Stay calm. Don’t lash out,and this world will be yours to conquer,to hold,and to behold

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I would like to share something personal
with you,a story from my youth.

It’s the story of how I first glimpsed at what true strength and power is and where they come from.

I hope this story helps to further illuminate your journey through life.

I remember one day when I was in the back seat of my parents’ car.

I was probably about thirteen or fifteen years old.

We were parked in a hospital driveway, waiting after I had been attended to for wound dressing, though I can’t recall why or what my father was waiting for.

After a few minutes, another car pulled up behind ours and the driver began to
impatiently honk at us.

Soon he began to scream and curse as well.

I think it was a taxi delivering a sick patient to the hospital.

I turned and saw a man whose face was contorted in anger, scarred deeply by furrows of rage and bitterness.

The driver had obviously lost control of
his emotions, as it was impossible for us
to go anywhere with his car blocking us
in at the rear end.

It was as clear as day that we were
stuck in the driveway until he moved.

What on earth did he want us to do?

My father sat in the driver’s seat, gazing into the rearview mirror.

His face was strained with confusion, trying to figure out how to process what was happening,but he held a calm demeanour as well amidst all this confusion.

My father was a great man, always striving to do what is right, strictly honest and keen to help others,especially those in distress.

Finally, somewhat frustrated, my father opened the door so he could go and speak with the impatient man in the
car behind us.

I remember feeling afraid when he stood up because I knew that the other person was really angry.

I watched my father begin to walk toward
the other car.

As the car horn continued to blow, my father abruptly stopped and paused.

He seemed to be contemplating something, and it appeared as if his entire being was softening.

Without saying a word to this angy driver , he slowly returned to the car and sat back down.

My father’s expression was one that I
had never seen before on him: a look of
straining and struggle with a hint of shame.

Eventually, the other man drove off and
that was the end of the incident.

The image of my father’s face profoundly
affected me and was forever tattooed in my memory.

I was just a young boy and, in my
mind, my father was perfect.

He was my hero and my role model; I idolised him.

He was not a large man and I never
knew him to fight; yet I felt a tinge of
disappointment that he hadn’t stood his
ground and confronted the other man.

I felt that he had retreated in what could have been one moment where he proved his heroship to me by fighting this cad of an arrogant driver.

And my impression was that he felt the same way.

I became full of anger.

I imagined myself beating him up again and again yelling,“This is for my father!”

I was angry, partly because he had hurt my father, but mostly because he had hurt my view of my father as my hero.

He revealed to me a flaw in my father’s
character: he was afraid and perhaps not
strong enough to fight back.

It left me bewildered and, for the first time, I realised that my hero wasn’t perfect.

Something deep inside me was forever
changed.

Years later, as a college student, a friend
and I went out for a meal.

While eating, an acquaintance of ours lost his temper and began yelling at my friend.

My friend listened silently, showing no change in his demeanour.

Eventually, the man finished yelling and my friend quietly stood up and walked away without saying a word. I was so impressed by how calm he was.

Later, I asked him how he managed to
keep his cool.

He smiled and told me, “A strong person is not one who knocks other people down; it is one who does not let his anger get the better of him.”

I was stunned.

Now,just like my father,I’m a very small man,and ussually,I compensate for my lack of stature with threats of violence and menance,and this has always been the curse of “small men”!

I knew that my friend was completely right.

Who demonstrated more strength?: the person who had lost control of his temper or my friend who had kept his?

These words touched my soul and aroused in me an understanding of where true power comes from: it comes from within.

And inner strength dwarfs physical
strength.

That night, this realization lingered in my
mind.

As I was digesting this lesson, suddenly I remembered the incident with my father and the horn-honker, many years before.

A voice within me asked, “Who was the
stronger man,my father or the crazy taxi driver?” and chills slowly crept up
my spine as I realised that it was, in fact, my father.

While the other man had allowed his
rage to overcome him, my father had
controlled himself.

The other man had lost; he lost to himself when he allowed his emotions to take over.

My father, on the other hand, had stood victorious over himself,conquering his own emotions, commanding them down.

The other man was a slave to his passions; my father was the master of his.

It was then that I saw my father for the
truly strong and courageous man that he was.

The weak and easy path would have been to return anger with anger, yelling with yelling.

But my father had the strength to resist
this; he had the power to calm his mind
while a tempest raged about him.

It was in this moment, that my own path
became a bit clearer.

I realized that I must embark on a journey of conquering myself,because I now knew that I did not want to
be a slave to my passions.

The only other option was to master myself, to command the hidden forces within.

When you feel negative emotions rising,
threatening to overcome you and make you into their puppet, remember that the
strength and power needed to maintain
calmness lie forever within you.

And that’s a lesson I learnt from my father,though at that time,and encumbered with the rashness of youth,I had considered my father to be the weaker man in that silly encounter with the taximan.

If you can master your own anger and passions at the moment of weakness,you will have conquered the weaker part of yourself,and in so doing,this world will be yours to conquer,to hold,and behold!

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

To Daisy:my best friend forever,my soulmate

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There are some people,
who we hold in our arms,
for just a little moment,
But our heart chooses,
to hold them forever.

And that’s you,Daisy,
my best friend forever,
my soulmate.

You’ve brightened up my life
With colours bold and bright.
Before you knocked at my door,
Black and white and grey,
graced my every day.

The colours were so cold,
But now they’re bright and bold.
Of my life, I felt so weary,
Surrounded by colours dim and dreary.
My life, it was bleak before,
But now there are colours galore.

You’ve brightened up my world –
New colours you’ve unfurled.
New colours came to play
And brightened up my day.
By bright colours, I am wooed:
They brighten up my mood.

Blacks and greys and whites,
Can make a striking sight,
But they’re colours of the night –
For me, they are too polite.
You’ve turned my world around:
New colours I have found.

Bright colours, I can see,
And all those in-between.
You’ve shown me different shades –
Added colour to my days.
My old life, I so hated,
But, a new world, you’ve created.

I know that without you,
I’d have a different view of this world.

To my life, you’ve added spice,
And it’s really rather nice.
You’ve shown me brand new paths;
You’ve made me smile and laugh.
I’m no longer feeling blue,
And it is all because of you.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Come celebrate my life with me

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Won’t you celebrate with me what i have shaped into a kind of life?

I had no model.

Born and brought up in Africa,
My dreams about future were just that;
Mere dreams.

But I made up a bouquet of tree leaves,
Placed it over my head,
And declared myself a black prince,
Amidst poverty and disease,
Famine and droughts,
Coups and civil wars.

I chose to cling on to my dark skin,
Without skin bleaches and foreign cultures,
Deprived of pride and dignity,
Among other great people of the world,
Who called ours, a “Dark continent”.

But standing here on this bridge of hope, between total decimation and optimism,
For a future that looks bleak,
I declare myself a true son of Africa,
Though despised and famished,
I want to live as Africa’s true native son,
Running free and wild,
In this new dawn for Africa.

My one hand holding tight to the ancestry of my forefathers,
my other hand holding out,
To capture the dreams that come with new dawn,
that wil will bathe the conciousness of the black man,
And secure his place at the table of the celebrated people of the world,
As an equal among equals!

That dawn is already here my friend; come celebrate with me that everyday
something has tried to kill me as a black man, and has failed!

By Bernard Wainaina,
Nairobi,1st August,2015.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Write it in your heart everyday that today is going to be the best day in your life

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We’ve inherited a desire to strive, to pursue success, to improve our external conditions, because this striving helped our ancestors survive and reproduce.

To find food, guard against threats,both real and imaginary impress potential mates.

It seems to me that contentment doesn’t
motivate us to be happy or even compel us to take action towards a lasting happiness; anxiety does.

Our vigilant ancestors had more anxious offspring than blissful ones, and so we are the children of restlessness.

Our emotional circuit was designed to induce behavior beneficial to survival and reproduction,not to create happiness.

We are hardwired to be effective in our futile game of survival, not satisfied.

This hardwiring of our psyche has at least six interrelated consequences on our emotions which misguide our pursuit of happiness.

• It’s preset: By default you have a baseline happiness level that you
spend most of your time at.

• It’s situational: Deviations from the baseline level are determined largely by whatever just happened to you.

• It’s relative: Your happiness depends not on your overall condition but on your current situation relative to your recent past or your expectations.

• It’s transient: successes and improvements generally don’t provide the expected lasting satisfaction.

•It’s acclimating: you get used to
what you have, it ceases to be enough, and you want more.

•It’s recurring: although the last
success led only to fleeting happiness, you don’t learn the lesson and still expect lasting satisfaction with the next success.

Let’s examine these consequences and their impact on our emotions and behaviour.
~ Preset: We each have baseline levels of happiness, contentment and satisfaction where most of our lives are spent.

These levels are remarkably persistent and largely hereditary.

A person’s future happiness is much more highly correlated with their past and present happiness than with their age, marital status, income or net worth.

Lottery winners are surprised to return to
their prior happiness levels once the initial high of winning wears off.

For most people, there’s minimal correlation between how well their
lives are going and how happy they are in the moment.

~Situational: The idea that one’s emotional state should be determined by events is pervasive; it’s no coincidence that the words happen and happy share a common root in their construction.

Almost every action life performs is designed to improve its external conditions: every amoeba wriggling up
a chemical gradient, every car on the road driven by someone to somewhere they’d rather be.

But letting today’s events determine today’s mood is problematic because circumstances are transient and so the happiness dissolves when the circumstances change, as they inevitably do.

Seeking refuge in the impermanent and the unreliable lets minute-by-minute events hijack your emotions, your mind, your self.

To the extent that your emotions drive your behavior, situational happiness reduces your authenticity, by expressing a conditional, contingent version
of you, not the absolute, essential you.

~ Relative: By default our happiness is
determined relatively-today in relation to yesterday-actual reality relative to desired.

Outcome is deemed to have relation to our expecations.

This is unfortunate because if you’re happy only when things are improving, or when things turn out better than expected, then no matter what you do, your life will be spent on a seesaw, above your baseline emotional state half the time and below it the other half.

~Transient: We behave as if we’ll get permanent happiness from our own achievements, but we usually get only fleeting happiness, even from
unchanging good circumstances.

One blessing, one smile rule applies here.
We are happy about the money we just
found in the street, not the pile we already had.

The sweetness of any good outcome swiftly fades as other concerns vie for our attention, and our emotional state returns to its default level.

After we accomplish a goal or realize a
dream, our attention is normally redirected elsewhere.

After silencing one inner voice of discontent, we hear the others more clearly.

This is good for survival, but bad for happiness.

~Acclimatising: Because our emotions were designed for circumstantial living, we have an impoverished ability to feel emotions that didn’t serve our ancestors’ day-to-day survival and reproduction.

Gratitude, compassion, and awe don’t come naturally.

Everyday miracles seem to go
unnoticed.

We quickly get jaded, and return to
our baseline happiness level.

We exaggerate the difference between our current circumstances and the next level up and down: up so that we’re motivated to improve, and down so that
we’re motivated to not lose the progress we’ve made.

Most people carry the feeling that they’re one step above poor and one step below wealthy.

When people are asked what the good life is, what would make them happy, their requirements tend to increaseover time as their circumstances improve.

If we already have more,we need more to stay happy.

Bliss remains just out of reach, tantalizingly close but elusive, always on
the receding horizon.

~ Recurring: When you get what you wanted, you find to your surprise that it leads only to temporary happiness.

Then you immediately forget the lesson and believe the next thing you get will lead to permanent happiness.

That promotion you got didn’t bring you lasting satisfaction?

That can be explained away this way; “I believe the next one will”,you say to yourself,and then lay down the present happiness to go for the next one.

You’re earning more now than you were before, but it’s still not quite enough;
with the next raise you’ll be able to buy the stuff you really want.

This mentality traps people in a cycle of hope, pleasure, disappointment,forever chasing the more.

So what can we do to about this predicament?

Bring mindful awareness to your emotional biases.

Notice when your emotions are influenced, or even controlled, by minute-to- minute circumstances.

Have an internal locus of happiness, not an external one that can be fostered everyday.

Resolve to make every day the best day of your life,in spite of the changing circumnstances

This enables a more authentic expression of the self, and it’s empowering to realize that your happiness is under your
control.

Base your happiness on absolute conditions, not relative conditions.

I’m not suggesting unconditional happiness here,that is only a fool’s paradise;all I’m saying is that one’s emotional state should be rooted in reality.

I’m saying that you have reasons to be happy, and they are fundamental and ongoing, not situational.

You are alive.

You are conscious.

You can contribute one happy sentence to humanity’s great story.

Cultivate a deep gratitude for these and
other persistent goodnesses.

Continue to improve your life.

As your happiness becomes based more on your absolute conditions, your progress will serve as a refuge, letting you handle the inevitable setbacks with equanimity.

Increase your baseline happiness level.

There are sources of happiness within your power: self-esteem, self-efficacy, extroversion, optimism, and gratitude.

All are accessible with the right frame of mind.

Be more present,both in your life and in larger environment.

Since we’re bad at knowing what will make us happy, focus more on today’s happiness than tomorrow’s happiness.

Don’t sacrifice the journey for the destination; a life should be lived, not optimised or perfected in order to realise happiness.

Being present doesn’t mean letting today’s events dictate today’s mood; it means living each moment with an awareness of persistent blessings and a savouring of temporary ones.

Your genes use happiness as a goal state to serve their ends; repurpose happiness to improve the present and not just the future.

Don’t deprive yourself of pleasure, or the things that give you momentary happiness.

Don’t turn away from the happiness right in front of you just because it won’t last, but accept its impermanence without longing for unendless roller coaster of see-saw happiness.

As you become more successful in life, don’t ratchet up your requirements for contentment.

Learn to differentiate between conditions and events that are renewable sources of happiness and ones that lead to adaptation and put you on a happiness treadmill.

Most people discover too late that achievements and material possessions
bring only fleeting happiness, while cultivating close friendships and pursuing self-selected passions bring lasting happiness.

But everyone is unique, so examine what works for you.

Don’t pursue happiness singlemindedly to the exclusion of other goods, like joy and meaning.

Don’t stop striving, but choose for yourself what’s worth striving for, what’s worth moving toward.

Achieve not just for the temporary
happiness it might give you, but also for the lasting impact the achievement has on the world.

Strive positively, not negatively.

Be motivated not by a desire to flee the present but a desire for an even better future.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

I face my own mortality with positive acceptance

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In the big scheme of things, our mortal body is on loan from the universe.

And that is the reason why I do not fear death.

I presume I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and I never suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.

Otherwise,where was I before I was born?

Along with the gift of self-awareness comes awareness of our own mortality.

Our battery is running down and can’t be recharged.

We prefer not to think about that, we wish wasn’t so, but the tragedy is that we are mortal, not just that we know we are mortal.

Knowledge yields power, and by
accepting that our time is limited, we can use this information to live better.

How?-you may ask.

By being grateful for the time we have.

We can lament that our time is finite, or we can rejoice that we have any time at all to be alive.

We didn’t do anything to deserve a life.

The sequence of events necessary for us to have arisen out of nothing were so unimaginably improbable that we should
be stunned that we are here at all.

Out of all of the people who could have existed, we are among the small percentage who actually do.

We can complain that we don’t have much time, or we can celebrate that we have a lot of time-think about someone who complains of boredom;this is someone who has a lot of idle time on his hands with nothing to put in it,but still wants more time to live!

At the cosmic scale,our life is an infinitesimal dot between two infinite spans that encompass eternity.

But at the human scale, a lifetime is long enough to do amazing things.

To pursue and master a dozen passions.

To build a hundred friendships.

To love and lose and love again, and again many times over.

To chase our dreams and,if we care enough to work hard, to reach them.

To have an exciting, fulfilling, meaningful,
awesome life.

Each one of us is also hanging from a branch that we call life,which will eventually break.

We must foster the commonality of our plight, foster. empathy and kinship while we still have time to live.

Help others to cope with their mortality and to get the most out of the time they
do have.

Resolve to live as long as you can, and stay as healthy as you can. Grasp the branch firmly; don’t let go and fall before
it actually breaks by killing your soul with worries and fears about the certainity of mortality.

And help others to live healthier, longer
lives as well.

Did you know that we are dying all the time,even as we live?

