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 about the level of Mandela’s sacrifice; 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 do have something that the other person needs. Identify it, share it.

Let us together, show up for life…

Be free oh.


Thursday, November 28

What I Want for Christmas

I had been thinking lately of what I wanted for Christmas; not a serious and all-consuming thought, but it flipped through my mind to expect to get something (either from myself or others). And while I planned to blog about it, the entire thoughts hadn't yet formed in my head.

However, 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. She was sleeping with her head on her laps and I thought, oh my goodness, she is homeless and spent the night right where she is!

I actually stopped and sat in my car for a few minutes just staring, and thinking she must not be comfortable (really?! duh) in that position, and that the baby is going to want to eat as soon as she wakes up. They both need food, a hot bath and proper sleep. Who would help this woman get out of this situation in order to have her life back on track?
Needless to say, sympathetic though I was, I drove off to work without meeting at least some of her needs. Now, I am thinking that compared to what I just saw, I am entirely fine and have no immediate needs!

While it is a tradition at Christmas, to exchange gifts, (usually) amongst ourselves, gorge ourselves with food, and make elaborate plans that revolve (yet again) around ourselves, there are so many of this woman out there who need so little just to get by.  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', but it is okay.

I know 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 once.

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?'

We all know that cold is a common illness. And much like anyone else, I have had it countless times over the years, and have lost my voice too once or twice in the past. But a few weeks ago, I had it bad; the voice left for almost a week!

I didn't know what had happened; I mean, it was just a cold, as usual. Bu 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; I hid in my room when I was home, praying no one talks to me; when the phone rang, I texted back my predicament and the inability to speak, I mean, if emails were a voice; my signature would have included 'forgive the silence, voice gone!' But it was not a funny experience.

I learnt two things during the course of the cold; I understood (this time) what a really horrible thing it is not to have your voice; you got even more frustrated with your inability to speak, the only person who understood and avoided speaking with me was my boss! Everyone else still wanted me to explain what had happened! It got so bad that I seriously considered putting a sign on my forehead that said ‘DO NOT TALK TO ME PLEASE’ when I heard footsteps coming toward my desk; to no avail.

The second (good) thing I learnt was that it is okay to not be your usual self sometimes. I had an outing with my women group that I really didn't want to miss. We had a memorable 3 hours of 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 just 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 frauds, probably 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 is not to 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 we have, and are by the grace of God. Clothes, education, marriage, children, career, relationships etc have become the parameters with which we measure our self worth; surely we are not failures or weaklings just because we lack any of these things?

I agree we need to take conscious steps to be better in the areas of our weaknesses rather than waste time feeling sorry for ourselves because we are threatened by other people's capabilities. And we must needs (to use Bible language) celebrate the areas of our strengths, and stop 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 (considered) 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, such that it was a serious mopping process after each use.

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 I cannot allow myself to enjoy the solution.

Even when God blesses us, we find it difficult to accept that a problem that big in our sight could have been solved that 'easily.'

Seeing that we already exist in a world that is so fast-pace it leaves us no opportunity to enjoy the little things and the experiences of life that we encounter daily, one would think we would be more determined to enjoy the moment, but no, the reverse is actually the case.

Well, I have learnt my lesson and have since removed my gaze from the floor of my bathroom, and concentrated on enjoying a well-deserved bath; secure in the knowledge that my problem have been solved and I have no reason to dwell on them!

It may be a bath, but then again, it may not be. Learn to enjoy the moment oh.

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. As a result 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. A huge smile mostly breaks out on their faces. Makes me feel good too.
  • I realized in September that I have been unsuccessfully trying to sleep in the middle of my bed! My bed is huge, but I always sleep at the edge, and most often in danger of falling off! (Thank God it's the right side! Imagine waking up on the wrong side of the bed everyday)
  • I find it extremely difficult to shoot off an sms or an email without  editing...maybe in extreme cases, and the recipient has to be the closest of close friends. I have no patience with people who start (especially) names with small letters!!! I mean, it's a noun!
  • I absolutely cannot stand my barber touching my head! (oh yes, I cannot).

What did you learn in September? Pray, share.
  
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 we would arrive home and take it easy. Oh no! We immediately jump into some other tasks waiting to be completed; start dinner, straighten the room we were unable to straighten 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 (if I may be allowed to use the word) vicious circles in our daily lives. Taking time out to rest is almost a taboo; unthinkable. It brings up that feeling of guilt!
Let’s start with an example: I was a short holiday trip recently and on one of the days, we agreed 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 alternated between checking emails (work) on my laptop, responding to chats on BBM, and delving into twitter on the iPad, (I am deliberately mentioning these devices) generally going back and forth on all devices, the laptop being on a table away from the bed…needless to say, jumping back and forth, I was disturbing she who understood the value of rest.
At a point, I decided to shut off all the devices and try to sleep. I still could not. But do you know what I did? I told myself to lie still in bed, and really just rest. As much as my mind whispered all the things I could achieve while I laid there doing nothing, I absolutely refused to. For 2 hours, I stayed on that bed, not sleeping, but doing nothing either! (I tried hard not to toss and turn though!)
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?’ I bring it to you, just to help you: I love the verb definition
“Rest:

Verb
Cease work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself, or recover strength.
Remain or be left in a specified condition: "rest assured".
Noun
An instance or period of relaxing or ceasing to engage in strenuous or stressful activity.
The remaining part of something.”

