CEO, Inspiration Inc…..

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To start with a rueful comment about how frustrating writing can get is right about apt because how else could I tag the emotions I felt 7 hours ago? Finished up a piece and was putting on the bells and whistles, suddenly Shazam!it’s gone and when the device in use is my back-up, suddenly the realization of how much I miss my laptop is suddenly brought to the fore…..Oh well, since I do not want to ‘join’ the vanished piece then I guess the best course of action is to shut down, call a time-out and welcome the new day. That I would categorize as being one of the unsavory duties of a CEO, there is no other table for the buck to go to. This event along with the ones happening in recent times make me question how busier can living be? How can I live without writing? It started off being an avenue to channel all the hurt, bitterness and resentment in a positive way but now it is becoming a vital part of who I am daily.

“All men dream, but not equally. Those men who dream in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the morning to find it was but vanity but those men who dream by day – these are dangerous men, for they dream with open eyes to make their dreams comes true.” – T.E Lawrence. Right off the top of that, I think I class myself as being ‘dangerous’ and were it not for the constraints of dystonia, I probably would have pursued a career in which danger played a huge role. Why? Danger lurks around every corner so why not best it as quickly and as often as you can however it is essential that you know yourself – stick to the shallow side of the pool if that’s the extent to which you can push yourself.

I have since learned not to view myself as strange whenever I tell people that I do not dream (and this is whenever I am able to wrestle insomnia to submission) but dreaming due to the heavy influence of lofty aspirations and objectives, that therein is a totally different subject matter. This is what I do when life chucks lemonades at me, I pick myself up, ignore the bruises and welts and find the nearest food processor and make some lemonades (summer is fast approaching anyway). Although turning and tossing, watching the hours slip by elusively is no fun but rather than give in to grumpiness and full-blown irritation, I dream and then act because I know time is no servant of any creation. Developing that uncanny ability of identifying the pros and cons is not very difficult but transforming the cons to pros is where the heavy lifting is done. Can all men dream? Most definitely! Can all embark on making those dreams come true? That is a question best posed and answered by individuals whose lives are greatly determined by their personal choices.

Some weeks ago, I posted something on social media and one of the many comments (in interpretation and in literal candor) was ‘you are an inspiration!’. Well dystonia or not, compliments are a pretty good boost to one’s psyche however over the years, I have somewhat become adept at separating the default comments from the sincere, unreserved comments. Now I do get to hear that comment frequently but for some reason, this particular day’s comment got the huge wheels in my head churning (which is something I try very hard to avoid because of the adverse consequences, it is so wearying getting them to stop) and I alluded to the fact that inspiration is a lifetime career with a lot of pomp and allure but ironically no financial remuneration. Oh, that sounds really grim especially when today’s world operates on the measure of tangible wealth that translates to an individual’s net worth. I do opine however (and most assuredly this is not borne from a place of lack) that if we were to tag everything in our lives with a physical cost, that would be utter shameful because then it would be most uncomfortable explaining why many lives are constantly in the red.

I remember that during those ‘ship-up or ship-out’ regular exercises as a growing child, one of the oft repeated phrased associated with those exercises was, ‘this exercise will help stop you from behaving like a gutter bred child!’ It took me a couple of years to completely decipher the meaning especially since it was associated with those frequent exercises and despite the fact that I truly was a ferocious reader and hungry for idioms and definitions but even those were not strong enough motives to ask a visibly upset parent to explain what that phrase meant. In the acquisition of knowledge, seeking the truth and/or definition yourself usually is the best way to go because when you do get the meaning, you somewhat get a personal patent that ensures nobody can take it away from you. And so attempting to tag a price to everything we do is akin to behaving like a gutter bred child, however the gutter has never been ranked on the list of suitable accommodation for humans. So get the heck out if you think you are in one or have been told most of your life that the gutter is where you deserve to be.