The child we once were no longer exists; as we change we are continually dying and being reborn into new phases of our life.

With this frame of mind, what we call death affects only the last of a long series of many versions of our own selves, all of whose predecessor phases having already passed on.

We are an incredibly fortunate collection
of atoms forged in stellar furnaces and pulled together by gravity or some deeper, hidden force to create us, as existing live beings,say as opposed to the very same carbon atoms that form rock granite,or diamond.

When we are finished with our body, its atoms will be recycled to further use to serve spirit along its upward journey toward ever more complex and useful forms.

Let’s Celebrate that we can get to participate in such a beautiful process of renewal into new forms that will serve this universe right after our demise!

Maybe,our body atoms will be recycled into trees that will enhace the living environment for those who come after us.

Accepting our own mortality as opposed to resigning to its impotent fate makes us savour life in a very positive way without fearing to take risks .

Let’s take more risks and make life more adventurous.

Each of us descended from an incredibly long and unbroken series of creatures
who survived long enough to reproduce, and so we’re instinctively wired for survival.

This makes us fearful of death but not fearful of living wrong or false to our own convictions.

Ignoring mortality encourages the belief that we have something to lose.

We have nothing to lose in death:it has always been a certainity since the moment we were born.

It is incredible that with the infant mortality that prevailed at the time of my birth,I have had the opportunity to live this long!

And in between,I’ve lost most of my agemates too!

Mortality therefore,is merely a question of when, not if.

We are not risking our life: we are only risking the time we have left, and what we could have experienced and accomplished in that time.

It’s possible to carry this too far and
take too many risks, but most people take too few, and as a result they live unnecessarily dull and mundane lives.

Life shouldn’t be safe;it is death that will be safe. I mean,we can’t be more dead if we are already dead-isnt that safe enough?

It is important that we pursue meaning instead of just being alive for the sake of it.

Some people don’t like to think about mortality because they fear that it renders life meaningless.

What’s the use of struggling so hard if we are to die,they ask.

But the very transient nature of life renders the search for meaning not absurd, but urgent.

This fear results from a focus on the self as a source of meaning.

We,as individuals,cannot encompass all the meaning there is to life.

But we can create meaning that death can’t destroy by looking outside
our self and making a small difference each day by increasing the happiness and reducing the suffering of those around us.

Let’s make a big difference over the course of our life by changing the world a little at a time, doing something to let the future know we were here.

It is important to treat life as an urgent business that must be attended to at THE PRESENT MOMENT.

Trying to prepare for death is largely futile.

Once we are living our ideal life, we will love every day and won’t want it to end.

Closure in death is impossible.

The best we can do to prepare is to do everything we want to do, as often as we can by valuing our time highly and
making the most of every day.

Also, not only is our time finite, but we
probably won’t know in advance when our branch will break.

Tomorrow is not guaranteed.

Let’s sing and dance while we can.

Let’s tell people who mean anything to us how we feel about them, repair our own regrets, and forgive ourselves for having taken life so seriously that we are not able to embrace our own mortality as a part it.

And let’s not say anything that we wouldn’t want to stand as the last thing we ever say to them.

When not sure about what to say to our dear ones,then silence is preferred,even on our death bed.

Let’s not make a practice of ruminating on our mortality as a loss, it’s depressing and counterproductive.

Let’s factor it in to our behaviour towards ourselves and others,and then get on with the main business of living for the time that is left.

Let’s only think about it to the extent that it improves our life, by cultivating gratitude, compassion, selflessness, health, boldness, urgency, and meaning.

B.W~30th July,2015.

Take my hand,and I will lead you away from negativity-trust me,I’ve been there!

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By all standard definitions, I used to be an positive energy vampire.

I lived in my own self-created drama world, prone to rages, complaints,
and self-pity.

I exhausted the people around me and played games of control, superiority, and victimhood.

A positive energy vampire, by my own
experience of that definition, is someone
lacking in self-love and trying to pull that
love out of others,much like a dentist would pull out a rotten tooth.

Such a person is simply hungry for self-love, not inherently flawed.

I know. I’ve been there.

When I decided to change, I realized just
how much I hated myself, how much I
judged myself, how many impossible
standards I set for my own acceptance.

I began to work on accepting and loving
myself just as I was.

Bit by bit, I opened up to the beauty of my face, the beauty of nature, the beauty of the human smile.

I began to fall deeply in love with everything and everyone.

After years of hunger, years of being a love vampire, biting others to get it, I realised that I could feed myself.

I didn’t have to hurt myself or anyone else to get the love I wanted.

In that awareness, I remembered the
people who had accepted me when I was
“toxic.”

These people became my teachers and mentors.

Their kindness and love, which was invisible to me in a state of desperate love hunger, suddenly became crystal clear in my newfound self-awareness.

It hurts me to confess that some of these
people never got to see me get better.

They gave up on me and left.

All they knew was my darkness and they gave as much as they could before they left.

And they are still,my greatest teachers.

After I healed my mind and replenished my self-love tank, I began to reach out to others on the same dark journey.

I’ve met so many people who have been
abandoned by everyone around them,
because they’re “positive energy vampires.”

I find these people in my family.

I find them in my old circles of friends.

It hasn’t been easy, but I’ve really tried to give back what was given to me in form of self-love after healing.

I’ve tried my best to be loving and supportive to people who only know how to take (at least, right now).

And it’s been worth it.

A few years ago, I lived with one person that everyone around me told me was toxic.

I was always exhausted after hanging around her and I knew that, deep
down, she resented me.

She treated me just like I used to treat people.

I didn’t “cut ties” or “protect myself”
from her as all the advice articles say.

I gave her some of my time—not all of it, but some of it.

I took care of myself enough that I
could heal from any emotional pain I got
in our meetings.

Eventually, she stopped talking to me.

We didn’t speak for close to five years and, the other day, she suddenly called me to ask if we could meet up.

When I saw her, her eyes were sparkling
and her smile shone for miles.

She couldn’t stop talking about all the epiphanies she’d had and all the ways she’d healed.

She had stumbled across some powerful lessons in a program she enrolled in and it changed her life.

She kept saying, “Now, I understand.”

Everything I would talk about that she eyed suspiciously—now, she understood.

After a long conversation about her new,
joyful life, she paused, looked away, and
said, “I hated you, you know. I couldn’t
believe anything you said and I just didn’t
understand that happiness like this was
possible. I thought you were lying. I was
such a jerk to you. Why did you keep talking to me?”

I smiled and said the words that I’d used to defend her behind her back when others would interrogate me with the same question: “You deserve it. I saw myself in you. You weren’t a jerk. You were hungry. I knew you’d wake up one day and, when you did, you’d remember this, remember me.
And, one day, you’d be that person for
someone else.”

And, now, she is.

I’m not saying we should all surround
ourselves with people who make us feel
bad.

I’m not saying that we should spend all
our time giving compassion to others at our own demise.

What I am saying is this—oftentimes the
“toxic” people are the ones that need
compassion the most.

And although you probably won’t get a
“Thank You” from them in that moment,
being kind, seeing them from a
compassionate perspective, and refusing to resort to negative adjectives—that could really change a person’s life.

Your acts of kindness, though they may not be immediately rewarded, are never wasted.

They will sit inside the recipient’s mind,
outside the walls of their self-imposed
limiting beliefs, awaiting their awakening.

And, if they do awaken, they will remember you and they will learn from you.

And your acts will have contributed to a more loving world with fewer “positive energy vampires” and more people who love themselves and love others.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Shame on me… I still love you!

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Everyone of my friends is furious with me for going back to you, but they don’t understand us.

Daisy! I am so lonely I can hardly bear
it.

Once in a while, like today, I meditate on it and realize how lucky I am to share my life with the greatest woman I ever met.

You still fascinate and inspire me.

You influence me for the better.

As one needs happiness so have I
needed your love; that is the deepest need of my human spirit.

And as I love you utterly, so have you now become the whole world of my spirit.
It is beside and beyond anything that you can ever do for me; it lies in what you are, dear love— to me so infinitely lovely that to be near you, to see you, hear you, is now the only happiness, the only life, I know.

How long these hours are,just here alone by myself!

Yet,it is good for me to know the measure
of my love and need, that I may at least
be brought realise who and what you are to me,never to lose the love and trust that you have given me.

Dear Daisy, let us make and keep our
love more beautiful than any love has
ever been before.

I can only live, either altogether
with you or not at all.

Yes, I’m. determined to wander about for so long far away, until I can fly into your arms and call myself quite at home with you, can send my soul enveloped by yours into the realm of my earthly paradise….

You will get over it all the more as you know my faithfulness to you; never another one can own my heart, never — never! O God, why must one go away from what one loves so much?

Your love made me the happiest and unhappiest at the same time.

At my age, I should need some continuity, sameness of life — can that exist under our circumstances?

My Angel, I just hear that this blog post goes out every day — and must close therefore, so that you get to read it at once.

Be calm— love me — today — like yesterday,and if tomorrow ever comes,love me again too.

My trust for your love is sometimes mingled with fear, because I feel myself unworthy of your love.

But if I am worthy of it, you will
always love me; and if there be
anything good and pure in me for you, it will be proved by my always loving you.

I feel that it is only with you that I can do
anything good at all.

I can’t say how every time I ever put my
arms around you I felt that I was home.

Do remake my ruined life for me, and then our friendship and love will have a different meaning to the world.

I wish that when we met at home last, we had not parted at all.

There are such wide abysses now of space and land between us.

But we love each other.

My little girl…happiness is within you….

So unlock the chains from your heart and let yourself grow like the sweet flower
you are…

I know the answer to all your worries — Just spread your wings and set yourself FREE.

The important thing is, I don’t want to be
without you for the next 20 years, or 40, or however many there are left in my life.
I’ve gotten very used to being happy around you and I love you very much indeed.

Should I ever draw you the picture of my
Heart, it would be what I hope you
would Love; though it contains nothing
new; the early possession you obtained
there; and the absolute power you have
ever maintained over it; leaves not the
smallest space unoccupied.

I look back to the early days of our love;
and Friendship, as the days of Love
and Innocence; and with an indescribable pleasure I have seen near
a score of years roll over our Heads,
with an affection heightened and
improved by time — nor have the
dreary years of absence in the smallest
degree effaced from my mind the
Image of the dear untitled but beautiful woman to
whom I gave my Heart.

We will get old and get used to each other,but never take each other for granted.

We think alike.

We read each other’s minds.

We know what the other one wants without asking.

Sometimes we irritate each other a little bit.

Maybe sometimes take each other for granted.

I love you,precious, with all my heart and to know that you love me means my life.

How often I have thought about the immeasurable joy that will be ours some day!

Though still in bed, my thoughts go out to
you….walk with you,till you come back to my arms again.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Hope is a pocket of possibility

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“We’re born alone, we live alone, we die
alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we’re not alone.”

~Orson Welles

“Remember: the time you feel lonely is the time you most need to be by yourself.
Life’s cruellest irony.”

~Douglas Coupland

I’ve been screaming in my heart for years and no one has ever heard me.

I am nothing but a nobody.

I am numb, a world of nothing, all feeling and emotion gone forever.
I am a whisper that never was.
Because loneliness has been my loyal companion.

And I’ve fallen.

Fallen so hard.

I’ve hit the ground.

Gone right through it.

Never in my life have I felt like this.

Nothing like this.

I’ve felt shame and cowardice,
weakness and strength.

I’ve known terror and indifference, self-hate and general disgust.

I’ve seen things that cannot be
unseen.

And yet I’ve known nothing like this
terrible, horrible, paralysing feeling of dying alone.

I feel crippled.

Desperate and out of control.

And it keeps getting worse.

Every day I feel more sick.

Empty and somehow aching.

Life is a heartless bastard.

Loneliness in these last moments is a strange sort of thing.

It creeps on you, quiet and still, sits by
your side in the dark, strokes by your hair
as you sleep.

It wraps itself around your bones, squeezing so tight you almost can’t
breathe.

It lies in your heart, lies next to you at night, leaches the light out of every corner.

It’s a constant companion, clasping your hand only to yank you down when you’re struggling to stand up.

You wake up in the morning and wonder
who you are.

You fail to fall asleep at night and tremble in your skin.

You doubt you doubt you doubt.

-do I

-don’t I

-should I

-why won’t I

And even when you’re ready to let go of life,you doubt whether there is really no one out there who has any use for your poor life.

When you’re ready to break free from agonies of life,you hesitate.

-Maybe someone out there still needs me-you lie to yourself.

When you’re ready to be re-brand-new-you hesitate.

Loneliness is an old friend standing beside you in the mirror, looking you in the eye,
challenging you to live your life without
it.

You can’t find the words to fight
yourself, to fight the words screaming that you’re not enough never enough never ever enough.

Loneliness is a bitter, wretched
companion.

Sometimes it just won’t let go.

Makes me wonder about the falling raindrops outside my window:

I always wonder about raindrops.

I wonder about how they’re always falling
down, tripping over their own feet,
breaking their legs and forgetting their
parachutes as they tumble right out of the sky toward an uncertain end.

It’s like someone is emptying their pockets over the earth and doesn’t seem to care where the contents fall, doesn’t seem to care that the raindrops burst when they hit the ground, that they shatter when they fall to the floor, that people curse the days the drops dare to tap on their doors.

I am a raindrop.

My parents emptied their pockets of me
and left me to evaporate on a concrete
slab-a lonely life.

In these last days of my life,hope,empty hope, is hugging me, holding me in its
arms, wiping away my tears and telling
me that today and tomorrow and two days from now I will be just fine and I’m so delirious I actually dare to believe it.

Hope is a pocket of possibility.

I’m holding it in my hand.

Hope.

It’s like a drop of honey, a field of tulips
blooming in the springtime.

It’s a fresh rain, a whispered promise, a cloudless sky, the perfect punctuation mark at the end of a sentence.

And it’s the only thing in the world keeping me afloat.

I have absolutely no pleasure in the
stimulants in which I sometimes so madly
indulge.

It has not been in the pursuit of pleasure that I have periled life and reputation and reason.

It has been the desperate attempt to escape from torturing memories, from a sense of insupportable loneliness and a dread of some strange impending doom.

Raindrops are my only reminder that
this lonely world has another heartbeat besides mine.

That I have one,too.

But soon,and soon enough,I will lie down in eternal rest and silence.

But my soul died out of loneliness,many years ago.

I never had a friend.

But I wanted to be somebody’s friend.

I wanted to be the friend you fall hopelessly in love with.

The one you take into your arms and into your bed and into the private world I keep trapped in my head.

I wanted to be that kind of friend.

The one who will memorize the things you say as well as the shape of your lips when you say them.

I wanted to know every curve, every freckle, every shiver of your body.

I wanted to know where to touch you, I wanted to know how to touch you.

I wanted to know how to convince you to design a smile just for me.

Yes, I did want to be your friend.

I wanted to be your best friend in the entire world.

That’s now water under the bridge.

I’m leaving this world without a friend.

I’m just a blot in the dust that the wind will soon blow out of place.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Create a brave new world in Stoicism; Indifference is power

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“I’m always ready to die. If now, I am ready to die. If, after a short time, I
now dine because it is the
dinner-hour; after this I will
then die. How? Like a man
who gives up what belongs to
another,without regret,without resistance,without bitterness.” From Discourses,by Epictetus

The above passage shows us how Epictetus treated death from his stoic perspective.

The bitter truth is, indifference,which the core-value of STOICISM, really is a power.

When selectively applied, and living in such a way is not only eminently possible, with a conscious adoption
of certain attitudes, it facilitates a freer, more expansive, more adventurous mode of living.

Joy and grief are still there, along with all the other emotions, but they are tempered – and, in their temperance, they are less tyrannical.

If we can’t always go to our philosophers for an understanding of Stoicism, then where can we go?

One place to start is the Urban Dictionary.

Check out what this crowdsourced online
reference to slang gives as the definition of a ‘stoic’:
~stoic~Someone who does not care about the stupid things in this world that most people care so much about.

Stoics do have emotions, but only for the
things in this world that really matter.

They are the most real people alive.

Picture this scene with a stoic; A group of kids are sitting on a porch. Stoic walks
by.

Kid – ‘Hey man, you are an old faggot an you suck!’

Stoic – ‘Good for you.’

