Reflections from the Mirror…..

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Embrace who you are but be YOU!

“When I see you, I think “I wonder which face she sees when she looks into the mirror.” – C.JoyBell C.

I, undeniably, am of the school of proselytes that inexplicably concur to the notion that karma is a female dog. I truly love dogs and I am forever grateful to my parents for schooling me about responsibility when I received Scooby as my 3rd birthday present and since that day, I have never looked back. Sometimes I genuinely believe that dogs are not just man’s best friend but that one friend that stands way above the pack. I am still unsuccessful in building up my dream pack of dogs like I once had in the past but oh well, I have got tomorrow to look forward to. As is the case with everything known to man, there are the pros and cons, the good and the bad but fortunately we have that one unique feature that many of us are too petrified to use – choice.  I am looking forward to getting a new Labrador very soon, how long? I really do not know but what is the whole essence of life devoid of faith because we can only aspire for as long as we can dream. Dreams! a figment of our imagination or a myriad of events to be that the Almighty weaves into our fragile minds?

I was privileged to be at the theaters a couple of days watching “The Good Lie” and suffice to say that I was among the only three people seated in a room capable of holding over 250 people, a poor showing and attendance. I did look up the movie online and saw that it made slightly over $1m, however just like the movie, again we are faced with the dilemma of being gauged by what people think of us or accepting the reality of who we are and therefore commit to walking our own unique path. I have long come to accept that regardless of what people are faced with, the choice of what they see and go away with is theirs and theirs alone. At several times in the movie, I was faced with the startling reminder that whilst tears are an expression of our emotions, our actions thereafter are not in direct correlation with those emotions – they are a willful determined sequence of events laid out and orchestrated by us, whether it is in response to our insatiable greed or our conscience, we play them out as we deem it necessary. In my opinion, that is something that we should dare to determine and just maybe, the onslaught of decay and decadence that is overwhelming us can be slowed down and just a few more lives be saved.

Needlessly, I always remind you that I am a continuous survivor of an incurable neurological disorder known as myoclonus but it has only spurred me on to heights that I previously thought unattainable as against quenching the beautiful life and spirit God placed within me. I have read about, listened to and witnessed the tales of war child Emmanuel Jal amongst others and while his story provokes so much despondency as to the nature of man, I did spend 5 years with a mythomane and so the ground rules are almost alike. When life casts you adrift an ocean of wrecks and flotsam, an unshakable thirst is born (an incomprehensible desire for truth that is so fleeting); one is forced to pause and take bearings again because that brief pause may just save your life. Undeniably, in acquiescence to life’s abhorrence of vacuum, you will definitely have to concede some painful losses but without some form of bearing, where are you headed? because “even if a river flows with milk, a dog can take in only one lick at a time” – Tamil Proverb

Brazen faced, I remember the times just after the diagnosis was made and I was faced with the fact that this was going to be and still is one very expensive battle and as we are usually wont to so badly believe, there are some people out there who have the financial resources to make a difference in just one person’s ‘south-going’ circumstances; I sent out series of correspondences to as many as I felt would utilize their ears. The result? Complete humility and a deep birthed trust in The One who steps in when we are at the end of our rope, because what kept me going were the actions of just a few from the myriad of people I had come to know. On its own, it definitely was not an antidote to depression but I made the choice to look myself in the mirror and remind myself that I was created with just one face notwithstanding the hugely popularly misconstrued context of this quote “humans feel a need to prove they are the dominant race of a species and they inadvertently take kindness for weakness from another individual” – C.J Dorner.  I do myself this gargantuan favor each waking day, reminding myself that my actions are solely mine and so I school myself each day in the fact that I should never grow weary of well doing, because no matter how much I try to infer that the reaction will be good – it is not always the case.

