Sunday, August 31, 2014

Let your tears flow

Emotional being I am, for I shed tears every once so often justified or not. I cry because I am happy, on cloud number nine, or for sorrow when I am at my lowest ebb and overcome with emotion. I cry in moments when I feel helpless, hopeless, confused and life seems so complex and unbearable, with perceptively no way out of a dark situation. I cry at thoughts, fears, concerns, reflections as my mental state lingers around my life journey and I need to vent tears that will take me to sleep when I cannot by myself. Shedding a tear does not change or lessen the burden of my situation, but it is an act that respects not logic nor conforms to boundaries, whether of race, color, gender, religion or geography. It is an act which flows deep from my human nature, and in the same way that your blood is red no matter who you are, tears are colorless and transparent no matter who you are, cutting across humanity to confirm and affirm our vulnerability, susceptibility and unity in diversity. 
They have no respect for hierarchy and dignity, time and place as well as company surrounding you. The more you suppress them sometimes, the more they flow. Even with your eyes closed they continue flowing, to declare that you cannot deny your presence, existence and humanity. Even the most hardened of criminal, gangster or thug, has shed a tear or two at some point in their life. They are human after all. Tears like a substitute soccer player, wait on the sidelines of your life, getting ready for the moment of deployment into action. They are there lurking patiently as if preying and waiting for the right button to be pressed after which they flow. To one person tears come as easy as saying the alphabet, while for another they are as difficult to find as the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, but at some point a tear is shed, and with it memories of a person, moment, experience or loss.
Let your tears flow, for they speak of your life experiences, who you are, where you have been and where you are going. Do not restrict nor confine them forever, for then you will never know how human and vulnerable yet strong and resilient you are. Let your tears speak your life story and path, and I will dare comfort you knowing that you have been here, written and left a story. A story of sadness and joy, pain and endurance, trial and success, tribulation and delight, decrease and increase, loss and breakthrough. You have not come and gone like the wind, but you have grown, learnt, matured, thrived, struggled, fought, conquered, overcome, risen above and become. Let your tears flow and let them tell your story.

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Monday, August 25, 2014

For whom the bell TORs

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend's
Or of thine own were:
Any man's death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls,
        It tolls for thee.         
Extract from Meditation XVII by John Donne

A tor linguistically is a hill or rocky peak but for this post I coined a different meaning to it as you will see as you read on. The world has lost a lot of TORs to date and hence we are more diminished than before according to John. What is a TOR? Well below are a few.

AdvocaTOR - someone who publicly supports or recommends a particular cause or policy. Lord Slynn - peace and justice, Lauren Bacall - optimism and positivity and Maya Angelou - tolerance, equality and peace.

AncesTOR - everyone has ancestors from whom one descended, the forebearers. We are the mark they left behind, albeit a diluted version of them.

InvenTOR - a person who invents a process or device. The list of inventors is endless with many sadly being late. I was not aware that paper was invented by a Chinese person Cai Lun, (50–121 AD). Check out for a listing of invenTORs.

CommunicaTOR - someone skilled at conveying information, ideas, or public policy and probably the TOR that inspires us bloggers and writers the most. William Shakespeare is highly regarded as one of the greatest communicaTORs in the world with his influence still lingering on more than 400 years later. It is agreed that he could entertain, enrage or impart vast wisdom with a few words.
InnovaTOR - a person who introduces new methods, ideas, or products. Steve Jobs, the co-founder, Chairman and CEO of Apple was a charismatic and design-driven pioneer of the personal computer revolution and his innovative approach to the technology sector will live on for generations to come. 

MenTOR - an experienced and trusted adviser who works alongside someone usually younger. Dr. Benjamin Mays, a distinguished African American minister and scholar, mentored Martin Luther King Jr. to become the icon he was.

OraTOR - a public speaker, especially one who is eloquent or skilled. Here names such as Winston Churchill and again Martin Luther King Jr. come to mind, as these were both great orators. Winston Churchill is known to have been a master of restraining emotion, while emphasizing argument and content.

I was not the least amused that Author is a THOR, but THOR still does good for mankind, does he not? There are all the TORs in our lives and I will add there are the good, the bad and the ugly, but I chose the good ones above. Those that form the frame of reference within us and make us who we are. The ones who have gone before or are walking alongside us in our journey. The ones we look up to or aspire to be like, or those that simple make the world a better place whether we know them or not. As John Donne said, whenever one of these die, we are all diminished in one way or another. Who are the TORs in your life, or are you being a TOR yourself? The question however that begs an answer is, are we birthing more TORs today than we are losing or have lost, or do we rely more on past TORs through their influence on us?

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Anti-age your dreams

I love to hear when kids talk about their aspirations, dreams and fantasies which they so clearly articulate without the possibility  that it cannot be done, especially when they brag between themselves trying to out-dream each other. They have this un-blinkered view of life without a grain of doubt to the possibilities that exist before being toned down, conditioned and acclimatized to 'life' by those who have gone before. I will have a big plane, one will say. I will have a space ship big enough to carry a million people to the moon, another responds. Well, I will be a queen and you will all bow and serve me yet another will say, to which an interjection will come from another aspiring to be the superhero the queen calls upon to save the world. With time come blinkers of all sorts. Downfalls and failures, bad relationships, negative talk, reality-checks and the so called real world happens. The dreams start falling by the way side one by one and become just that, dreams, if at all they linger. The bucket that was once full of possibility, becomes lighter and lighter with continuous offloading to pessimists, sneering at those dreams and watering them down to a drench leaving one feeling like they came out of a storm. The excitement slowly wanes, with it the dreams and visions fade away leaving only disillusionment.

