Taking Stock….

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Taking Stock

Choose to listen to your inner voice, not the jumbled opinions of everyone else. Do what you know in your heart is right for YOU. Its your road, and yours alone. Others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you. And be sure to appreciate every day of your life. – Melchor Lim (emphasis mine)

I have been struggling with severe excruciating bouts of sciatica for the last week and honestly it effectively dampened my desire to come alive here and do some heart sharing however I am better now, almost emptied my pharmacy of their supply of ice pack compress. A no holds barred struggle between the tremors that accompanied the initial icy feeling and the amelioration of the intense pain, I won!!! And the last week of the month was an exciting one, had an interview in Central London and despite my efforts to appear as normal as possible, it obviously did not work because most of the symptoms were triggered and caused quite a bit of consternation for Tony, Lloyd (?) and Hugo, who admitted that they had never seen anything like it within the five (5) years they have been dealing with individuals and unabashedly, I can take that as a complement now because they see thousands of people daily but most importantly, they were eager to learn and that tells me how amazing they really are. Life is all about learning and only stops in the grave, stimulating their ability to see the big picture was such a surreal experience and I left there knowing I had made new friends and shared myself with them.

Yesterday, I spent the best three hours this year in the company of one of the most remarkable ladies I have ever been privileged to encounter. Yeah, twas a lunch date at Harvesters’ and I truly left there with a great harvest excluding a filled belly of ribbed steak, mushrooms, chips, a healthy portion of vegetable salad and a glass of sparkling Chardonnay to round it off with. Now that is something for you to drool over…….

One of the issues that came up recurrently was the undeniable fact that every one of us has a facade and it is only the brave who are able to step out from the security of their rooms and face the world without that facade, armed with the knowledge that being different is the best compliment you can ever pay yourself. We took stock of our individual lives because hey!its December already and I remember how stunned I was whilst rearranging (I do that every moment when I can) my room when I came across my medical report dated January 2013 and it only seemed like the day before I sat with Professor Hanna reviewing my case on that day. Nostalgic indeed but so much has gone by so quickly that like the dropping leaves from the trees, we rarely ever have the time to notice when they drop. I have realised that the best thing we can and will ever get is NOW and so what we choose to do with it is as significant as the rest of our lives and yes, erring is an ability but our response to that ability is what differentiates us from the rest of the billions all over the globe. I have had my ups and my downs, each in its own varying measure but both present nonetheless. I have overcome a lot of the shackles that hitherto held me back, still trusting God for the perfection that He has promised and I eagerly await.

I have decided to devote this month particularly to taking stock (I kinda do that every morning but this is special) because I am truly overwhelmed by the faithfulness of The One whose purpose and counsel no one can thwart. I am humbled by the greatness of His Grace and favour bestowed upon lil ole me, even at those really dark moments when I just did not want to be found – His Grace found me. Amidst the gales and storms of the year, when it seemed like I had finally been cast adrift like flotsam on the vast oceans of the earth – His Grace found me and upheld me. What an awesome experience it is, being able to bask in and luxuriate in His Amazing grace……………………….. Getting that sms from my father in response to my congratulatory message to them on their 40th wedding anniversary, telling me that their journey would have been incomplete without me being a part of it was just beautiful. Such reminders, subtle and loud compel me to acknowledge that I am and can never be just a statistic in this world. Regardless of how rough the road is, I know one fact – there is an expected end and whilst I am being directed there, I choose to utilise every moment with everyone who has graciously given me their time, their resource, their support, their derision and disrespect (these ones really don’t know any better). And thankfully, I have gotten my back brace so I am glad to have been there to provide a shoulder for those who needed it and for those who will.

The Christmas trees are all out, the decorating is in full earnest, shopping is in crazy mode and I pause and wish I could tell as many as I can that everyday is a day to be grateful for and rejoice in. Take a look at the very things that you have even as you take your shower and be thankful, naturally we all get to shower at least once a day so…..! Be thankful for those moments of absurd laughter, be thankful for those moments of sorrow (it definitely made you think just a little bit deeper, didn’t it?), be thankful for the different seasons – spring, summer, autumn and winter, not everyone can. I still chuckle when I recall Joiv capturing distaste for London’s weather because she almost ‘lost’ her toes to frostbite but that is a reason to be thankful for because I remember my walk with Lawrence who had lost his toes but was still cheery enough to egg me one when I just felt like giving up. I am thankful for Vixen, for daring to do something different and demand happiness from life. I am thankful for Lisa, gorgeous and stunning but who has been such an amazing support of strength and encouragement. I am thankful for Elaine, Pam and my fellow compadre in this battle with dystonia, for being able to rip off that facade and stand tall and strong even with the pain. I am thankful for Shirls, Ele, Vichy – refusing to quit even when I was more than a burden. I am thankful for my brothers from High School – Como, Djecomms, my friends from University – few but awesome even in their little number.

