Staying the shackles….

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Staying off the shackles

Staying off the shackles

“I am not as bad as people would suggest, and yet not as good as I would like to be’ – Robbie Williams

In tribute to a man who gave more of himself to bringing such fun to a sorrowful world, I acknowledge that most of the roles he was cast in were so intense that he was one of my favourites. Whilst not wanting to cast myself into the melee of murkiness surrounding his passing, I remind myself that life in death and death in life is inevitable but we can choose how to make both ends counts. My condolences go to his family and for the stone casters, remember that you can not claim to be a victor until you’ve fought your own battle. We all suffer depression at some point or the other but what strength it requires to stay those shackles. I know what it is but today I inhale and decide that there is a purpose out there way larger than what and how people perceive me in my pain ridden world struggling with a disorder that most medical experts find difficult to grasp.

It sure has been an eventful few weeks and whilst I pull myself from the minor relapse I had with the tremors so intense, I felt like staying safe required separating my muscles from my skeleton……Alas, talk is easy, going that extra mile converting it to action is where most limits lie and so still again it’s reaching down wearily to my boot strings….yank!and trudge on.

One of the most incomprehensible things that perturbs me is why do we consciously choose to long for shackles when it’s not rocket science that they are meant to constrain us. I recently enjoyed the company of some friends and despite the years that has gone by between us, the clarity of self choice and self centredness still shone through despite efforts to mask it with a thinly applied veneer of self-justification. We do what we choose to do and regardless of whether we are too lazy and let others make the choice, as long as we walk with those choices…..we must serve the time when it is proven a crime. One truth I gathered from those times is; you harm yourself when you strive to please others at the detriment of yourself. Disobeying God certainly has no merits. “Love your neighbor as you’d love yourself” it’s that simple and so when next you find yourself doing more loving for the former, then it’s time to draw in the reins.

I recall the tale of how circus elephants are trained or tamed, just by shackling their feet at birth ensures that even at the prime of their adult life, with huge reserves of brute strength, their minds still remain shackled and so the thrill is not about how flamboyantly the tamer puts those elephants through their paces during a circus but about how incredibly exciting the positive choices from lessons learned can be used…..even apply in them to death-defying scenarios. I’ve since learned that spending my days letting the false guffaws of many dictate who I am are over. I am who God says I am, and He’s sure not interested in taking a seat in the auditorium where I can’t even see His face while I sweat through my acts hoping to make Him chuckle so hard that next time when He wants some entertainment, He remembers me. Now that’s real sad!

No, I am fully persuaded that even as I act out my role on the stage called life, His guidance, strength, wisdom and presence enthuse me with so much that I can give without entirely emptying myself. I choose to defy the laws of physics that talks about motion continuance based on the transference of energy from one body to the other at the detriment of one. I stay off those shackles so eloquently illustrated by man with his limited knowledge because I know that life is based in relationships and so if I choose to ignorantly follow the bandwagon and allow people determine who and what I should do then I have failed myself and shirked my purpose.

“When you complain, you explain pain for no gain. Endure and balance yourself through the pain, be hopeful and persist to the end.” ― Israelmore Ayivor

My message still rings unchanged – no pain, no gain. Recognizing the moment of transition is something that we more oft than not, fail to learn. Life’s best lessons are learned in the house of sorrow however the question is are we so focused on the shackles that bind us that we fail to listen to that sweet voice within us because till we do, there will be no good lessons learned, no keenness of sight but with glazed eyes continue staring at the wrong people, the time of transition will like an open gate beckoning upon us that freedom lies beyond their boughs, slowly shut us in that world where we accept and comfort ourselves that as victims, life is never fair. What happened to being a victor for a change, it begins with a choice to keep those shackles away mentally and do something with the ones that welcomed us in at birth.

I wake up each day, today inclusive, thankful that irrespective of the limitations that are so familiar – health, finance, solitude, (the list is endless if you switch on the TV or look at what you can no longer do) I am more than a conqueror by choice of my new birth and that spurs me on. Life is all about seasons and to every season, there’s a beginning and an end. This world is big enough for everyone if we each can only dare to make a different choice today. Say a kind word to someone else, give a prop to another and whether it goes appreciated or not…do not stop because if we grow weary in well-doing, we’ve lost our claim to such a beautiful harvest.