Truth be told, that I have learned that we all have a certain amount of days apportioned to us and one day, with all certainty, the clock is gonna stop ticking and no matter how much regrets we feel, there is absolutely nothing we can do thereafter. What we must live with is what did we do when we had the chance? A new season has set in, and as I sat listening to the gentle words of wisdom by Pastor Ernest Zilch at his retirement service last night, I reassured myself that life is all that we choose to make of it – however the memories and consequences of our choices will always outlive us. The impact of those memories will either better a life or worsen it, for when we are done on this fragile earth, the harsh reality of how we lived our lives will stare us in our face for all eternity. As you behold yourself today, make a verbal note to that reflection – we were not created to be two faced. Let that which you behold be a source of dignity and pride to the One who made you, for in giving then we can truly receive, and choose not worthless edifices of numbered days, but choose that which you will forever be glad that you gained.

Remember “It’s great to reminisce about good memories of my past. It was enjoyable when it was today. so learning to enjoy today has two benefits: it gives me happiness right now, and it becomes a good memory later” – George Foreman

עד שנפגש שוב בזמן שלו, לא דגל לבן הוא אי פעם הולך לתלות מהמשקוף שלי

Adios!

Taking it back….

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Whatchu gonna do?

Sometimes we have to take a step back and realize what is important in your life; what you can live with but more importantly what you cannot live without.”

Well it is a great day to jump right here and shake off the assertions of the ‘normal’ every day life which I got accustomed to in the past (the tale of being jumped on by myoclonus, a rare neurological disorder is something that always inadvertently pops up in my posts), got liberated and intend on staying liberated. Phew! It just sneaks up on you and before you know it, there you are, being dumped upon by everyday activities that are not the daily activities of your own choosing. Round and round we go, seeking to break away from the vicious cycle that has life always wanting to be the administrator. The weird issue about that picture is who should really be the one in charge because someone definitely has to be in charge and so for me, I am teamed up with the Creator and what an awesome team it is. I get to determine my daily activities based on an understanding of what He has defined and determined for me.

With reference to my identity and earlier posts, we are all prisoners of birth and someday we have to make the choice – remain prisoners of birth or break free from the shackles that are almost like a second skin. It has been a harrowing period of some sorts these past few weeks as I seek to clear out the cobwebs that have gathered in my very own niche, no thanks to myoclonus but this is something that I was made to do – occupy and be a value adder. I realize how amazing it is that we somehow inexplicably choose to be driven by life and its abstract goals – a choice made by our refusal to choose (cowardice) and fail to realize that the very priorities that should count in our lives are those that we ditch in a bid to meet up with the running around game. But, hold on a second, what is the running in circles for? and why engage in something that you neither know who set the rules of the game or who administers the benefits?

It is somewhat amusing and so exciting when I get to see that moment in that one individual when their dimming bulb starts glowing so much brighter as the awareness of who should be in charge of their life dawns upon them. That, dear friends is something that will continually drive me in my battle to stay in charge of my life regardless of myoclonus and its creepy associates, the individuals who daily cross my path with sniggers and disparaging comments, the nay sayers and the ignorants.  Regardless of how numerous they are, I know that there will always be that someone who gets to see the light – literally and more. We were not dumped here on earth because of some clean up exercise somewhere, absolutely not. We were created to take charge, created to be champions in life – riding high on the surf and standing tall and strong even in the twilight times. Somewhere things went wrong and so progressively, we find ourselves enmeshed in a world where the absurd has become the norm and the appropriate has become despicable. Quite a few remarkably absurd events have occurred and more absurd explanations have been offered and less than a ripple has been the reaction, such hopelessness and despondency.

I was among a privileged few that were under the ‘tutelage’ of Chip Ingram and for the half hour or less, it was another opportunity to see what we need to do to remain human beings. Like an epidemic, a wave of severely skewed reasoning patterns has birthed a multitude of people whose overwhelming desire is to do whatever life lays for them and so all around us are unique individuals, countless but distinctly crazed by their inability to choose. We have become less human beings and more human doings, everyone running viciously doing and doing and doing, each attempting to mirror another’s misunderstood drive. And yet we wonder where all the care, compassion, kindness, love, warmth has gone to. The very things that make us humans are being ditched by choice so as to be that which we certainly do not want to be. And in an ironic twist, many spend the little time they have as themselves whining about stress, disillusionment and a false grandeur of reality. The moment of truth is this, are we bold enough to make those choices that will make us stand out from the crowd? Are we bold enough to take back our humanity as individuals despite the torrent of derision and contempt that is bound to be hurled at us? It is all about taking it back, and the power to do so lies in your hands.