I can go on and on, however I am very grateful for you all that take the pains to read and walk this journey with me. Alas! the night is indeed over and what a wonderful time we will enjoy now the day is come.  For you, my appeal is use this time NOW, to be thankful and grateful for the mistakes and the lessons you have learnt because without learning, you are sure to flunk the tests of life. Be thankful for yet another opportunity to take stock of your uniqueness and acknowledge that there is so much that you can do with just that one person that you encounter, but you must choose to or else regret the opportunity past.

“Life without thankfulness is devoid of love and passion. Hope without thankfulness is lacking in fine perception. Faith without thankfulness lacks strength and fortitude. Every virtue divorced from thankfulness is maimed and limps along the spiritual road.” – John Henry Jowett

Remember yet again, that a life without thanksgiving is worse than those who have passed away. Make your NOW count and rejoice in the memories tomorrow.

lמסתדר טוב עד שניפגש שוב בזמן שלו

Adios!

Keeping it real…..

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I hate travelling but again that is a necessary evil. A complete turn around from my pre-myoclonus era where travelling was so much fun and one of my hobbies. Anyway, life is not fair because life in itself has been tarnished and tainted and still is and so just being yourself is one of the most difficult challenges you can ever dare to undertake. I recall the tale of the tale of the simple lady who was invited for lunch at the Queen’s request on account of her widespread gestures of concern for everyone she ever came across, and when she was interviewed on what set of manners she intended to display during the courtesy lunch, her answer has always been one of my fundamental principles “I have only got one set of manners and that is who I am“…..impressively profound. In the course of my travels, I have come to acknowledge that life is much more than an endless pursuit of fame and wealth and recognition, a concept I wholeheartedly abhor but one that appeals to majority of individuals – ‘it is all about the green backs!’.

Being cast into the physically challenged category has been an eye opener in many regards and a completely new field of learning for me. I have come to appreciate that being able to do anything at all is something worth being proud of, so pause today, take stock of your abilities (regardless of how little they may seem) and say a word of thanks to Him that has blessed you. I recollect the many times I have been forced to take a large dose of patience pills just because insensitivity abounds and is largely becoming a second skin to many individuals, waiting on board many an aircraft whilst all passengers disembark just because I have special needs and being subjected to hurtful and derisive looks and remarks because we have largely refused to be human in our everyday living. And now, I know that wherever I meet any individual striving with some form of physical challenge, I choose to pause and salute their bravery because being yourself without any form of inhibitions is difficult enough without adding on some form of physical challenge.

Each new day is filled with its own share of troubles but remember that even when life throws the kitchen sink at you and knocks you out, wake up with the courage to still be yourself but duck next time where you can. “Sometimes it is just easier to tell a stranger than to tell the people you are close to. The freedom of speech is my liberation from solitude and if you should take that negatively or with annoyance then that’s on you to look the other way” – Nicole Hill. I have come to realize that so many of us are absolutely terrified of even attempting to discover who we really are and so my question is if you are scared to define or know who you are then what business do you have at attempting every other thing because life consists of not just knowing who you are but being bold enough to stay true to who you are. I may not have been born a quadriplegic but even if I were, that is not who I am. People ask me a lot if I was born this way, and amidst my answer lies this truth – I was born for a purpose and I dare anything to make me believe otherwise. Behind my smile, lies a whole lot of pain and an unappealing  bouquet of other discomforts but I choose to still be myself irrespective of how unfair life may seem presently.

Today marks a new beginning, and I walk in that knowledge knowing that even in chaos, God can work out order and harmony. Vacillating between many personas just goes to show how shallow your understanding of life is because as long as you fail to accept yourself for who you were made to be then yours will just be a charade for people with understanding to learn from. Each time the dime drops, I dare to bend over and pick it up even if it means exposing my backside for life to kick me over but guess what, you still have the dime in your hands so pick yourself up and do something with what you have got in your hand. Desire to dream but do something with what you have now and stay true to who you are. Many extraordinary individuals have opted to jettison their right to choose to be themselves for the sake of a life of pretense and despair in order to maintain a facade that hides sheer cowardice and stagnancy. Always realize that ‘No matter what you do in life, your words, your actions, your looks, your thoughts, you are never going to please everyone’ – Nishan P. so what is the point in embarking on a fruitless venture when you have a unique life ahead of you?