Every new day, I am thankful for the countless opportunities to be inspired by the lives and events that occur around me but most especially I am inspired by the false facade that many put up because when you just genuinely show some humanity, then you are confronted by the turmoils that many face and are trying to hide from by concealing them beneath this thin veneer. Just as the trickle on the surface of an aging dam is a sure sign of the torrent that will follow closely, so is the certainty that someday that facade will crumble underneath the pressure of trying to avoid charting your own path. It takes little or nothing to travel on a well worn path but remember that just as our DNA varies so do our purposes and so investing energy into determining your own purpose amidst the jungle of society and swinging at it with a machete will ensure that you forge your own path and help another begin theirs. We are all interwoven at some stage in life and we may begin together but remember that ‘in life, we meet to part and part to meet’

Life is an exercise in attaining balance; giving vs receiving, listening vs talking, empathy vs cynicism, kindness vs cruelty…the list goes on and at every milestone we attain in life, we must choose what side we want to be on. Seeking ensures finding, asking ensures knowing and knocking ensures access to doors we hitherto presumed were non-existent. It is no easy feat living your life but jumping on the band wagon is not an option because you really have no say as to the direction of the wagon. Being an inspiration means that more often than we think, we give a fellow traveler some company for some distance but then she/he must veer off when the time comes. Sprawled on the canvas of a boxing ring after a flurry of jabs, hooks and flush upper cuts does not give me the license to remain there and be counted out and so despite the urge to remain there, I must get to my feet and give it all I have got and some. And even when it is just the rings that are keeping me upright, there is a person or two out there who can truly draw strength from your fight, so keep at it until the bell rings.

With every new day, I strive to push myself just a tad more than I did yesterday and even when my body is playing out a symphony of agony and pain, that is not enough reason for me to stop, I just have to rest a while and then forge on. And when the inevitable opportunity of meeting a fellow traveler down on his back shows up, I will yet lend him an arm and pull him up. With arms interlocked, feet struggling to keep going, I can still whistle up a jaunty tune to make those moments worthwhile. We are a sum total of many parts and lives, and so to everyone who has played some role in my story, I say, “thank you for being an inspiration!” Because although today seems like it could be my last, I know with certainty that my destination is a place where the constraints of this feeble body will be no more. And so I apply myself as much as I can, without the lurking shadow of doubt to scare me, knowing fully well that ’tis but one chance I have got and so regardless of the cards in my hand, I will do the best I can with them.

Remember that “the real measure of one’s wealth is how much we would be worth if we lost all our money” – Zig Ziglar. Now that is a tough pill to swallow but as long as we remain adrift on the sea of life, we must acknowledge that time and chance happens to all.

פרידה עד שנפגשנו שוב בתזמון שלו, וייתכן שאהבתו של אלוהים להיות אמיתית לך!

Adios!

Meet Chris….

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Meet Chris

Even as I try to chronicle the significant events that occur in the unceasing challenges of living, especially with dystonia, I still find myself deviating on each post towards something that is particularly pressing and in dire need (hopefully) of one other person besides myself. I mean it really would be something akin to the seer who has built a reputation on her abilities to receive flashes (usually in the oddest of places and times) if every time I posted something, it was entirely about an event that happened to me. That right there is one of the main issues I have with the term ‘blogging’ because with the dynamics of today’s world, quite a significant aspect of our words and actions are a far cry from their intended definition and use however that cannot be a deterrent until I choose to allow it become one.

I literally have already had a few eureka points regarding the absurd difficulties that the simple activity of sleeping has become and though I am yet to fully expound on that subject, it usually features a bit in some of my more recent posts. Now, do I write in order to be understood and accepted? The unequivocal and time-tested answer is NO! because I really am not into, never have for as long as my memories can go back, the whole gamut of being a part of the crowd of pressed bodies on the proverbial ‘band wagon’. Oh, and I still am not of the school of believers that proclaim, ‘if you cannot beat them, then join them!’ because it sort of demystifies the whole point of being yourself in a world that consistently wants to make you someone else. I still maintain that being told ‘you are different!’ is till date one of the best complements an individual can get. However in the light of today’s skewed thinking, abject nonchalance and indifference (craftily concealed with the word; tolerance) I want to emphasize that the difference being referred to is based on the fact that there is just only one of you and that God has lovingly crafted you in His Image and endowed with a unique set of skills, a heart unlike none other, experiences that hone those skills, a personality that is distinct (a mash up of family background, environment and inherited genes) and spiritual gifts.

