You know it, but do we live it?

| 28 July 2015
It doesn't matter who it is or how they are, or what they purport to be.
People can and should only be taken at the value of how they act.
What they do.

This is the most important, and going on from that, they should only be accorded significance as a direct feedback of the significance they ascribe to you.

This is the best way to keep the order and also to protect fragile hearts.

 "Selflessness" is foolish. Behaviour should be based solely on merit, which is in turn based on previous experiences/interactions - we humans are at our most basic level, animals, and we react or relate in a tit-for-tat manner. Sadly but truly.

Yet, in some cracks unknown, otherwise unseen,  there springs out, a beautiful a feeling, that gained from experiencing friendship fully, which is all about sharing, truly, deeply.


Read more »

Rhythm

| 20 July 2015

Children herded from school with the road barriers, traffic lights, zebra crossings. In their numbers, they flock together, after school, from school back to their respective homes, each child flowing as part of the whole but individually towards home....

Throughout life, through are shepherded to university, from university, to work, from work and then their children continue the same rhythm.

The rhythm of the flocks.


Read more »

Om

| 6 April 2015
Along the beach
The waters breathe in
And their breath ignites them
To rise and to move
And so they leap forward
With power, intensity
And purpose.

And then they breathe
Out
The power in their exhalation enables them
To continue in one direction
Some rising
Some falling
Some stopping
But the movement never ends
Not until it meets the sands on the shore

The sands, beaten and scorched by the rays of the sun
Yearning for coolness
Wondering if any of the waters will come and touch them
The ones by the sea bed are the lucky ones
But those further afield have to wait some time
Until the day is gone and the tide rises
With more power in the waters
The waves riding high
Expanding to breathe in
Deeply. Slowly.
And then they breathe out
In unison
Just at the right time
as the sands further a field tan a burnt orange
Slaves of time
As they are about to give up being bathed for the day
Tanning to burn another day
As the footprints and the dirt and the castles left by humans begin to weigh on the souls of the slaves
Taking their toll on the landscape of the sea shore.

The waters, lungs expanded
Exhale.
Deeply. slowly
surely. powerfully

There is stillness.
There is peace.
The slate is clean.

Ready for a new tomorrow.

Welcome to April!
Read more »

Slow Tango

| 5 February 2015
Smiles, whispers, winks, covered smiles, wide smiles, quiet laughs, loud laughs, 'Whatsapp LOLs'
We get to know, we think we get to know, we move slowly and then we run to hide
We come and then we go
Darted glances
Each one trying to be
The stronger, the cool, the unemotional, the detached.

Courage, fear, hesitation, bravado, movement
One step forward, two steps back, three steps sideways, four steps forward
We try to spell progress
The style, the customs, the rituals.  Of course
De rigueur

Anxiety, confidence, nervousness, openness, reticence
Lies, white lies, pink lies
Everything but
The truth wiggling out
Truth, half-truths, black truths, grey truths, red truths

Shock, glare, broken sequences, broken rhythms
Words, tears, tantrums, hugs.
Poured out to the other
Received, rejected, redacted, regretted

Others. People. Comments. Opinions.
He says. She says. We say. They say.
Communication. Confusion. 'Combatment'. Commitment. Combustion.

And still, we dance
Dance we must
Dance, we shall.

Slow tango.


----------
*Title credits - EffieBean :-)

Read more »

femininity....

| 23 January 2015
This list has been compiled to cover some of the questions I have, about womanhood, vulnerability, love, tenderness, sexuality, being female and fusing that with how society imposes its views on what being female and expressing womanhood means. I guess, reading Lady Chatterley's lover also shows that so many things have not changed, and perhaps, it is all in this journey, and discovery of the self, that we realise so much has not changed, rather history exists to confirm the validity and significance of new experiences. 
 
A part of that also includes a random addition, Gödel, Escher, and Bach, to learn something about the power of human processing that transcends explanation, no matter how much we seek to find them - and that is the ultimate humility-enforcing reality - that we always know that the more we know, the more we don't know, and merging the quest to know more, with what is unknowable remains a mentally herculean objective.
 
Many of the books in this list were recommended by friends, so here goes!
 
So these are the books, hope to read them by March and then upload some more.
 
 If you have read any of them, let me know your thoughts....
 
 
Read more »

Souls Mirror Cheese

| 23 December 2014

Conflicted souls
Tortured lives
Mere mortals

We strive to make our place 
To root our feet
To ground our actions
To own our relationships
To possess others

Bartering ownership with companionship
Painfully seeking 
Selfishly demanding
Some solace for our wounded, fractured selves
Read more »

Slowly

| 19 December 2014
There is a beautiful song by Waldeck with this title, and I think the song captures much of what I am learning. Well, life is continuous improvement and sometimes we know things but we don't practice them often enough, or we discard them or just think they are important but not applicable.