Stoic keeps going,unperturbed.~

You’ve got to love the way the author manages to make mention of a porch in there, because Stoicism has its root in the word stoa, which is the Greek name for what today we would call a porch.

Actually, we’re more likely to call it a portico, but the ancient Stoics used it as a kind of porch, where they would hang out and talk about enlightenment
and stuff.

The Greek scholar Zeno is the founder,
and the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius the most famous practitioner, while the Roman statesman Seneca is probably the most eloquent and entertaining.

But the real hero of Stoicism, most
Stoics agree, is the Greek philosopher Epictetus.

He’d been a slave, which gives his words a credibility that the other Stoics, for all the hardships they endured, can’t quite match.

He spoke to his pupils, who later wrote down his words.

These are the only words we know today
as Epictetus’, consisting of two short works, the Enchiridion and the Discourses, along with some fragments.

Among those whom Epictetus taught
directly is Marcus Aurelius (another Stoic
philosopher who did not necessarily expect to be read; his Meditations were written expressly for private benefit, as a kind of self-instruction).

Among those Epictetus has taught indirectly is a whole cast of the distinguished, in all fields of endeavour.

One of these is the late US Navy Admiral James Stockdale.

A prisoner of war in Vietnam for seven years during that conflict, he endured broken bones, starvation, solitary
confinement, and all other manner of torture.

His psychological companion through it all were the teachings of Epictetus, with which he had familiarised himself after graduating from college and joining the Navy, studying philosophy at Stanford University on the side.

He kept those teachings close by in Vietnam, never letting them leave his mind even when things were at their
most dire. Especially then.

He knew what they were about, those lessons, and he came to know their application much better than anyone should have to.

Stockdale wrote a lot about Epictetus, in speeches and memoirs and essays, but if you want to travel light (and, really, what Stoic doesn’t?), the best thing you could take with you is a speech he gave
at King’s College London in 1993, published as Courage Under Fire: Testing Epictetus’s Doctrines in a Laboratory of Human Behavior (1993).

That subtitle is important. Epictetus once
compared the philosopher’s lecture room to a hospital, from which the student should walk out in a little bit of pain.

‘If Epictetus’s lecture room was a hospital,’ Stockdale writes, ‘my prison was a laboratory – a laboratory of human behaviour.

I chose to test his postulates against the demanding real-life challenges of my laboratory.

And as you can tell, I think he passed with flying colours.’

~‘You are unfortunate in my judgment, for you have never been unfortunate’~

Stockdale rejected the false optimism proffered by mainstream religions, because he knew, from direct observation, that false hope is how you went insane in that prison.

The Stoics themselves believed in gods, but ultimately those resistant to religious belief can take their Stoicism the way
they take their Buddhism, even if they can’t buy into such concepts as karma or reincarnation.

What the whole thing comes down to, distilled to its briefest essence, is making the choice that choice is really all we have, and that all else is not worth considering. ‘Who […] is the invincible
human being?’ Epictetus once asked, before answering the question himself: ‘One who can be disconcerted by nothing that lies outside the sphere of his own choice.’

Any misfortune ‘that lies outside the sphere of choice’ should be considered an opportunity to strengthen our resolve, not an excuse to weaken it.

This is one of the truly great mind-hacks ever devised, this willingness to convert adversity to opportunity, and it’s part of what Seneca was extolling when he wrote what he would say to one whose spirit has never been tempered or tested by hardship: ‘You are unfortunate in my judgment, for you have never been unfortunate. You have passed through life with no antagonist to face you; no one will know what you were capable of, not
even you yourself.’

We do ourselves an immense favour when we consider adversity an opportunity to make this discovery – and, in the discovery, to enhance what we find there.

Another shrewdly resourceful Stoic mind-hack is what William B Irvine – in his book A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy (2009)– has given the name ‘negative visualisation’.

By keeping the very worst that can
happen in our heads constantly, the Stoics tell us, we immunise ourselves from the dangers of too much so-called ‘positive thinking’, a product of the
mind that believes a realistic accounting of the world can lead only to despair.

Only by envisioning the bad can we truly appreciate the good; gratitude does not arrive when we take things for granted.

It’s precisely this gratitude that leaves us content to cede control of what the world
has already removed from our control anyway.

How did we let something so eminently
understandable become so grotesquely
misunderstood?

How did we forget that that dark passage is really the portal to transcendence?

Many will recognise in these principles the general shape and texture of cognitive- behavioral therapy (CBT).

Indeed, Stoicism has been identified as a kind of proto-CBT. Albert Ellis, the US psychologist who founded an early
form of CBT known as Rational Emotive
Behaviour Therapy (REBT) in 1955, had read the Stoics in his youth and used to prescribe to his patients Epictetus’s maxim that ‘People are disturbed not by things but by their view of things.’

‘That’s actually the “cognitive model of
emotion” in a nutshell,’ Donald Robertson tells us, and he should certainly know, as a therapist who in 2010 wrote a book on CBT with the subtitle ‘Stoic Philosophy as Rational and Cognitive Psychotherapy’.

This simplicity and accessibility ensure that Stoicism will never be properly embraced by those who prefer the abstracted and esoteric in their
philosophies.

In the novel A Man in Full (1998),
Tom Wolfe gives Stoicism, with perfect
plausibility, to a semi-literate prison inmate.

This monologue of Conrad Hensley’s may be stilted, but there’s nothing at all suspect about the sentiment behind it.

When asked if he is a Stoic, Conrad replies: ‘I’m just reading about it, but I
wish there was somebody around today, somebody you could go to, the way students went to Epictetus.

Today people think of Stoics – like, you
know, like they’re people who grit their teeth and tolerate pain and suffering.

What they are is, they’re serene and confident in the face of anything you can throw at them.’

Marcus Aurelius started each day telling himself: ‘I shall meet with meddling, ungrateful, violent, treacherous, envious, and unsociable people’

Which leads us naturally to ask just what it was that was thrown at them.

We’ve already noted that Epictetus had the whole slavery thing going on, so
he checks out.

So does Seneca, in spite of what many have asserted – most recently the UK
classicist Mary Beard in an essay for the New York Review of Books that asks: ‘How Stoical Was Seneca?’ before providing a none-too- approving answer. What Beard’s well-informed and otherwise cogent essay fails to allow for is
just how tough it must have been for Seneca – tubercular, exiled, and under the control of a sadistically murderous dictator – no matter what access he sometimes had to life’s luxuries.

It was Seneca himself who said that ‘no one has condemned wisdom to poverty’, and only an Ancient Greek Cynic would try to deny this.

Besides, Seneca would have been the first to tell you, as he told a correspondent in one of his letters: ‘I am not so shameless as to undertake to
cure my fellow-men when I am ill myself. I am, however, discussing with you troubles which concern us both, and sharing the remedy with you,just as if we were lying ill in the same hospital.’

Marcus Aurelius lay ill in that hospital, too.

As beneficiary of the privileges of emperor, he also endured the struggles and stresses of that very same position, plus a few more besides.

I know better than to try to improve on the following accounting, provided in Irvine’s A Guide to the Good Life:

~He was sick, possibly with an ulcer. His family life was a source of distress: his wife appears to have been unfaithful to him, and of the at least 14 children she bore him, only six survived. Added to
this were the stresses that came with ruling an empire. During his reign, there were numerous frontier uprisings, and Marcus often went personally to oversee campaigns against upstart tribes. His own officials – most notably, Avidius Cassius, the governor of Syria – rebelled against
him. His subordinates were insolent to him, which insolence he bore with ‘an unruffled temper’.
Citizens told jokes at his expense and were not punished for doing so. During his reign, the empire also experienced plague, famine, and natural disasters such as the earthquake at Smyrna.
Ever the strategist, Marcus employed a trusty technique in confronting the days that comprised such a life, making a point to tell himself at the start of each one of them: ‘I shall meet with
meddling, ungrateful, violent, treacherous, envious, and unsociable people.’ He could have been different about it – he could have pretended
things were just hunky-dory, especially on those days when they really were, or seemed to be. But how, then, would he have been prepared to angle both into the wind and away from it – adapting,
always, to fate’s violently vexing vicissitudes?~

Where would that have left him when the weather changed?

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Meditation by the seaside-cultivate a sea of tranquillity in your life

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The theme of tranquillity oriented meditation is based on letting go.

{Insight; Letting go: not fighting or going after something that comes into your life,which you have already formed some attachment to.}

The most important aspect of this type of meditation is your attitude.

There are seven attitudes that
form the foundation of mindfulness
practice: “nonjudging, patience, beginner’s mind, trust, nonstriving, acceptance and letting go.”

Nature acts as tonic to our stressful lives.

As you practice this kind of buddhist meditation, you may notice your
mind is busy with thoughts.

That is okay.

Thoughts are not the enemy.

You do not have to fight them and you do not have to follow them, either.

Treat thoughts like anything else that draws your attention.

Notice them, allow them to be as they are, and gently let your attention open back to, and settle on, the breath sensations.

Create a mental beach and an ocean as the baseline of your meditation frame.

Let all of your conscious experience — sounds, sensations, thoughts, emotions, everything — become the wind,the breeze coming over the sea.

Feel all of it moving and changing, arriving, moving around and over you, and then going.

Notice how the wind takes on different qualities — soft, strong, harsh, gusty, gentle.

Relax as the wind blows around you.

Let it come and go in all its forms.

You remain here, in
calmness, abiding by the enveloping tranquility that this mental breeze creates in your mind.

Close your eyes and visualize yourself
at the beach, sitting on the warm sands,
with a refreshing sea breeze sprinkling
your whole body.

You are safe and secure.

You are watching the waves drift in and out, over and over again.

Each wave is like your breath, rising up inside from deep within and then releasing and returning out to sea.

What do you notice about the surface
of the ocean?

It’s much like your life — some parts are rough, choppy, with impending waves of uncertainty pounding away.

Breathe in these moments that are challenging and upsetting.

Remember that you have the stability and strength to weather the storm.

Breathe out your fears and doubts
about the outcome.

What will be will be?

Only the waves can carry all your secrets
and anxieties out to sea.

What’s happening below the surface
of the ocean?

It is a calm, serene, quiet and contemplative underwater experience.

Schools of fish are swimming to and fro.

Sea plants are sashaying to a mysterious, musical current.

Starfish cling to rocks in colorful display.

Luminescent shards of sunlight splice through the water, transmitting
warmth and radiance downward.

Depending on what life tosses your way, you may be bodysurfing the big one
or floating along a sea of serenity.

Be mindful of the journey, the highs and
lows, the good times and the bad, the joy
and the pain.

Move gently with each wave.

Remember: you are not your anxiety.

People who struggle with anxiety tend to think it’s permanent and part of their identity.

When you’re in the midst of angst, it’s understandable to think
this way.

But these reactions, in reality,are
temporary.

Worrisome thoughts are a sign or signal;
they contain a message for you to decipher that will help guide you to a place of well-being.

They suggest asking yourself the
following three questions to help you
better understand yourself and figure out
the changes you can make toward your
well-being.

Go on and create tranquillity in your mind,and the whole world will bow to your rhythm of peace and tranquility.

Bernard Wainaina is an Independent Agribusiness Advisor and CEO at Profarms Consultants®,Nairobi,Kenya.

He mainly works with Agribusiness Youth Groups in Eastern African Region.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

To all girls: You’re beautiful!

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First and foremost,this is to all the girls who at one time or the other,have come into my life.

This too,is to all the girls who left,and those who have stayed in my life.

In effect,this is to all girls!

This is for girls who have the tendency to
stay up at night listening to music that
reminds them of their current situation.

Who hide their fears, hurt, pain and tears
under the smiles, laughs and giggles on a
daily basis.

The girls who wear their heart on their sleeve.

The girls who pray that things will work out just once and they’ll be satisfied in this life.

The girls who scream and cry to their pillows because everyone else fails to listen.

The girls who have so many secrets but wont tell a soul.

The girls who have mistakes and regrets as a daily moral.

The girls that never win,both in life,and in love.

The girls that stay up all night thinking about that one boy and hoping that he’ll notice her one day.

The girls who take life as it comes, to the girls who are hoping that it’ll get better somewhere down the road.

For the girls who love with all their heart
although it always gets broken.

To girls who think it’s all over.

This is to real girls, to all girls: You’re beautiful,and you know it! Don’t ever let any one take this away from you;you are beautiful!

And don’t ever let a guy make you feel ugly because no matter what, you are beautiful, with or without him

Remember: Just because you don’t have a prince yet in your life, does not mean you are not a princess!

And life,my dear girls, isn’t a music player where you get to choose what’s being played, it is a radio where you have to enjoy what’s being played.

Bernard Wainaina is an Independent Agribusiness Advisor and CEO at Profarms Consultants®,Nairobi,Kenya.

He mainly works with Agribusiness Youth Groups in Eastern African Region.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Call-to-action; “Don’t sabotage your own happiness!”

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Most people don’t want to be happy, which is why they aren’t.

Give me a few moments of your time to allow me to explain this disheartening fact in an objective way:

People are programmed to achieve their foremost desire at almost any cost (imagine the adrenaline-fuelled superhuman powers people develop in life-or-death emergencies.)

It’s just a matter of what that foremost desire is.

People don’t want to be happy because they think it means giving up on achieving more through suffering.

They believe happiness is a reward for their stoic suffering.

More people don’t want to believe it’s a choice because that puts responsibility in their hands,and not the circumstances.

It’s for the same reason people do self-pity: to delay action, to make an outcry to the universe, as though the more they
state how bad things are in their life, the more likely it is that someone else other than themselves will change them.

Happiness is not a rush of positive emotion elicited by random events that affirm the way you think something should go.

Not sustainable happiness, anyway.

The real stuff is the product of an intentional, mindful, daily practice, and it
begins with choosing to commit to it.

Everybody has a happiness tolerance – an upper limit – as it is.

It is the capacity for which we allow ourselves to feel good.

Other psychologists call it the “baseline,” the amount of happiness we “naturally” feel, and eventually revert back to, even if certain events or circumstances shift us temporarily either to immense sadness or rapture.

The reason we don’t allow those shifts to become baselines is because of the upper limit – as soon as our circumstances extend beyond the amount of happiness we’re accustomed, and comfortable, feeling, we unconsciously begin to self-sabotage.

We are programmed to seek what we’ve known.

So even though we think we’re after happiness, we’re actually trying to find whatever we’re most accustomed to,our modus operandi,so to say, and we project that on whatever actually exists, over and over again.

These are just a few of many psychological impediments that hold us back from the emotional lives we claim to
want.

Here are a few others:

•Everybody has a limited tolerance for feeling good

When things go beyond that limit, we sabotage ourselves so we can return to our so called comfort zones.

The tired cliché of stepping outside the comfort zone then serves a crucial purpose: it makes people comfortable with discomfort, which is the gateway to expanding their tolerance for happiness.

•There is a “likability limit” that people like to remain under: everybody has a level of ‘success’ that they perceive to be admirable – and un-threatening
to others.

Most things people do are in an effort to ‘earn’ love or approval.

Many desires, dreams and ambitious are
build out of a space of severe lack of our self-love.

It’s for this reason that some of the most emotionally dense people are also the most successful: they use their desire for acceptance, love, wholeness, as fuel –
(for better and for worse.)

The point is: once people surpass the point at which they think people will judge and ridicule them for their success (as opposed to praise them for it) they promptly cut themselves off, or at
minimum severely downplay/minimize it so as to keep themselves in good standing with those they desire approval from.
(It’s ultimately not that people value ego and material over love, but that they think those things will earn them love.)

Most prefer the comfort of what
they’ve known to the vulnerability of what they don’t.

… Even when “what they don’t know” is, objectively, much better.

If we redefine “happiness,” in terms
of what human beings innately desire (comfort, inclusiveness, a sense of purpose, etc.) we can then make the choice to seek comfort from things
that are ultimately aligned with what we want to achieve.

•Many people are afraid that
‘being happy’ equals to giving up on achieving more.

Happiness is, in essence,a form, acceptance.

It’s arriving at the end-goal, passing the finish line, letting the wave of accomplishment wash over you.

Deciding to be that way every day can make it seem as though the race is already over, so we subconsciously associate ‘happiness’ and acceptance’ with ‘giving up.’