I remember dashing to the comic-book sections in supermarkets (malls) as a child whenever I accompanied my mum on grocery runs, and it may sound funny but the whole goal of dashing there was to try and read the latest ‘Archie and friends’ or any of the Marvel comics. Was I usually able to finish the entire comic?….uhmmm not quite, because inasmuch as I still detest shopping till date, I usually ran out of time either because having my mother search for me after she was done never had a happy ending or that there simply was not just enough time and I knew better than to ask if it could be included in the shopping cart each time. And as was and still is the way of life, there will always be a newer version, a newer edition, a newer model and so trying to keep pace with the new editions was simply pointless and is still is. In all truth, trying to keep pace with the technological changes is an exercise that could literally drive one insane regardless of how affluent you may be, how brilliant you maybe or how much invention ideas ricochet in your brain and blood/genes. One of the wisest to have ever walked the earth, King Solomon was conclusive on this subject, “Vanity upon vanity, all is vanity” and I do not whole-heartedly put that in based on a whim but based on the actual experiences of a king in the long checkered history of mankind who lacked neither the warmth of feminine companionship or ever faced the bleakness of looking at an empty or rapidly diminishing contents of a bank vault.

I choose to be thankful for every new day regardless of how bad or great the night before was, because I honestly am living my life on the basis of certain fundamental beliefs and so it does me no good if with all the troubles going on, I make the wrong choice of starting each day being grumpy and irritable. I get to suffer the consequences of doing that and not only do I negatively impact myself but I also spread more negativity in a world that is already brimming with so much chaos and unhappiness. Yesterday was one of those days where my resolve to be thankful could actually be embodied. I love driving and so it is not really that great a deal if someone nicely asks me to perform a driving related task – cue in Christopher from Indianapolis! I happened to be around a shopping mall, actually a very large shopping mall and the only interesting place in a new suburb, when I got a text asking me to kindly pick up Christopher from a non-American restaurant and drop him off at his home. I have over the years learned that discernment is a gift because without utilizing that gift, you stand the risk of being a nuisance in the guise of trying to initiate a conversation (even though I usually opt for just being left alone, I now know that concern and care for another can be subtly expressed through a conversation even when I really do not feel like having a conversation).

And so in the course of another good day, I obliged and picked up Christopher and we actually got into a beautiful conversation (not a monologue) – remember, at every point in life, we are either teaching or learning. What really sparked off my interest was the context of the text he sent me, “I am blind which means I will not be able to see your car……” that by itself told a great deal because most times we feign ignorance of reality and believe that we can move on. Acknowledging reality and accepting it as your life are not merely a play of words, they determine whether you react or respond to everyday issues. My interest was not that he was blind or the presence of his cane (I have several canes myself) and being a champion over dystonia, I know that when pity is expressed as a pleasantry either in greeting or introduction, it really irks me because I am simply just living my life and I know that pity parties are not beneficial in anyway to anybody. Of course, I was interested in his story and amusingly when I asked him what his story was (behind every success lies a story), his response was epic, “I am blind!”. So here, kindly permitted by him is his story:

just living my life

At the age of about 18 and on the verge of graduating as a Chemical Engineer from one of the few schools for the exceptionally brilliant in Indiana, he started having headaches and issues with his vision. Those symptoms prompted a routine visit to the hospital where it was discovered that he had a grape/tennis ball sized tumor in his skull and that was literally squishing his brain and therefore prompting all those outward signs – again there is always more to life than meets the eyes.

After the barrage of tests following such an observation, it was inferred that the tumor had started growing when he was 10years old and had continued growing undetected until it had become such a size that it was now literally life- threatening. So of course, he had to undergo a major surgery to get the tumor out but then the damage had already been done – his vision was irreparably compromised. He had to go through the whole 9 yards of disbelief, post-op depression and having to make a choice of either staying down or getting up and learning everything anew – he chose the latter. Due to the major surgery, he missed a year however his younger sister was just a year below him, also studying Chemical Engineering and so they moved in together when he chose not to quit and therefore he had both the essential emotional support and the academic support (note taking, class attendance etc) of his sister. With the added benefits of attending a gifted school, he was able to complete his undergraduate studies and continued right on with his Masters program. As is the case, he had chosen to prove to himself that he would not be a victim however parents would always be parents and therefore he also needed to convince his parents that he was capable and so unknown to his parents, he declined the usual offer of riding with a classmate to a mid-point where his parents would then pick him up. He found his way to the bus station, rode the bus all the way to Indianapolis and took a cab to the house, to the utter surprise of his parents and that effectively alleviated the concerns of his parents. Along the way, he lost his father to cancer, even as he had also decided to push the boundaries further by getting his doctorate.