Now, it may somewhat be construed as strange coming from me – an emerging victor over this neurological disorder, but truth be told that today I stand different and yet victorious, liberated and bold, not daunted in that which I am because the scars I bear are not self inflicted but signs that whilst I still struggle, my victory is sure and certain. The path through the valley may still come up but now I am more strengthened because I know that there is One whose report of me I still stand by and choose to believe. I am taking it back, and pretty much surprising even myself. Sometimes, the sweetest victories are usually savored after the hardest battles and to me this is one delightful experience that I deserve and intend to savor to the best of my ability. My favorite personal question is ‘why am I holding onto what I have in my hand?’ and I always find that when I let it go, I get back more than I had in the first place. These are truly the best days of my life and I am thrilled to know that they just began.

“You get that one chance; and damn it, you’ve got to take it! If there’s one lesson I know I will take with me for eternity, its that there are those things that might happen only once, those chances that come walking down the street, strolling out of a café; if you don’t let go and take them, they really could get away! We can get so washed out with a mindset of entitlement– the universe will do everything for us to ensure our happiness– that we forget why we came here! We came here to grab, to take, to give, to have! Not to wait! Nobody came here to wait! So, what makes anyone think that destiny will keep on knocking over and over again? It could, but what if it doesn’t? You go and you take the chance that you get; even if it makes you look stupid, insane, or whorish! Because it just might not come back again. You could wait a lifetime to see if it will…but I don’t think you should.” – C. JoyBell C.

Remember, life comprises of moments and as make our individual ways through life, the moments we cherish the most are those that we took back….if we missed them the first time. We either take them or we live to regret not taking them.

lמסתדר טוב עד שניפגש שוב בזמן שלו

Adios!

Gone with the wind???….

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It is 3.40am and the very walls of the house are trembling as the winds buffet everything in its path and although it may be scary for many but for me, it is yet another silent message that nothing just happens and even when we are buffeted on all sides by the winds of life, realize that there is a purpose to it and whilst in the midst of the storm, it seems inexplicably difficult to acknowledge that – get this; it does not change that truth, nothing just happens.

It is two years now since I was officially diagnosed with this gargantuan medical challenge and neurological disorder and I can assure you all that it has been a gargantuan change to my life and just like St Jude as she howls and stamps her presence, so much garbage and debris has been blown out of my life, giving me the unique privilege of having a clearer perspective to those things that I once took for granted and appreciating better the gift of the Present. Making me realize that even amidst the howling winds, there can be peace within the storm not because of what may seem to be happening all around me but because I have chosen before now to define what my foundation shall be and having the certain assurance that regardless of this 89 mph wind gusts of St Jude, my anchor holds within the storm.

I watched with keen interest as the tree that stands in the front lawn relentlessly lost her leaves and as each leaf was torn off and blown away, it seemed such a hopeless and despairing event because those leaves have been torn off from the familiarity, security, comfort of home, not by choice but by events that they certainly had no say in. However, as each leaf was borne away, it also marked the beginning and end of another season. Now as I sit in silent contemplation of all the events that have taken place in my life within the last 24 months, I can enjoy the beauty of a whimsical smile because, what a journey it has been. From the very first moments, the words ‘rare and incurable’ were uttered by Adrian Casey, it has been a tumultuous journey. I recall the nights when the rumblings of my stomach were loud enough to be heard on the phone during international calls – not because they were symptoms of a movement disorder but from sheer hunger. I can remember the despondency I felt, the isolation, the many unanswered questions, the bleakness of the present then…..