But the opposite is true: the path to a greater life is not ‘suffering until
you achieve something’ but letting bits and pieces of joy and gratitude and meaning and purpose gradually build, bit by bit.

•People delay action once they know truth – and the interim between knowing and doing is the space where suffering
thrives.

Most of the time, it’s not about not knowing what to do (or not knowing who you are).

It’s about the resistance between what’s right and what’s easy, what’s best in the long vs. short term.

We hear our instincts, we just don’t listen.

This is the single most common root of discomfort: the space between knowing and doing.

•We’re culturally addicted to procrastination, but we’re also just as
enamored by deflection.

By not acting immediately, we think we’re creating space for the truth to shift itself from riff-raff of life, when really, we’re only creating discomfort so that we can sense it more completely (though we’re suffering needlessly in the process.)

•People believe that apathy is
safety.

We’re all afraid of losing the pieces and people that make up our lives.

Some people try to cut ahead of the pain-curve and don’t let themselves feel as though they wanted or liked those things in the first place.

The undercurrent here is the sense
that everything ends and all its impermanent and while those things are more or less true, there is something just slightly truer, and it is that death gives life meaning.

It’s the fact that we can lose what we have that makes it sacred and precious
and wonderful.

It’s not about what pain you suffer,
it’s about what you suffer for.

You can choose to cut yourself off from feeling good so as to buffer the sense of loss and suffer from numbness, or you
can have an incredible life and have to mourn wildly when it’s over, but at least there was a means to that end.

•Few know how to practice
feeling good (or why it’s necessary).

It is almost essential to raising your upper limit, augmenting your baseline, and ultimately assimilating to the new chapter(s) of your life without destroying them out of unfamiliarity.

Practicing feeling good is simply taking a moment to, literally, let yourself feel.

Extend that rush just a few seconds longer, meditate on some things
you’re grateful for and let it wash over you as much as possible.

Seek what’s positive, and you’ll find that your threshold for feeling it expands as
you decide it can.

•People think happiness its an
emotional response facilitated
by a set of circumstances, as
opposed to a choice and shift of
perception/awareness.

It seems that the people who are steadfast in their belief that circumstances create happiness are not
to be swayed – and that makes sense.

It’s for the same reason that we buy into it so much: it’s easier. It’s the way to cut-corners on your emotional life.

It’s seemingly logical and fairly easy to attain, so why not stand by it fiercely?

Because it’s ultimately false.

It maintains that you must wait to feel happy, and as we know, unless you are cultivating your baseline to be all-around
higher, you’ll spend the rest of your life hopping from one perceived high to another.

Some of the statistically happiest countries in the world are nearly-impoverished, some of the most
notable and peaceful individuals to grace the Earth died with only a few cents to their name.

•The commonality is a sense of purpose, belonging and love: things you can choose to feel and cultivate,
regardless of physical/material circumstance.

Most people don’t know that it’s
possible to shift their baseline,
since it’s always framed in a way
of being “how one naturally is.”
If I’ve heard it once I’ve heard it a thousand times: the woman with anxiety who says “it’s just the way I am.” The man with a dozen irrational fears
who attributes them to “his personality.”

The thing is that nothing has to be an essential part of you unless you decide it is – least of all anxiety and fear.

In fact, those things are never essentially part of who someone is, they are learned behaviors.

They are ego-reactions that go unchecked.

They are flashing lights and waving flags from our innermost selves that something is not right, but we’re avoiding making the shift (mostly by deflecting on the circumstance being out of our control.)

•People believe that suffering
makes them worthy.

To have wonderful things in our lives without having suffered for them somehow translates to us feeling as though we haven’t truly “earned” them,
and therefore, they are not completely ours.

On the flip side: the idea that beautiful, joyous things could simply be ours without any conscious creation of them on our part is terrifying, because
the opposite could just as well be true.

•Many people believe they can beat fear to the finish line.

Worry is a cultural past time of most people, and it’s ultimately a deflection from the fact that we buoy between extremes: not caring about anything or
caring so much about one thing it could break us altogether.

Worrying conditions us to the worst possible outcomes so they don’t cause as much pain if they come to pass.

We’re thinking through every irrational possibility so we can account for it,
prepare for it, before it surprises us. We try to imagine every “bad” thing a person could say about us so they’re not the first to do it.

But this does not change anything.

You still won’t expect difficult things to arise.

You will never know what people are really thinking, or how often.

You will not be able to prepare to cope with your irrational fears, because there’s no basis in a reality you could possibly get ready to deal with.

You cannot beat fear to the finish line.

You are not cheating your way around pain.

You’re actively pursuing more and more of it.

•Happy people are often
perceived as being naive and
vulnerable.

If nothing else, happy people are stigmatized as being clueless and ill-informed and delusionally positive and disconnected from reality, but the
only people who perceive them that way are people who do everything in their power to justify the negativity in their lives they feel they cannot control.

It is people who don’t choose a better life
that are naive and truly vulnerable, as “happy people” may lose everything they have, but people who never choose to fully step out of their comfort-zone- lives never have anything at all.

I’m compelled to believe that just like love,happiness finds its home in the lives and hearts of those who allow themselves to be most vulnerable!

Bernard Wainaina is an Independent Agribusiness Advisor and CEO at Profarms Consultants®,Nairobi,Kenya.

He mainly works with Agribusiness Youth Groups in Eastern African Region.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Memories of Phone Conversations with my father~Father’s Day 2015

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There was no need to check the caller ID.
I always knew it was him. I could tell by the ring—it grabbed you by the shoulders and spun you. around.

Even the phone seemed to panic, sprouting arms and legs and scurrying down the counter.

“Pick it up! Pick it up!” it implored. “He hates to wait!”

“Hello?”

“Ben?”

“Hey, Dad.”

“OK, listen very carefully. Your mother bought a new cereal that’s the best organic cereal I’ve ever had in my life. It fortifies your whole body. You’ll never
eat another cereal again as long as you live.”

“Wow. What’s the name of it?”

“The name of what?”

“The cereal. What’s it called?”

Brief pause. Obscure questions like this annoyed my father.

Muttering to himself: “Uh … What’s the thing called?”

Then to me: “It’s got a helluva box. You should see all the literature on the back. It’s very educational. I’m just trying to remember the name of the thing … Hold on.”

Muffled crushing sound. His massive hands were slaughtering the mouthpiece.

“Joyce?”

Beat.

“Joyce?”

Another beat.

“JOYCE!”

My mother, responding from a cave in Pharaohs pyramid,issued an unintelligible squawk.
“Ben’s on the phone! He called me. He wants to know the name of that cereal!”
“Arrayrrrkkkk?” It was impossible to understand her. She was in the other room, and the TV was blaring.

“The name of that cereal you bought!”

We were getting close to launch.

“Warrakkaa?”

“THE CEREAL! WHAT’S THE NAME OF THE
CEREAL YOU BOUGHT TODAY?”

Liftoff.

“DO I HAVE TO BUY A BULLHORN TO
HAVE A CONVERSATION WITH YOU? OR
SHOULD I SEND UP SMOKE SIGNALS?” To
me: “She won’t be happy till she blows my voice box out. If you want to know the truth, she’d love to kill me. Then she can eat all the cereal she wants with her next husband. Hold on. Let me get the box.”

He dropped the phone on the counter. It slid off and bounced on the floor a few times. I heard the sound of slamming cabinet doors and a snatch of conversation as my mother entered the room.

Joyce: “Calm down. It’s over there—two feet in. front of your face.”

Some more rustling as the receiver made its bumpy pilgrimage back to his hand.

“Ben?”

“Yeah?”

“I got it right here. Just hold on …”

Beat.

“OK, you there?”

“I am.”

“You listening?”

“Completely.”

“It’s called … Frosted Mini-Wheats.”

~

Six weeks later,another new conversation, the telltale ring sounded again.

I’m having my favourite dinner; chicken sauce and honey pasted pancakes.

My startled telephone, frantic and disoriented,jumped up and hurled a pepper grinder through the kitchen window. I ran in and lunged for the
receiver.

“Ben?”

“Hey, Dad. How’s it going?”

“Do you have a minute?”

“Yeah. What’s up?”

“OK, well, your mother and I have decided we want to die together. I don’t want to get morbid or anything, I’m just—did I interrupt your dinner?”

“No, no, I’m fine.” I lie,but I’m kicking myself for allowing him to frighten my healthy appetite for this good dinner begging me to maul it!

“Listen, we’ve been together a long time. I could never live without this woman-your mother, that is. And if I go first, I
can promise you, she won’t last long. She’ll will herself to die. Are you sure you’re not eating?”

“Positive.”

“OK, now point two: no funeral. We want to be cremated, and we want to go in the lake. You know, the lake behind the neighborhood here.”

“Right. I know.”

“So here’s how it works: Whoever dies first, they get incinerated and put in the closet. When the second one goes, mix us together and put us in the lake.”

“We won’t have to deal with this for a long time …”

“And I want the cat in there too.”

“You want the cat in where?”

“I want the cat cremated and mixed in with us.”

“Oh. So Mom’s OK with that?”

“Hey, she knows what that cat means to me. Here, ask her yourself.”

He called for my mother.

“Joyce!”

A hush.

“Joyce!”

Total Radio silence.

“JOYCE!”

She hollered back from the laundry room:
“What?”

“Ben’s on the phone! He called me(a lie!) Tell him about the cat!”

“What about the cat?”

“The ashes! When we’re dead! Never mind!” To me: “I told you she lost her hearing aid again, didn’t I? They have a shrine to her at the hearing aid factory.

Listen, once we’re all dead, mix me,
your mother, and the cat together. Then put us in the lake. Just dump us in by the bird feeders.”

My mother entered the room.

“Here comes the Queen. They built the Suez Canal Canal in the time it takes her to move from one room to the other.”

“Why are you yelling? You know I can’t hear you from back there.”

“You couldn’t hear me if we were Siamese twins locked in a trunk.”

“Don’t give me nightmares,” she said, picking up the other phone.

Me: “So you’re OK with the cat, Mom?”

Mom: “If it makes him happy.”

Dad: “Listen, Ben. We’ve only been married 60 years. If that’s not love, everyone can go screw themselves. I mean, next to us, Romeo and Juliet
were a couple of morons.”

Me: “It’s quite a love story,you have,Dad.”

Dad: “I almost had a heart attack the first time I. laid eyes on your mother, she was so beautiful.
She’s gotta be the kindest human being who ever lived.”

Me: “I agree.”

Beat.

Dad: “I told you she bought me those Mini- Wheats cereals, right?”

Me: Yep!

Dad: No. I mean,she used to wear mini-skirts then,and I tell you,Ben,she was a thing….

Me: stop it Dad….I gottta go,see you later!

Total Radio Silence.

Happy Fathers’ day Dad,you were a real eccentric!

Bernard Wainaina is an Independent Agribusiness Advisor and CEO at Profarms Consultants®,Nairobi,Kenya.

He mainly works with Agribusiness Youth Groups in Eastern African Region.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Fathers’ Day,2015: The thankless role of an under-appreciated dad

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By Daisy Mburu-Guest Author

Before I became Madam Daisy to my dad, I was his little girl, who went everywhere with him.

He a little ahead, while I trailed him wearing him down with incessant questions and chatter, which he bore with patience and fortitude.

I had a habit of going through his pockets
because I would always find sweets and coins, which I would gleefully keep. (He recently told me that he left them there for me to find).

As the last of four children, his third daughter, I should not have been special, but I think I was, if my childhood memories are anything to go by.

My earliest memories are of me and dad making burnt omelettes, reading newspapers instead of storybooks and traipsing across the hills of his
childhood.

Most memorable however, are the pretty new dresses he picked out and bought for us, his girls.

My mother’s choices never quite
compared.

LUCKY GIRL

As I grew older, as a tween going on teen, it was dad who took me shopping as I prepared to join secondary school.

Those days there were no malls, and supermarkets had just a few aisles
with even fewer shelves and a poor selection of anything a teen would like.

We stopped at a rural shop, and from the look on her face, the woman behind the counter could not believe that a Meru man had brought his daughter to shop.

Her mouth was agape when I started ordering everything, from mudboots, garish blue nail polish to the most personal items a teenage girl would need in boarding school.

My dad bowed to my every whim, paying for everything I asked for.

“You are one lucky girl,” she told me, as dad stood aside, smiling indulgently as I took hours to pick the many items I wanted, items I knew my mother would not approve.

I never thought much of the woman’s remarks, as I soon thereafter transformed into a nasty teenager with a bad case of attitude.

Dad patiently bore my frequent tantrums and door slamming, and through it all, he found it difficult to say no to me.

The only time he did was to refuse me a pair of secondhand shoes because he insisted on buying a new pair!

Many years later, shopping late at night in a 24-hour supermarket with numerous aisles and countless shelves, a distressed middle-aged man stopped next to me, apologised and thrust his phone at me and asked for my help picking items
appearing on his screen. “Teenagers…” he offered in way of explanation.

From the list, I couldn’t help but notice how sophisticated teenagers have become.

The man was relieved when I finally tossed the last item into his shopping cart.

On a whim, I asked if his daughter appreciated his efforts.

MOMENT OF TRUTH

“I’m afraid I don’t hear thank you enough,” he said.

My heart stopped.

Right there, in my mind, I saw my dad following me in trepidation, gingerly
treading on the egg shells around the demanding force my teenage self had become: a heavy sulking cloud of moods threatening to rain constantly, demanding my dad’s wallet.

Then, it hit me that not once did I ever say thank you. Even once.

I had walked around entitled, while my beloved bewildered dad followed in my wake picking the tab of a spoilt brat, probably wondering where his little girl had gone.

I now realise it was a choice he made to labour in love and sacrifice by taking on the thankless role of an underappreciated dad.

Mr Mburu, thank you. You are the best dad a girl could ask for, and I appreciate you everyday most especially on this Fathers’ Day.

Today, many years later, I want to apologise for all I put you through.

Thank you for suffering me.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

All of my temptations are held inside the hotel’s mini bar fridge,please don’t leave it open!

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I’m on a two week treat at Lamu Island,courtesy of one of my generous clients.

When I’m the one footing the hotel accommodation bill,I’m normally very fussy about the mini bar in th the hotel room.

Picture this,dear friends;

You check into a hotel for a short
holiday, right?

If you are checking into a
Grand hotel like the ‘Nyumba Gereza’ guesthouse wonderfully situated in the center of Lamu Town, just behind the
market (incredible place!), a pleasant porter called Yusuf or Hussein, will grab your bags and lead you to your room while asking where you are from, (Malawi, you respond without blinking), and if it’s your first time in Lamu and he will tell you how to differentiate between a Lamu door inspired by the Arabs and
one inspired by Indians. (One is square
the other is dome-shaped….now you
know).

He will slip a key attached to a wooden
holder into your lock and step aside for
you to walk in first (just in case there is a
boobytrap).

Then he will place your luggage on a low side table and show you around: This lights come on from this switch.
(I can never find what switch
lights what bulb normally, by the way).

This is an AC just in case it gets too hot,
just press this red button to switch it off
and on.

This is the bathroom and amenities. (Oh brilliant, what’s the hotel’s policy on standing on toilet seat?); and that is your hairdryer if…wait,I don’t think you will be needing that Mister. Yusuf, stop!

He will continue: Here we have a bowl of
fruits courtesy of the hotel: (Are the
fruits real or plastic?).

This is the mini bar, you can have your soft drinks and alcohol from it, and this here is the price-list of the items. (Note to self: Do.Not.Touch. Minibar.)

Me: Do you mind removing the minibar
from the room, please?

Porter: Excuse me?

Me: Yes, like remove it, take it away.

Porter: You mean like the whole fridge?

Me: Yes, like the whole fridge.

Porter: I’m sorry, but we can’t.

Me: Why, is it too heavy? It’s only a mini-
fridge, I can help you carry it out if your
back is bad.

Porter: Haha. My back is fine. It’s not the weight, it’s just that we are not allowed.

Me: By who, hoteliers association?

Porter: Hehe. No, it’s… why don’t you want the mini-fridge in your room?

Me: Because I will be tempted to drink all the wine and Vodka in there.
No I’m serious. I will wake up at 2-am
and feel miserable and drink
everything.Don’t give me those eyes…
you know that feeling; when you wake
up in panic and all you want to do is sit
in front of the mini-bar in your
underwear and drink all the booze in
those small pretty bottles?

