Taking Inventory…

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Sunday (10/15/2017) marks a significant milestone in my writing career and despite the origins not being specifically auspicious (as viewed by some), like everything else that exists, there was a beginning and it is still going strong. It is highly uncharacteristic in today’s world to associate success without financial remuneration however I have since learned that our views and opinions are a reflection of the experiences that we have had. I take pride in the fact that I have worked in four different continents and with this diverse work experience comes the inevitability of having to improve my interpersonal communication skills, because in order to build a successful team or join one, communication is critical. Notwithstanding my ‘diverse’ work experience, there are actually a few things that really prepare you for the inevitable changes that come along with the dynamism of life. Life in itself is a journey and so many times, we start off with a destination in mind and a pre-planned travel route but the irony (often unanticipated) is that some of us literally have to learn to wing it each day due to the unexpected changes that we encounter.

I started writing as an outlet after being diagnosed with Dystonia, and most asssuredly I can say that it not only helped me deal with all the major changes that were taking place at the same time in my life but it also created an arena where I had to learn that vulnerability is not a weakness. Speaking from the standpoint of one who has had his own stint with the military and law enforcement agencies, being vulnerable was and is still erroneously regarded as being weak. Being a combination of choleric and melancholic, temperament wise, was not that much of a help during those initial dark days, because when one is used to lining up the stars before proceeding on any task, having to deal with the reality that the galaxy is not arranged by my own standards becomes a huge deal. Acknowledging that we may have the best of plans, we commence our foray into the battlefield of life but ultimately our paths are defined by the choices we make when we get knocked down to the ground and there is literally no breath or strength left to stand again. And so when in the course of discussions, I discern that the ignorance being flaunted is not an intentional act but rather one that is borne from the lack of experiences, it is usually not that big a deal to concede and move on.

I have since learned that empathy and sympathy are just words to many of us who have not experienced any storm however the ability to gain wisdom and apply it is a personal choice. Sometimes, wisdom is avoiding making mistakes (not very easy because we are prone to making mistakes as humans) and learning from the experiences of others. Today in church, I was reminded that empathy and sympathy are simply channels for conveying information and so being able to sympathize and empathize is not really worthy of a celebration. These are abilities that come along with being human, choosing to utilize these abilities or put them in cryogenic chambers is one that every person has to make. And so as we trudge along on our personal paths, we are better companions when we can empathize but the truth is that there is a world of difference between empathizing or sympathizing and being compassionate. The former informs you and creates room to be humane while the latter does more than just informing, compassion spurs and motivates you to identify a need and do something about it because remember words are just words until they are translated into action. And so with each new day that I am blessed with, I choose to be compassionate because even if you have the financial muscle to own your own private island, you cannot be oblivious that there is so much hurt and pain around us.

As I continue on this journey of mine, I am continuously learning new things about the limitations of my body, the strength of my spirit and the inexorable dependence on God that has significantly influenced every step of this journey. It is therefore no coincidence that my name means “God is leading me!” and so it should be a no brainer that I yield the wheel to Him. However the glaring truth was that just when I thought that I was doing that, my life after the diagnosis compelled a better understanding of what it really means to trust Him for everything. You really have limited options when you have to combat with chronic pain or deal with the mutiny and uncooperative attitude of your physical anatomy on a daily basis. Need I mention the fluidity of my body clock, choosing to reset itself when it wants to even when my bones, joints and muscles are crying out from sheer exhaustion. There are experiences that require ultimate commitment and completely going off radar just to attempt to put them into words and even at best, the words are unable to really convey what you feel. Despite the obvious shortcomings, I always remind myself that ‘in the effort lies victory’. It really is not all about me anymore, there is so much going on within and around me to make it a completely futile exercise to want to make it all about me. Focusing on myself just makes the journey much more difficult that it already is, and it is just sheer folly attempting to increase the current level of difficulty.