Unfortunately, his school did not have provisions for running a doctorate program and so he persevered until he was able to get the attention of an alumni who was on the academic staff at Rice University, Houston. Along with her recommendation and his results, he was eventually offered a place in the doctoral program at The Rice University however this was even a much more significant change because it was a completely different city and largely unfamiliar. Nonetheless, he had a distant relative in Houston who he decided to use as an emergency contact but life is nothing without challenges and so because of the move, he had to get documented as being legally blind, obtain the white cane and engage the services of a mobility tutor. With time, he learned how to use the white cane to navigate and move around and so 15years after the major operation to remove the tumor, he sat riding with me, sharing his story with me whilst headed to his own residence where he lives alone, does his laundry and all the other activities related to everyday living. As we swapped stories, he remarked with a wry smile that he does get the same “you are such an inspiration!” but for once (in my case, quite thankfully), we both agreed that all we do as individuals living with disabilities is simply just living our lives as plain and simple as every other person who makes the choice to live does. With a firm handshake, after getting his permission to write about him, I watched him make his way to his home after having an evening out with a friend.

Now this might come across as long winded, however I believe that as you read this, you will completely understand that none of us are born as superheroes but our responses when we get knocked to the ground by the storms of life is what defines us. As I pen these words, I know that in each and everyone of us lies the potential to make our lives count for something other than nought. Simply put and borrowing the words from Chris, all we do is just live our lives and if for some reason, you are inspired by that then I dare challenge you to also live your life and inadvertently become an inspiration to someone else..

Remember that with each new day, we must utter these words, “Now thanks be to God for His indescribable gift [which is. precious beyond words]” and as we face every day with its new challenges, be reminded “No temptation [regardless of its source] has overtaken or enticed you that is not common to human (existence, my words) experience [nor is any temptation unusual or beyond human resistance]; but God is faithful [to His word – He is compassionate and trustworthy], and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability [to resist], but along with the temptation He [has in the past and is now and] will [always] provide the way out as well, so that you will be able to endure it [without yielding, and will overcome temptation with joy].” To the temptation of seeing the choice to remain a victim of life’s hard knocks as being the better one, the temptation to become a drain to society, the temptation to wallow in self-pity, wrong-doing or selfishness etc, we already have the victory when we choose to acknowledge and accept them. As for me, in addition to walking in these victories, I choose to be thankful if I inspire you whilst remembering that my life is far from being ordinary and not only all about me. We are all inexorably linked one to another, let our lives not be the weak link in the chain of lives that we are part of.

פרידה עד שנפגשנו שוב בתזמון שלו, וייתכן שאהבתו של אלוהים להיות אמיתית לך!

Adios

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!

….your perspective?

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Lift up your eyes

Looking UP

“You may not control all of the events that happen to you but you can decide not to be reduced by them” – Maya Angelou

I am fully recovered from my time with the Winchester 1200, the 91/30 Mosin Nagant amongst others and yes I am still dealing with the frosty displeasure of JOIV (for embarking on such activities, I understand and apologize) however I have and am fully committed to acknowledging that life is but a journey and today is the gift we will receive and so do what you have to do (the right things) because tomorrow you will have no regrets. Oh yeah, I do have to deal with the repercussions of subjecting this body to crossing the line that has all together become too close to me and yet I choose to go to bed each day, most times bruised and aching but nonetheless with a smile on my face.

I am still finding it extremely difficult to do an objective comparison between the health care I have received before now and the one I am receiving presently. Although the words – incurable, rare neurological disorder along side other big sounding no longer scary terms like ataxia etc, are still the same but they are delivered in such a beautiful and concerned manner that my convictions about never succumbing to whatever it is remains unmoved. I know countless many out there who either by ignorance or sheer helplessness have become victims and yet I am also acknowledging with thumbs up raised, those that have chosen to stay down in the trenches because whether the war is won or lost, you will always be a victor.

It is less than 72 hours since my last review with the wonderful medical team that I have been blessed with, and I know that whilst I may not know the length of time ahead, I am convinced that I am having and will have the best days of my life. That remains my choice and even as I battled to ease the usual anxiety that accompanies my every visit to the hospital or tried to explain to the harried nurse why she would never be able to take my blood pressure with the beautiful electronic sphygmomanometer, I steeled myself with the beautiful truths that I keep forever in my sights……surmised in the beautiful quote by Maya Angelou. Events are ceaseless and sometimes beyond our control but how these events play out is a thing that we definitely have control over.