Porter: (with a self-concious supercilious laugh)Haha. No, Mister. That has never
happened to me.

Me: Not even once?!

Porter: No. I’m sorry.

Me: Oh, don’t be. I just thought we had a
connection there.

Porter: Haha. Look, I don’t know, maybe I can remove all the drinks in there instead?

Me: Then you take them where? To
someone’s minibar and increase his
temptation threefold?

Me: No, the store….maybe. I don’t know. I
will ask housekeeping.

Me: Um, Look, on second thoughts, don’t
bother, leave the drinks there I need to
practice some self control. Do you have
a key?

Porter: A key?

Me: To the mini-bar!

Porter: Oh, no. Sorry, the minibars don’t come with keys.

Me: That’s odd, don’t you think?

Porter: That minibars don’t come with keys?

Me: No, that elephants can’t hiccup, yes, that minibars don’t have keys.

Porter: Uhm, yes, it’s…it’s a bit odd, yes. (Odd look).

Me: Next time you go shopping for a mini
bar please get one with a key.

Porter: Uhm, why, sir?

Me: So that you can lock all the drinks and all of my temptations in there.

Porter: (Offers a very concerned look) Certainly Mister.
.
Me: Did I tell you I’m SDA?

Porter: No. No. I don’t remember you
mentioning that part. So you don’t eat
meat?

Me: Why not?

Porter: Because SDAs don’t eat meat.

Me: Oh, I eat meat all right. I’m not that kind of SDA. I’m the kind of SDA that gets
tempted by the minibar.

Porter: Haha.

Me: Haha.

Porter: Anyway, Uhm, so here is our safe. You can keep all your valuables here.

Now, I have a thing about safes.

I have always wondered about this safe
biashara by the way. I have used the
hotel safe about zero times in all my
travels. Who uses the safe? Are there
guys who travel with shitloads of cash,
like 2 meter – and stuff it in the safe
because where they come from they
haven’t heard of VIsa?

Or those very old wealthy women
from some unknown oligarchy in
Eastern Europe who come with
expensive jewellery which they place
there as one just doesn’t wear expensive
baubles while one snorkels.

Or maybe you travelled with your title deed for that newly bought plot in Kitengela. You figured you have worked so hard to buy that plot of land
the title deed deserves a holiday too, so
you bring it to Lamu and as you sip your
cognac with ice (horror!), you get it out
of the safe and you stare at it as you sit
on your balcony because it makes life so
much better. (By the way I predict that
should the madness on social media
hold for much longer, people will start
Instagramming their title deeds very
soon.)

The lovely porter,Yussuf, is saying: And this complimentary bottle of wine is from
the manager to welcome you to our fine
establishment.

You pick the bottle of wine and weigh it in your hands and pretend to read the label, nodding appreciatively.

You know nothing about wine
but you pretend to know by taking ages
reading the label as he looks outside at
the sea and thinks how he will not miss
this part of his job when he retires.

Talking of wine, don’t you hate those
people who take 20 hours reading the
label when the waiter brings a bottle of
wine swathed in a white napkin at
dinner.

The poor waiter stands there holding the bottle tilted with one hand behind his back as they nod and then comes the pretentious question to try and prove how much they know about wine: So was this a late harvest? Like you
lived in France for 12-years.

You reluctantly place your complimentary wine back on the table as the the porter says, Breakfast is from 7.30am to 10.30am, dinner is from 7.30pm to 10pm, please enjoy your stay with us, Mister and don’t hesitate to call us in case you need any assistance.

Caution!; Dear Nairobian middle-class, the decent thing to do at this point is to tip the guy. Give him 500 bob, I’m sure it
won’t create a crater in your budget. And
it will mean a lot to him.

After he is gone, you will remove your
shirt and pants and pick the envelope
with the letter from the manager and
you will instantly know the lazy hotels
from the real deals.

Lazy hotels will always address you as, “Dear Guest” and then print out this template letter that they have used since the hotel opened.

The real hotels who actually care about
you will take time off their very busy
schedules to write your full names and
even have the manager sign the letter at
the bottom using a pen. Nyumba Gereza Guest house always writes my name.

Then the manager will sign it at the bottom in ink, and basically what that says is that this guy sat down and signed a few dozen of those letters because it matters to the hotel, because it’s important!

The details are indeed where the devil lives.

Read that letter. It introduces you to the
product.

It tells you what you might want to do if you are at a beach or a bush property.

The letter might say, Dear Sir, after dark please don’t leave your room to go to the restaurant without an escort because there are buffaloes roaming around .

If you don’t read the darned letter you won’t know about the buffaloes and when you leave your room after dark and you pass by a thicket and hear something cough and you assume it’s a Maasai and you tell it, “ero, sasa?” and the buffalo takes offense for being mistaken for Maasai and it charges, you will wish you read the letter. So read the damn letter, it’s like 200 words maximum,after all.

After reading the letter you will walk to
your balcony in your underwear and
look out at sea. (I love beach properties,
safaris are too ‘mzungu'(Snobbish) for me.)

There, you will think of something deep and unworldly which might unlock a nirvana of sorts.

You will go back in, pass by the mini-fridge without making eye contact,
and grab a bottle of water which you will
open and take to your chair, back on the
balcony, and watch saggy tourists amble
by the beach, followed by dark ribbed
chaps with darker nipples trying to sell
them beads or a glass-boat excursion
(oh wow, look, I can see the corals!) or
sex or maybe if they’re lucky, weed.

It’s a capitalist economy, whatever he is
selling someone will buy.

You will open your book and read or if you have some female company, you will stare at her lovely thighs and pretend you aren’t in a real hurry to get her to bed.

You must attempt to be a gentleman.

I don’t even know why I wrote that
whole lengthy introduction to this post.

Hotel room boredom,I suppose.

But here is what I wanted to say in the first place.

When you visit a hotel you spend time in
two places, the restaurant and the
swimming pool…wait, by the way, I think
us, Nairobians, have the worst
swimming shorts in Eastern and Central
Africa!

Have you seen the dreadful fabric
comedy by the swimming pools when
you go on holiday?

The level of chitzy swimwear men rock up with by the pool?

I can write 5,000 words on Kenyan
men’s choice of swimwear. (note to self)
I can understand why you would wear a
swim trunk with a cartoon on it, or of
swan or geese (what’s the difference?) or
a picture of Mount Kenya, I really can,
but I can’t understand why anyone
would wear swimming shorts that go
past their knees!

Or those chaps who wear swimming shorts with side-pockets;

what are you carrying in there, your
laminated driver’s licence?

However, I think it’s the fault of the
women in their lives.

Yes. You can’t lie there in a your hot two-piece while your man frolics in the baby pool with these ghastly shorts, scaring those poor kids and ruining them for life.

It turns out that normally it’s these chaps who can’t swim; grown ass men in their late 30’s, elbowing kids in the baby pool with their Alibaba And The Forty Thieves shorts!

Men who have floaters attached to their
arms, coughing in the pool! Come on,
guy, get out of that pool…and then get
out of them shorts!

Where was I? Yeah, so in your time at a
hotel, in all these places and during the
time you interact with the waiters and
waitresses and the barmen and the front
desk guys and the porters and the towel
guys and the people selling shit in the
curio shops, you practically talk to
everyone.

But have you noticed that nobody ever
talks to the guy who cleans the pool?

Has anyone ever wondered how the pool
guy feels about that?

You see him late in the evening after 6pm, putting up the “pool closed” board (as he patiently waits for the grown men who can’t swim to come out of the shallow end) and he soundlessly pours his chemicals into the pool and stands there until dusk.

The next morning, if you wake up really early to book a pool-bed, you will spot a
shadowy figure, using that long-ass
squeegee to clean the floor of the pool,
and that machine to suck the dirt and
the net to get the leaves floating on the
surface.

But you won’t see this because you will still be sleeping and by the time you finish with your breakfast and slip into your Geese-shorts, he will be gone,
maybe taking on the different task of
pruning the flower gardens.

You will spend five days in a resort and you will never say hello to this guy.

Nobody tips him.

Nobody knows his name.

He’s a shadow.

A ghost.

Next time you are on holiday, walk up to
a pool guy and ask them their name.

Then watch how they beam when you
ask them about their work; How does
this pump work? How long have you
been doing this? Oh you were a
gardener before here? Do you enjoy it?
Do you have kids, Abdalla? That’s a cool
name. How do you Muslims name you
kids? I have a boy too. Does yours climb
everything? Has he hit his head so loudly
you heard it through a closed door? No?

Then your boy is a girl. Hahaha.

Spend five minutes with him. He will
never forget you because people love
talking about what they do and who they
are.

If he sees you the next day he will
say hello with a big smile like you are
buddies for life.

He will reserve the best pool bed for you the next day and everyday after that until your holiday ends. When you meet him the next morning, you will address him by name because people love when you don’t forget their name: Hey Musa, how did you sleep? How is Abdalla, has be bumped his head yet? No? Shameful,
just shameful! The pool looks dirty
today, doesn’t it? By the way, Musa, I
have wondered about this for so long;
who do you think pees most in
swimming pools? Men or ladies?

Haha.

Me: No, really, who?

Abdallah: I don’t know, really. Haha.

Me: I’m sure you know, you just don’t want to tell me.

Abdallah: I don’t know, Sir, that’s a crazy
question.

Me: Is it? I imagine you get asked that a lot by your pals.

I honestly still don’t know what this post that I’ve written today is all about: Maybe it is about Yussuf, or Abdallah, or the Mini bar, or about my treat in Lamu.

I really don’t have an appropriate headline for it,but bear with me and my rambling thoughts!

Bernard Wainaina is an Independent Agribusiness Advisor and CEO at Profarms Consultants®,Nairobi,Kenya.

He mainly works with Agribusiness Youth Groups in Eastern African Region.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

I hit on a girl last week,but it wasn’t very interesting!

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This story isn’t actually meant to shed light on my now outdated and underwhelming seduction skills.

This story is about a girl and her cherished car.

So last week the devil threw me – not
under a bus – but under a small car-a Toyota Vitz,if you care at all about vehicle models.

But that’s not even the worst part, the worst part is that it was a small car owned by a woman.

Look, I see people complain on twitter”#KOT-about traffic jam or lousy bosses or clients from hell or Kenya Power,which holds the patented rights of a fully paid-for blackout when your dinner has just been placed on your dining table.

I see people whining about something that a politician did.

Or about Monday blues in general. But you haven’t had a lousy day until you have hit a woman’s car in traffic.

It was technically my fault.

No, actually it was the devil’s fault.

So I’m waiting at the head of a traffic queu to turn left from Marcus Garvey Road onto Argwings Kodhek road in downtown Nairobi, right?

In front of me is
a new Toyota Vitz,with the latest issue of car number plate, a KCC something
something H.

We have both indicated left and I’m concentrating at looking at the cars coming from right.

What happens is that I assume that the Vitz has already turned onto the road and left and so I do the natural thing & I turn
onto the road…only to realise, a bit too
late, that she hasn’t moved and bang,
I’m kissing her Toyota Vitz’s back end.

There’ small thud on impact, but a thud all the same.

I turn on my hazard lights, adjust my Deny-hat and step out of my vehicle to inspect the damage.

At the same time this lady steps out holding a phone and I’m like Oh heck,this just the kind of trouble I need today to make my life more interesting!

Just my luck!

I’ve seen before what ladies do to men who have hit their treasured car. It’s ugly.

They don’t take prisoners. It normally
takes a sexist route very quickly if you
say the wrong word. Just one word and
she will be like, Are you saying because
I’m a woman I can’t drive? Then you will
be like, Oh come on, I didn’t say that!

Here is a home truth,if you hit a woman’s
car, especially from behind, don’t say
anything.

Anything you say will be twisted to project a sexist angle.

It’s worse if it’s her first car!

If it’s her first car, you’re safer insulting
her hair than hitting her car.

Anyway, the damage to her car is not
big, no scratch on the paintwork, just a
dent inside, something a mechanic can
just hit once and it pops back into shape.

She’s wearing flat shoes, but going by
her dress her heels are on the floor by
the passenger side.

She’s about 29 or early 30’s.

Probably drinks lots of water at her desk (read; glowing skin inviting a tender touch).

About 5’6” tall. Chocolate. She has these thick braids that curl like serpents on top of her head.

(Lucifer hiding in there,waiting to lay an evil ambush on hapless me
maybe? No? Disappointed is me.)

She wears no lipstick. Large breasts. A big-faced gold dress-watch on a thin wrist. No earrings. Or necklace.

When she comes out of the car she
shoots me this disgusted look as if I’m
the one who has serpents on my head.

Like I’m a scumbag.

She looks at the dent.

The hell? She says.

Not too bad, at least the paint isn’t
scratched.

Are you kidding me? The paint is
scratched!

Uhm, not really.

So she bends and runs her palm over
the dent and then points with a finger
(she has chipped blue nail polish) and
says sarcastically, This, to me, looks like
chipped paint!

I want to point out that that is an old chip, and you would have to use a
microscope to see it.

But I tell her that this is something my mechanic can fix quickly.

I don’t know your mechanic, she
sniggers, to imply that my mech is
incompetent.

He does great body work, this will be
fixed.

No, we have to take it to my mechanic. I
don’t take my car to strange garages.

Then she walks away, shaking her head
while bringing her phone up to her ear.

Look, I don’t know why ladies normally
get all worked up during these small
fender benders.

Why froth at the mouth and act like the world has stopped spinning because you hit their car.

And what’s with the raised voice?

There is never any reason to raise your voice.

I swear if you just speak in a normal tone,
you will be heard.

And then there is always someone she knows in a passing car who rolls down her window and asks, Sheila, kwani what happened?

And she rolls her eyes at me and tells her, HE happened, I’m sooo pissed off I don’t even know! Then her pal shoots you a dirty look and tells her, Call the cops, aki pole! Call me girl,if he misbehaves,I know people who can crank some sense into his head. And she drives off.

Only she doesn’t call the cops or her
mechanic, she calls her man.

Ladies, will you please stop doing that?

Stop calling your men when you are
involved in a small fender bender!

Unless they are also your mechanic.

Your men can’t help you. Everyday, there
are hundreds of men in this city walking
out of important meetings to hear a rant
about a small scratch on their girlfriend’s or spouse’s car.

Well meaning, hard working men are losing 10-mins of their precious time holding the phones to their ears, I say holding because they can’t get a word in
edgewise in that fast nagging tone to beat the daylights out of the traffic offender.

The lady just rants and rants and rants and then before he says anything she says, Let me call you back and you are left wondering, do I wait outside this meeting room until she calls back or do I walk back in and walk back out again when she calls?

Then before you make up your mind you phone starts pinging with about 30 whatsapp pictures of what is supposed to be the most tragic accident in Nairobi.

Life, as you know it, MUST stop to attend to this vehicular emergency!

As the lady paces up and down, spewing
hate into the phone, (I catch words like
“babe”, and “blind” and “some guy” and
“bat”…or maybe it was “butt”) I stand
there like a schoolboy who had been
caught sneaking out of class early.

By this time, traffic has backed-up to Jogoo road & people have started ranting on Twitter about the insane traffic jam.

I really wished she would get off the
phone so that we can sort this out
before the next Christmas especially since I hadn’t even said I was blameless.

Here is what I noticed though.

As other motorists drove around this carnage that could have been easily sorted out with dialogue, I noticed how the male motorists gave me that sympathetic look.

The one that said, they’d hate to be
you in this kind of situation.

That look you give someone who
has gout out of drinking beer liberally and tucking in tonnes of roasted goat ribs.

She finally gets off the phone with “babe” and I’m wondering, Is Babe
coming over to put me across his knees
and spank me with a big stick?

Is Babe going to leave his desk unmanned and come rap me over the knuckles with a ruler?

And, pray, what unprecedented
judgement would mighty Babe pass on
poor me?

Is this how my life ends, at the merciless hands of a lady with chipped nails?

The devil has surely won.

Let’s wait for the cops.

She declares with her hands defiantly across her chest.

Cops? Is that necessary? I ask.

Yes, I think they should come and decide
who is on the wrong.

I am in the wrong, we don’t need a cop
to decide. Look, this is simple take your
car to the mechanic and I will pay for
the damage.

