Wednesday, December 11

Our Next Steps

So, the end of the year has come.

But we all know that ‘end’ is subjective. For some people the end is the beginning. However you chose to define it, a significant change is taking place.
Not to ramble, but whether the year is ending, or just beginning for you, what is the next step? What are the next plans? What is in the offing? Where are we headed? What’s new? What is about to change? And is it for good or for bad?

No matter what our next steps are, it would be great if they could include selflessness. Yes, the giving of self, resources, time. Being involved in change and making it one of our lives’ missions; to be physically and consciously involved in causes that would bring about change.
We are not talking sacrifices from the high level, oh no. We start small, incredibly small, but consistently so, and together our impact will be felt.

Most of the editions of Forbes magazines I have read this year featured rich entrepreneurs who are now giving away their money; either through charity foundations, or via jobs, and no matter who they are, or of what race, religious beliefs, gender etc, they are making an impact. You may not be rich, own a talk show or be a star, but you and I do have something that the other person needs. Let us identify and share it.

Let us together, show up for life…

Be free oh.


Thursday, November 28

What I Want for Christmas

With Christmas approaching, the thought crossed my mind that I should expect to receive a gift, either from people or from myself.

But as I drove to work this morning, I saw this woman with a baby strapped on her back sitting on a culvert by the gutter with a bag of possibly her entire worldly possession, sitting by her side. Obviously homeless, and spent the night right there.

I stopped and stared at her for a few minutes, thinking that she must not be comfortable (really?! duh) in that position, and that the baby is going to want to eat as soon as he/she wakes up. They both need food, a hot bath and proper sleep. Who would help this woman get out of this situation so she can have her life back on track?
Needless to say, sympathetic though I was, I drove off without without doing anything. Now, I am thinking that compared to what I just saw, I am entirely fine and have no immediate (Christmas-y) needs.

While it is a tradition at Christmas to exchange gifts, (usually) among ourselves, gorge ourselves with food, and make elaborate plans that revolve (yet again) around us, there are so many of this woman out there who need just a little to get by. So, rather than be consumed by the thoughts of what I want for Christmas, how about being consumed with thoughts of exactly who to help instead? And while we are at it, not to let ourselves be made to feel guilty that we are not giving gifts to those who usually expect them from us. 

Honestly, it is okay to deprive yourself of things for the sake of others. I know there are people who would never get this; it is unimaginable to them to give anything away when they do not have ‘enough' in their own estimation, but it is okay.

This is an obvious post around this ‘season’, but I want to believe this particular one is not; I am only asking that for once in your life do something out of the ordinary…for someone other than yourself. For a change.

Rather than ‘what do I want for Christmas,’ why not ‘what should I give away for Christmas?’

And in fact, why wait until Christmas?

Be free oh.

Monday, November 25

Have You Lost Your 'Voice?'

Ha a bad cold, and lost my voice for a full week. That has never happened before!

It was just a cold, as usual. But the strange thing about it this time is that I didn't really have a running nose, my voice just disappeared for no reason. I did everything one would normally do with a cold, but nothing worked.

So in order not to strain the (lack) of voice further, my responses to calls were texts saying, 'unable to speak, please text!' If emails were a voice, my signature would have included 'forgive the silence, voice gone!' It was not a funny experience.

I learnt two things during the course of this business; first, I understood what a really horrible thing it is not to have your voice; you get even more frustrated with your inability to speak, the only person who understood this and avoided speaking with me was my boss. Everyone else still wanted me to explain how I lost the voice. It got so bad that I seriously considered putting a sign on my forehead that said ‘DO NOT TALK TO ME PLEASE.’ 

The second thing I learnt was that it is okay to not be your usual self sometimes. I had an outing with friends that I really didn't want to miss. We had a 3 hours of memorable  fun without me voicing a word and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I didn't feel out of place; but they were vocal enough about the many reasons why I could have lost my voice  to provoke me to yell but it didn't work. It felt great to listen and enjoy others talk, and to smile and laugh at their jokes, completely confident that because I lacked something for the moment does not make me any less of a person, or any less special.

So, it may be your voice, but then again, it may not...whatever it is, depending on how to you look at it, it is just for a 'moment' and does not necessarily have to define the real you.

Be free oh.