So as I celebrate yet another milestone on this unique journey of mine, I celebrate the many lives that I have been blessed to have met. The countlesss stories of ordinary individuals who have been thoroughly bested by life but still have the fortitude to not give up. The periods of silence shared with friends going through horrendous storms, the pleasure of having warm hearts open up to me, scarred and twisted hands stretched out in friendship and just having this unique opportunity to identify with champions from all over the world. That is what I celebrate and although my destination is unchanged, I still have to cope with the ever changing routes with each new day. To all who have refused to give up, all who constantly defy the odds and even the memory of those who have fought the good fight of faith and are currently in a place where pain, sorrow and illness are non-existent, this is appreciating you for accommodating me and my excesses – I am still a Work-In-Progress.

‘Occupy yourself in beholding and bewailing your own imperfections rather than contemplating the imperfections of others’ – Ignatius of Loyola is a quote that serves as a daily reminder that there is still more ahead of me and so it would be reckless to make a career out of focusing on the imperfections of others when I am far from being near perfect.

עד ניפגש שוב, תן את היופי של ארשת פניו לזרוח עלינו!

Adios!

Be Strengthened…..

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He leads meIMG_0381

A friend recently commented on how emotional she feels when she reads my posts and uncharacteristically requested that I write a happy post. Happiness and Sadness, Joy and sorrow, Riches or poverty, life and death….these are like the two sides of a coin. It is what makes the balance in life, knowing that no matter how thin a slice of bread is, there will always be two sides. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death” is a declaration based on divine revelation. Many would, if presented with the choice, probably opt not to go through that valley but you cannot be whimsical about the order of things. Like ill-mannered kids, picking only the good stuff from the bag when it gets to our turn to pick, you just cannot eat your cake and have it.

Now this is no dirge or eulogy, this is simply the musings of one who has, not by personal choice, being given the opportunity to reach out and touch lives. Sometimes my feelings want to conflict with purpose but not anymore, as long as this heart beats and there is breath in my lungs. I have not yet had the wondrous experience of walking the streets of gold in God’s celestial city but what I have is the opportunity of witnessing how trials bring out the best in us…..when we do not collapse and keel over in defeat. This is not a journal of every pain and sentiment I feel since I got diagnosed with dystonia in 2012, it is almost impossible to do that – how do you describe accurately the feeling of helplessness as you watch everything that you thought was you being stripped away? How do you chronicle the sheer frustration of trying to rebuild a life from the rubbles or pen down the emotions that well up in you as you are faced with medical bills without knowing how those bills will get paid? How do you narrate the disappointments that come from being told you cannot do this by your own body or illustrate in clear terms that the way and the will are two different opponents that must be conquered concurrently? The proverbial town crier might regale in the sonority of his voice in the stillness of the African dawn but when the market is at its busiest, nobody needs to tell him what an exercise in futility it would be to cry out a message.

Money answers everything but what good will all the wealth of the earth amount to when you are confronted with situations that transcend the realm of physical riches. This morning, I answered a knock at my front door and there stood a delivery lady (slightly dampened by the early morning shower) with a huge envelope. Tucked inside the envelope was one of the prettiest handmade card (the largest I have ever received or thought of making) with the words “Be Strengthened” boldly inscribed upon it. Beautifully crafted between the covers of the cards were signed handwritten notes from several of my College/University mates, twenty names in total, if precision means a thing to you as it does to me. Just a few minutes before that I had hung up the phone, thoroughly exasperated with a call agent because she explained that my phone line would only be restored if a specific amount (to the cent) was paid. Opening that card and reading every note contained in that card was quite emotional because these notes were from my mates, now scattered all around the globe-most of whom I haven’t seen in the last 17years. Hold on just a second, if you may please, almost simultaneously I got an email informing me that my PayPal account had just received some funds from these guys who I know have their personal issues to attend to.