…..” Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time ;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate ;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.” – H.W Longfellow

Today, I choose to make my own life count, remember “Don’t entrust your future on others’ hands. Rather make decisions by yourself with the help of God’s guidance. Hold your beliefs so tight and never let go of them!” ― Hark Herald Sarmiento

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

Adios!

ADD’ing or adding……

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Do not be interested ONLY in your own life, but be interested in the lives of others” – Philippians 2:4 (The Bible)

Without clamoring for global publicity (wish I could…), I took some time out to really ponder on the fate of the over hundred teenage girls roughly abducted from their school, their families and their homes in the name of terrorism in Northern Nigeria….and really take stock of what the priorities in life really are and I have come to the sad conclusion that there are but two choices – choose to live or choose to die and inadvertently these two are inexplicably linked with each other because without life, there can be no death and for there to be life, there has to be death. And regardless of how much sentimental energies we may channel into vociferous debates about choices, we are still and will still be a function of whether we choose to live or die. And permit me to dwell upon the perspective that these phases are not limited to the physical breath we draw each day lest we forget that the physical is but a phase of life and whilst we may argue or sadly ignore this truth, the spiritual supersedes and inevitably influences the physical. There is so much more to life than meets the eyes.

“Only those who have learned the power of sincere and selfless contribution experience life’s deepest joy: true fulfillment” – Tony Robbins. In the brief hiatus I took from sharing on my blog, quite a number have literally ceased to live, translating from one phase to the other but have they ceased to exist in memories? I was reading an article by Rick Warren ‘Give the gift of attention!’ and I realized twas time to get back to doing what I should be doing and whilst sorrow yet ravages the hearts of many, wisdom is truly learned in the house of sorrow. One of the most popular disorders being claimed and labelled is the ADD – Attention Deficit Disorder and my view on this is that as long as the world orbits, man is naturally selfish and exploitative but my question is what have you truly chosen, life or death? So permit me to say that in my own opinion, we thrive on some form of attention be it a disorder or not ( and believe me when I tell you that I know first hand, what a disorder is – I struggle with Myoclonus, remember…) however the issue is not whether we are all victims of this disorder but how we have chosen to make our attention deprivation or lack influence our lives.

It is always a case of responding or reacting because we will always be buffeted by circumstances that want to evoke something in us that we can choose not to display, in response. I choose to make each day count for something because were it to be my last day, I would be glad to say that I have truly gained more than I have lost. For the billions of us that are seeking attention in one form or the other, by force or by subtle manipulation, by violence or peace, by giving or taking – we must all remind ourselves that where we are today will definitely not be where we will be tomorrow and I dare to surmise that it takes wisdom to truly apply ourselves to adding what we can to the lives of the people that we are surrounded by. It has taken me nigh on four decades to thoroughly appreciate this fact, a man wrapped up in himself makes a pretty small package but like the flowers of summer that so willingly give of themselves with each burst of wind, the more we give of ourselves, the more of beauty and sweet fragrance we derive. How much of folly is it when we choose to spend all of our attention on just one individual when there are millions of others that we can share a little interest in? Nobody can know everything about something but we can choose to learn something about everything. We can devote a few minutes each day, not even knowing if it is our last, to showing some interest in someone else and if only we do this, we will practically flip ADD from being a disorder to being a joy because we choose to add some joy into someone else’s life.

In a couple of weekends, fathers are going to be celebrated in the US……for giving, for adding – Father’s day! But wait a second and allow the reason sink in before the inebriation and giddiness – “The one thing about being a parent is the ability to be selfless: To give up the things you want and need for the benefit of someone else” – Danny McBride

Being selfless is a choice we each have to make every waking moment of our brief sojourn on this earth, and the question that will be asked as we are translated from this world is what are we going to be remembered for? What have we added to the lives of those that we were privileged to encounter? Have we being so overwhelmed with our own selves that we have added nothing pleasing and worth holding onto in the lives of others or have we taken a step back and made a choice to add some beauty and joy to another’s life and inevitably ours. Irrespective of what we hide behind; religion, time, culture, tradition, pride, ego, folly – someday, we will stand exposed and truly appraise ourselves for what we did with our lives. It does not have to make the news, but we can break some new ground beginning today and whilst we each struggle with our individual challenges and personal battles, let us remember this day that our lives are each a gift from God but how we choose to live it is our own way of saying thank you for that gift. Remember to add a positive into just one new person today and see where the attention truly lies.

I choose to. 

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!