Monday, November 11

Those 'Down' Moments

Do you ever find yourself sometimes dwelling more on your weaknesses rather than your strengths? Dogged by your failings, or what you consider your failings? I do occasionally find myself in this situation.

It is true that people see us different from how we see ourselves, and when we are commended, we feel like a fraud, maybe because we do not really believe that much in ourselves or possibly because we have become experts at hiding our real selves from the world.
Our constant need to put ourselves down because we do not feel as smart, as intelligent, as beautiful, as good looking or as well-dressed as the other person should give us cause for concern! Tipping the scale in favour of our insecurities rather than our strength should not be allowed.

We forget to be appreciative of our strength of character, our ability to rise above, our sense of judgement, our creativity, our ability to remain positive in the face of challenges, our zest for life and indeed everything else that we have, and are by the grace of God. Clothes, education, marriage, children, career, relationships etc have become the parameters by which we measure our self worth; surely we are not failures or weaklings just because we lack any of these things?

I think that on the journey to become a better person, we ought to celebrate the areas of our strengths, and stop beating ourselves up or behaving like total failures. The truth is, we all have those moments when we allow ourselves to feel down because like that old school song rightly says, 'everybody wants to be somebody else!' 

Keep your head high and be celebratory; you are not worth-less, despite and in spite of your (perceived) failings. 

Be free oh. 


Tuesday, November 5

Enjoy the Moment

We  moved into a new place a few  months ago and as it is with new houses (at least here in Nigeria), you spend more money fixing supposedly new things.

So, in this new place, in addition to many other things, we encountered bad shower drain; the bath water gathers on the floor after each shower; serious mopping process after each use, I tell you.

But it got fixed; it took almost the entire day because the plumber had to remove the entire tub, but, the problem was fixed.

However, for several weeks after that I couldn't bring myself to let go and enjoy a bath; I was always on tenterhooks, mop on standby because I expected the water to gather as usual...That went on for weeks until it occurred to me that I am so consumed with the problem (that had been solved) that I cannot allow myself to enjoy the solution.

So it is when God blesses us, we find it difficult to accept that a problem that big in our estimation could have been solved that 'easily.' I don't know why we find it so difficult to allow ourselves enjoy the daily experiences of life, no matter how small. 

Learn to enjoy the moment.

Be free oh!

Friday, September 27

A Few of The Things I learnt in September

One of my favourite bloggers Emily Freeman, http://www.chattingatthesky.com/ started a blog series a few months ago (at least that’s when I became aware of it) of things she had learnt each month, and invites everyone to post the same…I haven’t joined in before now because I didn't really think I had learned anything ‘remarkable’ in any one of the past months. Wrong. Of course I learn new things every day, and even though I like to define some of those things as things I ‘suddenly become conscious of’ I still would like to join her this month if only to keep track!
I am hopeful my horizons will be expanded and I hope you would come on this journey too…let’s go there…
  • I learnt that God still answers prayer we pray and then abandon because we lack faith. We forget about it, but He answers them along the line. Amazing grace!
  • I learnt that the tallest hotel in the world is the JW Marriot Marquis in Dubai. It opened last November. This knowledge is courtesy my boss, the veteran traveler!
  • For as long as I can remember I have always pronounced (wrongly) the word ‘capable.’ Omg! I got corrected recently, and finally learnt that I have been speaking bad grammar for decades! ˈkeɪpəble’ – correct. Because of this, I started to learn the correct pronunciation of every word I thought I knew…I am amazed at what I found. (Better late than never).
  • People’s demeanor become warmer towards you when you address them by their names, especially service providers. They just smile so brightly. Makes me feel good too.
  • I cannot stand my barber touching my head! (oh yes, my first barber ever always did the job without actually touching my head). 

What did you learn in September? 
  
Be free oh.

Monday, September 9

Put Your Feet Up oh!


Having worked hard all day, driven (most likely and very possibly) in some bad traffic, you would think that when we arrived home we would take it easy. Oh no! We immediately jump into some other tasks waiting to be completed; start dinner, straighten the room, if we were unable to do so in the morning rush, set out the outfit for the morrow, and a million other things just waiting to be done…

 It seem to me that there be one too many recurring circles in our daily lives. Taking time out to rest is almost a taboo; unthinkable. It brings a feeling of guilt!
Let’s start with an example: I was a short holiday trip recently with a friend. Part of the plan for the day was to have a nap, and afterwards go for a walk. My friend got into bed and slept off. I tried but I couldn't readily fall asleep, so I jumped on my phone and went trolling online.

