything I’ve ever wanted. Everything I’ve ever wanted is in the pipeline coming to me.” Your mind is going, “We’ve got to make this stuff happen because she says she already has it.” We’ve got to make it happen here. I’m wondering, is this with some of the thoughts and the not worthy in your realm at first because of being an immigrant to this country and the whole process of coming over? Did you speak English before you got here? You’re coming here knowing zero people and don’t even know the language. I can imagine there are a lot of people who are immigrants or their family have immigrated from another country and it’s a shell shock. Some of them will never get out of that into living an American dream and you’ve done that.
It’s exactly that when I first came. The best part about coming here initially was the first few days until I started school in sixth grade. In 1997 when I came to the US, not to age myself but I went straight to sixth grade. At that age, not knowing what was waiting for me per se is that I was excited because America was like what we saw everything in the movies. We thought about landing here and made it. Money grows in trees in America. You don’t have to work that hard. Look at the stars any day, I run into one of these stars that’s going to offer me and to sign something for me. The rude awakening that happened from my personal journey was when I started school. I went to school and a lot of kids in sixth grade, you can imagine at that age 12 or 13 and they have no filters. They say exactly what they think. That’s why the bullying began.
Kids started to call me names. Luckily for me, that’s when being surrounded by good people made a difference because the teacher started to look out for me. They would keep me from getting into fights. Some of them would even give me a ride home because they felt bad for me and I will take three different buses to go to school. At twelve years old, my day would start around 4:30 AM for me to take three different buses to go to school in downtown San Diego and then take the three buses again back home. That was the thing that gave me a shock. I’m like, “This is not what I thought America was supposed to be.” I will call my sister at the salon where she worked. I would call her almost every day telling her that I want to go back home. It’s not like she was into personal development back then but she knew what she stood for and what the value was. She said, “Give it a year. If you don’t like it after the first year, we can help you go back home if that’s what you want.”
After the first year, I started to make friends, slowly adapt and improve my English. That was the most challenging year for me that led to a lot of insecurities to the point that I even stopped telling people that I was from Africa because I was scared that I would be bullied again like I was in sixth grade. I started to tell people I was from France because French is my first language. That led to a series of identity crises and not believing in yourself and a lot of insecurities. Long story short, bullying led to me being insecure about how I saw myself and what I thought I was capable of. It took years before I started to overcome that and start to go after what I wanted.
That’s a perfect little segue into what you wanted. Kudos to you because even going on a vacation to a different country, a different place can be daunting because it’s out of your comfort zone especially if you go to a place where the primary language is not your first language, even a vacation can be intimidating. To come here and not speak the language and you have this grandiose idea of what you’re going to walk into and what the world is going to be here and then you get this cold slap in the face of the reality that, “This is not the movies. This is real life. I don’t know what’s going on here.”
Especially as a young kid at that age, it’s easy to start taking on all this negative stuff that’s being thrown at you because you being an immigrant, not speaking the language, it’s a new place and your identity. The cool thing is you got all that handled and started your dream. You worked in the corporate world for a while but then I want to talk about you. You’re the person from someone back home would be looking at you going, they would see this tiny bit, which is most of what you see like the iceberg. You see the little bit on top. You don’t see the rest of the iceberg and all the work and everything at the bottom that goes into it now living your dream. You are the American dream for many people, not only here but back home. Tell me a little bit about your American dream, what you created and what you’re up to?
That journey of realizing my dream and my passion was interesting. I was in corporate for years and then toward the end of 2015, two friends approached me and had an intervention. Two of them were clients of mine because at that point in Corporate America, I always had part-time entrepreneur gigs. At that stage of my life, I had been a personal stylist for fun for many years. Two of those clients approached me. They’re like, “Mo, why are you playing with this whole fashion thing? Why don’t you go all-in?” I started making a lot of excuses. I said, “No, people in fashion are shallow. They’re fake. That’s not going to be good. There are good and bad people in every industry. I don’t care if it’s real estate or the medical field, it’s what you make out of it. I hate that you’re right but I’ll think about it.”
You might be right but I’m not going to go there.
The way we make excuses about things. Luckily for me, I listened to the universe’s intervention at that time. I took six months off to research the industry and figure out which lane we wanted to be in. We decided to forgo being in the fast fashion lane because that’s been a big problem too. A lot of environmental issues are happening in the world. We chose that if we’re going to go into the fashion lane, we want it to be more environmentally conscious and that’s the route we went. Officially, we launched the clothing line in 2016 and went all in. I still maintained my full-time corporate job until February of 2019.
