Learn to Dance in the Rain

I saw this quote recently and it coincided with some hard truths I stumbled upon. Lately, I have felt immobile by regret, discontent and a feeling of utter dissatisfaction with the state of my life. I know a part of this was burn out but it was also a malignant feeling of seeming never to truly be making progress in any area of my life. It came from a sudden attack of feeling stuck in life and realising that I was not blameless in this. I realise that the time has come for me to admit and accept some hard truths and this episode of discontent has revealed some true gems that have birthed great discomfort for me.

Some Hard Truths:

  1. The hand that wields the sword is more dangerous than the sword itself: I am pretty sure that you have heard some version of this before. However, for me, it has come to mean that I am not blameless in the state of dissatisfaction and discontent I am experiencing now. I have continued to make the same mistakes expecting a different result because of how earnest I am about experiencing change. I am earnest but my actions have done more harm than good. I need to take accountability in this regard.
  2. Do not wait on something outside yourself or your environment to make you feel complete or happy: Again I am sure that some of you have heard this before. But we need to recognise the truth of it. I have lived in denial of this. When you look beyond where you currently are and think that things will get better when you leave where you currently are then you will always be miserable there. I have to find the good in and learn how to be content again where I am.
  3. Do not make excuses because they trip you up and keep you grounded in the same place: It is so easy to blame everything on others or circumstances. Do not make excuses take action and own up to your part in whatever has gone wrong.
  4. Big things happen from small moments and actions: I have to stop resting on great expectations with Bollywood productions. Just do the small things and let go of those big plans.
  5. You control the journey you will experience in life: It is so easy at times to blame others for where you are at a certain point in your life. “If you did not have to do this for her”, or “If you did not have to go there for him” are thoughts that can hide the fact that you made decisions whether based on desire or out of a sense of duty, fear or guilt. It does not matter, you chose to help, to give and to be where you now regret you have been, what you have done and how much of you and your resources you have given.
  6. Make things right as soon as possible whether or not the fault is yours: It is a lot harder said than done but having peace of mind demand this is done. So whether we want to or not peace comes from making peace.
  7. It’s not that you cannot find time to pursue your dreams, it is that you have not made time for them: I have wasted so much time doing truly meaningless things time I could have spent working on those things that aligned with my goals and vision for my life. I now have to work on being disciplined and pursue my dreams actively.
  8. Lack of fear and self-confidence stunts you, not what others say or do: At some point we have to decide to move forward in spite of it all even our own limited view of our abilities.
  9. Don’t wait on the approval of others: We often turn to friends and family to get validation or a word of advice about something important t o us. However, learn to be more confidence in your ability to make the right decision. I have realised also that what I want more than sound advice is to place the final decision on someone else. So now I need to practice making the decisions that need to be made without expecting others to tell me what I should do.
  10. Your ideas wont wait on you to manifest, when you put them off they eventually find another more capable source: With this I will be simple, your great idea is your great idea until someone else makes them come alive. Then they become a wish never fulfilled.
  11. No one is limited or needs more than who they are: It has become so easy to compare yourself with others, without even realising it. Then one day it all comes to a head and you realise you have been making a list of all your shortcomings and they now overwhelm you: “What have I done, achieved in this life so far? Nothing”.
  12. Self-help books do not produce change in your life, only your thoughts and actions can: I have read a couple of self-help books and while in the moment they were great they were not this miracle text that delivered on results the way I erroneously felt they would. I now realise that they can help toa degree but I have to do the work, show up and make the time to work on improving areas of my life that need the work.

I know that as with anything else truly being accountable is the best way to learn from those truths highlighted above. But in a world that seems to change so rapidly nowadays we need to stop and pay attention, then take action.

I Am a Lion

I Am a Lion

God has given me the heart of a Lion.

I prowl and wonder here and there

I stand on the edge of the clip
my heart is fearless.

I leap into the misty unknown.
I know I will live!

No one can stop me.