When I realized what I was doing, I put away the phone and tried to sleep. I could not. But do you know what I did? I told myself to lie in bed really just rest. As much as my mind whispered all the things I could achieve while I laid there doing nothing, I did not budge. For 2 hours. Not sleeping, but doing nothing either.

This struggle is much the same for many of people. We deny ourselves of rest, because we feel guilty about the other things that ‘will suffer.’

Have you ever looked up the definition of ‘rest?’ Please do so.

I tried it when I got home: sit in my  lounging chair for at least half an hour to give room for the body to refresh before I delve into those other things, and I can tell you, I fail woefully! I am still trying.  We have to cultivate the habit of deliberately making time to rest. Sit down, enjoy a drink, have a cup of tea, stare at the moon (where you can find it) listen to birds chirping (where possible, in this Lagos!) listen to the sound of running water, feel the effect of the dawn (oh well, you get my point), just sit down and do nothing. For 10 minutes.

Put your feet up.

Be free oh!

Picture courtesy Google.

Tuesday, September 3

Habits!

Have you ever tried to break a habit? If you have, I am sure you would say it is not the same as what we read in books...it takes much more.


A few nights ago, I stayed awake till about 2am watching, no you could never guess; the TV series 24 . I mean, I did go crazy all those years ago when 24 was showing; same as most people out there. I watched all night, went to work the next day, prayed the day passes quickly so I can rush back home; the living room was my stop, I would put on the DVD and watch all night and prepare to go to work again the next morning. It was a vicious circle and I marveled at how I didn't collapse from lack of sleep and exhaustion. Absolute madness.


But I weaned myself. I came out of that experience vowing that I would never, ever be that way about any movie. I tried, because as I write, I chose what movie I watch, and I do it on my own terms, so much so that I have yet to even see the concluding part of 24, oh yeah. I weaned myself.


But how come I now stayed glued to the same 24 I had already seen, and so long after my vow? It’s a break in habit.


Last year, I made a decision to break away from the (bad and very unladylike) habit of peeling at my lips! (Yeah, it's out there in the open now). Tough and difficult as it was, I willed myself, and I counted the days as per the books. 21 days came and went and I resisted the urge to peel. However, fast forward a few months down the line, I found my fingers straying to my lips, and gradually I realized that I was back to square one...the dog had gone back to its vomit. 


So, hanging out with 24 when I should have been sleeping, I asked myself just what it takes to be disciplined enough to not do what you have promised yourself you wouldn't do, and with such good intentions. But I refuse to be daunted. I have decided to re-approach this matter, but my strategy would be to take one day at a time (surely this should work!). Hopefully I shall discover one morning after the passage of time that a habit seem to have been completely broken! 


Do you think I am dreaming? :-) (I mean, I am still unable to do the 6 - 8 glasses of water a day!)

Be Free oh.




Wednesday, August 7

Going Back (Again)

I was pondering on which of my drafts to post but I didn't think that any of them was right for this moment. You know how people tend to write on things that preoccupy them.

But this morning, I knew I wanted to talk about goals, passion, and dreams. An obvious and much-talked about issue but hey, humour me.

What am I doing at the moment? I feel that I am missing on things that I need to be doing; my past posts on back to the drawing board came back to me. I asked myself (again) what my dreams and interests were, and which ones have I abandoned and why? Where did the passion for all things go? What is occupying my time? Am I disillusioned?

Then I walked right into two things, a song and a post: (Black Men United) Tevin Campbell’s ‘You will know’ track and  Tyler Perry’s post about small goals and I sighed. Again. These challenges are not peculiar to a certain few; everyone experiences periods of discouragement, and disillusionment but what should keep us going?  Shouldn't we always want to do things if they are things we enjoy?

If Tevin was singing such words way, way back, when life hadn't happened,  then our work is definitely cut out for us today. However, despite and in spite of, we must be determined to stick to at least one dream at a time, and try to realize it. As long as I wake up each morning, feeling restless about not living up to something, then I shall be fine! That for me, is a step in the right direction. This tweet by @ChristineCaine also reiterate: ‘you can’t always have to take the next hill…only the next step!’ 

