Staying the shackles….

Standard
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!

A glimmer shines through…..

Standard

Seeing the glimmer…

“What is hope but a feeling of optimism, a thought that says things will improve, it won’t always be bleak, there’s a way to rise above the present circumstances. Hope is an internal awareness that you do not have to suffer forever, and that somehow, somewhere there is a remedy for despair that you will come upon if you can only maintain this expectancy in your heart.”- W.W. DYER

What words can best describe how I feel today? Again, sometimes words cannot really suffice but the best I can do is try to share how I feel in the best possible way. It is my birthday today and although I have been awake since 2 a.m however there is nothing that compares to the infusion of life and strength that every day brings and inasmuch as today is kinda special, it is yet another new special day for me. Looking back, I can with more than a wry smile, look at how far I have come through the obstacles and challenges that life has placed in my path….and truly say that if not for God, where would I be? Nothing absolutely compares to the thrill of realizing that I live because I am a creature of purpose and one whose destiny can at best be tampered with but never altered.

I am thrilled by the number of goodwill messages that are coming my way and as every one unique in its own way arrives, I have yet another reason to be thankful because I have long ago realized that life is not measured by the number of birthdays one celebrates but the inexplicable impact we have on the lives that we have been privileged to encounter on our individual journey through life. Amazingly, last night I was in the company of my high school mates after more than two decades and as I stuttered through, keeping up with the updates to our individual lives, I silently acknowledged that I am more than blessed. Regardless of Myoclonus and each new name this neurological disorder spews forth, I know that I have survived through it all for more than just the simple reason that I am a survivor but more importantly that there is yet a purpose to be completed with my days.

Seated right now, in a very comfortable lounge, I prepare to yet undertake another phase in my life so uncannily marked by my birthday. I have lost friends who weren’t and gained those that are and have touched my own life in their own unique way. I reminisce on how it all started and the days when I was all but consumed by the shadows of depression, uncertainty and irreparable loss of those things I erroneously thought were the pillars of my life. Today, I sit and acknowledge that buildings are torn down so that newer and more majestic edifices can be erected and whilst the pain of the demolition puts more than an acrid taste in my mouth, yet I know beyond any shadow of doubt that what is being erected is way more glorious than what was once there. I am grateful for the things I have lost because I would never have gained the things I so cherish. I am grateful for the people I have lost because I realized as my father was always wont to say during my growing up days that ‘the beautiful ones are truly not yet born’. I have been blessed to be the father of an awesome daughter and as each day passes, I realize that nothing might have prepared me for this phase and season which rapidly draws to a close.

i felt the beautiful cold winds of the early spring morning on my face and with each exhilarating breath, I know that I could never ever completely count my blessings least of all, naming them one by one. I have witnessed the blazing death of the phoenix and watched the splendid rebirth of a more majestic creature and whilst I may have so desperately wanted to sit amidst the charred remains of what I felt was so beautiful, yet I was strengthened to hope beyond hope and trust that from the midst of the ashes, something much more splendid and majestic emerges. I have encountered lives that have inspired me and spurred me to heights that I dare not dreamed before. I have watched hope arising as the early morning sun, every glimmer just a taste of the radiant splendor that is just beyond the horizon. I have been stirred to live by faith, and make it my lifestyle, replete in the knowledge that faith and hope are concepts that cannot be taught only experienced and captured by one’s self. Chucking out the feelings of resentment that threatened to pull me down, I stand free and unshackled and whilst my body may be yet weak, still my spirit is renewed daily much more than I could ever have imagined.

I have been privy to the ineptitude of hapless experts and the scorns of people I once held dear. I have struggled more mornings than I wish to remember, every waking moment, an overwhelming battle with the constraints of living with this neurological disorder. Borne more pain than I ever felt I could, accepted with some degree of defiance that I am unable to do the very things that I had so easily done in the past and yet today I stand with such an immense sense of peace and joy that the glimmer out there is mine to bask in and what an awesome experience it will be when I am basking and luxuriating in the fullness of the radiance of a beautiful beginning, a complete restoration of better things than I had previously thought were irretrievably gone. I am a witness to the fact that you are yet to live until you experience what it means to lose so that you can find. You are yet to live until you are confronted with an upheaval of the very things that you felt were yours by right. But now, with a chuckle, I know that you never can have until you are willing to let go of what you think you have. Loving without being assured that you would be loved back, giving even when your very being screams out in protest and simply just keeping your eyes on the hills where the vast and inexhaustible reserves of strength are yours to just tap into.

It is a beautiful year for me, and I choose to persist doggedly and unwavering in my walk and call, knowing that I am not just a pawn to be sacrificed on the board of life but the son of the King whose thoughts for me are simply beyond my ability to grasp or comprehend. Life is a journey where we are privileged to meet and part, and yet what wisdom compares to the assurance that in those few seconds, you have bettered the life of one just like you albeit on his own path. As I mark today with whimsical feelings, I know that the day is just dawning and what an awesome one it will be, because I choose to believe that no matter how long the night is, surely the day comes and with it such an immense measure of joy.

My chauffeur beckons to me, and so I say to all of you who have been such an important part of my still unfolding story, the best is yet to come and so I cast away all thoughts that say the contrary. Wishing you all many more years of fulfilling your own purpose.

Remember that what makes you family is not the blood you share with a few but the loyalty and sense of commitment to our unique paths and purpose with the many others out there who like you have made their commitment to not be put down by whatever life throws at them.

lמסתדר טוב עד שניפגש שוב בזמן שלו

Adios!

Gone with the wind???….

Standard

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!