Is it possible?
Well it is not all doom and gloom, as sometimes this is only a cycle where one needs to find themselves again and discover who they are what they can do and what they want to achieve in life. Taking back control of one's vision, dreams, and aspirations can occur at any point in life once a resolution has been made. How does one do this? Well there are several ways to resuscitate dreams but I will list five.

  • First up is to dream in the first place. Dreams can come true, so the cliché goes, but how can a dream come true if it has not been dreamt in the first place. Have an environment of nurturing dreams, an imagination, a hunger a thirst to start something. Different people have different ways of stimulating their imagination, creativity and dreams and one must find this environment and nurture it. For some it is finding peace and quiet coupled with meditation, yet for some it is taking long walks and drives, while others still it is travel distant or new places where they can unclutter their minds. Find your bed of dreams and take a nap.

  • Who is in the front row of your show? Keep people who dwell on your strengths and not your weaknesses and help you stimulate your dreams close. Those who highlight what you do better than them and catapult you to pursuing something big for yourself. Dreams are killed by scoffers and jeerers, sneerers, gibers and mockers (could be a few new English words there), who have nothing positive to say about your dream.

  • Are you walking or are you a caged bird that stands on the graveyard of dreams? You need to take a step towards your desired dream. It is said a dream is just a dream until one wakes up and pursues it. So you need to make that dream a reality through steps aimed at realizing the dream. It may be renting office space for a business, writing the first paragraph of a book, putting out an advert for services you want to render. Whatever it is, take that first step of faith towards it.

  • Review and constantly align your progress to your target to ensure that you are on track, making adjustments if necessary for the dream to remain realistic, achievable and feasible.

  • The last point is to always keep the baby in you alive, that childlike perspective and outlook to nurture your dreams. A child never stops dreaming and never stops believing in possibilities so never grow up on your dreams.
Look in the horizon and resuscitate those dreams that died within you and go for that dream!


Sunday, August 10, 2014

People grow, but mountains do not

 Having grown up staying in both urban and rural settings in Africa, I recall the mountains that I used to see when I was young and how intimidating, domineering and overbearing they seemed at that age. Visiting the same places and looking at the same mountains now, they are less intimidating and have become seemingly smaller as I have grown older over the years while they have remained the same. It is exactly the same mighty mountain which seemed impossible to conquer at some point but now it is even tempting to climb and explore, and is not as scary anymore. The mountain has largely remained the same, maybe even losing its mass to weathering, but I have not been static. I have grown both in stature and perspective in the way I view my surroundings and the world at large.  This seems like the story of life where a problem (mountain) on first encounter can be quite insurmountable and impossible to handle, but the same problem encountered again at another time becomes easier to handle and overcome after the first experience and coming full circle to the second one. The problem would however still probably be exactly the same as before. Mountains come in many types, shapes and sizes both literally and figuratively in life, with mountains of relationships, careers, finances, academics, health and many others. We all face a mountain at various points in our lives, but we do not face the same mountain with the same perspective twice, unless we are not growing. With growth we can recognize mountains that we or others have faced before and be able to draw on our experiences or those of others to conquer them second time around.

Growing oneself
Consistent and continuous growth is one way to overcome mountains of life and start Breaking the block of fear that would once have ruled us. It is imperative to grow oneself not only passively in age nor physically in stature, but also actively, mentally and emotionally in perspective in order to be able to conquer the mountains of life that keep trying to hinder our success. In a gym, there is progression that occurs for a body builder from the day he/she starts a work out plan. Supposing its a man, he starts off with small weights avoiding the heavy ones and possibly wondering how others are lifting those heavy dumbbells. He then progressively increases the kilograms or pounds with time as the body adjusts and grows to handle more. It is much the same that happens in life that the first time one faces a mountain they do not have enough muscle to overcome it and may crumble under pressure, but with time one gets used to the mountain and can even helps others overcome while dealing with much bigger mountains at the same time.  It is more difficult for a younger person to handle relationships, for example, than it is for an older person, because of the growth that has occurred within the older person through time. Most of the mountains people face are typically the same and have been faced by another person before. Life is about enlargement and growth through mostly learning and education, trial and error and shared experiences. Reading is always mentioned as a good way to grow oneself and this cannot be ignored. Trying new things and exploring is a good way of facing mountains and learning how to deal with them in future. Listening and applying the testimonies of others gives a perspective of how a mountain can be conquered with the benefit of hindsight. The brain is enriched in one's life through stimulation and sustained curiosity, without which no mental growth occurs. No two brains are alike, even for identical twins, there are mutations that occur in brain cells causing them to be different with time. It is therefore how each person develops their brain that determines the kind of mountains they can overcome. I know that as I have explored and enlarged my perspective of life together with my dreams, aspirations and goals, certain mountains that used to intimidate and scare me have become small and irrelevant to my life and I have ventured to climb many of those mountains I would only look at from a distance. Have you got mountains that have needed your own personal growth through time to take them on and come out victorious?