I have meetings you know! How will I
move around? Will you pay for my cab?

I come oh so close to telling her, No, but
I will pay for your manicure. But I try to
recall some verse in the book of
Ecclesiastes 7 or something which says,
Be not quick in your spirit to become
angry, for anger lodges in the bosom of
fools.

She walks away in a huff, leans on her
door and starts going through her old
messages.

Suddenly a skinny cop shows up – I hate skinny cops by the way, they don’t yield, they are stubborn and they don’t negotiate.

The cop comes and asks, Kuna shida(is there a problem)?

And in my head a little voice says, Hakuna shida, officer, tuna relax tu
hapa kwa intersection na huyu mrembo
ana kucha mbaya. (We have no trouble,officer. We just decided to take a brief traffic rest at this particular intersection to allow the lady here to file her nails.)

The skinny cop looks at the damage and
says it’s not bad, that we can sort it out,
so could we remove these cars from the
road immediately?

We drive and park by Chaka Road and, still with hands across her chest, she rolls her eyes all the way to the back of her skull when I tell her I will offer her 1,500 bob. (I know, hehe).

After 30mins or serious pulling and tagging we finally agree on 3K. I pay her
and she gets into her car and drives off
without even giving me a hug. (Nkt).

Her Babe never showed up,even after fifty snaps of this carnage sent to his Whatapp chat.

This is to all female drivers on our roads.

Accidents aside, why don’t most of you
ever see the need to give us way?

Most women drivers will NOT give you way.

A huge ball of fire could be headed your
way but she will not let you get in, she
will stare straight ahead under her huge
shades, chin defiantly thrust forward like
she’s a soldier in a passing parade.

You will burn and die in your lane, my friend.

But you should see them when they
want to join, how they roll down their
windows and flash you those smiles like
you have genes that they might want for
their babies and you know it’s a ruse, but
you always fall for the smile and let
them in.

I know the Bible says do good without expecting anything in return but would it kill you at all to say thanks when we
let you in?

Of course for every mean female driver
there are about five great ones.And may the good Lord keep blessing these five drivers.

May he stop lucifer from standing in the way between you,dear ladies, and reverse parking.

Bernard Wainaina is an Independent Agribusiness Advisor and CEO at Profarms Consultants®,Nairobi,Kenya.

He mainly works with Agribusiness Youth Groups in Eastern African Region.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

TRAVEL HORROR: Me a drug peddler? No way,Mr. Officer! I just have a running stomach!

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On a working trip to DRC Congo, my girlfriend and I were characteristically late for the return flight to Nairobi.

We had travelled by bus from a village where I was handling an agribusiness project for my client, which is well known
cannabis producing region, to the
capital, Kinshasha, and it had been a
rather long uncomfortable journey.

It was made a lot worse by the fact
that for the last couple of days i had
had a rather “loose” stomach.

We got to Kinshasha airport with about forty minutes to spare until our flight took off, so we rushed through check in, changed what little money we had left, pushed to the front of the passport queue and then tried to get through
security.

At that point, we were rather flustered and flushed from all the rushing,
and I, pressed by my running stomach more than I previously thought
was possible, urgently needed the toilet.

This caused me to profusely sweat on my face.

Inevitably, the guy in security,taking a cue from my flustered discomfort, pulled
us to one side to take a closer look at
our bags.

And after emptying everything decided he should get another security guard to take a further look.

I then made the mistake of telling him that I very much would like to go to the toilet while we waited because i had quite a bad stomach.

He asked if i had taken any thing to which i replied, i have — some Imodium –a stomach relief medicine, but it hadn’t helped.

He then asked if i needed to have a doctor to check out my stomach, I said that i was OK, I just really needed to toilet.

I then realised that we had very
different understandings of what was
wrong.

Telling me that he knew that I came to the airport from a cannabis growing village- he must have checked my exit visa or guessed – he suggested that my
bad stomach might be something to
do with all the drugs I had taken or
was smuggling in my stomach.

I was looking nervous, he told me.

I tried to explain that I needed the loo.

At that point, out came two armed police
officers with sniffer dogs, and we were dragged to the corner of security and we waited, confident if a little nervous, for them to check out our bags.

I then got taken to an interview
room, where a police officer poked at
my stomach with a thick wooden baton while quizzing me about my drug consumption habits.

I told him that “of course there is cannabis in that village — you get offered it all the time — but “of course i didn’t take any.”

He then said, after a little conferring, that I I would have to wait while they found a doctor to “examine me.”

I tried to explain, once more, that this was a big misunderstanding and I just needed to go to the toilet but the more I
remonstrated the more it seemed
inevitable that i would end up with a
latex gloved hand exploring my most
intimate parts.

We waited, my girlfriend in tears; the
police now were giggling and taking
what seemed to be a remarkable
amount of joy from our misery.

Eventually somebody arrived to examine me: the original security officers.

I asked about their medical credentials but i was told i didn’t have a choice.
Round the corner I went with him.

We stopped outside a disabled designated toilet and he pointed to the door.

Finally! I thought.

And then it became obvious that the disabled toilets were in fact the examining room and he was coming in with me.

He then told me that he was going to check if i was lying or not and told me that if I needed to go i should go now in a
rather threatening tone, although he
might have just been pissed off that
he had drawn the short-straw of
watching me ease the discomfort of my stomach upset just to embarass me.

I was just about to ask if he could
leave me alone while i went in to the loo, but i no longer cared.

Down came my trousers, and while I enjoyed an explosive relief, i looked up at him
and with a smug smile that said “well
i did tell you that there is nothing more to it than just my running stomach.”

After a minute or so, he decided to leave me to it.

And by the time I returned back to security bay, my girlfriend was packing
our bags once more, still a little
shaken and uncertain as to where
they had taken me.

The plane ended up being delayed, so
we even got on our flight back to Nairobi.

But it’s taught me a lot.

There are always bastard cops where ever you are; learning your rights is up there with remembering your passport; and make sure you carry money in case
you need to bribe somebody in a
disabled toilet in an airport in order
to get home safe and clean back from DRC Congo.

Bernard Wainaina is an Independent Agribusiness Advisor and CEO at Profarms Consultants®,Nairobi,Kenya.

He mainly works with Agribusiness Youth Groups in Eastern African Region.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

A Snapshot of a City; Nairobi,my city,is a beautiful mix of heaven and hell

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By Bernard Wainaina
CEO,Profarms Consultants®

“For every person complaining of floods in my Nairobi City, there’s three blighters, not necessarily Kikuyus, thinking of the dough they could make if rice grew on flooded tarmac.”
~B. Wainaina

The other day I thought, “What is unique about my Nairobi?”

Then I asked the same question to a few chaps.

Here is Nairobi as seen by myself and a few different folk.

It’s easy to moan about Nairobi.

Moan about floods.

Moan about traffic-jam and “matafakas” cutting you off in traffic.

Moan about the drainage system
and about solid waste heaps.
(Those two are not related,at least not to our city fathers!.)

It’s easy, in moments of cynicism to think the worst of Nairobi, how hopeless and desperate it has all become.

It’s easy to stare at the iconic KICC building and get angry at the Koreans for putting their SONY logo up there. (Yeah, like Ketepa
will put a banner up there?).

And don’t you just hate this new army of
obnoxious motorbike taxi guys with their
stinky leather jackets in 32 degree heat,
choking life on the roads and literally
begging you to run them over?

It’s so easy to sit and think this city has totally
gone to the hounds.

Well, until you leave the country and you realise that, with all its dysfunctions, this is heaven.

That there is a reason expatriates cling to the
trousers of the immigration ladies when
it’s time for them to go back home.

Best Hotel

You,a bachelor like me, are sitting in the house on a Saturday night, no plan, feeling depressed because you are broke and someone said, I will call you later for drinks and they didn’t call.

And the Baby mama you were hoping to hook up with hasn’t said a word even though the two
ticks have turned blue on your WhatsApps chat.
You feel like you aren’t loved.

That the best part of your life is over.

You have a loose thousand shillings? (Surely you must).

Then wait until 10pm and drive to Best Western
Hotel, take the elevator to 7th floor, use
the stairs to 8th, there is a bar there called Level 8.

It’s overpriced and it’s blue, so don’t go in. (Not yet).

Stand at the edge of the rooftop, turn the collar
of your jacket, thrust your hands in your
pocket and look out at the arresting vista
of the beautiful Nairobi.

There is nowhere in Nairobi with a more spectacular view of Nairobi than that rooftop.

It’s gobsmackingly gorgeous.

Don’t take a picture, because this is one image you need store in your heart.

Later, jump into Level 8 and order a hot
toddy.

Old, meet new at the ancient Kipande House

The bank sits in a building on the corner of Kenyatta Avenue and Muindu Mbingu
Street (I think). It’s an old building,probably built at the start of the century.

Pre-colonial architecture: Arched windows.

Heavy wooden doors in deep brown.

White and gray concrete that refuses to age.

The pillars at the entrance, they stand so tall you HAVE to tilt your head back to see how far up they run.

Working my way up the stairs past those
pillars reels me back to a time where
nothing surrounded this building but
open opportunity.

And time momentarily stands still when I am
stepping into the bank.

When I have one foot in and one foot out, I feel as if I am crossing over the line that separates one century from another.

I overhear conversations of men, from a century ago,planning to build a great city.

Men on the outside speak of building a great city, men on the inside are writing cheques and counting bills to conquer that city.

They don’t speak, their money speaks for them.

The men on the outside built us a city –
our city – and we took it from them.

The energy this building exudes defines
Nairobi for me; an energy that drives men who dream of building and conquering cities.

My words shiver with that energy.

The sun,meanwhile is still shining in Nairobi.

They once called it the “The Green City
in The Sun.”

The only green left,perhaps, are in the golf courses.

But the sun stayed on.

I asked Ayisi Makatiani – Venture Capitalist, CEO Fanisi Capital – what his Nairobi is and he said, “Nairobi for me is a perfect sunny day, and they are more of them in Nairobi than any
other city I have visited or lived in.

Despite the cloudy or dry days that you
might occasionally get, the perfect sunny days in Nairobi more than makes up.”

Uhuru Highway Traffic~beautiful noise!

There is a scene in ‘Training Day’ Movie where
Denzel Washington tells Hawke to roll down his car window and “listen” to the sound of the
street.

We spend time in traffic in our air
conditioned cars, locking out Nairobi.

Crack it open next time as you sit there
immobile.

Let the spirit of Nairobi fill your car.

That sound you hear, that restless sound?

That is the sound of Nairobi’s inertia.

Diamond Plaza Snack Bar~a view of Angels

Go at 9pm.

Ask for this guy called
Jackson. His number is 0725 ¤¤¤ ¤¤¤.

Get that chicken in coconut sauce and
two garlic naans. Eat with your hands.

Then later sit there and have a fresh
pineapple-mint juice and watch the
smorgasbord of Asian families on a
night-out.

It’s a carnival, this place.

There is a family on the next table; they
have this amazingly handsome little boy
whose chin is at the edge of the table, as
he struggles to see the rest of the table,
and his sandaled feet swing gaily from
the edge of the bench.

That boy’s innocence has not been scratched by
the city and it drowns all the hubbub
around you.

Finish your juice and go home.

JOY ~An Angel in the rain

Her name is Joy and she has a face so
beautiful it hurts my eyes.

I meet those eyes the moment I walk into Kaldis
Coffee, wet from the rain.

Joy finds me a place to sit. Kaldis was once this quiet spot where I slid into to get away from
the heavy breathing streets of Nairobi.

These days it is always full and noisy.

Murmurs gather in the air and hold a raucous marketplace sort of din.

I have been meaning to find another spot which chaps from city suburbs have not turned into a spot for informal meetings.

But I still do not know any other place that
serves better milkshakes than Kaldi’s Coffee.

And then there is Joy.

She is the kind of waitress that makes it hard for me to leave after my cup of coffee.

She has a heart I would like to kiss.

I sit facing the door.

Outside, the sky is leaking by buckets.

Joy comes back with a menu.

I look up at her, at those African poetry
eyes and she says to mock my regular order at this joint,“Joy, get me a vanilla shake and…” “…sirloin steak, well done with chips. I
know.”

Meanwhile outside, water rolls down the
glass door like tears from a tired heart.

Nairobi is weeping, but I know she is not
one bit sad. Its joy in the rains!

A city stirs. My city.

Chris Bitti – CEO, the TheDBagency –and my friend, lives on the penthouse suite of International House.

Sometimes at 5am he steps off his balcony with a cup of tea in hand he looks over the city slowly stirring awake.

“It’s still at that time, there are a few people up and about but mostly it’s still. But you can feel the city slowly awaken, like a hungry giant. You
can feel something major coming, like this massive wave that is building somewhere and is headed right to the heart of the city and you know something serious will happen in the
day, you know someone out there is about to take your place. Nairobi is a beautiful mix of heaven and hell.”

The Tunnel~inside the intestines of Nairobi

The only place Daisy,my partner, loves more than a swimming pool is that tunnel that gets
you off Thika Road and into Forest Road.

That tunnel that looks like you are in Nairobi’s large intestine.

She could be asleep at the back of the car but you have to wake her up to experience that
tunnel or she sulk for hours.

“It’s because of the darkness, and the lights,I just love them so!” she explains.

Whenever I drive through there, I tilt the rear view mirror and watch her at the back, the lights slashing her face in rapid succession, and when we finally emerge into the sunlight she always says, “let’s do it again!” And there is an echo in her voice that rings erotic,though it’s just the tunnel she is talking about.

I am not from Nairobi.

I just live in Nairobi. Tried. Tested. Contented.
Being there, done that and did not even
want the T-shirt.

My Nairobi is all about contrasts.

The anguish of bumper to bumper traffic on Langata Road versus the open savannah of the Nairobi National park. Totally English. Karen
Blixen, afternoon tea on greens at Muthaiga. Little India. Maru Bhajias at DP in Parklands. Or standard Central cuisine with Kienyeji boilo, mukimo at Njuguna’s.

Best of Kisumu flavours at Mama Oliech’s in Dago for fresh fish and osuga. Bonding with the boys. Kuku choma, beer baridi(cold beer) and a car wash at Nairobi West. Back uptown for a little bohemian experience.

Cappuccino at Java House.

Chilled Mojitos at Mercury but still keep it real with a White Cup and Rhumba at Carnivore.

Bourgeois herd

Picnic for the expat friends at Blankets n
Wine.

Shake a leg at Choices Baricho Road with the clandestine gal before the Midnight ratchet special at F1 with the usual perverts.

Mdundo, Old school music with
E-Sir and Ogopa DJs. Doing the Lipala
with Sauti Sol or the sophisticated air
guitar with Jonathan Butler at Safaricom
Jazz. This is my Nairobi.

The Post Office,a funplace for masochists in Nairobi

I recently went to the registered mail section of the post office to get my mail from abroad.

It’s down a steep staircase that drops you into the soulless pit of GPO.

There I found a sluggish and uninspired old man who shuffled around in sandals. (It was a Saturday).

He barely looked at me (or my ID) as he
pointed with dark nails at the place I
should sign.

It was this old massive book.

Then he went and sat on this wooden chair with a sigh (or was it the chair that sighed?) and got back to his newspaper and mug of steaming tea and I wondered if he had an email address.

Three wise”sculptor” men? A Sculptor of a foreign war fought by my people

A sculptor is pedestalled majestically alon Kenyatta Avenue.

It tells of heroes of Second World War.

Our men fought in that foreign war.

“There are three men on Kenyatta
Avenue. They have been standing there
for nearly eight decades, watching as the
swampy town became a city right in
front of them. The man on the left is
wearing a shuka and carrying a staff in
one hand, as if he is going to herd goats
and not to kill other men. He has his gun
slung, almost like an afterthought, to his
left arm. You can tell he wants the one
in the middle to think he is staring at
him, but his gaze goes far higher. The
one in the middle is a conformer, in his
ironed shorts and military pose. He is a
man of war, the kind you don’t want to
mess with. He stares at the obelisk on
the other side, the story of another war.
The third man has a rifle strung to his
left shoulder. There isn’t much to him,
not enough character even other than a
seeming discomfort with his new role.
There are three men on Kenyatta
Avenue. They share the same rock, a
symbol of a shared destiny lost in the
sands of time, in the stories of other
thousands of men forced to be the ‘ feet
and hands of the army.’ Under their feet,
Rudyard Kipling promises “Even if you
die, your sons will remember your
name .” But their sons didn’t, and their
stories got lost in the struggles that
followed. Their story is Nairobi’s story,
untold.”