Majestically I float
a flick and flicker
leaving my marks in the dust.

dust you came from dust you shall return...
but not today.

Today I tower over the kingdom
and roar!

Today the trap they set
is seen.
I am wise to their scars
they cannot deceive. 

On all fours I stand
within me beats
the heart of a Lion...

Hitting Rock Bottom

So you put it all on the line and you failed? Now you want to give in and accept defeat. Don’t be sad, don’t be sorry, be glad you did not win when you did.

I think I can confidently say that for many people, being at the bottom sucks. It sucks so bad that most people would rather not be in contention for anything, miss out on great opportunities rather than there being a possibility for them being at the bottom. It just seems like no one likes a loser, so no one wants to be one.

But I think losing is a good thing.

If you have come to realise this, great, but I have learned this lesson well and I am so happy that I solved that piece of the puzzle and never want to forget it.

Losing should not break your will to strive for more, to go after your dreams, to even have dreams. No, losing should be the catalyst you need to rise from the ashes like a phoenix and get to where you need to be. This does not mean necessarily in the number one spot, but your comfort zone. The zone where you can comfortably stay, grow and thrive!

Losing helps you to stay humble and be that much more grateful when you do win. To remember that not everyone can or will win and to respect the unique qualities of those you competed against. To value each person’s contribution to the competition and your development. To know that at the end of the day winning does not guarantee happiness or contentment. To know that when the applause ends and the adoring fans leave you will still know the value of your worth. There is also the joy of knowing that you have seen yourself at your worst and lived to tell the tale, to know the bitter taste of defeat and still overcame the potential poisonous effects. Winning doesn’t make you better, losing does. Because if you plan to get up when knocked off your feet you have to give a little more, do something different and tap into a reserve of power you didn’t know you had. When you lose is when you know how strong you are, because you faced those demons that told you to stop trying and defeated them.

So let us be more willing to embrace losing, so we can test our strength, resilience and heart. Let us not just live but be alive to the possibilities for growth that losing offers.

No Hiding.

The more you hide, the less you’re seen, the less likely it is for you to shine when it’s your time to shine.

Sometimes it seems like a good idea to hide the flaws. But sometimes the flaws can turn out to be the blessing that we need. It can be the thing that separates a someone from an everyone. I use to like sitting back and let everyone else do the talking and make the plans and I just go along. But I have learned that you can’t hide behind everyone, all the time. One day, if only for that one time you will not have the human shields that keep you from answering the hard questions and making the tough decisions. Being anonymous is a great place to be for those who do not like the lime light. However, if in the act of reaching the goals you have set, you you have to take the spotlight, hiding may hinder you from seeing clearly what you should grab a hold of.

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It also make it easier for someone to be ignored, even if everyone can clearly see you. Even if it is clear how talented you are and how invaluable your contribution, there are many more less capable and talented persons who are willing to make the noise that will lead to change. Therefore, while someone is there resting in the knowledge of their worth, it just may not be enough to be recognized; sometimes there is necessary noise to be made:

While silence is golden, noise can tell the true story.

Don’ hide your light under a bushel (Matt. 5: 15-16). Sometimes it seems like it’s being humble to do this. We tell ourselves that we are modest and therefore being good. But, this can be an excuse to do nothing, in order not to be judged or accused of anything unpleasant. Hiding becomes a way to be present but absent at the same time. No one can say we are not there, but no one can accuse of doing anything while there.

Hiding can become a way to deny who you are and that can be a limiting experience. Regret not only comes from not doing what you want to do but also being what everyone expects you to be, except yourself. It’s best to stop, when hiding becomes a hazard to prevents you from living life to the fullest.

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We Do Not Have to Stop.

So today has been one of those days; when you have a choice to either allow things to get you down and interrupt your day or just go with the flow and roll with the punches.

On Mondays I get up early as usual, but not for work. I get up at 4 a.m. to go to up to the good ole U.W.I, a struggle I hope to overcome soon. I did everything I would normally do, but apparently not everything.