One of the phrases/questions that has bemused me in the past days is ‘how are things looking?’ I love photography and one of the first lessons I learned was that whatever you can see in the lens is what gets captured in the picture and so when I lift up my eyes to the hills where my strength comes from (that is within my control, regardless of blepharospasm) then inadvertently everything around me has no other option but to look up. Now the picture of our lives is simply a reflection of what we have chosen to look at. Regardless of your physical and/or geographical location, perspective will always be defined by the choice you make with your eyes and your mind. Now correct me if I am wrong when I say those senses are still within your control, no matter how bad a condition you are in. I can recollect with clarity, the humorously creepy stuff we used to do whilst in high school – a friend of mine would tape his eyelids to his forehead in a bid to keep awake so as to study and would inevitably fall asleep with his eyes wide-open. Now that was a choice made!

And so even as I reminisce some of those days past gone, I realize that there were priceless lessons that have made me who I am today. Our purpose in life can only be attained when we refuse to be denigrated by whatever life throws at us because our choices, no matter how little they may be, will always count for something. Even if the FICO god has not heeded our supplications, there is One who is more than able to help us through whatever storm we are in but hold on a minute, we have to look up in earnest and in utter dependence on His ability to see us through and not just see us through but do so in such a manner that we emerge at the end (from the furnace/storm) with the best fragrance that cannot be fathomed by those who have given up on us and those who have made themselves silent spectators (#haters). 

“Every man must do two things alone; he must do his own believing and his own dying” – Martin Luther. For me, I have learned that no one else has plans that can completely encapsulate you, so why not make something out of what and where you are today. Not just for yourself (cos that would be selfish and small) but for the benefit of the one or two that will cross paths with you. Make each day a lesson, an example for others to follow in today’s world because even in the dungeons there is hope, if only you can but lift up your eyes and so I say that being of good cheer is a choice that you can make whether your cards are maxed out, your employer has done the unthinkable, your assets have undergone a name change and the bills are billowing all around you like a discomfiting dust storm. Remember that the night may be long and seemingly unending, but discover and nurture that which has been placed in you, hold onto it because surely the day will come and then if, and only if you have sown, wait because surely there must be a harvest. That too must come……

Remember “I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God. Amen.” – MLK

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

Adios!

Second chances…..

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Second Chances….

 

“A lifetime isn’t forever, so take the first chance, don’t wait for the second one! Because sometimes, there aren’t second chances! And if it turns out to be a mistake? So what! This is life! A whole bunch of mistakes! But if you never get a second chance at something you didn’t take a first chance at? That’s true failure.” – C. Joybell C.

I am feeling slightly whimsical as I share this amazing second chance that I am getting because it seems to me more and more each day that to many of us, life is a game of numbers and whilst there might some deep seated conviction in that school of thought, I dare to remind us of the age long story of the seven blind men of Mumbai who after years of walking in blindness from birth were so fascinated by the different tales of the magnificent beast called the elephant. And so the story goes, that they were given their first chance of meeting this creature and like most blind men, their senses of comprehension were to a great extent determined by their sense of feel. The end result was quite compelling because depending on the anatomy of the elephant that they felt, their description was inextricably defined by what they felt. To one, it was a rope; to another it was a wall and yet to another it was a snake, a tree trunk and so on and on. Now I dare to surmise that our own comprehension of life is largely defined by our experiences and so dare to take on new opportunities at defining life for yourself and whilst you may not be entirely wrong, realize that nobody but the Creator has the full picture.

It is the wee hours of another day and I am as usual unable to sleep, tossed down my levetiracetam and my gabapentin and my clonazepam and still sleep eludes me but then it has never been about the things that you cannot do but those things that you can when you can and so instead of me griping about this bout of insomnia, I choose to spend the time doing something I love. I have moved into a different part of the world borne on the tails of medical research, the search for a solution to this neurological disorder and divine purpose and it is actually more like a breath of revitalizing wind because I can now say that what I had in the past compares in no way to what I have now. I was blown away by the unfeigned interest by the consultants at one of the world’s renowned Institute for Rehabilitation and Research and despite the rigorous examination conducted, I had the overwhelming sense of being in the right place at the right time. In the words of my PCP, this is going to be a long and expensive battle but again what victory can best be described as sweetened except one that has been hard fought, for indeed the spoils of victory are best appreciated when the bones are screaming from the fatigue of engagement….so bring it on! I’m okay today. I’ll be okay tomorrow. And the next day after that I’ll still be okay. But in a year you will see me, I’ll be amazing.

