Friday, September 27

A Few of The Things I learnt in September

One of my favourite bloggers Emily Freeman, 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

Cease work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself, or recover strength.
Remain or be left in a specified condition: "rest assured".
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


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 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.