I got to the bus park and guess what the line is super short. This means I will be getting a comfortable seat today! As I stand in line a thought comes to me: “do I have my ID?” And you guessed correctly, I did not. Upon realizing this, couple of thoughts flashed through my mind. Should I just go home and use this as the excuse why I can’t go to school today, after all I can’t use the library without my ID and going there will take up a large chink of my day? Or, do I call my aunt to see if she can get someone to get it to me? Or, do I call a taxi man I know to get it from her to take to me?

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Now normally before I think of what to do, I would spend some time cursing the day and fate that caused me to forget my ID! I would probably cry for good measure, because poor me, I did everything right and things are still not working out for me. But i surprised myself today.

I was a bit surprised at how calm I was. I did not complain, curse nor cry. Instead, I picked what I thought was the best solution. I stepped out of the line and called my aunt. But she did not answer the phone. What next could I do? I had called her several times and still not answer. if I went home now no one could blame me, after all I did try. Right?

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However, I decided to try another number. My plan worked. I got her and she was able to get to a good taxi friend who could drop it off so I could collect it. As I waited for him I realized I had to use the bathroom, but I did not want to miss him. But I had to go! I went and quickly did my thing and just as I came out he was already there looking around for me, ready to leave. I ran and collected my ID and ran back to the bus park.

Two buses had come and gone since I left and the line was still short. A real miracle. In less than a minute another bus approached. I was able to get a comfortable seat and I was on my way!

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Sitting in the bus I thought of the me a year ago. The me who would have been so frustrated at this seemingly insurmountable blockage. I would have given up and called it a day. I would have wallowed in self pity and thought of all the past incidents that prove once more that no matter how hard you try, things just don’t work out sometimes. I would not have been able to see beyond my disappointment to other solutions, to get what I needed in order to go where I wanted to go. However, today I could and I did.

Though I am still affected by things that I should not be affected by, I realized that I am no longer as stressed out as I use to be. I am more realistic in my approach to situations and therefore more rational in how I react and choose to get things done.

A disappointment does not have to result in lingering and all consuming unhappiness. Things do not always happen the way we imagine but that doesn’t mean they will not happen. We may have to shift our plans, take a different route or delay a bit, but we do not have to stop. We do not have to let the actions of others affect our mood nor our dream of where we are headed. We do not have to beat ourselves up when we make mistakes that delay our plans. Maybe we will have to adjust how we get to where we are going, and that’s okay. In the end let nothing stop you from getting there.

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It’s Fun to Generalize.

I think we enjoy generalizing, because it’s fun.

It is also easy to do and therefore we are more tempted to do so than not. If we had to take the time to consider and admit that “everyone doesn’t do the same thing”s, not “everyone think s the same way” and not “everyone care about the same things”, then we would have less of a concrete argument for some of the assumptions that we have.

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It may seem that I am pointing the finger, and I am. However, it may comfort you to know that it is also pointed at me too, because we have all done this (or am I generalizing?). Sometimes we do it subconsciously and sometimes we are very deliberate about it. When we do not want to consider that there may be another side or some other reasonable explanation we sweep all doubts aside by generalizing. At this point we are unwilling to listen and we don’t care much about the truth.

So, we go around, sometimes not knowing that we are the hosts to faulty and over generalization, until we are forced to unmask it hiding within us. By that time, as is often the case, we have caused some direct or indirect damage to those who have to content with these generalization, because they have developed into prejudices and discrimination. And poor us for not knowing that using those sweeping generalization would result in a language of hate and sentiments of division and “othering”.

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Also, can you imagine thinking that because someone is from a specific place or does a specific job, that you are better than they are. Only to find out, years later, that while you have been dangling on your last shoe string, they have been happily and successfully going about their business. That’s the irony of life, when we get caught up in the lies that have become truths in society. Many miss out on the opportunities because of what they thought of a place or of “certain” people!