I have always loved surprising people, I would rather surprise than be surprised because the logical and analytical part of me usually categorises surprises as something akin to reading a 300 paged book; but commencing at page 85 and ending at page 200, or a shirt half tucked in (in itself, a very glaring and incomplete design, entirely unsatisfactory and requiring me having to work my way; back to page 1 and forward to page 300). Oh yes, I do have mild OCD, so that really can be aggravating at times and so I tend to tell people right off the bat that I do not like surprises! Juxtaposing mild OCD and dystonia is a chemical equation of horrifying  proportions, it almost always have a disastrous result. However I have learned to change what I can and force myself to walk away from what I cannot change (the walking away part is really difficult but in order to prevent triggering an episode, I must walk away). When you find yourself in certain situations, you must quickly adapt or face the option of getting steamrolled, that is what I have learned on this journey with dystonia. There is so much I have had to learn in order to adapt – I have learned that faith is not just a word, it is a lifestyle. Love is not a word, it is an action. Sacrifice is not just an action, it is a painful decision expressed through actions that are quite unsavoury. And that giving, especially when you have to deprive yourself of something, has a longer lasting benefit than the extremely short high of receiving.

I have learned that worrying only extends inconvenience, all activity and no progress and so being told that I am a source of inspiration by men and women from different origins, categories and location is something that is extremely humbling. All I aim to do with each new day is to make someone else’s life and struggles just a little bit lighter even as I struggle with dystonia. Proclaiming that even though I cannot control the storm, I can smile even in the darkness because the strength to go through each day is not mine to dispense, it comes from an inexhaustible Source. All I try to do each day is choose to stick with the design that He has laid out for me, I choose to acknowledge that even when it seems like the ominous winds of life is about to snuff out my candle light, He is still there with me. I choose to acknowledge that even though I am about running out of resources, He has promised to supply my every need and so I have learned not to bother myself with how or when because He always shows up on time.

I am particularly grateful for the immense privileges of sharing paths with men and women of such incredible potential, purpose and focus. Grateful for the recent opportunity to be in such awesome support groups, because with every life I have been blessed to encounter, I have come away with truths that truly liberate – truths that are so deeply engrained in the entirety of my being that even when I am knocked down, I know that there is but one option available – ‘Pick yourself up and press on!’  For the bonds of friendships that have stayed true and the accepting hearts that still receive me till this day. The true description of fulfilment surpasses Rupees, Dirhams, Pound Sterlings, Dollars; it lies in the ability to allow yourself become a vessel through which someone is blessed because when the time comes for the curtain to drop, no stack of gold will prevent it from dropping. For those, who like me are struggling through their own storms, I encourage you to share these words with me, ‘Be Strengthened!’ No life yet created was ever created to be confined to the dumpsters of failures, despondency and hopelessness; your life is no different.

And so, as I reel with gratitude from the sacrifices of these few and others who have refused to just be bystanders, I just want to say that every penned or spoken word comes from deep within my heart. Knowing that we are all on a journey, and as you press on and still choose to give freely even if you are yet to get the spelling of dystonia or insomnia or myoclonus or Parkinson’s right, realise that “there is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty.” – Proverbs 11:24. Within our hearts, desires lie; noble and pleasing but if we refuse to apply our hands, then we amount to nought but mischief makers, truncating the cycle of life. A soothing word, a little prayer, a look of genuine concern, a little token of compassion; these are what should define us as humans. And when a need is seen, do not first concern yourself with the genealogy but rather do something about it, because if you can see the need then you can do something about it even if reality kicks you in the teeth about your lack. Our lives are more than just a string of academic and professional titles, they are more than the string of mansions and stockpiled gems, they are easels that God uses in writing out a message of love, hope and perseverance to those around you.

Do not bask in the euphoria of your acclaimed fame and status because that in itself is no purpose, do not delight in the flurry of high-falutin verbage because that in itself is no purpose, do not pride yourself in your finely honed skill of bashing people with your beliefs because religion is just a word and not a purpose. Instead I choose to awaken myself each new day with a thankful heart for life and another opportunity to make the day count. Remember ‘Be strengthened’ might just be two words but the value of those two words are beyond the grasp of a life that is devoid of purpose.

עד שנפגשנו שוב, אולי התענוגות שלו להיות העונג שלך לעשות

Adios!