I am constantly stunned by the sheer audacity of individuals who are hell-bent on trying to be what the world wants them to be – by choice of career, relationship etc, many are actually skilled at blaming others for daring them to be themselves, hurling and trading insults every time you scratch their fake veneer. – because if only they could channel just a mite of that energy into discovering who they are then maybe, just maybe we will find ourselves being more loving, more accommodating and more sensitive to the lives all around us. For every time, we choose to make our lives more meaningful by doing those little ‘grand’ gestures to those around us, what a doorway of anticipation and self-development opens up for us. I will never know what it means to be perfect just yet but what I know is that I can be myself despite my aspiration for perfection someday and choose to make my own life an example for as many as I come across. That is my watchword even when the days seem so lonely and my journey unending, I will stay true to who I am.

I have to live with myself and so 
I want to be fit for myself to know.
I want to be able as days go by,
always to look myself straight in the eye;
I don’t want to stand with the setting sun 
and hate myself for the things I have done.
I don’t want to keep on a closet shelf 
a lot of secrets about myself 
and fool myself as I come and go 
into thinking no one else will ever know 
the kind of person I really am, 
I don’t want to dress up myself in sham.
I want to go out with my head erect 
I want to deserve all men’s respect;
but here in the struggle for fame and wealth 
I want to be able to like myself. 
I don’t want to look at myself and know that 
I am bluster and bluff and empty show.
I never can hide myself from me;
I see what others may never see;
I know what others may never know, 
I never can fool myself and so, 
whatever happens I want to be 
self-respecting and conscience free.

These beautiful words from Edgar Albert Guest, painstakingly learnt and memorized in High school are forever etched in my memory. Make today count because that is all we each have got, and be mindful that when you do, you can cherish them tomorrow.

lמסתדר טוב עד שניפגש שוב בזמן שלו

Adios!

 

Yet life continues…..

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Today I had to strike off a second name from my praying list, Debbie has gone to be with her creator and stands triumphant over ill-health, sufferings, anguish and above all the insensitivity of those who never ever have just that tiny room to accommodate another besides themselves. For me, it has been a weekend plagued by severe bouts of sciatica and lack of sleep and now I can empathise with sleep walkers just because their bodies are not in sync with their neurological system. Clawing my way through the webs of despondency that seek to keep me entangled, feeling especially the betrayals and hurts brought on by having to erroneously depend on another who clearly cannot share your situations and needs.

There is an Irish saying that goes thus

“May love and laughter light your days,
and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours,
wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world
with joy that long endures.
May all life’s passing seasons
bring the best to you and yours.”

And in as much we all would gladly acquiesce to these words, life sometimes is more than just smooth sailing and when the gloom and despondency assails, what will our response be? I feel the hurt of letting people go, not because I have got a pool of available and willing hands but because it is a choice that has to be made, acknowledging that life is a solitary journey and what a pleasure there is when you can get but that one who is willing to walk some distance with you and whilst the pleasure may linger, there must come a time of parting. I take solace in the fact that there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother, and what glorious hope awaits me as I make my way wearily down this path strewn with so much rubble that every step looks like it just might be my last. However, I glance around and behold many who have had the gauntlet thrown down in their face and have eagerly conceded defeat without a thought of what their life might have been.

Amidst the anguish of the weekend, the memory of my LBJ fills my heart with strength and will to carry on because “Friendship needs no words – it is solitude delivered from the anguish of loneliness.” – Dag Hammarskjold  I know that this tunnel is just that, and at the very end I can espy the glimmer of light shining through and despite my aching bones, I trudge on remembering to exchange words of hope to those that I am privileged to encounter because it is in giving, we receive. I know what lies ahead will make the present pale into insignificance but for the now, I brace myself with strength supplied from on High and plod on. Disregarding the smirks and whispers from those who wallow in their ignorance, the quickly withdrawn hands thrust out spitefully and the desperation of those who failing to attain the heights I have, now seek in absolute futility to pull me to the depths of their woeful existence.

I am being blessed daily with innumerable portions of joy and peace and I choose to acknowledge these, incomprehensible by those who stand with arms akimbo and yet I accept the company of the very few who are raised up on my behalf and to them I gladly extend my arms in warm embrace. So life continues, irrespective of how low I feel because mine is a life of purpose and fulfill it, I must.

Let us remember that we were made to live and not just exist.

פרידה עד שנפגש שוב בתזמון שלו עצמו

Adios!

 

Letting go…..

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Back in the days as kids playing around and being fascinated with the beauty of nature and its many mysteries, I recall catching my first butterfly with its gaily coloured and delicate wings. Placing it in a ready matchbox, I dashed home to show my prize and heard one of the most profound statements and still today, a fundamental guideline for my life….“Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.”
―Ann Landers.