I am inundated on all sides by the feeble attempts of those who stand close, trying to bring me down but life’s best lessons are learnt in the valleys of adversity for therein you can but learn and truly learn what it means to encourage yourself in The One who defines you. I have met a couple of new people that I already know are going to be an inextricable part of my story and that is what family is about. I have always had etched at the back of my mind that there can exist no vacuum in life and it is a personal choice to set your worries aside and delve deep into the life of one who seemingly seems more burdened than you. For in serving, there really lies leadership. We are surrounded on all sides by individuals who are too scared to be themselves but prefer instead to lurk in the shadows of who they think the world wants them to be and that I know is one battle that you will never win. For in our individuality lies the uniqueness of our paths on earth and these paths must be taken whether they appear as a first chance or a second chance, it is up to you. I just found out that my kid sister is moving into their own apartment and that is a worthy venture and I celebrate with them however truth be told that the golden fleece is usually never where we expected it to be and so the onus is on us to bestir ourselves of lethargy and ascertain our purpose and go after it.

I have been assailed most severely by the intricacies of this journey with Myoclonus and Spino celebral Disease but I made the choice not to be swallowed up by the feelings of isolation and even as the icy flakes and the winds threatened to push me towards wandering around in hopelessness, I made a choice to just stop and look back at where I have come and realize that where I am going is just a matter of getting my bearings right. There has to be for each and every one of us, that point where we consciously cease whatever we are doing and take our bearings in order to get to where we ought to be. Spending vital moments wallowing in resentment and bitterness will definitely take you no further than where you have already found yourself and I say again that it is never too late to begin again. Out with the muddy, sordid experiences of the past because then and only then can the light of God’s leading clearly illuminate our paths and guide us to an end that defies our feeble understanding.

“Some things just couldn’t be protected from storms. Some things simply needed to be broken off…Once old thing were broken off, amazingly beautiful thing could grow in their place.” – Denise Hildreth Jones
We have before us yet another chance to get it right and today is the right time, and just like Steve Martins in the classic movie ‘Leap of Faith’, we just have to trust someone that can be trusted and begin from there because when you are hitched right, you will get to realize that with Him is no variableness or shadow of turning. What He says He will do, He surely will but pause and take a bearing and realize that the chance that awaits you right now, as scary as it may seem is the one that you just have to take and with those few tottering steps, every new day brings in such an infusion of strength that you can only attest that you are better off than wherever you were before. It just has to start with a decision to let go of the past and allow it build up those muscles and resolve that you never knew you had.

“I have become convinced that God thoroughly enjoys fixing and saving things that are broken. That means that no matter how hurt and defeated you feel, no matter how badly you have been damaged, God can repair you. God can give anyone a second chance.” – Melody Carson

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

 

A glimmer shines through…..

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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!

Never Alone…..

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Never alone

“I feel too much. That’s what’s going on.’ ‘Do you think one can feel too much? Or just feel in the wrong ways?’ ‘My insides don’t match up with my outsides.’ ‘Do anyone’s insides and outsides match up?’ ‘I don’t know. I’m only me.’ ‘Maybe that’s what a person’s personality is: the difference between the inside and outside.’ ‘But it’s worse for me.’ ‘I wonder if everyone thinks it’s worse for him.’ ‘Probably. But it really is worse for me.”

― Jonathan Foer

I kinda said I was gonna allow myself properly reminisce, more appropriately marinate in the events of the past one year and start out with a stronger purpose. Give myself the personal experience of savouring the stillness of the calm after the storm but just when it seems like I can take no more, I am buffeted more strongly than ever by the complex nature of my situation. I have long learned the  difference between sleeping and resting, and even though I shut my eyes in sleep….rest is more elusive than ever, as my system deals with sensory overload in an attempt to reconcile my outside with my insides. Borrowing the words of my guardian angel ;mvo St El Gee, smiling in the face of pain, loneliness and sometimes abject frustration at my inability to do those things that I so eagerly want to do, is something that has become part of me. And though this walk is far from over, I tell myself that I can not have made it this far just by myself. I acknowledge that there is One who alone rules over my affairs and I choose to daily trust Him to do the reconciliation because I have long given up on my own ability to. I make that choice everyday.