Congratulations. You light up like a Christmas tree when you talk about it. I’m thinking that you have turned a corner in your thought process to how people in the fashion industry are. Though you’re in it and it lights you up. They’re not all shallow. There are plenty that does have a lot of integrity and operate from a heart-centered place that cares about what they’re doing to the environment and what they’re creating. I love that there are people like you out there because being concerned about the environment we live in and our impact, sometimes you forget that it also has to deal with the clothes that you wear. Where did they come from? How were they manufactured? It’s one of those things we don’t put enough thought into because there’s a lot of advertising and marketing around cleaning products, pesticides and all these other things. You go, “Do you all not realize what the clothing industry alone is doing to the environment?” People don’t think about that.
To your point, I love my industry. I know that what I was saying before was excuses because, at the end of the day, it depends on who you are. I’m truly grateful to continue connecting with more like-minded people that I want to be a part of the solution versus the problem. The challenge is when you buy a piece of a garment or apparel from the store, there’s no correlation to where it comes from. It’s in a beautiful store, aesthetically pleasing, got music on and everything smells good. You don’t have any idea. That’s how it is for most of us unless you make a decision to dig deeper to see the different layers, you will never know. That’s exactly where I was. I want to start to watch inventories. Even some of the manufacturers that I was looking to work with, they wouldn’t even work with me unless I order a certain amount of thousands of units at a time. I’m like, “I’m just starting out.” Eventually, you build enough of a reputation and then you’d find more people that you align with. That’s why I love what I do now.
[bctt tweet=”The way you treat yourself will reflect on how people will treat you.” via=”no”]
You can tell because you light up like a little Christmas tree when you’re talking about it, which is nice because you and I both believe in energy. Everything that you do, you put your energy and love part of your essence into it no matter what, if it’s a physical product or it’s having a conversation, you put that energy out into the world. We both believe in putting it out from our highest and greatest so that it’s received for someone else’s highest and greatest. That’s what I love about you. When we met, I’m like, “We both are aligned on that thought process.” I want to ask you. There’s one of my favorite things and we both agree, which is why we get along well and even if we don’t agree on everything, I still love you. I’m not one of those that’s like, “If you don’t agree with me, you’re gone. You’re not my friend. I’m deleting you. I’m blocking you.”
I appreciate that.
I have no problem with that. One of my favorite sayings from Abraham Hicks and another conversation we had at a different time is that, “Everything in your life shows up if you’re on the divine path or not, it shows you.” If you’re paying attention to what’s happening in your life and those people around you, it’s going to keep you going on the path or it’s going to derail you. You could have gotten into this. This goes for any job and any relationship if you pay attention to what’s going on in your life, you will be guided correctly or you can start listening to this, that and whatever and get off. Not only that you are living your own American dream but you’re not living a dream life at all. I’m assuming we agree on that.
There’s no surprise on that one at all. When I said back and look back at my life since I’ve been in this country and what could have gone wrong. I’ve had even friends get deported because they were at the wrong place at the wrong time and had different legal issues. I know for sure there’s so much gratitude that I have for my life and for the opportunities that I have now because I’ve already been close enough where I’ve experienced things that could have completely altered my path. I agree with you 100% about that quote from Abraham Hicks. The other part of that quote that makes it special for me is that it reminds me to be present in how I do things. Even when I’m negotiating business deals and collaborations, I’m like, “Does it feel right? How are they coming off?”
I’m not looking at the profit because if I only focused on the profit, I’m going to end up doing things that may not align with what matters to me. We’re a for-profit business, we’re not trying to sit and not make the right decision but there needs to be a healthy balance between, “Does it make logical business sense but also does it feel right?” These people that are proposing this thing isn’t right. For me, even when I had my little intervention with my friends to launch the clothing line, I was like, “Did it feel right?” I had to sit back and have an honest conversation with myself like, “What if they’re right? Am I saying no because I’m scared?” That’s another thing that affects the way I make decisions moving forward. I strive to hone in and improve on this, to check myself and ask myself, “Am I making this decision out of faith or fear?”