I tried it when I got home: sit in my lovely lounging chair for at least half an hour to give room for the body to refresh itself with the idea of having arrived home before I delve into those other things waiting to be attended to, 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), look around, and admire your home; your room, blank out the thoughts that rush through your mind; just sit down AND do nothing. For 10 minutes.
Only Nigerians travel for holidays and return exhausted; I have a friend who does this every year, returns one day before work and then proceed to bitterly moan about fatigue. One would think anyone leaving Lagos is escaping into peace and quiet and rest, but no; shopping from dawn (literally dawn) to dusk. How about sleeping in and taking leisurely walks? Sit in a park someplace and read a book, or watch other people (and the children) play? (I can hear someone say ‘seriously, Zainab?!) Sigh.
And you know, I dare to say that those of us who believe that God has done all things just so we can take it easy are the guiltiest of this. We make such nonsense of what has been freely given.
‘nuff said. 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; 24 on Fox!!! 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 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 as the Bible says. 
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.

I refuse to be daunted though. 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 (Black Men United) Tevin Campbell’s ‘You will know’ track, (you know how I love my music and how I am interested in the words) and then almost immediately after, fell into 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, tiredness, disillusionment etc, 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, when distractions in form of social media had not taken over, then our work is definitely cut out for us today. However, despite and in spite of; I want to be determined to stick to at least one dream at a time, and to realize it. As long as I wake up each morning, and as long as I get the discomfort of not living up to something, and for as long as I try to get back to them, I shall be fine! That for me, is a step in the right direction.
I read a tweet by @ChristineCaine that made me laugh: ‘you can’t always have to take the next hill…only the next step!’ Petit a petit...step by (tiny) step, surely we will get there.

And by way of an aside…I have deactivated my FB page, and waiting for it to be deleted…whatever Mark Zuckerberg’s definition of ‘delete’ is…I fear they will have all my stuff stored somewhere even if we all pretend I have downloaded and ‘deleted’ them all! I am free sha!

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

(Re)dream, de-clutter, live again.

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 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 a death; 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"


Is the counsel we hear and read 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 be ashamed enough to have said yes just to please the other 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 for me, probably a small-time, very miserable teacher in a remote village!

At one point there was a great pressure to work and help family…I knew it was a bad idea...I mean, I had plans; a dream, a future…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 said no, sorry.
There was also this time when I offended someone I greatly respected because I said no to a reconciliation 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. 

There are times when we take a decision that leaves our heart thumping, afraid we may have made a mistake, but I think it is better to jump, realize that you possibly shouldn't have jumped, then humbly take steps to correct the jump, than not to have attempted to jump at all, because you want to please someone else.

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 circumstance. 

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

Be free oh.

Wednesday, June 12

While You Wait...

While you wait...for an interview, an email, a text, a call, on a queue at the supermarket or shop, at the doctors, wherever you are, what do you do?

...do you get busy doing something else, like read a book, an article, respond to an email, return a call, meditate (shrugs, yeah), listen to something worthwhile... use the time wisely, no matter how short or what?

I like how passengers whip out their books or magazines or puzzles the moment they get on a train or the bus abroad ...just...use that little space in time, that interlude to do something so every moment is accounted for.

What do you do while you wait? Fro whatever...

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, has Emily's (http://www.chattingatthesky.comcatchy 'take a minute to 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.

That 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 to me all the 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' Ha! these things tend to fly off your head the moment you hit a 'situation.'

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 but I just could not snap out of it. I prayed! Lord, come on!! 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 to let your soul breathe'....light at the end of the tunnel...so I took a short walk away from my desk, got myself back together and even though the problem is unsolved even now as I write, 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. 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 that over the years, and disagree though I did, and vehemently so, but, I finally give in; I am a control freak: everything has to work my way. Things have to be just so. A completely silly way of irritating people.

I remember distinctly declaring (as status comments on Face book, I think) some years ago that I am not a superwoman, I mean, I just 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. I was all dressed up and already driving to work. I 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 sleeves and took out the spare tyre (well!) and 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.  (can you imagine that of someone who ought to be and behave like a ‘lady?’ smh). But that morning, staring at that ‘mess’, I told myself, oh no, no way am I adding changing tyres to the retinue of (abnormal) things that I do, like change gas cylinders, bulbs, fix plumbing, wash car etc etc! I absolutely draw the line there. To cut a long story short, someone came along and helped sort out the tyre situation. That, in my opinion, is 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! Now (my) life is easier. 

Ceding control is much less headachy than exercising it. Biko. Let someone else carry the headache.

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 of it 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 waves of other people’s despair and need so much as penetrate our walls long enough to touch us…we absolutely need to rememeber that, but more, to know that it should not always be that way, that disappointments and pains can be managed, in the hope of a better tomorrow, 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: (online dictionary)

"To express certain emotions, especially mirth or delight, by a series of      spontaneous, usually unarticulated sounds often accompanied by corresponding facial and bodily movements /To show or feel amusement or good humor/To feel a triumphant or exultant sense of well-being."