Flintlock, stone and barrel…

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Image result for flintlock pistol

“The world has the habit of making room for the man whose words and actions show that he knows where he is going.” ~ Napoleon Hill

Geez! This has me reeling from so many emotions however I presume its the inevitable result of not doing something in a long while and it kind of reminds me of the phrase “Bless me Father, for I have sinned. My last confession was over 6 months ago….”. Now this is less a confession but more of a sharing of my experiences and utilizing the experiences garnered during various encounters to first of all hoist myself up (just incase I have slipped down little bit) and then at least one other person who really needs this.

Its more like beginning another phase as I write this post because it truly is the end of one phase, prelude to the beginning of another. Am I truly grateful and blessed for this concluding phase? A definite and resounding yes, because I have been given the priviledge of meeting varying individuals for varying amounts of time and simply just trying to learn more than I know and when possible, letting another person know what makes me stand out. Am I completely free of Myoclonus? No however I still stand by my choice and bullishness not to give in to some disorder as I make each day on this personal journey count for something. Medical conditions are just that – they are conditions and not the manual for your life or who you want to be.

I spent a couple of days in San Diego, California and there I was opportuned to actually get to see and hold a flintlock and sure it was part of a priced collection owned by an artist whose ancestor was one of those real men back in the days. Days where boys grew to become men and lived as men, confronting life and its challenges head on without flinching. Men who understood instinctively what terms like family, parenthood, moral virtues stood for. Men who aged gracefully even as the threads of their lives unravelled as will ours as we approach our destination. So much has taken place that have been so significant that it drives home the fact that not only are we living in the last days of this world but that every little gesture made from a sincere compassionate heart reverbrates thoughtfulness, kindness and compassion…..these are virtues that are rapidly becoming extinct even as we all whole-heartedly apply ourselves to making a living as against just living life and learning.

One remarkable thing about the flintlock is how powerful a little spark can be, and when applied at the right time, the results were astounding (pretty sure whoever stood at the other end of the barrel back in its days will so emphatically concur). Now, one statement I read has stuck in my memory and even though it was used in the context of driving but I do say that it applies to life in itself……‘be a pebble in a rapidly flowing stream’….and that I dare say is not too difficult to imagine. We are all created equal but we definitely do not end up as equals and the difference is  in the choices we each have made and get to make each and every day. Do we choose to live in the past (allowing the experiences of the past so cloyingly overwhelm us that we limit ourselves) or do we learn from the past so as to create our own future because that is what our hands and hearts are for.

Undeniably, the flintlock is the past but it played its vital role in the world we live in today and even though it is more relic than relevant but the point is that it played its role. I have come across individuals who are yet to determine who they are, least of all applying themselves and my question usually is ‘how many versions of you actually exist (updated or obsolete)?’ And this question usually goes to drive home my bewilderment in how some just choose to do nothing with their lives. In our own little worlds, we can at least be the stone that strikes the flint. We can choose today to resist the clamour and popular option of being nobody in today’s world or put aside all vestiges of complacency and just do something. Fail if you must because in failing, at least you have learnt one way not to do what you just attempted. There is no better art than attempt because opportunities of all kinds assail us everyday and whilst we refuse to do a thing, the opportunity passes and most times, we unfortunately do not get to see it again.

No better person than Thomas Edison in recent history could have put it better; “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Take a shot or a swing at life, and if you miss, try it again because life in itself is a journey that we all must undertake and we are going to be remembered for our indifference or for our efforts. I honestly do not keep count of the things I regret not doing but I do look forward to keeping a consistent effort in making my life something I would be proud of in retrospect. Notwithstanding the limitations of this frail body, there is more in life that we can by just doing something (and I do want to emphasise – do something that is right). Regardless of how numbered our days, we each have something to bring to the table but first of all we must find it lest we have nothing to give. There is much joy in giving freely anyway….