I came across this quote and I think it is something that we all need to think on:

we cannot all become geniuses [and] we cannot all reach the same level.

The Joke’s on You:

I was talking to a friend who asked a students a while ago, how he would feel if he and the garbage collector got the same pay, if he was able to get the material things we’re told to aim for, such as the best car, a grand house and so on. The student was adamant that he would not accept that, because he and the garbage collector should not be getting the same pay, because he is more academically gifted. But then my friend also made the point that some bright or even brilliant sparks who look down on persons with technical skills, will never achieve as much as those persons. He further made the point that the act of looking down on persons for perceived shortcomings could be their way of addressing their own sense of inferiority.

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Sometimes in generalizing we feed the us- versus- them complex. With this complex people are vilified, and their very complex and real problems are distorted because we refuse to accept that everything is not black or white. No one is completely good or bad and often times the most interesting accept to a person, and the part we need to pay attention to the most are the grey areas. However, many dismiss the possibility of grey areas in favor of half the truth or no truth.

These ideas are supported all around us. in the exchanges that people have on a daily basis. We see it in the archetypal, good guy versus bad guy. Then we perpetuate these beliefs in our interactions with others. We look for certain signs and wonders and deem those to tell the story of who a person is, until we are presented with a puzzle. But instead of interrogating our beliefs we deem it an anomaly and continue along in our faulty assumptions and generalizations.

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But, we should also never forget that while we may not make generalizations about ourselves we buy into them. Based on how we look, what we have achieved and where we are from, we have accepted and live out a certain image of who others may think we are.So, not only are we prone to generalizing others, we also can become co-conspirators of our own generalization, without realizing the damage it has done to us.

I think that is why I love novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s speech, “The Dangers of a Single Story”, so much. It was listening to this speech that make me really question what I do not know about people and places. And while there is much that I still do not know or understand, at least I am more aware of this. Therefore, when I hear about such things as Ebola, I do not assume that all Africa is affected and when I hear about Haiti, I do not only visualize temporary tent camps. Live is complex because people are complex and you can never fully represent everything that is life and every person in your telling, even in a story that involves them. There isn’t enough time to consider all the facets of a person or situation and you can never fully complete the story of someone’s life. Something will always be missing.

While it is hard to prevent ourselves from always generalizing people places or a situation, we should never accept those information as the truth. We should never be complacent in making authentic the injustice of reducing someone’s humanity to a single idea. A single fable.

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What Do You Do?

What do you do when you can’t change the world?

It is easy to look at a problem and think you can solve it. However, when you begin to try to do so, you realize that nothing is as easy as it looks. Now, maybe all it takes is digging a little deeper and being and little more focused. But then there are some things that you just have to live with no matter what.

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So what do you do when you can’t chamge the world?

Well you stop trying to do so. You look at yourself and your choices as well as your intention and work from there. We all want to be saviors, to do what it seems no one else can, but we often times cannot. Oftentimes when we feel we have to change something we end up trying to change ourselves. Instead, what we need to do is change how we react to the world and what happens in it.

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We don’t need to change the world because nothing was ever wrong with it. What we each need to change is our reactions to each other and our attitudes. That is the apex of our problems, we try to target the wrong things, to hold the wrong people and things accountable for why things are the way they are. Our happiness, sense of success and inner peace are not contingent on what others thinks and does but on us. I am responsible for me and you for you, no one else.

Saving the world is an enormous burden to carry that leads nowhere; because, while we are busy with delusions of grandeur the world and time waves, says hello and goodbye. Some may see it as noble that you want to shake things up, but sometimes when we try to do this we may be avoiding reality. We avoid the truth of why we want to save the world. Maybe it’s because we really think we can, but, often it is because we cannot save ourselves and by focusing on something else we can live vicariously by saving something we feel needs saving.

So when we take out our armor to slay dragons, we need to check if those dragons are of our creation and a way to deflect from our real issues with ourselves.

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