But in the matter of communication, in everyday life but more so in professional life, presenting to and talking with people who have different backgrounds with different cultures and with different accents, the importance of being understood and understanding cannot be overestimated.  I do try to take the time to understand other accents, given that everyone speaks with an accent, some more unusual than others, but I am finding out that it is much easier to understand, and to be understood, when one speaks slowly. It is important to take time to speak. I'm learning to take my time.

What I'm learning goes like this: giving each letter it's own space, talking slowly, enunciating clearly, allowing each syllable of every word it's own place in the sentence, enjoying the relationship in the letters that make each word, and the flow from one word to another.

This is markedly different from just throwing the words out, an easy-to-make mistake especially when talking animatedly about something and you want to get all your points across in one fell swoop swish! but then that hampers on the listener's ability to comprehend. Rather, allowing each word to breathe as it stretches out from the brain and escapes through the mouth, dances in the air, and funnels into the ears of the audience, now, that makes for fine communication. 

This ensures that one is understood, or at least heard clearly, which is the first stage of being understood, and an important part of communication.
Read more »

The Art of Giving

| 29 September 2014
Friends and I have spoken about this topic extensively. I think these months have coincided with birthday celebrations, thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year, Valentines Day, Chinese New year.

The question often comes up, as to what to give, who to give what, should you give the person before they give you? What happens if you get nothing in return? etc. Now I am no present-giving expert, and I am guilty of running out of ideas of what to give. For some reason, whenever it is not time for any of the above celebrations, especially birthdays, I can think creatively about presents. But when a birthday is looming, my brain appears to shutdown and I cannot come up with anything creative to give. Luckily, this does not happen too often, as I would not have any friends left if it did.

But then, that is another thing. Do I have friends because I give them gifts, and they give me in return, and vice versa to infinity, where gift-giving is played like a tit-for-tat game until one person decides not to give? Ofcourse, the answer is that friendships do not depend on the presents, giving is not all about giving presents. Infact, giving includes so much more, time, energy, cooking, entertaining, hosting, etc.

I think giving is an art, as it comes in several forms, and can be interpreted in so many diverse ways, e.g. picking your friend's children up from school because she is busy, or ill; cooking for a friend who needs company, taking a friend to the gallery, theatre, giving time to go for a walk with another friend, and yes of course, giving presents. As humans, since we were children, we have been initiated into the wonderment of present-receiving, a wonder I attribute to the wrapping paper. There is something mysterious and delightfully exciting about receiving something beautifully wrapped. Wondering what might be within the walls of the paper, the delicate, or not so delicate, unwrapping of the paper that has been used to wrap the present,  the sounds the paper makes as it crinkles, rapidly and loses that beauty, a tinge of guilt for destroying the results of the careful wrapping of the present, and the two-second preview of the present, where the giver is watching intently on the receiver, to view if the choice of present was the right one, and the receiver is also aware of this observation, and tries to rearrange their face in the right contortion to show surprise and gratitude. Or maybe not. It all depends on the receiver.

But regardless of how gifts in any form are received, let us all try to practise the art of giving, it makes the world go round, and it does add a little bit of happiness and tenderness to another person's day.


Read more »

...and the animals roamed wild and free

| 17 August 2014
Apologies to followers of my blog for the slight off-topic nature of the previous post, but it was to show the level of hate that some humans can have towards others. An interesting observation was that no one came up to own up to the hateful comments, again wondering how it is so easy to be so horrible anonymously, and something that is common with online commentators. Also makes one wonder as to the mind of humans, but then again, I suppose if one does not have haters, then I'm not doing something right; and as one of my friend's said, "Welcome."

So indeed, I guess, it is a harsh awakening that the world is not kind, not nice, that we humans are so malicious and evil and abusive and beyond that, that we can dare utter such hideous, baseless statements about another person. Ah well, that is that about that.

There are other things in life of course, other happenings, one of which was my first ever safari trip. I have to say, I have been transfixed by the awesomeness of nature, of creation, how we are all so different and yet so similar, for example, the birthing process of mammals, and also just how nature is such a complex, and organised system, with every part, yes every part of creation, even the rocks playing their part in balancing our delicate world.

And I am privileged. Privileged to visit the animals, privileged to be able to listen to them and observe them as they go about their daily activities. 

Amazed at the creativity in nature, its complexity, and its simplicity…and its music.

And just like that, so much beauty in the world displaces so much negativity. All is well with the world.
Read more »

Dear hater

| 4 August 2014
Whoever you are, It is really unfair for you to go about talking to me this way. You know my identity, I don't know yours. Don't you think it is much better for us to actually talk, rather than posting anonymous comments regularly on my page.