There will definitely be storms (that’s one characteristic of life) but those storms help shape us especially when we realise that our own strength is puny by itself, and His strength is there just for the asking. As the water flows past the pebble, and weathering occurs – realise that no matter how smooth that pebble becomes, it is still capable of igniting a fire when used properly. Take a look around you and see that hurting person close by, and realise that nothing happens by chance. You are where you are for a reason, understand the reason and do something at that moment in time and place. Empathy is not a synonym for weakness but it is an attribute of humanity. Let us not give into the craziness that is so rapidly engulfing us but be a light in the darkness….in two words; BE DIFFERENT!

Remember “There is no failure except in no longer trying.” ~ Elbert Hubbard. May the sunlight illuminate your paths and fair winds greet your sail because you are never alone.

עד שנפגשנו שוב, אולי התענוגות שלו להיות העונג שלך לעשות!

Adios!

Stacking the cards…..

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Stack it!

Sometimes it just seems that when we are almost at the end of the tunnel, to our alarm and utmost chagrin, we realize that there is just a minor bump ahead of us and whilst our reserves are screaming depleted, somehow we must pick ourselves up and plod on. Now it has truly been a long break from writing and this has been in no way due to a desire to get out from the light but just another reminder that time is a fleeting entity. Whatsoever thine hands findeth to do, do it quickly because there surely comes a time when there can be no gathering of hay and woe betide you that during that time, slothfulness and laziness have become your closest buddies. “Too often man handles life as he does the bad weather, he whiles away the time as he waits for it to stop” – Alfred Polgar

Admittedly, the weather has been of a variety of sorts and to some degrees, it has been a very busy period for me and mine. Getting myself properly set up for the best days of my life and as always, the inevitability of teething problems is one that is being dealt with and suffice me to say that milk is utterly inappropriate for a grown man as myself and so without sounding too cocky, I know what the future holds for me. Regardless of the nay sayers and the doubters, somethings are inexplicably irrefutable – I am a survivor because I am more than a conqueror. And whilst it still saddens me at some of the whiplashes from the past, it will be unerringly obtuse of me to say that everything will be as it once was because from the dying embers of a flame, soot and ashes can be gathered but the brightness of the flame is one that hitherto lost, can and will be reignited again by choice. Somethings are irreparably re-positioned and what an exercise in futility were I to spend my present days in trying to rewrite history when a new generation eagerly awaits lessons learned to be passed on.

Someone ‘disparagingly’ told me in regal tones, “I do not even care to read your blog” and I am truly amazed that we more often than not, without the wisdom learned from passing through adverse times, choose to keep ourselves completely occupied and embroiled with affairs that pertain only to our own small world. Behold the beauty of the new day and compare that to how infinitesimally minute we are but yet we still make that choice to superimpose our views over that which is beyond our comprehension and control. It is such a thing of indescribable joy when the victory chants are finally resounding after series of long battles, and for me, the battles have been long and weary but the chants are just beginning. Without an iota of self glory, I attribute it all to He who alone is the very Essence of my being and true, the bumps may still come up now and then but hear it from me o ye people – my identity is ‘God is leading me’ and where he leads, I will follow for there I know that the end definitely surpasses my wildest imagination. The best victories are those evidenced by the defeated, not by any intentional display on my part (I have got more meaningful endeavors to apply myself to), but because the defining nature of truth is that it cannot be hidden or masked.

My latter days are so much better than my former, and indeed time keeps count as it winds down to an end someday but what a life still to be lived. What opportunities there remain to be grasped and appropriately utilized – be it in the few minutes spent in the office of a young career mother as she determines to let go of the past 16 years and begin again. To her and the many others out there who care to hear, it is better late than never. What is hope without trying times? What is faith without the darkness that so coldly blankets for a while? What is love without the arduous task of navigating the stormy waters of bitterness and derision? What is life without death? What are the realities that so headily confront us that we inadvertently choose to give up and succumb? We are who we are for a reason, we each have our unique identity, purpose and goal and so what an abysmal manifestation of our gifts when we choose to define ourselves by the actions of others? I have long made that choice and because I still plod on, situations and events will arise that will put to test that choice. That choice is mine to uphold and albeit if I have to do it alone because truly we are never alone.