Today as I yet again share my heart, I am thankful for the winds of St Jude that threatened at times to overwhelm me but that have unerringly blown me across the many paths of the beautiful people I can call friends today. I thank God for the times all the flights and trains were grounded (for safety reasons which I could not appreciate then), for the atrocious conditions that forced me to force my way forward, head down and scarf lifted with limited visibility, with nothing but just my faith and the infallible truth that I was created for a purpose and a much grander reason than I may have been able to imagine then. I have had my very moorings almost blown away, my foundations shaken, veneers of a past life peeled away painfully, exposed to the elements with nothing to seemingly live for. I have experienced the deepest betrayals by those I chose to have looked up to, been cast aside in derision like an old rag doll, ignored by those whom I weakly reached out for some assistance. I have experienced the depths of isolation and loneliness, cast and borne by the winds of change, away from what I called security and home before now. I have lost all that could be lost, shed tears from acute physical, mental and emotional pain but I am still standing today – what a journey it has been indeed.

Ironically St Jude according to Catholicism, is the saint for the hopeless and the despairing and how appropriately named is today’s windstorm. I have come to realize that each time I experience these storms, there is a better future awaiting me and I will always choose to believe that since I am still with breath, then I am but stronger in all aspects. Without these winds, I will not be doing this. Without these winds, I will not be blessed with the friends that I have made. Without these winds, I will not be who I am today and I know that I can never be gone with the winds because the winds are here just to move me to a better place and the stronger they are, the further and better a location I am getting to. The stronger it blows, the more unique individuals I get to come across albeit for a brief period of time and so I have learned to make every moment count because all I have is the now and so I have chosen to make everyone count. Now I can truly appreciate how blessed I am to be surrounded on all sides by a family defined not by blood but by the vicissitudes of life and the awesome realization that God alone rules over the affairs of men and therefore there is a purpose to everything.

I count myself blessed to be able to say ‘it has not been by strength or by might but by the provisions of a God whose love is so real and sincere’. I choose to lift my face in the winds, with my legs spread apart and my staff firmly held and just breathe words of thanksgiving for a journey that is bringing me to my expected end. For the lives that I have had the privilege of passing through, for the lives that have inspired me and been inspired by mine – no truer experience is worth reliving and despite the downs (countless they may have seemed then), the ups will forever be etched in my life. And whilst like a Lone Ranger it has seemed many times, I am truly grateful for the Tontos that have accompanied me each phase of this windstorm. I am thankful for the lesson that has taught me to understand that
encountered the most profound of moments and learned that life is like a coin, pleasure and pain are the two sides. Only one side is visible at times but remember that the other side is waiting for its turn to be visible.

And even as silence and calm precedes a fresh burst of wind, I have come to acknowledge that it is only the cowardly and foolish who believe that just because difficulties differ in intensity then they are immune to their own storms, however the wise use these moments of calm to hurriedly reach out and grasp a floundering arm, a struggling life and make a significant impact. Nothing lasts for ever and so dig deep and press on, for this storm is just for a season. You can choose to complain that roses have thorns or rejoice that thorns have roses, the choice is always yours to make. And as I wrap up this, I am thankful for you all that have been willing to share this journey with me and glad for the opportunity to have been bold enough to share it with you.

“I believe in going with the flow. I don’t believe in fighting against the flow. You ride on your river and you go with the tides and the flow. But it has to be your river, not someone else’s. Everyone has their own river, and you don’t need to swim, float, sail on their’s, but you need to be in your own river and you need to go with it. And I don’t believe in fighting the wind. You go and you fly with your wind. Let everyone else catch their own gusts of wind and let them fly with their own gusts of wind, and you go and you fly with yours.” – C. JoyBell C.

Remember that we are all creatures of purpose and pleasure, make every moment count because now is all you have – yesterday is gone and tomorrow is yet to come.

lמסתדר טוב עד שניפגש שוב בזמן שלו

Adios!