Oh by the way, I review all my comments before publishing them, so naturally, I won't publish anything that appears to be spam-like, and not related to the point of the blog post.

So if you are serious, and brave enough, how about you send me a message as opposed to hiding behind the cloak of anonymity, leaving hateful bland comments. It really is cowardly and not in very good taste.

I am sure you will read this, seeing as you have commented on quite a few of my blog posts,  and if it was not for the negative and hateful nature of the comments, I would've thought I had a new follower. In any case, it shows you really do have a lot of time on your hands.

I have been ignoring your comments for the past month, but I thought I should give you this chance to release whatever tension you might have, whoever you are, let's do this like adults.

So here is an opportunity, send me a message, give me a call, tell me who you are and what your problem is. I think that sounds fair….doesn't it?
Read more »

Lolita. Hallam Foe. Nine Songs. Last Tango in Paris

| 30 July 2014
Okay, there seems to be a theme in some of the movies I watched recently - it wasn't deliberate and I am not sure it means anything, other than some sort of coincidence, although if you go on the premise that there are no coincidences, then perhaps it might have to do with some subconscious interest in human sexual relationships, I mean who isn't and also I guess the whole thing has always been part of human interest, well also animal interest, but animals cannot write, so we only have the examples of humans. One of the books I want to read is 'Sexual behaviour in the human female' - when I get the chance to - and to explore how it is different from the male, and whether or not it is possible to generalise such a topic, seeing as movies such as 'The Story of O' reveal that how people conceive of their sexuality, and how they express love, and all of those good things can be fundamentally different from 'the norm'.

Anyway I digress, I was a bit disappointed with Kubrick's version of Lolita, I don't know what I was expecting, but I guess it might also be due to the times it was being shown - 1962 and the world was not ready for any overt scenes…I think. But Hallam Foe, now that brings questions of oedipus and  obsession and hints on attractions to parents/parents attraction to children, which a google search explained to me,  exists. Now on google searches, most of what I search for is for scientific research purposes - I'm just putting it out there, so that whoever searches my search records knows. That is that.

Nine songs, was the story of a relationship in an atypical way, and again makes one question the role of sex in a relationship and the extent to which sexual relations can be a mirror of the stage of the relationship, the depth of the relationship, and the ending perhaps of the relationship.

Which brings me to the whole notion of the temporal nature of relationships. Can there be too much of a good thing? Can something good last forever? Is permanence an ideal expectation of a relationship? What goes on with that permanence? Compromises? etc…

And I guess for Last Tango in Paris, it showed how a man who tried to come up as insensitive and unemotional was able to only reveal his vulnerability sexually, and how those emotions became released gradually, after sex, as opposed to the other way round. Again, all very interesting and all very random which means there can be no typology of 'Human sexual behaviour' because these things are subjective and open to so many interpretations and affected by so many events and incidents and so on and so on and so on to infinity.


-------------
Book link : http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/4871877043/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pd_S_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=6J0CCZCMIW7U&coliid=I1CUTS2IFEDC9D
Read more »

Plane Vibrations

| 12 July 2014
It had become a weekly habit, something I looked forward to, and something that was truly mine, not mine and anyone else’s but my one pleasure. Every week, I got to meet with him. Although the last meeting was a very difficult one, I hope I was not too rude or too forward, it has been three weeks now and I miss him dearly.

He is very difficult to describe, not difficult in the sense of his physical characteristics, that is easy – he was tall, dark, handsome. Cliché I know, but so true in this case. It was his blessing and his curse. Women wanted to be around him, they wanted to be with him. He never had to chase them, why, everyone liked something good, and in Nigeria where the ratio of women to men is so high, you can imagine that he had it very good.

But he chose me. Okay, let me make this clear. Ours was not a sexual relationship. Not at all. There was not even a hint of that, but the time we spent together, I felt he was truly mine, in the sense that I had a part of him that none of these women could have. They could never dream to have, and that is what made our weekly meetings so special.

I guess I should also describe some of his inner characteristics. Now this part is quite difficult, as I don’t think he liked to reveal his inner thoughts, inner mind. Or perhaps he had not fully come to discover who he was, I guess with the constant distractions of the female sex, that might have been difficult to get time to reflect on who he was and what he was about, and what he wanted to get out of life, and so, he coasted.

Or so I thought, but like I said, in the last nine years or so, I feel I have gotten much closer to him. Prior to that, I knew him, and I was close to him, but in a sort of distant way. Now, it really is just me and him, no interruptions, no distractions, my one weekly pleasure.

Okay, let me get into the format of our meetings, I don’t actually have to book an appointment with him, I just go, okay sometimes he’s not available as he’s busy or otherwise occupied, but that is okay, I can’t really schedule an appointment with him as he has no mobile phone or no email address, he is weird like that, so it has to be old-school style, I go when I want to see him, and when he is free, he sees me, and when he is not, I try to go back the next day, but we have to see, every week. Unfailingly. I start to miss him if I don’t. My week is incomplete without him.