The stars are indeed lining up, truly radiant in their celestial glory – my path is clear, sometimes hidden in the swirls of darkened clouds but clear it is and as I place each foot one ahead of the other, I make my way towards my expected end. My teeth may be gritted sometimes, brows furrowed, disappointments etching out the opportunities and blessings ahead but yet I will because I am led and even through the valley of the shadow of death, I will not be afraid because He alone is my Shepherd and I will never want. This is one story that you are part of, irrespective of the good or bad role played, I am telling it with all the fervour that lies beneath my breast. That can never be taken away from me because I am who I am – more than a conqueror.

Remember “You will become as small as your controlling desire; as great as your dominant aspiration” – James Allen. Again, you have to choose….

החיים שלנו הם מתנות מאלוהים , מה שאנחנו בוחרים לעשות עם זה הוא אובהערכה או זלזול גמור של מתנה ש….. עד שנפגש שוב , ייתכןשהשמש מאירה את הדרך שלך .

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!

Sowing seeds…..

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Blessed to bless

Blessed to bless

Awakening from my restless brainiac world where the best two hours are like being thrust into a Ferris wheel, everything going around in such a blur that you barely have enough time to comport yourself least off all scream in sheer terror…..but that’s what insomnia feels like. Being exhausted and yet wary of shutting your eyes without ingesting that tiny white pill that gives you a blank world where nothing is, just a feeling of nothingness……my eyes snap open and I realise it’s barely an hour or two ago and yet I’m mentally fatigued. Each subconscious thought methodically pulled apart and a maelstrom of thoughts are all ricochetting in my weary brain. Where’s the rest in sleep, I ask? But wait a minute, if I spend all my time chasing the elusive rest, what happens to my purpose on earth?

I did a mite of shopping a couple of days back and am still recuperating whilst striving to admonish myself not to embark on such a seemingly harmless task however that’s what my body has become. An irreconcilable ongoing exercise between my outsides and insides and it seems to be a losing battle but guess what, the opera ain’t over till the champ says his lines and I’m not done with writing my lines. It’s amazing how much life seems clearer when you are down in the rut, grinding it out daily with myoclonus. It’s also amusing when I come across the experts who are clearly flummoxed and yet are unable to admit that simple truth to themselves. I can because I do battle each moment with a neurological disorder that takes pleasure in persistently striving to make you who you sure aren’t however it’s a game of wits. Persist all you may, the call is mine to make – it’s my life not yours.

I have got this lovely DAB/iPod digital radio and bedside clock and each time my eyes are drawn to those fluorescent green digits, I assure myself that there’s more than just bemoaning my present circumstances. I recollect with astonishing clarity the fun I had working with paper machè, gathering all the old and discarded dailies (for many, just some more clutter that needs to be trashed), letting it soak up in a tub of water till it’s all mushy and then mixing it with yucky paper glue. The smell to many, distasteful it might be but for me, it’s another opportunity to put together that messy unwanted mixture into something of a sculpture that when it’s all dried up would attract more than just glances but back in the days, my sculpture would occupy a place of pride and attract those who failed to see the beauty in some old used newspapers.

Now I admit my fingers may no longer be as nimble as they were back then neither do I have the ability to bend and retrieve those discarded dailies, least of all lug them home and get working but I acknowledge that there’s something of beauty in everything around us. The question is how many of us choose to remain on the level of being too busy chasing nothing, to pause and admire the beauty that lies all around us. Many of us may be content with side-stepping the ‘brokenness and discarded’ amongst us whilst we rush away snuggled in our warm overcoats but realise that the fulfilled life is not only one that takes into perspective what they see but willfully determines to make just that little difference in their world. I can luxuriate in the fact that I may not be able to make a paper mâché sculpture anymore but I can encourage those who still can, but do not realise they can, fashion a thing of beauty from their situations of bleakness as they are apt to be reminded almost daily.