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 of 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. Even the Bible says that ‘laughter does good, like medicine!’
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 totally quiet and harmless but who has only to open his mouth and the laughter-inducing sarcasm is unbelievable. I wish I could do that!

I suggest you search for any avenue that will get you some health-improving laughter; pay for it if you have to! I used to (see here) attend comedy shows, (until I was seriously traumatized by one Julius Agu show; I should forgive him already! Lol). I like Teju Babyface, Akpororo, Owen G and whatever (or whoever) Bunmi Davis produces. Find something.

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 decluttering (our wardrobes) and homes, or even putting (physical) things in order; or even, according to the last post above, collecting abandoned fabrics from tailors! (a friend of mine actually went to her tailor to collect her fabrics, and a few of mine that I had with the same tailor!!)

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 possible that we can! Imagine if everyone have that same mind.

In the spirit of decluttering, 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’ 'Deluttering Day', 'Housekeeping Day' 'Getting in Touch Day', whatever works, then proceed to give a call to explain things, to pacify, to greet, to hug, to reconnect, to reunite, to retrieve your fabrics (oh yes, that), to declutter 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 (this word again!!) and muse over 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 hoot with unrestrained laughter? 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, you get?

What is your last thought before your hit 'publish' or 'send,' whatever the case may be. *signing* I want to know...(Jimmy Cliff).
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. 'after a brief illness'.'  Whether serious, long or brief, somebody died! Somebody. Died.

So, because she was young, this is unexpected (as any death is) and so we are all shocked. I just had a brief (oops) BB 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 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 (grammar construction deliberate!) the shock to jolt me into looking inward and thinking deeply; to reflecting about life, to forgiving those who have offended me. I do not want to be like that! 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 some 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 lost not only mother, but mother's entire siblings and more, almost at a go! Sometimes I just think, what more can happen?

I don't want to have to send broadcasts or be a certain (good) way each time something (good or bad) happens and immediately revert to type shortly after it passes. I don’t want to be that fickle. *sad face*. We really should be 'instant in season and out of season.'

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.
PS/ I have no idea how to title this post!! 

Monday, February 4

My Personal Muse

This post is basically a run-down of the buzzing in my head these last few days. Do post your comments/responses if you have any, they just may give me clarity! Because, seriously, I really wonder!

Do you ever wonder why you do the things that you do? If you were asked to give reasons for doing the things that you do, or believe in, would you be able to? Take a minute, and think about, and try to justify firmly, why or why not. I wish I didn't have to use this example, but I am reading a book right now that caused me to ask myself, perhaps more seriously than ever: 'do I really want to get married, if yes, why?' The book also set me off into pondering on very many other questions.

Next: Who or what determines the things that happen to you, the course of your day, your life?Yourself, others, circumstances, God? Who? Or are we firm believers in chance and luck, accepting everything that comes our way as fate? I recently felt outraged that some entity think that it is up to them to decide where I go and when. As far as I am concerned and based on the promises God has made me, I believe I am largely responsible for the outcome of my day, and how my life turns out. (Even with God, it is a matter of choice, so: what is my choice?) Dunno if this makes sense. Musings, musings!

On fashion: I am no fashion expert, and I hesitate here but I wonder why and how one would combine patterned shawls and pashmina with patterned/coloured outfits! From what I know (of myself) pashminas are meant to keep away the cold and chill or to cover up the expanse of skin that those dresses we just must wear expose, as well as of course form part of a fashion signature (cold or no cold, you can work a pashmina into your outfit for the purpose of style) however, I would think that plain pashminas complement patterned clothes more. Sometimes too, the way the pashmina is draped around the body can either make or mar one's dressing: smart or drab or downright dowdy; especially when the pashmina is a mass of wrinkles! A wrinkled pashmina is unforgivable to me o! 

On habits. Been into this guy's blog http://zenhabits.net a lot in the past few months, and what I like about his writing is the 'easy' steps and tips to doing whatever it is you need to do. He is a great advocate of  'starting small,' something we hardly consider when starting to 'build' (or tear down, as the case may be!)
However, as someone who recently shed a difficult habit, (someone asked me if it was smoking; I leave you to wonder) I find that just because it is said that a habit is broken in 21 days does not automatically mean that the temptation to go back to it disappears! No way. I find myself so sorely tempted on a daily basis, and here, we have gone past the 21-days mark, by almost double! It takes a will to decide to or not to. #Beware.

On 'putting your house in order,' this is one thought that triggered a great many others recently. How many people identify with the habit of giving tailors fabrics, and then never going back for them? I was transported almost 25 years into the past a few days ago, where I saw, and vividly remembered this tailor I gave my tan chinos fabric to make pants; I never went back for it. Fast forward many years, I 'see' many a great litter of fabrics in tailoring shops all over the place! It just occurred to me that part of putting our houses in order is tying up loose ends, which in this case, includes tidying up with tailors!
I rest my case (or muse, if you like) for now.

Be Free oh.
Photo courtesy google images