Occasionally, he visits. I guess this means he misses me too. I always make time for him when he comes. Always. I love him too much.

But you might be wondering why he has not agreed to see me in the past three weeks. Well, let me tell you a bit about our meetings,  when I go to his place, I go straight upstairs, to his living room, or his bedroom. Sometimes he is lying down, you see, he had recently been very ill, and I thought I would lose him, I visited him every week, for a year, and he was just there, lying on the bed, very weak, very fragile, the tall, towering person was now purely horizontal, that was a harsh blow to deal with and made me question my own mortality, and the fragility of our existence. Those meetings were painful. Painful as I could hardly hear him but I knew he felt my presence, and I guess that must count for something.

Sometimes, he was sleeping, and I just looked on and cried, quietly, I did not want him to hear me cry, I had to be strong for the both of us.

But something changed in the last six months, he became stronger, he became fuelled, he started to walk again, slowly. Well, he had always walked slowly, he had a limp, ever since the car accident following his brother’s wedding – he was driving back home, the police stopped him and asked him to come out and open his boot, it was late, the roads were badly lit, another car racing down did not see him, and drove straight into him, causing his leg to be amputated.  The driver sped off, the police ran away, and there he was. Lying helplessly in the dark. I always wondered whether the driver that hit him had attended the same wedding,  but that is another story.

I started to enjoy our meetings when he became stronger, but then something else happened. He became busy, people who had not visited him when he was too weak were now paying homage, I guess it is the thing about the human condition, we don’t like to be associated with the weak but we like to be associated with the strong. Something about the survival gene perhaps. I don’t know. But he became busier, although I guess he also looked forward to our meetings, we would escape to the garden together. His garden. The garden he built, with his hands. He had a love for nature you see, and the garden was a sensual pleasure, different colours of different plants and shrubs and herbs, and trees, it pleasured all the senses: smell, eyes, and spirit. Sometimes, if we were lucky, we would see butterflies flying about, going about their daily business of pollination, unhindered, freedom. Free.

That is how we felt when we walked in the gardens. We did not talk much, we just seemed to enjoy one another’s company. I guess he felt free too, like the butterflies. I loved it. I had him to myself, all to myself, usually, until one of his many friends called to visit, and he had to see them. This was the thing, he was too polite to decline a visitor. Too polite. That was another blessing, and a curse.

All was going well in my wonderland, until last month. I really don’t know what happened. It was not planned. I had not planned it but it came out. I accused him of being a bad person. I accused him of using women and not taking a stronger hold of his life and what his life should be about. I accused him of favouritism, I accused him. I accused him. All I did was accuse him. The one man I have ever truly loved unconditionally, and I spent 4 hours. Yes 4 hours, accusing him.

He was patient. He provided me with answers, he apologised. But it was a little too late, the damage had been done, all the relationships he had broken over the years, being an inactive participant in his own life. Allowing life to just happen, not taking control. I guess the silence means he was uncomfortable with our conversation. Perhaps I stirred up too many memories in him, or perhaps he is reflecting on them.

 I don’t know. I have stopped visiting him, I hope he comes to visit again.

 My dreams are incomplete without him.



**Ghost Notes**
Read more »

The Land of the Scots

| 28 May 2014
Another new beginning. I am taking up a research fellowship at the University of Edinburgh Business School, to work on the Africapitalism project (http://www.africapitalisminstitute.org). The project is a research collaboration with eight other universities, and we are trying to understand the role of leaders in the sustainable business development of Africa.  It is an exciting role, as I am project managing the work and also conducting interviews, organising conferences, meeting people - my favourite things!

But. And this is a big but, I need to find accommodation first. Seeing as I have not looked for accommodation in a while, I have to tell you that it is an extremely stressful undertaking in Edinburgh. It is a seller's market (investment tip - buy a property, you will always have people wanting to rent it from you). Entirely a seller's market, and this means some of the property you are offered are in such a tired state, yet people seem willing and eager even, to move in, that they don't mind the state the property is in. I've seen some flats that right from the entrance to the building, I am wondering "Is this estate agent really serious? S/he expects me to live here?"

It is also competitive. I've offered above asking price for a flat, only to hear it has gone to someone else. So it is a seller's market, true and true. My morning routine after waking up consists of logging on to Gumtree either on my phone, iPad or laptop, whichever is closest, and the website has registered my search strings, that is how often I go on. Then I email agents, and throughout the day schedule viewings. Needless to say, I am completely fed up of it, but I have to continue as I need a place to call home. At the moment, I'm staying with a lovely Italian friend who has been a fabulous host. Then moving to this guesthouse - Cluaran (http://www.cluaran-house-edinburgh.co.uk). Noreen and Colin have been so helpful in trying to accommodate my requests and need for flexibility. 