What makes us individuals isn’t just the obvious fact that we are acclaimed to be top of the mammal/primate chain but I’ve seen animals go out of their way to assist an unrelated specie. I’ve been privy to witness love in deeds by those far lesser than us on the evolution ladder. A sparrow with a broken wing being nursed by a raccoon, I’ve witnessed abandoned pups being taken under the motherly care of a lioness and so if we truly are top of the chain, what acts of love define our everyday actions. ‘Saying a prayer’ via comment on social media for an ailing neighbor, friend or family when it cost you nothing to drive out there or send out a card or even place a call. Waiting for the call from that chap who obviously needs a better pair of shoes to warm his feet during the winter, mind you, he can barely afford to place that call. Waiting for your neighbour who’s past her prime to call out to you to please check on her and bring some joy to her life even if it is to help with her groceries. “Love sought and given is good but given unsought is better” – William Shakespeare. The list of little acts of kindness is endless, the question is what if that call never comes, are you absolved on the grounds of ignorance?

My hands hurt and I have to give this body some rest for there is yet a journey to continue on and so I cherish the little seeds of kindness i choose to place on my path because it sure is gonna look rosier to the next person that journeys behind me. That’s the choice I make every conscious moment with each day I yet draw breath, to let things go that truly don’t matter that I might devote myself as much as my body can take, to the things that truly matter.

Remember that giving is truly receiving, what’s that you’ve got in your hands – God wants to use it if you are willing to lose it.

פרידה עד שנפגש שוב בתזמון שלו עצמו

Adios!

Plunging Deep…..

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With a level 3 heat wave warning already being broadcast, the very first thought that crosses your mind as you step out into the streets is the alluring image of yourself in gaily coloured swim trunks, abs defined, plunging into a  cool swimming pool (preferably isolated for people like us) with a poolside bar that serves chilled daiquiris with the umbrella thingy and a rainbow straw or a chilled tumbler of well prepared chapman with bitters and then with the harsh brightness of the wonderful sun, suddenly you realise that the mind really can play tricks on you. Watching people of all sizes and shapes, many in very indecent apparels (all in the guise of getting a tan), you can only but appreciate the beauty of the seasons. For with every season, there is a beginning and an end, and the teeny weeny differentiator for us as individuals is choosing to pull out mid season or holding on till the end of the season and the commencement of a better one.

I have not been able to muster the funds for my standing air conditioning unit so I’ve chosen to utilise my little halogen fan and basically ride out the season (save myself a couple of quid especially as I am seeing my Pain Specialist on Friday and my spine popping Russian this week too). Admittedly, I have to admit that the last few days have been so filled up with appointments that at the end of the day, being passed through a huge milling machine is kinda like an understatement and when the questions come, I can only respond that certain things I just have to do myself even at my own toddly pace. As for the strength, you know as I do, I have run out of mee own strength reserves but thankfully with an upwards glance, I acknowledge that there is an inexhaustible supply which I gladly choose to exploit.

Now again, just as one of the many perks of being in this medically challenging period, I was privileged to listen to one of the most unique couples in this part of the world recount their tales of utilizing their time and God-given potentials to change the world one person at at time and it especially came on the heels of a video clip, that my solicitor and friend sent me of the shameless display of thuggery and sheer insanity in one of the ‘hallowed’ chambers of parliament in one of the states of the self acclaimed sleeping giant of Africa and it is in indeed no wonder that things have gotten this bad and obviously still will because I was also opportune to watch the debate between Tony and Ed which was almost like a game of who can provoke the loudest laughs in the chambers. Clearly a huge difference between both scenes but the message is clear that whilst we choose to do nothing, let us loudly remember the words of Helen Keller “Science may have found a cure for most evils; but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all — the apathy of human beings.”