That is like, “I would do this if my mic was not new. I would hold it and drop it. My mic is too new so I’m not going to hold it up and drop it in this one. I’m doing the proverbial air mic drop. I like my microphone and I’m not going to mess it up.” That is the thing that holds everybody back is stopping whatever they’re doing because they’re afraid of what someone else may think, say, do or whatever. Many people get stuck in the fear and never want or even consider moving out of that. They’re not living anything near a healthy, happy and fun life. It’s not a dream lifestyle. I tried to outgive, outdo God like, “I’m going to do better than you.”
Every time I did something, I had something better that came into my life to replace it. I would give out something good, time, money resources and all this other stuff. When it comes to business or the show, doing other things, I don’t know who’s going to read and where all it’s going to go but I know it’s meant to be out there. For people across the world to hear the love, laughter and lightness, here’s the thing, I step out in fear and go, “I don’t exactly see that depth where the next step is.” The cool thing is when you do it in faith, it’s like, “Isn’t it always ten times better when you land than you ever could imagine that step would be?”
Even if it’s not the way you expect it to be, it’s always better than not doing it.
Expectations will poo-poo on your dreams all day long and twice on Sunday. When you expect something in a certain way, it’s like you’re ringing all the goodness out of what could be coming. You and I believe in a greater source of greater power. When I say to the universe, “I’m in alignment with XYZ,” my expectation is that it’s coming. I’m not holding on to the expectation of how it’s coming.
Don’t be attached to it.
I know it’s coming because I’ve asked for it. I’m in alignment. It is in my highest and greatest good. It will help me live my American dream. When I do that and let it go, it shows up in ways that I could have never imagined.
Even the way that you and I met when we set forth to launch this business many years ago, I didn’t say to myself on this date, “I want to make sure that I have a conversation with Dorci Hill that I’d never met before from Texas,” and it has to be specific at this time. That’s none of our conversations. That’s the funniest part is many little limiting thoughts and fears. I didn’t even want to model when I launched my line and luckily I had a great photographer for those and was like, “Mo, you are the brand. Get in front of the camera, I’ll tell you what to do.” I’m like, “No, put other people. I want to hide behind the scenes.” Apparently, the universe had a bigger goal for me because it’s putting me in front of people. I would rather have someone else to be here talking to you on my team than myself but I embraced it because you can’t ask for growth and continue to hide yourself. It’s not congruent.
That is true.
We want to build this, we want to do this and then you want to hide like that?
The unfortunate thing about that is you and I have big grand ideas. We have BHAG, Big Hairy Audacious Goals. I’m not being a hag, I have big hairy audacious goals. You don’t have to have a big hairy audacious goal to live in fear of never even being the best you where you are, you could be. We’re also making sure that whoever is reading, you’re aware. We realize that not everyone has a big goal and a big dream. Your big goal may be to be the best mom, wife or stay-at-home dad. That is priceless to the people in your world. Yet, there are still many that feared being the best at that because of what other people will say. I want to put that out.
It’s true and profound. You and I believe in something greater than us. I had this conversation with one of my sisters all the time and my challenge is that I used to think that faith was going to the church, going to the mosque or whatever religion you prescribed. I thought that’s where faith was, it was in that department but now realizing that faith is applied in every area of my life, how I treat people, run my business and do deals. Do I do deals where it’s only beneficial for me and it’s going to be detrimental to someone else? Do I take the next big step? Do I stay in my comfort zone? That’s all part of faith. I used to compartmentalize what I thought faith was and that was a big thing for me to learn. It’s the way I lived my entire life. Relationships too so I’ve got to be careful how I treat. This faith thing is getting complicated.
I like to tell people too when it comes to that. Half of my family is Methodist, the other half was Baptist and then I went to a Catholic school for eight years. I had religion up to my eyeballs and I was like, “I am done with structured religion.” I also believe that I can be as close to God, source, the creator, Allah or whatever you want to call your higher power. Outside, listening to the wind and the trees and I’m like, “I don’t have to be in a building so I am much more spiritual than I am religious.” When we’re talking about that, they think, “I go to a building one day a week and that’s my faith.” Everything that I do as well is rooted not only in my highest and greatest good. Am I going to cause harm to someone else by doing this? Am I going to bring them joy and maybe be an example through what I do? Before we end all good things, we have to come to a momentary end and not the final end. Tell me one fun little fact about Mo Cisse that people may not know by looking at you?