What are you doing? What have you abandoned?? What is so 'small' to bother about?? Lets go back, again.

And as an aside…I have deactivated my FB page, and waiting for it to be deleted…whatever Mark Zuckerberg’s definition of delete is.

Dream again, de-clutter, live .

Be free oh.

Tuesday, July 9

2013: How Far?

You know how I don’t like to be bound by ‘time’…as in, being boxed in time and feeling we are not achieving much because the 'year is coming to an end,' or like 'time is running out' etc. Funny thing is, we really never take time out to think, oh, I have achieved so much in so little time! We are usually too quick to point out the reverse; we panic because ‘time’ seem to be running out. And in fact, time does not do what it is not supposed to do! It ought to move…and so it does.

Well, the year is half-way gone (if you are looking in the physical that is) and so much, absolutely so much has happened to and for me. I cannot but announce that God has proven, yet again, that He is there. And prayers, very many prayers said in pain, in discouragement, in weariness have, and are being, answered. The sweetest of all is that those prayers we say half-heartedly, and which we usually forget we have said, gets answered.  And while it has not been all about laughter because we suffered the death of a loved one; I still have reasons to be thankful, even in that pain itself. 

If you are not like me; if the year is half-way gone and you still can’t ‘see’ anything, I can only say, hang on; one man’s 38th year at the Pool of Bethesda is another’s 1st year. Be assured that God has not, and will not abdicate His throne. He sits unmovable.

Me, I am a walking testimony, and you would do well to attach yourself to me! *big grin* 

Be Free Oh.


Wednesday, June 19

"Be Yourself"

This is the counsel we hear and read about all the time. They tell you that the only way to be happy is to 'be yourself' because trying to please everyone all the time is a recipe for disaster. If only it were easier done than said!

If you are the type who always give in mostly 'for the sake of peace,' how is that working for you? I would be unhappy most of the time. I vividly recall two occasions when I am (now) grateful that I did not give in to the need to say yes just to please the other (older and important) party; if I had done, I certainly would not be here today, blogging for you to read! My life would be inconspicuous, a sad and ordinary little person with no dreams, no story, stuck in other people’s expectation; a small-time, very miserable teacher in some remote village!

Early on in my life there was a great pressure to work and help family…I knew it was a bad idea...I mean, I had plans…I wanted to go to the University, and I wanted to have a Masters’ degree immediately after. But, family needed help! Work for a while, then continue school later…it was far from tempting, I did not want to do it because I knew I would be in so deep it would be difficult to extricate myself and go on with the life I dreamed for me, so I declined. No, thank you.

There was also this time when I offended someone I greatly respected because I said no to an intervention that I knew would be bad for me. I would have been stuck in a marriage, the thoughts of which, even now, leave me with goose bumps if I hadn't found the strength to 'be myself.'

There are times when we take decisions that leave our heart thumping in fear, other times we may find peace. Not all decisions may turn out to be the right one, but it is better to jump, than not to have attempted to jump at all, because you want to please someone else. You only end up hurting yourself.

I am not advocating that we be stubborn mules just for the sake of it, but to know what you want and to be able to defend it. I say being predictable sometimes is not such a bad thing. Be yourself for the right reasons and in the right circumstances. 

Love God, love yourself, love people; have no regrets.

Be free oh.

Tuesday, May 28

Zouzou's Musings: Enter the New - Reblogging it!!,

Zouzou's Musings: Enter the New: I don't know about you, but in the last few weeks,  my thoughts have not dwelled  in the literal terms of one year ending, and another...

Monday, May 13

Take a Minute

Never, since I have been following her blog, (http://www.chattingatthesky.comhas Emily's  catchy 'take a minute, let your soul breathe' that introduces her blog spoken to me like it did this morning.


You know the feeling you get when you deliberately and consciously pray about things and then you set out bright and early, all positive-energy- exuding, ready to dive in and take the bull by the horn? And then when it comes right down to it, nothing works? Frustrating.

It happened to me this morning. My lips started to tighten and quiver, my heart started to beat faster, I was so upset I felt that I could physically hurt the people whose responsibility it is to get things working but apparently have no handle on things! Why does this happen he time? And to think that the first few things I said to  people very early in the morning was 'the Lord is on the throne, so no shaking' Haha. These things tend to fly off your head the moment you hit a snag.