Mama Ngina Street

Stand at the edge of Hilton, facing Mama
Ngina Street at 8pm, when a large throng of people are heading home.

Its thick mass of humanity, worn faces who
are always hopeful about tomorrow.

One entrepreneur told me, “When you see this mass going home you can’t help asking yourself, ‘what product do I have to come up with so that all these people can buy it?’”

The streets!

It is an early Monday morning, the chill
is at its harshest and the roads are flooded.

Flooded by hordes of people and vehicles wading through the water.

Like always, everybody is in a rush.

Navigating through the pavements, I
catch brewery whiffs of the weekend on people’s’ breaths.

Cars pass by, splashing water on us because, well, that’s what floats their boat (read Toyota vitz).

Archives Building looms large,indifferent to everything happening around it.

It has had to endure Gor Mahia Soccer Club fans vandalism for eons, nothing much can surprise it now.

It does not give a whit that for all the lessons they could learn from their past, Nairobians prefer to use it as a beacon in giving directions because it knows that’s how Nairobi people are.

They do not conform.

For every person complaining of floods in my Nairobi City, there’s three blighters, not necessarily Kikuyus, thinking of the dough they could make if rice grew on flooded tarmac.

It is all so fascinating.

As I trot down Tom Mboya street, I walk past the same people daily; the balding newspaper vendor with playboy magazines hidden beneath Parents, the conductors who double up as peddlers and the capped dude who walks around selling dummies to dummies.

The only thing you can be sure of, and that I have learned about Nairobi, is that “it
don’t belong to your mother.” I wouldn’t even try to fine tune that African proverb into sense~it simply warns of lurking dangers in Nairobi,my City.

The great divide in Nairobi

If you stand on the balcony of any of the
residences of the new National Housing
corporation houses in Langata, something powerful is clear.

Immediately below you, the rooftop of
your little 2000cc car is clear.

After that, another block, then the wall, the big
one. The mighty Kibera slum starts immediately after it, and that wall makes all the difference.

You are standing on the middle class side, where the gates create the big difference between you and everyone else.

Rusty tin roofs litter the horizon, with the slum’s streets invisible to your bird’s eye view.

Yet your host’s househelp comes from the other side, because it is the only way the system
works.

The wall separates the lower working class from the lower middle class.

Nairobi is defined by its walls.

Gray and unforgiving, at least on the side you
can see from the balcony, that wall makes all the difference.

Nairobi’s walls are its stories.

Best Music Band in Town

Calabash Band.

Tuesdays and Thursdays,Explorer Tavern, Kilimani. Izzo on keyboard. Mayor on drums. Johnny Bass on guitar. Then, standing before the microphone, is Linda Muthama,
breaking this musical testosterone with a voice that anchors the night (and you) in one spot.

When birds mate in Nairobi

Nairobi is a place of extremes, the litmus
of limits and testing point of resilience.

It shuffles your cards, topples your dominos and rearranges your normal nervous balance.

Take traffic jams,for instance.

They are the melting pot of all pseudo-classes.

We meet here every day from 6am to 9pm.

The poor and the rich: the pragmatic
and the romantic.

Crazy Traffic equalizes us all then neatly encapsulates Nairobi’s two
great exports: radio and patience.

We sit and listen to radio hosts talk about
traffic with the same enthusiasm teenage boys talks about girls.

You try to be patient as you watch two grand
Marabou stocks recklessly mate on top
of a tree branch above your car.

We pray that at least the monstrous Mbukinya trademark bus in front of us will have moved before the birds break the weak branch which will fall smack on your windscreen for the frantic exertions of these gigantic birds in their mating dance.

We pray the guy hawking life saver vests gets to you before the flash floods hit town.

We watch as the sun sits on the horizon like
an old sultan as it eats the skyline like
yams.

Then, the city will turn to a smorgasbord of grace, soft crime, jazzy tranquility and Sabina Joy hookers joint.

And for the rest of us in traffic, radio and patience.

But let me tell you what Nairobians have
managed to do that other cities have not
– they have anaesthetized themselves
against Nairobi.

You’ll know because the next morning, in their true métier, Nairobians will all meet up again in the crazy traffic for a crazy snail dance back into the bowels and intestines of my beautiful city!

Bernard Wainaina is an Independent Agribusiness Advisor and CEO at Profarms Consultants®,Nairobi,Kenya.

He mainly works with Agribusiness Youth Groups in Eastern African Region.

Knowing that I have had your friendship will forever be a treasured memory

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Though there is gold up in the belly of
mountains-
Lovely pearls deep in the sea-
Those treasures do not mean as much
As your friendship means to me.

While diamonds may be beautiful,
And worth a lot of money,
They cannot give a warm embrace
Or share jokes that we both think are funny.

I know it’s true some people
Will collect much priceless art,
Yet I have never seen a picture
That showed me a loving heart.

So I don’t need to spend a fortune
To have what means the most to me.

Knowing that I have had your friendship
Will be a treasured memory.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Till death do us apart…….

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I’ve been a massive animal lover since birth,
basically.

When I was a kid, I had a cat named “Trouble”, whom I enjoyed chasing, harassing,
and forcing to snuggle with me; she enjoyed
routinely scratching my face when she wasn’t
purring and being a lovebug.

She lived to be 16,well into my early twenties!

Animals are furry,and they feel soft to touch(though I’d be more careful touching a porcupine!).

Plus they make us feel less alone(I do feel lonely in presence of some of my acquaintances!).

Here are five reasons why I’ve always
been head-over-heels for them.

Anyway, here are my five reasons why animals
are better than people.

1. THEY’RE COVERED IN FUR!
They’re like living, breathing stuffed animals.

How could anyone NOT go instantly mush-gush and start involuntarily emitting squeaky high- pitched noises when confronted with fuzzy
critters? (I’m equal opportunity — my strongest
passion is for cats, but clean dogs and
donkeys and ferrets and all kinds of other small
furry animals are great, too).

How could anyone NOT want to take an adoptable fur-face home for their very own?

There’s nothing I like more than watching a movie like “Gone with the wind” with a purring cat sprawled across my chest.

2. THEY CAN’T TALK

This means they can’t yell at you, or fight with
you, or belittle you, or try to make you jealous,
or insult your intelligence, or catcall at you
(heh), or ask you for things you aren’t prepared
to give, or tell you how to live your life.

This also means they (sadly) can’t propose marriage, or thank you for dinner, or give you life advice, or ask you to change their cat litter.

But who cares!

Sitting in silence with an animal is just awesome.

And they communicate effectively with meows, barks, glances, glares, and odd body language (my personal favourite: “the good roll”, when a cat rolls on the ground right on my feet to indicate that he wants you to tickle his tummy).

3. THEY’RE HONEST: IT’S ALL ABOUT
INSTINCT, MAN.

They have no ulterior motives.

They don’t plot to
steal your boyfriend/girlfriend, or make insipid comments about your roots starting to go grey, or answer important questions with frustrated sighs.

They’re all heart and gut.

They do what they feel, and they can tell if you’re sad.

When they love you, it’s clear;their love is just so sincere to hide.

If they aren’t that into you, it’s also clear.

There are no guessing games with animals,
no human-scale subtleties, nuances or shades of grey.

Sure, there can be some mixed signals when you first meet ’em — when they’re not sure
about you, when you’re first starting to build a
bond.

But once they’ve learned to trust you, they tend to become wholeheartedly obsessed with you — and they have zero interest in “playing it cool,” feigning indifference, or not calling you back.

4. THEY MAKE US FEEL IMPORTANT.

Humans like to be needed.

I’d even go so far as to say that we NEED to be needed by animals to realise what unconditional love is all about.

It makes us feel valuable, like our existence matters, like it would be a concrete loss — to them — if we died.

Our animals need us.

They rely on us for food, and shelter, and
bathroom supplies, and luxuries like toys and
treats. (And love, of course!)

And because they can’t ask for what they need,or nag when feeling ignored, this kind of
dependence feels even weightier — not only do
they need us, but we’re expected to KNOW what
they need without them asking or telling us.

They’re like babies, but … forever!

This is a real responsibility, one that obviously shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Thankfully, for many animal lovers, I don’t think it is.

Plenty of us actually enjoy feeling responsible for keeping our creatures healthy and happy.

They pay us back a zillionfold with cuddles, purrs.

5. THEY LOVE US ANYWAY.
Animals give us the kind of acceptance we
should be giving our own selves, but don’t.

They don’t give a whit about our hair, or our outfit, or our adorable new platform shoes, or how bad we stink when we’ve somehow managed to forget to take a shower for 3 days. (Actually, who knows — maybe they DO give a whit, but they can’t verbalize it, so we’d never know! Dooooh!)

Regardless, our pets’ love for us is untainted and unconditional.

They accept us whole; they don’t mind kissing us when we have morning breath, and they certainly don’t mind snuggling up with our sweaty gym clothes or dirty socks from the
hamper (they actually kind-of like it — ew).

They’re cool with whatever we do, however we
look, however we feel.

They’re just SO INCREDIBLY OUT-OF-THIS-WORLD GLAD that we’re there at all.

Did I forget anything?!

I’m sure that I’ve given less reasons for kind of love I feel for animals,but feel free to add on this list!

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Tessa; an instrument of perfect feminine mystique. Mother’s day 2015

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It takes a very feminine woman to bring out the full masculinity in a man, and massage to peaceful repose, the insecurities of his fragile ego.

Tessa is probably the only woman in the world who can manage a man’s ego; she will respect his whims without taking them very seriously.

She will not require her man to behave “correctly”,according to a woman’s handbook on good male behaviour.

And if a man annoys her,she will reprove him without malice,and in strong terms that he deserves and understands.

But any man would melt in Tessa’s feminine ways; she is every man’s dream of what a homely woman should be-feminine,but resolute,and no man can ever resist such guile in a submissive woman who treats her man like a king,but excites his intense passion in private.

In the feminine mystique, there is a sure way for a woman to dream of creation or of the future.

There is a way she can even dream about herself,as her children’s mother, her husband’s wife.

But Tessa doesn’t need to do any of those feminine things that define most women to be a woman;her feminine mystique stands on its own feet.

When a woman,like Tessa, rises up in feminine glory, her energy is magnetic to men and her
sense of possibility contagious.

When men and women are able to respect and accept their differences as a monument of polar attraction, then love has a chance to blossom.

Most women,unlike Tessa, often have little awareness of how truly healing feminine
energy is to men.

Let your radiance touch everyone, because you are beautiful in spirit of what it is to be truly feminine,Tessa,my girl.

You are truly, an instrument of perfect feminine mystique!

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Blessed are the broken hearts, for they shall let in the light

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In 2008, after sixteen years of marriage,
I decided to divorce.

Though my ex and I got along well most of the time, the marriage was missing an intimate, heartfelt romantic connection.

Loneliness and longing for my freedom grew with each
passing year of my dull marriage until I could no longer ignore them.

I knew the kind of intimacy for which I yearned was not possible in my marriage, so I opted for a divorce.

Because my ex- and I actually led mostly
separate lives under the same roof, I assumed the transition through divorce would be fairly smooth.

Boy, was I in for a rude awakening!

Divorce, like most significant losses, takes
the safe and familiar contour of our lives
and blows it to smithereens, leaving us
vulnerable and unprotected until the new
shape forms.

It is easy to underestimate the comfort we draw from what is known,though it is sometimes the very source of our unhappiness.

Shortly after the separation, much like a
Ficus tree seems to all but die when
moved from its familiar spot, I went into a
state of self recrimination.

I reminded myself that,right from the beginning,this marriage was mismatched; it was more as a result of transient bodily lusts than love.

I was a fool to follow my bodily lusts into a sham marriage that was incompatible at all levels.

Much of my suffering was not even related to losing my ex,but cursing my unwise decision in being trapped into a loveless marriage in a moment of weakness.

The pain and hurt I was suffering was directed more inwards to myself,than at the loss of this marriage.

It felt like I was doing penance for my foolish decision that imprisoned me into a very skewed relationship,both at the emotional and intellectual level.

I flogged myself for it.

It was as if my nerve endings were relocated outside my skin, perturbed at even the slightest agitation.

Once- routine tasks, like getting out of bed or
going to the grocery store, seemed barely doable.

I told myself it was not okay to feel the
pain because it was a consequence of my
own choices.

But what about those lost sixteen years of my life?

My emotional suitcases were so heavy with fear, shame, and self-doubt, I thought these feelings defined me.

One night, the struggle reached a crescendo.

Sadness and dread filled my entire body, from the inside out, until I was heaving with sobs and howling like a trapped animal.

I cried for having made a wrong choice that led to loss of my precious youth,time and material investment in this sham that I called marriage.

I was convinced the pain would either not stop or that it would kill me. I secretly wished for the latter.

It was in this moment I realised that some
pain is, quite literally, unsoothable: there
is no one, no place, and nothing in that
moment that can make it better.

The only way out of unsoothable pain is
to go straight through it.

Even with this awareness, however, I still wanted to run.

I realised that at the material time of my sham marriage,what I needed was love,not necessarily marriage.

But I thought then,that love was found in marriage.

How wrong I was!

When we tell ourselves that we need
something, we inadvertently look for it in
places we are guaranteed not find it.

This is life’s clever way of showing us,
again and again,that faking a relationship will always fail.

Through breakups and divorce.

At the base of every true heart connection is acceptance.

We cannot offer acceptance to others until we can accept ourselves, wrenched heart and all.

Three years and two failed relationships
later, I decided to face grief, and to build a solid life on my own.

I have eschewed all romantic relationships,devoting that time to friendships and long-neglected passions, and music. I felt alone,but not lonely and frequently got scared that I no longer held any feelings for women, but fear was outmatched by a deeply held conviction that I was finally free of chains that limited my life to chronic unhappiness.

Though I once hoped it would, I am happy
to report that, unsoothable pain did not kill me.

In fact, the willingness to push through its
contractions has increased my confidence
to handle my other subsequent life’s losses and uncertainties.

The same can be true for anyone willing to
face his/her own darkness.

If you are experiencing unsoothable pain,
you may be tempted to reach for
something or someone to numb yourself.

Avoidance is a way of inviting into your life more of the very thing you are attempting to banish; resistance is futile.

Your feelings are intense because something important is happening, so keep going!

Sometimes unsoothable pain presents itself as fear, telling us the struggle won’t end.

Sometimes it assumes the voice of self-doubt, convincing us we can’t do it.

Sometimes pain is accompanied by shame, which cajoles us into believing there is something fundamentally wrong with us because we are hurting.

Fear, self-doubt, and shame are the
normal, temporary emotional byproducts
of any significant life-change.

Unsoothable pain is the threshold over which we must cross to access more self love and more light within ourselves.

While masking its symptoms won’t cure the disease, taking good emotional, spiritual, and physical care of yourself goes a long way.

Here are a few things to consider:

1. Slow down and breathe.

It may feel like you are dying when you
pause for a bit, but I encourage you to do
it anyway.

When we slow down and sit with hard feelings, we are taking a brave step toward showing ourselves that we are stronger than pain.

2. Create small goals.

During the darkest times, the idea of getting through an entire day felt like a lot, so I broke the day into small chunks to make it more manageable.

My goal list looked like “Shower and groom”
or “Make it to lunch time.”

3. Celebrate achievements.

When I reached each small milestone, I would
sometimes say, out loud and in my goofiest cheerleader voice, “Heck! You made it to bedtime! Another day has turned to
history!”

It may feel silly to celebrate events that
seem otherwise unremarkable but, when
your nerves are inside out, even the
simplest of tasks can feel like a big deal.

4. Trust more and confide often.

Make a short list of the people in your life
you feel safe falling apart with and let
yourself fall apart with them.

There is nothing shameful about unsoothable pain—it is our vulnerability that allows us to create meaningful bonds with other humans.

Sometimes a supportive comment or gesture from a trusted friend can be the encouragement
you need to keep going.