I tell you two truths and a lie. You tell me which one is a lie. I’ll tell you an interesting fact.
I haven’t had anyone do that. Tell me two truths and a lie and I’ll see if I can guess that.
I’ve danced in the Super Bowl, I speak six languages and I’ve traveled all throughout Texas.
You have not traveled all throughout Texas. Is that the lie?
That was too obvious. I need to get better at lying. I should have picked a smaller state.
We’ve had a little bit of a Texas conversation. At first, when you said Super Bowl, I was like, “I don’t know.” I danced at the Aloha Bowl which is one of the big college bowls. It’s not out of the realm of the ordinary for those of us in the creative space, fashion, dance or whatever to be involved or invited to those kinds of things. I knew you spoke several languages so the six was not out of the realm. For Texas, I’m like, “I don’t think so.”
I’ll make it more complicated next time. I gave it away with the Texas thing.
Thank you for being here, chatting and spreading your joy from coming here. I can tell by listening to you that there might’ve been a little bit of chaos and upheaval coming here but you’ve made it this wonderful and beautiful American dream. I appreciate you, your time and our friendship for being here. Something that I like to do to wrap up our conversations is called A Dollop of Dorci. It’s a fun little quote, phrase or something that encapsulates our time together.
These are inspired by you. These are design inspirations. This first one is, “Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it.” That’s Salvador Dali. You’re reaching for perfection, you’ll never get there and then you’ll never step out in faith. The last one is, “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” That’s Maya Angelou. You will never give away all of your stuff and all of your knowledge or you’ll never make the best fabulous outfit or dress because the more you create, the more fabulous you’ll create. That’s what I want to leave everyone with, “Don’t stop, step out in faith, not in fear, create even if it’s in your own small little way, it’s big to somebody and keep doing it.”
[bctt tweet=”Have no fear of perfection. You’ll never reach it.” via=”no”]
Thank you for having me. It’s been an absolute pleasure.
We’re going to say goodbye for now to Mo and we’re going to say hello to some good news stories because it’s that time of the day where I’m feeling some kind of way and I feel like I need a good news story in my day.
This good news story comes to us courtesy of the Department of Veteran Affairs. Veterans have been granted a lifetime pass to national parks. A little bit ago on Veterans Day 2020, the Department of Veteran Affairs has announced that US military veterans and Gold Star families will be granted a lifetime of free access to national parks, wildlife refuges and other federal lands managed by the Department of the Interior. That started on Veterans Day 2020 and goes every day onward. “With the utmost respect and gratitude, we are granting Veterans and Gold Star families free access to the iconic and treasured lands they fought to protect starting Veterans Day 2020 and every single day thereafter,” said the Secretary of the Interior, David Bernhardt.
The access passes, which are called America the Beautiful, will waive the entrance fees for the National Park Service and the US Fish and Wildlife Service in standard amenity recreation fees. Veterans and Gold Star families will have free access to approximately 2,000 public locations that are spread out across more than 400 million acres of public lands, which hosts activities that fit any lifestyle from the serene to the high octane including hiking, fishing, paddling, biking, hunting, stargazing and climbing. That is the most amazing thing ever and well overdue for our veterans. If you are a veteran or your family has veterans, thank you for serving. I hope you take them up on this fabulous offer if you’re one of those who likes to get out and about especially with the way things have been this crazy year we call 2020.
Many more people are getting out and doing RVing or seeing places across this great land that we have because they can do it in small groups or take their family. If you’re one of those, I hope you hop on that offer that is amazing. My final thought is going to be about a message in a bottle. I want you to look for the unexpected in the unexpected. I love the movie, Message In A Bottle, from 1999. It is a sad and moving story but full of love and hope all at the same time. It’s all of those things wrapped into one. You get all the emotions with this one movie. Something about messages does that to us especially the unexpected messages.
It’s like these days getting snail mail, which is rare. It’s like winning the lottery when you get something in the mail that surprises you, that someone was thinking of you and sent you a little something. I don’t mean the IRS or the local courthouse requesting your presence for jury duty, all the junk mail, all that kind of stuff or a late notice on your electrical bill. I’m talking about the unexpected card, little gift or something that says, “Somebody was thinking of you.” The package your good friend sent to you because they saw something that reminded them of you and they wanted to surprise you. Has it been a while since you’ve gotten one of those? How long has it been since you sent anything like that to anyone else?