One thing we really have no power over is what life throws at you, what we can do is choose how to react or respond to those situations and therein lies the distinguishing factor between the great and the ordinary. The other day, we gathered as a church to celebrate life without limits, without the boundaries of human limitations and frailties and the overwhelming knowledge that we are all uniquely created with gifts to share and purposes to be met. And even as the warm rays of the sun brightened the park, it was a joy to behold life and celebrate it, regardless of my neck brace, disc doctor and my able staff of authority. It was indeed an opportunity to choose yet again to redefine who I am and what I can do with the very lives I encounter.

Just like the mystery of nature, so also is the mystery of the human body or more precisely the human brain, and even as I still recall my last consult with my neurologist – I still acknowledge that there will always be certain aspects that will defy our grasp regardless of how much we want to reach out and comprehend. As I mull over our discussion, she was honest enough to point out the fact that Movement Disorders are still unexplainable, kudos to her because I really did lay into her because it does get infuriating when the so-called experts cannot even admit that life is a constant learning curve. You can never know everything about something so it is best to learn something about everything and don’t stop there, implement the knowledge you have obtained and move on and learn some more.

For many of us, we are constantly assuaged with the desire to keep holding on to that elusive fantasy and just when we think we have gotten it, it hits us in our guts that strength is really defined by the act of letting go. Someone said ‘ Maturity is being able to say no’ which to me is another form of letting go and whilst we rush around with our many aspirations and dreams, let us remember this – the real strength of character is not defined by what we can grab but what we can let go. Admittedly, it can be painful at times but I dare you to compare your situation before and after you truly let go. I have chosen to let go of so many things and some have shred my heart asunder whilst others have been a walk in the park, however I can say that I am better off for we were born with nothing and depart with nothing someday we will.

My dear friend EE finally achieved closure the other day when she ran into her ex-husband after so many years, and because she had painfully let go, she was able to walk to him head-up, eyes a-twinkle and say hi. Now as she regaled me with that chance encounter, I could hear the triumph in her voice because that was a won battle even with the scars that serve as reminders, letting go had given her that edge she thought was unreachable. Today, she is an example to many out there who think that letting go is an act of cowardice, and even as she prepares to renew her vows again – a distinct persona she truly has become. It is such a privilege to have encountered you. I could go on and on with tales of ordinary individuals who have made that choice to let go and inevitably the end is always the same – triumph, victory, unimagined self-development and add flair and finesse to that picture.

I have an appointment tomorrow with a specialist pain physiotherapist (and of course there is a lot of trepidation and apprehension), yet another doctor again but one with such a scary title and still I choose to let go of my fears and accept the fact that I will always emerge on top regardless of whatever comes my way. I have let go of my privacy and chosen to share my story with as many as would give it a read because in the end, we are remembered for what we gave and not so much as what we received. Change is said to be the only permanent thing in life and the question is why then are we so terrified of change? “We can’t be afraid of change. You may feel very secure in the pond that you are in, but if you never venture out of it, you will never know that there is such a thing as an ocean, a sea. Holding onto something that is good for you now, may be the very reason why you don’t have something better.”
― C. Joybell C.

Walking this journey, most times alone, has been such an exhilarating adventure because it has made me realise that there are people out there who believe they have everything when in retrospect they have got nothing. John Ruskin aptly puts it thus ‘A man wrapped up in himself really makes a small package’ and I dare to add that letting go is the surest way to be as expansive as you were made to be. Look deep into yourself and ask yourself this question, what am I keeping so hard that it is causing me pain? Why am I choosing to  endure this anguish just to present a facade which is a front hiding the real you? Where can I truly give off myself to allow change take its course and re-emerge like the proverbial phoenix from the ashes of its cremation? There is more blessing in giving than in receiving – those few words surmise one of the greatest principles in life and remember that one man gave his life that we may be who we were really meant to be. What an amazing example to emulate!

It is almost midday and I have to start preparing to go meet my spine popping Russian as described by my lil brother, I have to let go of the confines of my room to enjoy the warm weather and some pain as usual but I am glad for this day. And irrespective of how many let downs I may have (especially from those closest to me), I am thankful for the ups too from the elite chosen few and look forward in faith to being who I was made to be – a blessing to as many as I can reach even if it is just a friendly hello or a warm smile. I want to leave you with these words of C. Joybell

“A star falls from the sky and into your hands. Then it seeps through your veins and swims inside your blood and becomes every part of you. And then you have to put it back into the sky. And it’s the most painful thing you’ll ever have to do and that you’ve ever done. But what’s yours is yours. Whether it’s up in the sky or here in your hands. And one day, it’ll fall from the sky and hit you in the head real hard and that time, you won’t have to put it back in the sky again.”

Truth remains that when you let go, you let God and what an amazing return you are sure to get.

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

 פרידהעדשנפגששובחבריםיקרים ….

Adios!