And that brings me on to something else, the people in Edinburgh are friendly. Friendly. And it is such a beautiful city, almost like a big village in that it has everything, yet it is small enough to walk - so far, I've spent most of my time here walking, or on Andre's (my Italian friend) motorbike. At some point, I have to do a post on Andre. He is a unique human being. 

Back to Edinburgh's vibrancy, there are lovely shops and restaurants and wine bars etc. I am undecided as to which is my favourite area. They all have unique qualities. I thought I wanted to live in Stockbridge, but I feel it is a bit too busy for me. Then I looked at Marchmont which I feel is maybe too close to my workplace, and with a lot of families, so it does not have the vibrancy/young professional feel that Stockbridge has. Newtown is nice, but a bit too touristy, Holyrood is also nice although apart from Arthur's seat, not as green/leafy as I would like. Then there is Leith, The Shore which is an up and coming area with a lot of restaurants offering international cuisine, but it is a bit too 'new' for me, and I'm not a big fan of modern developments. So that leaves me with Morningside! Close enough to the university, green and leafy, close to Bruntsfield, close to the city, and also has a life of its own. Far removed enough from Meadows and Meadowbank and also means I can cycle to work!

I've got a flat viewing tomorrow. Quite excited and have a good feeling about it, let us hope it works out!


Read more »

The Researcher

| 14 March 2014
It started as a curious thought. 
Wondering, what made a person insane, at what point was a person declared to be mad? 
Was it a gradual descent or perhaps an ascent, like it is, when one gained weight, one day, you are slim, and it seems like the next, you are no longer able to zip up your jeans? 
I wondered if it was like that. 

The whole thing began when Father declared that his sister had gone mad and had to be sectioned and kept in an institution. I remember Aunty Bola, she had always been the eccentric aunty. Well, when I was young, I thought she was fun, she didn't treat us like all the other adults did. She always encouraged us to play and talk to her and ask her random questions. Yes, her answers to some of the questions were also different. I remember when I asked her what it was about bread that made us eat it every morning for breakfast, and she said that it had to do with the colonial masters and the food they made us used to, and she went on to talk about how her grandmother used to only eat vegetables and drink herbs, 'agbo', she had called it. And then she went on to an explanation on the benefits of agbo, why it was no longer commonly used, and proceeded to serve me slices of bread with egg and baked beans.

I was slightly confused. Ofcourse, but it was better to be given long-winded explanations than the usual "I don't know" "You ask too many questions" that my parents and other aunties had replied to, when I asked them questions.

Aunt Bola was so cool. But then, our visits to her house in Ikeja became rarer until we only went once a year at Christmas, daddy made us visit her on Boxing day, after we had celebrated the 'normal' Christmas with the rest of the family.

I only noticed that she was less bothered about things that had to do with tidiness. You know, she still ate well, but she didn't really clean her house. Not like mum always ensured that ours was spick and span, to be ready for daddy and any of his many friends who came to have a drink most Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and Mondays.

But then one day, daddy said she was going to the United Kingdom, to be taken care of, and then not long after that, he said, she was to be sectioned and put in a home. I tried to ask questions as usual, but I didn't get any satisfactory answers.

I guess, you could say, that was the beginning of my curiousity into insanity. Or what humans term insanity. Isn't it funny that there are no insane cats, or dogs, or horses or cows or sheep. And they were only termed insane when they had diseases, but then aunty Bola didn't have a disease. So why was she mad? She wasn't foaming in her mouth or stomping her feet everywhere. She was just unconstrained by the environment. She didn't see the need to clean, didn't see the need to dress all the time, she was always hot, and she sometimes started to laugh by herself. The joke was in her head. Sometimes, she danced by herself, to music she alone could hear. I found it fascinating.

So when it was time to go to university, I wanted to study psychiatry. I thought it would be interesting to know more about the minds of people we termed to be insane.

Daddy didn't want me to study psychiatry. He always thought I should be an Engineer. Mum wanted me to be a Doctor, so I got mum on my side, by explaianing to her how I could upgrade to medicine, following my first degree in psychiatry. She seemed pleased with that explanation.

After my studies, I started to work in a research institute on mental health in Africa, wanting to find out more and to see how and why these people, especially in Nigeria were treated as substandard, simply because they didn't feel like combing their hair, they walked about naked, they were just free. Then I started to wonder if we were the restricted ones, with our boxes for houses, always locked in, as though in jail, boxes for cars, again with doors, locked in, boxes for offices, boxes for worship, boxes for everything. Yet the animals roamed wild and free in the jungle, they didn't have to move from box to box to box like humans, who are boxed everywhere, until we die and we are put in our final box.