It might not be a bad idea to start doing this. It’s one of those like, “Food for thought or the more you know.” I posted this statement on social media that said, “Look for the unexpected in the unexpected.” How often do you look for the little moments in any situation? Those are the ones that are the best. It’s those little things that add up to these big transformative times or changes like a little message in a bottle. A wish, dream or prayer sent off in a glass container to be carried along by the waves to some unknown, distant shore. Thinking of it like that makes me smile and makes me happy. Why? It’s the little things that mean the most. There are these people that leave these messages on rocks for other people to find while they’re walking down sidewalks, hike, bike trails, the beach or wherever, they have these uplifting messages like, “You rock. You’re amazing. Today is your day. You’re blessed. Hello, beautiful. You’ve got this.”
Those are a few of the things that you’ve seen on these little rocks. I always find that when you see something like that, your own private personal message, it comes at the exact right moment with the exact right prompt that you need. Isn’t that the coolest thing ever? It’s not a coincidence. It’s the universe saying, “Here’s a little message for you. I’ve got your back, you’ve got this, you’re great and you can handle this.” Knowing how awesome it is to find those messages, think of how cool it is to leave these little messages for someone that you don’t know, don’t know when they read it, how they’ve absorbed it and you’ll never ever meet. One of the things I also love to do is go through a toll booth, even though I have an easy tag on my car, I will go through and pay for the next several cars behind me.
I’ve even had people who are probably breaking the speed limit to catch up with me and they wave with a big smile on their face. They’re like, “Thank you. It’s simple, it’s a couple of dollars and it makes me feel darn good.” It doesn’t cost much. It makes me feel good. It makes me feel like I spent a ton of money. The feeling and happiness don’t have to cost a fortune for it to last for a good long time. Some people like to go to Starbucks and pay for the next person in line or the person behind you in the drive-thru or whatever or something simple like get packs of food gift cards. The fast-food restaurants have little packs of cards that you can get for $5 or $10 and buy 3, 4, 5 of those in a pack or whatever.
You can only spend $5 or maybe $10 apiece and then pass them out randomly. I don’t mean for the holiday, that’s a cool gift idea if you need a good gift idea, there you go. It’s because it’s Thursday or it’s Tuesday and you felt like, “Someone else needs a Taco Tuesday.” You feel great about reading my show, it made you happy, you were bubbly, walking on air and you’re like, “I’m going to buy some gift cards and give them away.” These little messages speak volumes. You never know what people are going through and this little gift may have meaning beyond any words that you speak or any other actions that you do, you could make someone’s day or year by something simple as a $5 Starbucks gift card.
I came upon this topic because I saw an article about a man who wrote a message in 1930. He put it in a bottle and threw it in a body of water. It was found and they located the granddaughter of the writer. They’re returning the message in the bottle to her. What a treasure keepsake that’s going to be. I was leafing through because I get a free monthly subscription to Reader’s Digest from my in-laws. I found another article on how a message put into a water bottle and thrown down some rapids helped rescuers find and save a family who was stuck on the other side and couldn’t get down.
I saw both of these stories within an hour of each other on the same day. Messages come in loud and clear when you’re looking for the unexpected in the unexpected. The message here is, “Be looking and be aware.” It’s that simple. I got the message loud and clear, divine ones. When I see things in bundles, groups or repeating numbers, I listen because there’s always a message when I’m willing to listen. I figured that there were some of you who might need to know this now or whenever you happen to be reading this episode because that was when you were meant to be reading this episode. My message in a bottle happens to be in the form of a blog. Like the ones placed in a glass and thrown in the water, it will float out on the airwaves reaching the ones it’s meant to reach at the exact time that it’s meant to reach you.
I even had someone tell me that they read a show that I did a couple of years ago. Messages, my friends, are timeless and hold more value than you can ever imagine. If you’ve been reading this, it has been a lot of fun and you’re like, “This is great. What are some suggestions of how I can leave my own messages for people that I know and that I don’t know?” My friends, I am glad you asked because I love to give you simple steps and easy things. I have a couple of suggestions. Are you ready? I hope so. I hope you have your little notepad handy or type it out on your phone or whatever.