Aboard the District Line, we were regaled by a pair of jovial fellows with a guitar and a violin, as they chose to play and make that little moment something worth remembering and in response to my question, one of them remarked ‘we just do it for fun’ and I add life is too short to spend all the time on the dive board awaiting the perfect moment to dive in. I say, just plunge in and get swimming! For a huge number of us, we choose to spend more time on the sidelines being very vociferous even to the extent of being obnoxiously annoying when all that is needed is just for you to hold your breath and plunge in. Get those energetic words into action, life is way too short to spend it all on the bylines, sending out video clips on youtube and doing absolutely nothing else is abysmal. Like I always say, begin with that one. You may not know the decision makers for your borough but you do know your next door neighbour who has tons of decisions to make and whether we want to admit it or not, those decisions can very well alter your own life. Remember the story of the cow who was so indifferent when the mouse came complaining about the trap the farmer was setting, well life is cyclical and so opt now to do something about that issue that seems so unrelated to you.

Lyndon Bowring (CEO, C.A.R.E) shared one of the most memorable moments of his life, not from his offices across Westminster, not within the rooms of 10 Downing Street but in the steps of the Oxford Station (if I recollect clearly). Just as I advice everyone I come in contact with, do not ask ‘you doing alright’ just because everyone else says it but ask it with sincerity and expect an answer because you do care. So Lyndon came across a laddie vending the Evening Standard and asked him the question………and waited for the response. Wait for it……the laddie with a grimace revealed that he was so sorely pressed that he needed to dash across the street and avail himself of the restroom and was only hoping for someone who would be kind enough to cover his post for a couple of minutes (nobody is really that fast…lol!). Now there was Lyndon, briefcase in hand confronted with a need and with a second to choose, he offered to help. Within seconds, briefcase plunked down by his side, there was Lyndon (not just any person) vending the Evening Standard whilst the laddie hurried off to do his business. In Lyndon’s words, those moments remain one of his most memorable moments and permit me to say that those very moments are so hurriedly passed by when they constitute memorable in every letter of the word. Yeah, he sold off quite a few and was just getting into it when the moment passed but he plunged in and got refreshed and continued with a lesson learnt.

It is not always behind the doors of Parliament that lives are influenced, yes, decisions concerning all of us are made there but for many of us who are awaiting that moment when we can strut through the front doors of 10 Downing Street to the awaiting paparazzi, every day presents a unique moment to plunge into the life of someone and make a difference. I have this to say to the many professed Christians “Christians have no business thinking that the good life consists mainly in not doing bad things. We have no business thinking that to do evil in this world you have to be a Bengal tiger, when, in fact, it is enough to be a tame tabby—a nice person but not a good one. In short, Pentecost makes it clear that nothing is so fatal to Christianity as indifference. ” -W.S Coffin Jnr

We are regaled every waking moment with delightful opportunities to plunge in and get refreshed by doing just lil bits of kindness and good to just one person, but alas many of us choose to watch at the sidelines forgetting that life is a moving train and you definitely cannot be motionless on a moving train. With a series of severe back flares yesterday under the keen eyes and hands of JOIV, I still had to answer the call of my good friend who just returned again from the hospital for the second double bypass surgery in less than three months. And even as we sat chatting, I chose to make it memorable by reminding him that we are all alive for a purpose and in moments like these, when we awaken after a life threatening medical challenge, the onus lies on us to make better use of the days we now have. It does not have to be when you are incapable of speech and bereft of movement that we are compelled to make that choice, we can choose to plunge in now. I may be incapable of walking the miles or giving lengthy encouraging speeches however I have chosen not to be trampled underfoot by this disorder.

I choose to live, and not just live but live refreshingly through the lives of the very many fascinating individuals I come across. Like Teddy, with severe Down’s syndrome, who was joyously showing off his brand new wristwatch to as many as he came across. As I watched with dismay, the looks of annoyance flashing across the many faces he shared the moment with, when it was my turn – I delightfully exclaimed his was nice but mine was even nicer and just that response evoked a gentlemanly kiss on the back of my hand as he and his fellow mentally retarded peers were headed away. Now that made me beam indeed because “It seems to me that no matter what religion you subscribe to, acts of kindness are the stepping-stones to making the world a better place–because we become better people in it.”
― Jodi Picoult.

Let us take that plunge today, and I am all ears when it is time to share how refreshing an experience it was.

And remember………………we were made to live for His pleasure and not just exist.

 פרידהעדשנפגששובחבריםיקרים ….

Adios!