Anyway, I did my best to concentrate on and achieve other things while I waited for this situation to untangle itself. I confess it took a while and I just could not snap out of it. I prayed. Why would such a simple thing not work, on a Monday morning, this early on a Monday morning?' Complain complain complain...

Then, Emily's word popped into my head: 'take a minute and let your soul breathe'...so I took a short walk away from my desk, got myself back together and even though the problem is unsolved even now, here I am sending this blog out to you, heart rate normal...

I hope you take a minute too. After all, the Lord is on the throne, no shaking. Gbam.

Be free oh.

That photo of a resort in Mauritania (Courtesy Google) always soothes me...

Thursday, April 18

Ceding Control

Have you ever met a control freak? Do you know one? Are you one? I am one. It may or may not be as bad as you think, but trust me when I tell you, (and this is not an easy confession) that I am one. I have had one or two people tell me over the years, and disagree though I did, vehemently so. But I finally give in; I am a control freak: everything has to work my way. Things have to be just so. And only I can do it that way. A completely silly way of irritating people.

And to think that I always say that I am not a superwoman! I mean, I came to the realization that I couldn’t, definitely could not do everything or be everywhere by myself. You would think that also meant giving up trying to control things, right? Ha!

A few weeks ago, I had a flat tyre driving out of VGC at 6am on my way to work. And it was still darkI looked around; there was not a soul in sight…what to do? I did the first few practical things I could do: I exchanged heels for slippers, rolled up the sleeves of my shirt then took out the spare tyre, the tools and laid them out beside the car. Please note: I have never changed a tyre before in my life, but I would totally do it if I have to.  But that morning, staring at that ‘mess’, I told myself, oh no, there is no way am I adding changing tyres to the retinue of things that I (am  sometimes forced to) do! Change gas cylinders, bulbs, fix plumbing, wash car etc. I draw the line here.
No.
I am not changing tyres.

A good Samaritan (good because I pleaded for his name and contact, he refused) eventually showed up and saved the day. Sad to say, I cut short his jogging time. 
So, not allowing myself think of changing that tyre is, in my opinion, voluntarily opting out of being a superwoman, and it is ceding control.


Since that day, a lot of changes have taken place. I gladly shrug off some 'self-imposed' responsibility that I used to delude myself would cause the world to stop turning on its axis if I didnt do them myself.  And I confess I have made a lot of progress in relaxing my iron grip. Very painless I must say, and freeing, I might add! 

Ceding control is much less head-achy than exercising it. Biko. Let someone else carry the burden.

Take a cue.


Be Free Oh!


Tuesday, April 9

We Press On.

Have you ever experienced that feeling of acute disappointment? Like someone cut out your heart because something you expected, something you believed was rightly yours, something you are so sure was coming to you because you worked so hard at it never arrived? Worse, it went to the least likely person, who, by all estimation is NOT qualified for it? Have you ever experienced that feeling? Of course you have.

Have you ever anxiously, happily and excitedly gone some place, in the hope of finding something that you seek, fully expecting it to be right there, just waiting to be claimed, but what you ran smack into was…nothing? What happened to your heart? Can you recall that feeling?

Have you ever believed in someone, so much, so totally, so completely, with everything that you are and this person turns around to (oops, that word again) disappoint you? It sure felt like someone put a knife through your heart and yanked it out; a physical jolt. The pain of such disappointment is real.
What makes the pain worse? For me, it is because I believed with everything I know to believe with: prayers, faith, trust, great expectation and the hope that these people, whoever they are, were worth it.

But let’s face it; as long as we are humans, disappointments, as we see them,  will always be a way of life. As much as the hurt and pain make us want to cut ties with the rest of the human race and gird ourselves by building impenetrable walls, the fact remains that as long as we are breathing, disappointments and all its accoutrements  will be part of our lives, and sometimes in our own selves, but how we deal with it is what matters. Shake it off and move on? Easier said than done, I wager, but really, that is it.

The part we so self-righteously forget is the fact that we have, at some point in our own lives been a source of disappointment to people; we have promised and failed, failed to be there, failed to give of our resources, our time, and ourselves. Selfishly ensconced in our own private corners, unwilling to be disturbed, unwilling to allow the needs of others to touch us. 
The pain of disappointments can be managed, because better will always come.