I tried to have conversations along these lines with some of my friends, but the funny stares and the uncomfortable silences made me stop. Well, I didn't stop, it just became that I wasn't heard, I think. So I started to write furiously. All my thoughts, I wrote. I became the best researcher in the institute based on my productivity. My brain delighted in knowing more about this phenomenon. And then I started visiting aunty Bola in the institution. She was still alive and although she didn't fully recognise me, she always welcomed me, and in the beginning, I could just about string some meaning from the things she was saying. But after a few months, she started making perfect sense to me.

I guess she wasn't violent to me. She wasn't threatened by me, because I accepted her and always brought her fresh flowers. She really liked the flowers. Then one day, she sang. And it was beautiful, so I asked for her to have a radio with a cd player, and I bought her some cds. And she played them, but then she scratched the cds and broke the radio, because it was a box. She wanted to be free. No boxes. Just sound. 
From her inner being.

Then one day, I remember it clearly, only because I felt it so strongly, I started to dislike 'society', what with our rules, and rules and rules and more rules. I felt choked. And I wanted to dance in the rain, in the day time, on the streets, I wanted to speak, so I spoke to myself sometimes, and I still wrote furiously. And then gradually I felt less 'boxed in'. I felt free. I felt like I just wanted to see the world easily. But I didn't know how to communicate this clearly. So I started going for long walks, having conversations with strangers, sometimes with the trees, sometimes with myself.

Then after that, it became more and more normal to be less and less normal.

Until one day, while walking on the grounds of the institution, it occurred to me that these were my friends.  I had no other friends. No one else invited me to their soirees. No more invites to weddings, or picnics or to the parks.

And so, I walked in, and asked for a room with my family. 












Read more »

Etta

|
Here we are in heaven
Our heaven

The people around us don't matter
Even we, do not matter
This is a higher calling
This inexplicable pull that somehow seems to draw us near
Even when we try to tear ourselves apart
How strong the magnet
Yet we are not opposites
Or are we?

We are in heaven
We are in love
The world does not matter
No one matters
Nothing anyone says matters
All that matters is that you love me and I love you

Can this love last throughout eternity?
Can our love constantly regenerate itself?
Will it morph into hate or even worse, indifference?
It will not. It must not.
You smile, the spell is cast.
We are in love.
Forever

In heaven
At last.
Read more »

Leadership Lessons from Barack Obama

| 20 February 2014
Lessons
“One of the things that I’ve learned to appreciate more as President is you are essentially a relay swimmer in a river full of rapids, and that river is history,” he later told me. “You don’t start with a clean slate, and the things you start may not come to full fruition on your timetable. But you can move things forward. And sometimes the things that start small may turn out to be fairly significant. I suspect that Ronald Reagan, if you’d asked him, would not have considered the earned-income-tax-credit provision in tax reform to be at the top of his list of accomplishments. On the other hand, what the E.I.T.C. has done, starting with him, being added to by Clinton, being used by me during the Recovery Act, has probably kept more people out of poverty than a whole lot of other government programs that are currently in place.”

Reflection:
“I have strengths and I have weaknesses, like every President, like every person,” Obama said. “I do think one of my strengths is temperament. I am comfortable with complexity, and I think I’m pretty good at keeping my moral compass while recognizing that I am a product of original sin. And every morning and every night I’m taking measure of my actions against the options and possibilities available to me, understanding that there are going to be mistakes that I make and my team makes and that America makes; understanding that there are going to be limits to the good we can do and the bad that we can prevent, and that there’s going to be tragedy out there and, by occupying this office, I am part of that tragedy occasionally, but that if I am doing my very best and basing my decisions on the core values and ideals that I was brought up with and that I think are pretty consistent with those of most Americans, that at the end of the day things will be better rather than worse.”

Perspective
“I think we are born into this world and inherit all the grudges and rivalries and hatreds and sins of the past,” he said. “But we also inherit the beauty and the joy and goodness of our forebears. And we’re on this planet a pretty short time, so that we cannot remake the world entirely during this little stretch that we have.” The long view again. “But I think our decisions matter,” he went on. “And I think America was very lucky that Abraham Lincoln was President when he was President. If he hadn’t been, the course of history would be very different. But I also think that, despite being the greatest President, in my mind, in our history, it took another hundred and fifty years before African-Americans had anything approaching formal equality, much less real equality. I think that doesn’t diminish Lincoln’s achievements, but it acknowledges that at the end of the day we’re part of a long-running story. We just try to get our paragraph right.”


_____________________________________
excerpts from 
http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2014/01/27/140127fa_fact_remnick?currentPage=all
Read more »

How can I be there for others?

| 15 February 2014
Today marks the third anniversary of the day that changed my life. Yes, really.