This first one is if you have kids, grandkids, nieces, friends that have kids, there’s got to be someone with kids around or you can do it yourself. You don’t have to be a kid because you have an inner child in you that’s wanting to play. Get some rocks, paint messages or pretty images on them and leave them at playgrounds, parks or walking paths. If you have a dog and you’re out walking your dog somewhere, take some and put them in your pocket or leave them in odd places for someone else to find. Get some tiny little card. They have these amazing little small cards that have one sentence per card and leave them in random places at where you work, school or wherever you may be, put them on someone’s car windshield or something. Instead of when they’ll look at it and be like, “What is this thing, another advertisement?” and then it’s a cute little tiny card that says, “You’ve got this, you’re awesome or you’re amazing,” they’ll be like, “This is the coolest thing ever.”
I have some little cards like that and I put them inside bags of chips that my husband likes to eat. Out of the blue he’ll be digging in there and then pull out this little card. He might look at it like, “What did she do now?” I’m always doing crazy fun little things. You can put them in lunch kits or odd little places where someone that you love will find it or someone that you don’t even know will find it and you brighten their day with this simple tiny little card. Another thing you could do is pick up packs of gift cards to your local restaurants or bakeries. In 2020, those places are doing most of their business through takeout or drive-thru. I guarantee you, they would be thrilled to death if you came and bought some gift certificates to give out to other people to come to their stores. Hand them out randomly, put them in stockings, hang them on the tree because we’re coming up on the holidays or wherever you want to put it, give them as gifts or whatever.
Don’t judge who you think shouldn’t get one if you’re giving them to people that you don’t know, give them out randomly because you’re giving it from your heart. Let your heart tell you what to do. It’s awesome to see that smile on someone’s face that you don’t know and you randomly give them something nice. Because someone looks put together doesn’t mean that their life isn’t about to fall apart and you might be the piece of glue that helps to keep them together. Put silly lovey messages on Post-it notes and put them on the mirror, lunch boxes, purses, backpacks or your family members.
I said that I put little cards or little notes in bags of chips or bags of cookies. Maybe not in your Cheetos or Doritos. Those are a little too cheesy and the messages get too nasty but you can put these in different crazy places. Put them in an underwear drawer so someone opens up their underwear and they’re like, “Happy undies.” They get a happy message in their underwear drawer. Do something random out of the blue. I promise you, the smiles on the faces of the people that you care for is worth the crazy place you put it. This is for you, put little reminders on your phone with inspirational, uplifting messages that remind you that you are awesome and that you’re doing a fabulous job every single day no matter what you do.
I don’t want you to leave out the most important person, which is you, my sweet friend. While you’re doing these fun little things for other people, family, friends or whatever, remember yourself because you’ve got to fill your tank before you fill anyone else’s. It is cool to get these little reminder alerts on your phone that it’s like, “That says, you’re awesome, you got this, you’re a success or whatever it is that you want to say,” it is the most rewarding thing to see or hear if you did an actual voice recording.
Those are a few ways to create some timeless messages. What are some of the ways that you like to send or receive messages? I would love to hear from you and the quickest way to do that, if you haven’t already done it, is to get out your phone and text the word SHOW to (979) 721-5724. That’s my number. I will respond to you. Let me know what you’re doing, what you’ve done or what are you going to start doing after reading my list and some of the suggestions that I gave you? I would love to hear from you about how you are spreading healthy, happy and fun in your little corner of the world. Make sure that you reach out to me and let me know how you are looking for the unexpected in the unexpected and what happy unbelievable things you found along the way. That’s it for this episode and I would love to stay connected with you.
If you haven’t reached out to me on social media, make sure that you go and search for me @DorciHill. I’m probably the only Dorci Hill you’re going to find on social media. Let’s connect there and have another conversation because you know as well as I do, the more of us spreading healthy, happy, fun, the better this world will be. As always, until next time, my friends. My wish for you is that you are happy, healthy, and having a ton of fun in this life that you’re living and creating. My biggest Texas love and hugs to each and every one of you. Bye for now, my friends.
About Mo Cisse
Mo Cisse is an immigrant from Africa who followed in his mothers footsteps and learned to craft clothing for men and women. He’s the founder of Meraki Allure – a clothing line for men and women.
He’s a fashion revolution and image consultant with soul. Mo is on a mission to change the fashion industry by infusing quality clothing with Integrity, Gratitude, Community Commitment and Inclusion.
Through his creative endeavors, Mo encourages everyone to live their Meraki – (Greek origin) – to do something with soul, creativity, or love; when you leave a piece of yourself in your work.