Who has never suffered disappointments? Who has not failed to be there at some point?’ I have, and yes, I have too!

Be Free Oh

Tuesday, April 2

'What If God Loves Your Laughter?' by Holley Gerth

Hello everyone!

I had to share this link following the last post on laughter!
A friend forwarded it to me the same day I posted the last blog, asking 'interesting coincidence?' Very interesting, I must say.

Apparently it seemed that laughter is in order no matter the situation. (In Nigeria pidgin English): 'when mata pass cry, na to laugh!'

We should give serious thought to serious laughter.

Click here, and enjoy.

Be free oh.

Friday, March 22

When Was the Last Time You Laughed?

Laugh.


Seriously, when was the last time you laughed? Really, really laughed, with tears streaming from your eyes?

You will agree with me that some of the words in the definition are key! ‘Mirth’, ‘delight’, ‘facial and bodily movements’, 'good humour,' ‘well-being’ etc. This post already wrote itself with those words, wouldn’t you say?

Laughter does not have to cost you anything, well, except you are the type who could never let go long enough to show some good emotions. In a world as mean as the one we live in, we should find every tiny reason to laugh. I really would love to always collapse into gales of laughter at the slightest opportunity; laugh at myself, at the other (crazy) driver, the roadside hawkers, the misbehaving okada riders, the meanness of the Government, the unfairness of people and situation around, laugh, and then proceed to find a solution to whatever the issues are. 
You do not have to have a sense of humour to laugh, oh no; just appreciate it in others and encourage them by laughing!!

I have this friend whose ability to reduce me to peals of and no-holds-barred laughter is unprecedented. He has only to open his mouth, or write something and I am guffawing. There is this other person I know who looks so quiet and harmless but who has only to open his mouth and the laughter-inducing sarcasm is unbelievable. I wish I could do that!


Go.
LAUGH.
Be Free oh…

I dedicate this post to my friend, who rights an otherwise tilted world with his ability to make me laugh all the time.

Wednesday, March 20

Your House, in Order

A few posts ago, I touched on 'putting our house in order.' click here to read and this morning, a new angle of that thought popped into my head.

Keeping our houses in order, or tying up loose ends, if you wish, encompasses a great many aspect of life; it’s not just about de-cluttering (our wardrobes) and homes, or even putting (physical) things in order; or even, according to the last post above, collecting abandoned fabrics from tailors! 

How about the weight of those debts we owe?…aha, your mind automatically flew to money! Oh no, it is more than that; debts come in many ways; something legitimately due to someone else: money, yes but an apology, a visit, a hug, a smile, a word, a call? All those off-hand promises we make and never keep surely constitute debts of sorts! 

These cobwebs of entanglements should be swept out to free our minds and create a thoroughfare for peace and clean living. As much as we know that it is not possible to be at peace with practically everyone in our lives, still, I believe that the onus is on us to do the best that we can! Imagine if everyone had the same mind.

In the spirit of de-cluttering, housekeeping and creating order therefore, how about taking 'a day off' to shrug off all (or at least a huge part) of those debts? Make it fun by tagging it if you like: ‘Debt Paying Day’ 'De-clutter Day', 'Housekeeping Day' 'Getting in Touch Day', whatever works, then proceed to give a call to explain things, to pacify, to say hi, to hug, to reconnect, to reunite, to retrieve your fabrics (oh yes, that), to de-clutter your home, to update your posts, (you owe it to your readers!), to finish your assignments, to go get that Certificate, to (re)write that examination, to re-take that test. Just DO one thing today.

Be free oh.

Thursday, March 14

What Do You Choose?


I am happy. I am. I chose to be. Right this moment; I am happy. So very glad to be alive.

Not thinking about the confusion around the world, or the big ones in Nigeria in particular. Not thinking about the evils being perpetrated right before our eyes, not even overly concerned with the daily issues and burdens that dog us, or of the myriad of challenges that need to be resolved. Not thinking about the things that we need but lack; genuine and legitimate needs that have just not been met. Not even concerned about heartfelt prayers that have remained unanswered for reasons unknown. 
 

Not frantic or anxious about decisions that are in the process of being made, decisions that may either bring tears or joy or a combination of both. Oh no. I do not even care what the very next minute holds. I am just happy. Right here, right now. I chose to be. (I can't shout).