And everyday, while I am reminded of my limitations, I am also reminded of my abilities, and for these I remain truly thankful.

I am also thankful for the limitations, as they helped to make me realise I'm human, and also brought me closer to understanding the unique human body, and the mystery that is life and the experience made me learn how difficult it must be for people to be there for those who are sick or ill or sad.

Now, I remember that even my little cousins who I used to play with, were terrified of me, seeing me in such unfamiliar surroundings and conditions. And I know that many people cared but couldn't show it, through shock, fear, and just not knowing the appropriate thing to say or do.

I learnt the importance of compassion. I learnt that life really is transient. Health is GOLD and the attitude of those around us can be a healing balm. I learnt, from the people around me, that sometimes, all you need is to just be there. And I also learnt the importance of not shying away from asking 
'how are you?' 

And even if the answer is 'I'm fine', know that of course they are not, but they are hoping you can ask more questions, and also perhaps, hoping you continue to think of them, and send happy thoughts, praying that they will be fine. 

So I guess trying to be normal WITHOUT ignoring the issue - be it illness, death - helps. Ignoring the issue and trying to be a clown is  like trying to ignore the presence of a huge multi-coloured elephant in the room - hard and a bit silly. So accept the issue, deal with it and be there, if you can.

If you can't be there, then you can send texts, encouraging ones, emails, flowers, or even movies and links to random and interesting sites, to help with the boredom.

And all in all, always know, there is a time for everything, a time to be sad, a time to be happy, time to dance, time to mourn, and in all these moments, the people around us are immensely important. They help us to grow.

And that is the key, life is a continuous growth process, and we must embrace this. 
And in all things, we continue to thank God for all.
Read more »

TranceDance

| 13 February 2014
The music came on, she took to the dance floor and as each song was played,and she stripped herself one by one, one stanza after the other, of the labels "mother", "lawyer", "wife", "employer, "friend", "daughter", until she simply was Olufemi. By then, the music had ended. And it was time to go and join her family at the table. Yet she was glad, for the fifteen minutes of escapism she had enjoyed. She was thankful. It was the little things that made the most difference.
Read more »

On Empathy

| 29 January 2014
I’ve always valued a woman’s ability to empathize with others- from the people she knows, mankind in general, to all living beings in general. The wider this sphere expands, the more empathy she has, and I don’t mean “empathy” is some kind of hypocritical liberal hippie dippy way. I mean she’s genuinely able to feel how others feel and give sympathy and support when she can.
I personally value this quality more than anything else and consider it a key determinant whether someone is relationship material or not.
In a way, empathy is the other side of the same coin as seeing one’s own flaws and dealing with them well. Women who empathize are perceptive and easy to connect with. The prerequisite for these attributes is that they’re in touch and honest with their own emotions. Empathy for others also take a lot of compassion. I believe a person would not be able to give compassion unless she is capable of self-compassion. Someone who is in touch with her emotions and can be compassionate to herself is someone who can see her own flaws and deal with them well.
The opposite of empathy is solipsism. A solipsist generally exhibit narcissism, sense of entitlement, and isolation. They have a way of rationalizing away guilt, and use other people as a means to an end. Needless to say, solipsist women should be avoided at all costs. Unfortunately they are quite easy to find everywhere. Empathy is a rare quality.
---
I read Charles' comment on http://markmanson.net/one-trait and I agree with it. The ability to see things from another's perspective is very important.

Read more »

Water Baby

| 7 January 2014
Anita walked slowly back home from the train station. It had been a very long and hard Tuesday. 
"Why was the Tuesday after Monday a working day?" She wondered.

Well, Monday, you had the entire weekend to prepare for Monday, and on Monday, you worked through the tasks that were left unfinished on Friday, this meant that Mondays were very productive, but  by the end of the day, after repeated exaggerations of how exciting and adventure-packed your weekend was to your clearly disinterested colleagues, one is left feeling rather drained, with a desperate need for another weekend to re-energise. Surely it would make more sense to have a rest-day after Monday, and then two days of consecutive work, followed by two days of rest, and then one final day of work/rest or an official work-from-home for all. That cannot be too difficult It appears that no sooner has Monday lunch-time ended, than is Tuesday upon us. 

This particular Tuesday was a unique one. No, it was not different in the sense that Anita still had to commute by overground train into London and then take the tube to her office at Embankment. You have to blame the exorbitant house prices in London for this. Anita, had rented a nice apartment in Battersea for eight years, but decided to get on the property ladder, as all her friends had done, and she was not one to feel out of place now. So she had bought a house.

"My property is my property, wherever it is located" Anita always thought proudly to herself.