I miss LBJ so much that our last conversation tore my heart to shreds, still I know that pain usually precedes pleasure and I remind myself with teary eyes that the pleasure will make the pains disappear…..someday. I feel the pain of a suffering world; the wife and mother/husband and father abandoned, the loneliness of the ailing and elderly, the emotional dearth of a loving but unloved partner, the hurt of a desperately cast aside sibling, the silence of words that need to be said but remain unsaid, the labours of so many unsung heroes, the brittle facade of so many around me and it just seems that I am so helpless to do all I wish I could do. I know that I don’t have as much to give in terms of materialistic possessions and the truth is that, what we need is much more than that, and so I give of myself over and over, confident in the knowledge that I am also giving to myself. Where has the love gone to? That is certainly more than I can deal with now, because I struggle to tell myself yet again ‘why are you so downcast, o my soul. Just put your hope in God….’

I beheld the arrival of this year, and like a child, I am absolutely fascinated by the beautifully wrapped gift of 2014 and with a resolute heart, I know that the gift inside is worth more than the wrapping and yet I choose to savour the entire package because it is those little moments that are ours to cherish for as long as our senses can function. I opened the door, with the swirl of the chill winter winds wrapping her beautiful fingers around me and there lay my beautifully wrapped gift. I stand alone, save for my staff of authority worn by the numerous times I have clenched her with fingers hurting as I laboured with each step – joints hurting, my back a mass of unceasing pain, over-riding the cry of my feet to take a rest….. I stand alone and yet I know that even in the darkness of the dawning day, I am not alone. How do I know that? I can not have made it this far all by myself, each phase accompanied by an angel sent on assignment just for me. I know that despite all the battle scars I bear, I am not yet a victim but truly more than a conqueror. I bear my gift even though my back screams out in pain, I know that I have received a gift and for that regardless of the pains and tumultuous feelings that assail me, I am thankful. Thankful that I have a gift, and not just any gift but one that I can and choose to share with as many as I come across.

There are more reasons to be thankful for, much more than the days of bleak darkness and frustration. I am thankful for the fact that through it all, He is orchestrating it all for my good and yes I really don’t feel like a super hero today, but I know that weeping might endure for a night but joy must surely come in the morning. Yet so many knots still unravelled and some unravelling, I can only appreciate the gift of the now because sufficient for each day is the evil thereof but in the end good always prevails. I choose to apply myself to giving to others because if you really want to do something with your life then there’s only one proven avenue – do something for another person without necessarily waiting for a payback. Pay it forward because we have all been recipients of more blessings than we can enumerate.

My body may yet be a far way from being what it used to be, however I have fought and will still fight, no white flag is going to hang by my door for as long as there is still breath within me. With gritted teeth, I say ‘throw what you have at me, you elusive neurological disorder, I am still standing. And regardless of how many times I am thrown down, gut punched, desolate….I am still standing. You cannot and will not take this gift from me, it is mine and mine to share…’ and so even as I wipe the tears from my ears and pick myself up onto rubbery legs, I will still plod on. I may not have the fanciest or the sturdiest of steps but I choose to move forward because my victory resonates with each forward step. I have lost many just because they refused to cross the road but I have also found many. I am thankful for the opportunity of parting with a select few decades ago, just to truly experience the indescribable joy of meeting again. I am thankful for the nights of weeping because It made me more human than I thought was ever possible. I am thankful for being able to just listen to the hurts that many have harboured, unable to share because they felt nobody would understand…..I do!

With each moment of my life, I choose to share my gift irrespective of whether you choose to share yours with me and as each day winds to a close and I watch a new day dawn, I know that this is my path. Untrodden and surrounded by thorny bushes, I still glimpse the beauty of a rose here and there as I forge ahead and to you my very own saint, I will not give up because we need each other. “I dreamt we walked together along the shore. We made satisfying small talk and laughed. This morning I found sand in my shoe and a seashell in my pocket. Was I only dreaming?” – Maya Angelou

It takes nothing to dream but it takes grit and guts to wake up and live that dream. I am living mine……….with you.

פרידה עד שנפגש שוב בתזמון שלו עצמו

Adios!