What do you chose?
Be Free oh.

Picture courtesy Google.
I really want to lie on the grounds and stare at the sky.

Wednesday, February 20

Hitting the 'Publish' Button

All I want to do is  pose a question to people who write, and that means just about everyone! You do a minimum of emails don't you?

I wonder, and would really like to know: what goes through your mind each time you write, and are about to hit that key that sends your work into cyber space and as far as the ends of the world, (as long as the internet exist there). What?

I sometimes muse on whether I want to put whatever it is I am writing out there, whether it will mean something to someone, will anyone learn a lesson from it? Will it make someone smile or even laught? Does it make sense to someone? Will it bring pleasure to whoever reads it?! What happens when it lands on their device, or they stumble on it some place?

I pray about my posts, because it is serious business for me, and secondly because I dont believe there is any point wasting time sharing stuff if all its going to do is hit a blank wall. I rather do it for my own pleasure anyway.

What is your last thought before your hit 'publish' or 'send,' whatever the case may be. 

Pray, share.

Be Free oh.

Picture credit: Emily
http://www.chattingatthesky.com/2013/02/20/on-giving-up-frantic I couldnt find a more apt picture, and it came right on time!

Friday, February 15

...These Customs

Goldie, (Nigerian musician) died last night.  

One would say what a day to die, but is there any good day to die? Young, vibrant and  successful she was.  But she just...died!  And ‘after a brief illness.’ I have always wondered how that justifies anything.  Whether serious, long or brief, someone died! 

So, because she was young, this is unexpected (as any death is) and so we are all shocked. I just had a brief chat with a colleague; she had sent out  broadcast to wish her contacts a good  weekend; I responded that she ought to show this love in kind, and that she had better think about it because I could die tomorrow for all she knows and then she would be really sorry. She replied with a 'God forbid!!!’ Her broadcast reminded me again of all the ones I had received from yesterday until this morning, on love and death. That  gave birth to this muse.

Why do we begin to soberly reflect only after something has happened? The entire social media become agog, everyone talks about it, then after a while it is all gone? Why are we only gingered by customs or traditions, some of which comes up only once in a while? I mean, values should be a part of our lives, a daily, constant  occurrence right?

My colleague is not the only one who would have responded the way she did, I would have done the same myself. However, whether we like or accept it or not, death is certain; it mostly never announces itself, it respects no one. Why are we then afraid of it and shocked when it happens? I concede that we are human, and must never lose our emotions and the ability to actually feel. But I do not want to need the shock of it to be jolting into a sober reflection of life, to forgiving those who have offended me, and me asking to be forgiven. I want to understand the inevitability of death, accept it and not let its fear rule me.

I found some sort of peace and clarity the day I heard someone say: 'death does not shock God, He doesn’t see it the way we do, as far as He is concerned, it’s the stepping out of one door and into another'. This freed me in some way, especially since we not only lost our mother, but our her entire siblings and our older brother, almost at a go! Sometimes I think, what more can happen?

It is sad that this young lady has left us, but 'these things happen for our examples', the Bible says.

Love God, love people, love life; be free.

Be Free Oh.

Wednesday, January 16

I Used To...

I hope Aderonke (http://thelovechest.blogspot.com/) will forgive me for this.
However, Aderonke, I am sure you are going to take this from another (love?) perspective entirely!

Introductions were going on at the first edition of Be Free With Zouzou for the year a few days ago and quite a number of those present, when asked what they did for fun, started with, 'I used to' do this and do that. We were all astonished to say the least! What happened to us that we stopped doing things that were fun?! How do you even survive in Lagos if you cannot find something fun to do, if only to get away from all the craziness? How do you keep sane? Seriously, I would like to know.

And so we asked ourselves what the reasons were for not continuing in those things; funny enough, a few people were clueless as to why exactly, while others said 'there is no time.' Hmm. Did we get married? No. Did we have children, possibly twins? No. Did workload increase in the Office? No. Are we travelling more than ever before, work wise? No. So what gives?

We concluded that everything in life requires discipline, and a deliberate effort. To go see a movie, to exercise, to go out and have an unrestrained evening of laughter with friends, to go to dinner alone, need discipline; a consciousness, a deliberate-ness, and I might add, extra doggedness! The easiest thing to do is to decide not to do. I can't move, I am too tired, oh no, not today, I cant make! All excuses.