No, it did not even have to do with the fact that she knew, as she shut her front door and stepped into the rain, falling softly, slowly but steadily and made her way, the twenty minutes walk down to the station, that she was not wearing the right outfit for  this rainy Tuesday.

It wasn't that. That could be remedied. She was now on first-name terms with her dry cleaner. He had taken to teaching her how to care for her garments by herself, to save some money. That was how often she went. But with a pressured job, who had time to read through the care labels? Really?

No, it wasn't the rain, it wasn't the outfit, it wasn't even the fact that it was Tuesday.

Even as she went about her work, attending all her scheduled meetings, she knew she was not fully present. Well, it would have been hard for anyone else to notice, she had been working at the firm for over a decade, she knew how these Tuesday catch-up meetings went. 

Clever idea, it was, to have the meetings on Tuesdays instead of Mondays as this way, staff had realised that the weekend was over, and come to grips with the demands of the week, at least then, the editor knew how productive her team would be, and could form a clearer picture of the deadlines that were most likely not be met.

No, it was not the meetings. The meetings went well. Although as she recounted how full and exciting her weekend was to a colleague she had not seen on Monday, she realised that she still had to have a few telephone meetings, they were to be interviews with members of the House of Lords. She anticipated that the conversations were going to be along the same lines as the usual verbose nature of her interviews with members of the peerage. And it was like that for the first interview with Lord Campbell, but she was pleasantly surprised as she was drawing her conclusions from a tough conversation with Lord Bakings-Hall on why fox-hunting was good for the community, when he commented that he had enjoyed this interview, even better than their first interview a couple of years ago, and how he had followed her work in the papers.  

That went well. By lunchtime however, there was a certain restlessness. Her vision was blurred. Her body was telling her that something was missing. No, it was not hunger. She had had a late breakfast, as per usual. No it most certainly was not hunger, she thought again to herself

So why was her stomach churning in and around itself? Why was it that as she looked through her glasses, all she saw were streams of water in front of her?

Why was it so hard to focus on her laptop screen, and why was a mirage of an oasis in the desert appearing constantly and slowing down her work? She had seen that mirage before, once when she was very ill, about seven years ago. She remembered it, but then she discounted the thought, it was just her body trying to control her.

She ploughed on. Anita, she is a tough one. 

And as she continued to work so hard, we looked at ourselves and wondered why humans were so stubborn and so reluctant to accept their true selves?

I spoke to the others, pleading with them to give her a few more hours, just until her day was over.

Why? They asked? Why must we always bend the rules? Why can't they obey the rules?

I reasoned that the time was not right. The time had not come. Not in Embankment. I begged and I pleaded. 

You see, I was the goddess Anita's mum begged for a child, thirty-six years ago. Anita was given, on the proviso that by the age of thirty-five, she would have a child and that child will be dedicated to us by the time she was thirty-five. But Anita's mum died a few years beforehand, and had failed to tell Anita this.

Well, she had hinted at it in her will, - I wish she had put it more bluntly, but I suppose she did not want to scare her child who had been brought up as a Christian. To go into this new realm would have been an uncomfortable conversation.

Anita thought the hint, written in the will was her mother's final plea to ensure her daughter was not a n older mother. And she thought, "no, I'm certainly not ready for a child. Who am I going to have the child with? Where does this fit into my plan? No. No child till 40." And that was the end of that. Anita, she is a tough one.

As Anita made her way home from work, the rain was falling harder. You see, the others were getting restless. They kept saying "We have waited for more than a year. This is not fair. We have to keep to our agreements. If not people will never honour our contracts, and they will come to disrespect us."

I could see their point of view. Yet, my heart was not ready. Not just yet. There was lightening, and thunderstorms, and it was so fierce that a fellow commuter commented to Anita on the train ride home "goodness, it's relentless isn't it? Lucky the trains are not yet cancelled", to which she merely nodded, and continued reading her copy of the evening's Standard.

And as she walked home, she did not mind the rain. She had never minded the rain. Although this Tuesday, she was looking forward to getting back to her abode, and having a glass of the Barolo her date last Friday had brought her, she planned to light some with candles and perhaps watch the latest episode of Community.

But as she opened her front door. She knew something was different. She felt lighter, and with a keen sense of realisation, she saw that the water from the streams that she had seen through her glasses at work appeared to now be  in her house. "What was all this about?" She wondered, now slightly frightened. Her feet appeared to be sinking and she was waist-deep in the water. And then she realised she couldn't feel her legs. And then she saw that her torso was dissolving also. Becoming one with the water. Slowly her life flashed before her. But before she had time to process it, she was gone. One with the water.

It would be said later in the news that House no 20, Raleigh Street in Guildford was the only flooded one from the rains, that day in April.

And me? I cried.
---------------------





















Read more »
 

Copyright © 2010 adun okupe | Design by Dzignine