I don't know what you used to do that you have stopped doing (we are, of course, talking about those things that contribute to our well-being) but I encourage you to bring them out, dust them off, have a look at them, and get them back on the burner. We should not have those 'I used to....' statements deny us of the escape we do so need to have an overall and complete feeling of well-being (in a crazy world no less). 

I used to go to the movies oh! I used to try, yes TRY to drink lots of water (yes, this water business)! I used to read even much more than I do now,  and so many other things I have let go.

I recently decided that a read-a-thon is in order; a reading vigil if you like. 

Challenging myself and you dear readers. #Getbackontrack.

Be Free Oh.

Monday, January 7

What is Your Word Worth?

I ask the question above because, really, sometimes our words mean nothing. They are so meaningless (‘worthless’ suddenly sounds too strong, but hey, that’s really it!) that people roll their eyes and snicker as soon as we are done making (yet another) promise. So, can we be trusted to keep our word, or to even try to?

I am reminded of something that happened a while ago, it made me question why I thought I shouldn't be trusted to keep my word. I had stopped to get fuel, and while the nozzle was in, reached into my bag for my purse, and lo…nada!  I had left it at home. Now I have to tell the attendant I had no money on me. Yeah, right!  I felt so embarrassed. Well, I summoned up the courage to tell him I forgot my purse at home and that  I have to go get it, and the only thing I can leave to guarantee my return is my phone (and it was not even a nice blackberry). He looked at me for a minute, considered and agreed but said that he would be responsible for paying if I did not return…and added that there was no need to leave my phone.

Well, I was shocked that he let me go just like that, even though halfheartedly, I mean, he may well not be expecting me to return! I drove away in astonishment. But then it occurred to me that he really ought to trust me! Why shouldn’t he? I should expect to be trusted when I speak; I should exude ‘genuineness’. That really ought to be my DNA , but alas!

This all came back to me this morning, when I heard someone recounting her experience where, upon getting on a bus she realized that she had no money to pay the fare. If you live in Lagos, you will agree that that is an experience you want to live without because you do not want to cross a Lagos bus conductor. 

Have you ever had any such experience? How did you get out of it? Remember how we always joked about washing plates at a restaurant, in case we are unable to foot the bill? Has that ever happened to anyone??

So can you say that your word is worth something, anything? I have a friend who, whenever he tells me he would call, I dont even let it register. He never does! No one is perfect, of course but we could just try. Let it be said that we tried. At least.  

Be free oh.


Wednesday, January 2

Back To The Drawing Board


It is already day 2 in 2013! Seriously, people, the year begins to run!

Jan 1: I woke  into a very dry harmattan-ic morning! What a big and welcome development considering the heat has been, oh yes, murder!

Thoroughly lethargic and befuddle with sleep all day, I was too weak to get up to anything other than squeeze in some reading and entertaining a few very good thoughts that flitted through my mind. (By the way, knowing how I read more than one book at a time, this time, I am concentrating only on A Billion Reasons Why by Kristine Billerbeck). :-)

In keeping with building on the things (projects) I already have going as I mentioned in previous post, I thought it was time to go back to the drawing board, and read between the lines of the vision of all of those projects. I mean, why fail woefully at something you started with such enthusiasm? Why not end it deliberately and gracefully, if you feel there is no going forward with it? Am just saying.

So, I have devised a simple plan: dig thoroughly through my vision and mission for each project, carefully re-strategize, rebrand and/or hit the refresh button where necessary. It is better not to have begun than... So! Look out for report of changes as we muse along, a major one of which is to infuse more life into Zouzousmuses. Thankfully, and I don't know about you, but I have never gotten over the discomfort of going days without blogging a post. Believe me, that is a good thing, it certainly means that my heart is still here. 

Ok! I hope you borrow a leaf from my book (err, muse) and go take a second, third, fourth look at that project you started with such excitement (it doesn't matter what it is, your job, your writings, your blog, you cooking thing, your tweets, your dance thingy, your personal beauty therapy, your weight-loss/gain program, your small business etc) and find a way to bring it (them) back to life. If nothing else, at least try to recall the passion with which you started it. Better to have tried than to allow for a certain and unceremonious death.    

Did you great writers write anything yesterday?? In keeping with writing daily, that is!

Be free oh. 

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