5. Move around.

Please do move your body at least once per day.
Whether your preferred movement is
yoga, walking, running, dancing, hiking, or
biking, remember that emotions are
physical events—we can literally move
through them sometimes.

6. Do something that scares you.

Keeping health and safety in mind, figure
out two or three small things you can do
that are outside of your comfort zone.

I wanted to reconnect with my academic studies
side, so I joined college for further studies.

7. Speak kindly to yourself.

We are more likely to advocate for people
we like; so, when you are in pain, speak to
yourself as if you are your own valued friend.

It is when we are hurting that we are most
deserving of our own tenderness.

Gently remind yourself that you are doing your best to take care of yourself,free of burden of taking care of others.

8. Be patient.

Building a new life shape takes time, so
give it the time it deserves.

Acting hastily merely increases your chances of having to start hurting all over later.

Building a friendlier relationship with
discomfort can eventually diminish its
strength and frequency.

In the meantime, it may help to remember that unsoothable pain is often the sign of a well-lived life—it proves you were courageous enough to risk, to fail, and to be affected by loss.

After all, it is when the shapes of our lives are wide open that the most light can get in.

Broken hearts allow in more light into our lives that helps us reorganise our priorities.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

A stress management lesson from the wild; live your life like forgetful warthogs

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Not very long ago at Mara Game Reserve, I was watching a lioness bent over a hole on the side of an ant hill and digging vigorously.

I stopped to capture the shots when and if the lioness found what she was digging for.

It was not my first time to see something like this.

That is why I knew for sure, the lioness is after something buried within the ant hill.

Aardvarks and anteaters dig holes on the side of anthills to eat the ants inside.

Then the holes are modified and enlarged by a myriad of species of animals including hyenas, warthogs, mongooses and even pythons as their homes.

They make their homes in the holes and even give birth in there.

It is not even strange to find a lioness giving birth inside an anthill hole dug by the aardvarks, if the anthill is well placed in an enclosed area with bushy outcrops around it.

We could term the aardvark in the category of the Keystone species, the species that modify the environment for the benefit of other species who would not survive otherwise.

Among those who benefit from the holes dug by
the aardvarks, warthogs are the most vulnerable.

The rest have a more secure way of keeping off
attackers.

They either put up a sentry at the entry to look out for trouble and alert those inside, as is
the case with the little mongooses, or attack any
intruder bravely using brutal force, as is the case with hyenas.

But for the warthogs, their only means of escape is to dash off from the hole with as much noise as is possible and throwing dust with their snouts on the faces of the intruders in order to confuse them momentarily.

Sometimes they succeed but other times, the intruder is not overly concerned with the noise and the dust.

In the case of a lion or a leopard, they will stay put at the entrance and grab the warthogs for a snack.

That was what I was hoping to happen with this
particular lioness.

She looked hungry and there seemed to be ready food in the hole.

I waited for a while, camera trained on the
hole.

Then it happened so quickly that there was
hardly time to press the record button for the
videos.

Normally in holes that are already occupied by the warthogs, the male sits close to the entrance while the female and the babies settle at the very end of the burrows.

This male came out with his head lowered to the ground ready to use its tusks at the lioness.

Close to the entry point, he scooped up loose soil on the snout and threw it straight into the eyes of the lioness.

A cloud of dust covered the whole anthill
and for a moment, I could hardly see what was happening.

The accompanying noise was so loud that the lioness retreated a few metres from the hole.

By the time she recovered, the last of the babies was galloping away behind the parents at a
speed that surprised all,especially the lioness and I.

The lioness did not even bother to follow.

The warthogs family had made such a lead that it was impossible for her to catch up.

She looked inside the hole with a hope that a baby was late in getting out.

Bad luck.

All had made the escape.

The next course of action for the warthogs family was to find another hole as quickly as possible and hide inside.

When they find a hole, the babies go in first, in reverse, while the parents bring up the rear also the rear end first so that their heads face the entrance.

In this case, the babies saw a culvert drain and went in.

Before the last one disappeared into the culvert, there was another loud squeaks and the whole group was out again in a greater hurry.

But they were minus one baby.

In their customary rear end entry into the hole,
they did not see a hyena already inside the culvert resting away from the scotching sun.

The hyena came out with a baby warthog dangling from his jaws.

The rest of the group was running in the
direction of the first hole, where they had had a
narrow escape from the lioness!!

In such a short period of time, they had forgotten and were not stressed by the episode
with the lioness!!

Lucky for them,the lion had ambled away in defeat.

With only a small loss of one baby,the warthogs were comfortably resettled in their former home within a few minutes that would have meant death for most of the family.

But in the mind of warthogs,that episode seemed to have happened long way back,and it was already mummified in the cobwebs of warthogs short memory.

It no longer stressed them.

They were a happy family again,just a few minutes from the brink of very cruel deaths.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to live our life stressfree,like warthogs!

Blame it on our solid memories that sometimes haunt us for life.

And isn’t it puzzling too,that our happy memories only seem to be remembered for a few minutes.

Selective memory too,is our bane,as rational beings!

Bernard Wainaina is an Independent Agribusiness Advisor and CEO at Profarms Consultants®,Nairobi,Kenya.

He mainly works with Agribusiness Youth Groups in Eastern African Region.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Bees always deflate my ego,and dampen my chivalry

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I hate to admit that I fear bees,yes,those tiny insects that others brush off ever so casually off their faces.

My paranoia around bees is informed by past undignified trauma.

I stopped denying that I suffer from an irrational fear of bees long time ago,and that took away a big chip off my bloated male ego..

Sample this recent encounter with a full colony of bees;

A female work colleague has a turned her guest wing into a private office where we spend long hours editing content for content blogging for our online clients on weekends.

On this particular day, I heard bees buzzing on her roof and immediately raised my concerns.

She explained that bees had set up a colony in her ceiling but an ‘expert’ was coming to sort it out.

Her casualness in this awaiting catastrophe was remarkable.

How could she be so calm with danger lurking above, up in her ceiling?

I should have listened to my instincts after all, but instead I listened to my big male ego.

I did not want appear overly paranoid,although I’ve seen a lion scampering into safety of thick bushes in face of these dangerous insects.

An hour into our peaceful afternoon, I heard
footsteps on the roof and a familiar sense
of uneasiness set in.

” Maybe we should step out and let the man on the roof finish his task”. I was dismissed with a wave of hand. “He is an expert. All the way from ICIPE.” ( International Centre of Insect
Physiology and Ecology).

I started to panic and true enough, moments later, an entire hive fell right through the ceiling into the room.

There was no time to think.

In a surge of adrenaline that propelled my flight response, I threw my jacket over the lady
and rushed her out of the door through a
hailstorm of bees.

Not a single bee stung her.

I got hit 9 times! and lived to tell the story,my best try at chivalry in presence of bees,so far.

I generally display a composed manner of a true gentleman, even where noisy banter is approved.

But that calm demeanour is blown to smithereens the moment I hear the distinct buzz of a bee.

The change of reaction surprises people.

Bees scare the daylights out of me.

A single bee drifting towards my coffee mug is
bound to set off all my panic buttons.

In female company, the panic attack is
heightened because at the back of my mind
is the inevitable and sheer embarrassment
of getting my ego stung as well.

Once in the company of an attractive young lady at a business meeting, a bee hovered in front of my face as if taking aim.

I lost track of conversation and was preoccupied with how to get away from the source of threat without breaking into a run.

The lady noticed my obvious discomfort and said reassuringly, “It is only a bee”. Of course, She wouldn’t understand. And her short well meaning observation made a big dent on my male ego.

How can I even pretend to be a “protector” of a lass who doesn’t fear bees?

In certain instances,bees have trampled on my hope for successful dating when they enter the scene.

I become flustered,incoherent,sweaty and stammering all at a low buzz of a single bee,ruining my date!

I can produce a very clear and detailed history of completely unprovoked attack from bees.

I have gotten stung so many times, I reasoned that this level of profiling bees as heartless insects can only be penance for my sins committed in a past life.

I have even been stung while getting interviewed for an agribusiness documentary.

The venue was a tropical garden.

On this one sunny day, a bee decided to crawl up my leg heading up to goodness knows where, and stung me just when I was getting into my groove for this exciting interview.

I took the sting like a man and did not utter
a word. the host was impressed when I told
him about it afterwards and he promptly
roasted me off air afterwards for being stoic.

The Tv man thought it would increased the ratings of the documentary if I had spontaneously hollered in horror in live camera at the sting of that single bee.

My friends told me later that I looked like a
man suffering from a constipation
throughout the remainder of the interview.

In another incident, during an important
fundraiser at a friend’s house, a bee landed on
the edge of my cup of water, placed on the
ground, next to my seat.

When I reached under the seat to take a cool gulp, I got stung on my upper lip.

Of all the cups in a gathering of about 50 people, I became the chosen one for this dishonour.

The commotion that followed was ugly.

I cursed the bee so ferociously in front of little children who started crying in horror of my swear words.

I spilled water over an elderly man, lost my
sense of bearing,charging like a wounded fighter bull for a few seconds as I
stumbled through chairs trying to suppress
the raw panic and the pain of the sting.

People panicked, some started running and if it
was not for a calm MC who laughed off my paranoia to the panicked crowd, I would have set off a stampede.

I was not very happy with my swollen face afterwards that looked like a freak deformed monster pumpkin.

Of course,I love the bees for their honey,but,Oouch! They do sting.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

You could be living through your best moments in life,but you don’t know it,as yet….

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In the ever busy rat-race that we call “a successful life”,you probably have everything that makes your life a ‘true success’ already,but you have not had the insight to realise that you are already a success.

My Buddhist teacher illustrated this paradox to me in the following story when I queried him on how to draw out a plan that will help me achieve my life-goals;

A “successful” cold storage & meat businessman was on vacation in a small lakeside village, when a small boat came ashore and he saw the fisherman pull out several large fish.

Impressed, he asked how long it had taken to catch them, to which the fisherman replied, “Just a little while.”

“Then why didn’t you stay longer and catch more?”

The fisherman replied, “This is enough to feed my whole family.”

“Then what do you do the rest of the day?”

The fisherman smiled and replied, “Well, I have a late breakfast and then I play with my kids. In
the afternoon, I take a nap with my wife, and come evening, I join my buddies in the village for a drink— we play guitar, sing and dance throughout the evening.”

The businessman felt sorry for the fisherman and wanted to help. “I have an MBA in business and I can help you succeed. From now on, you should spend more time at sea and catch as many fish as possible. When you’ve saved enough money, buy a bigger boat and catch even more fish. Soon you will be able to afford our own fleet. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman, you’ll sell directly to the
processor, eventually opening your own plant. You’ll control the product, processing, and distribution. By then, you’ll have moved out of this village to the big city, where you can set up your HQ and manage your operations.”

The fisherman seemed intrigued; “and then what?”

The businessman laughed heartily, “after about
15-20 years, you’ll go public and float your shares in the Stock Exchange. You’ll be rich!”

The fisherman,still listening keenly asked, “and then what?”

The businessman continued; “Afterwards, you can finally retire, move to a small coastal village.
Life will be sweet because you’ll be able to enjoy
fishing, play with your kids, have a nice afternoon nap with your wife, and in the evening, you would join your buddies for a drink, play the guitar, and sing and dance throughout the evening!”

The hapless fisherman was puzzled, “Isn’t that what I am already doing now?”

Our little apocryphal story teaches us that as Henry Ward Beecher once said, “Wealth is not an end of life but an instrument of life”.

The words of an old song put it well, “It can
buy you roses, but money can’t buy you love.” It can buy you a beautiful mattress but money can’t buy you sleep. It can buy you a vacation but money can’t buy you rest. It can help you afford the best education for your kids but money can’t make them succeed in life.”

Now, I’ve nothing against making loads of money.

That’s not my point.

Just a caution this Buddhist meditation week though that as you chase it, you don’t neglect and end up destroying the very things that you are chasing it for.

And guess what,you may already be living through the best days of your life,without knowing it!

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Easter Recipes; Cow hoof recipe that is a weird delicacy for middle aged Kenyan men

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If there’s any secret in eating cow hooves
popularly known as “Gumboots” here in Kenya, then many men of approximately 35years and above yearn for it the most.

In very rare cases will you find a woman ordering for “Gumboots” unless she is in company of a middle aged male “chaperon”.. While at Choma Zone joint in Ongata Rongai, in Ngong, one of the places where one can find this delicacy, you will hardly find any youth in their 20s ordering for it, unless it is on doctor’s orders.

“Gumboots” looks like a piece of fat on a hollow bone.

It is also not a meal you will enjoy using a
fork or chop sticks, but rather your hands.

You might only need a spoon to scoop soup from the bowl.

On one Sunday evening, at Choma Zone, a joint I frequent with friends, middle aged men dressed in T-shirts and sandals form most of the crowd.
And mind you,these middle aged Kenyan men are very wealthy judging from their very patronising demeanour and the type of high end cars that they drive into this joint.

I’ve deliberately pointed this trivial detail to disabuse my readers that “Gumboots” is delicacy for the ‘poor patrons’ who want to save on a cheap dish so that they can afford one more bottle of beer.

A few women go to this place,alone.

I’m in good company of my wealthy clients who run a string of agribusinesses in high end residential zone of Karen,Nairobi County.

To take my order, a female light skinned plump chef,known around here by her men patrons fondly as ‘Chiru’ approaches me asking which part of the cow leg I want. Confused, I tell her to bring a piece with fine meat.

She labours to explain that there are different
parts viz “Mahungu” (the hoof), the joint and the pipe.

I get to learn that most people prefer “Mahungu”,the lowest part of the hoof, to any
other.

After enjoying my meal that came with pieces of
steamed banana plaintains, she came to clear the table.

I asked her what it takes to prepare “Gumboots” at home for my partner,Daisy,as a surprise for her Easter treat.

“She may not appreciate it. Women do like these crazy hooves that you middle aged men seem to relish so much”. She retorts,catching me off guard by her sincere observation.

“But she liked it,last time we were here. You served us,remember?”

“That was only meant to caress your delicate ego as a man. Listen,if you want to surprise her “pleasantly”,fry her some potato chips and chicken,and add a lot of Ketch-up,dear man. That’s what we girls like”. She sums up her golden advice with a nice and victorious trot away from my table,or is it seductive?

I’m not sure,but ‘chiru’ has left me more intrigued by her honest and unsolicited advice.

I’m in a funny muse pondering this turn of events as I watch her gigantic derriere swinging on her slender hips as if it had a life of its own.

Sometimes,I find women more beautiful when they are “walking away” from me.

Its a sight to behold,especially in those who are endowed with a massive butt on slender hips,like ‘Chiru’.

Anyway,Chiru is back at my table with a pencil and legal yellow memo pad.

She lowers herself seductively at an opposite chair and hands me down the pencil and the yellow memo pad.

“Write this recipe down for yourself,and please don’t go try to poison your girlfriend with this trash that you men like”;

Recipe for “Gumboots” a.k.a cow hooves.

To prepare “Gumboots”, you need the following:
•Four tomatoes
•Two onions, leeks
•One big green paper
•One big carrot
•A pinch of salt
•Small onion leaves and a teaspoon of black pepper or other spice and salt.

METHOD

•Roast the hided cow hoof over a direct low flame to remove the fur.

•Ensure you do not burn the hooves to charcoal texture!.

•Gently scrape the remaining fur and parts that may have burnt. Cut the hoof into pieces of a
reasonable size.

•Soak in water for about 30 minutes.

•Drain and place in a saucepan.

•Add water and salt and boil for about an hour.

•Add the garlic, leeks, carrot, onion and leave to
simmer on slightly low fire until the soup reduces.
•Add a few pieces of peeled whole Irish potatoes and simmer until Irish is cooked but
not mashed.

Add black pepper and serve.

If the “Gumboots” is from for a younger cow, cook it for four hours, unlike for an old cow that takes six to eight hours .

First roast it so that the fur gets burnt and it is easy to scrap off the skin. After, chop it into the
desirable number of pieces.

“The common mistake that people who prepare it at home do is to fry “Gumboots”. This dilutes or spoils natural nutrients,” she points out.

The waitress asks me if I want to buy some materials for my partner to start cooking it from home but I’m honest that I’m single,most of the times,except over the coming long Easter weekend.

She laughs at me and advises that if I ever
get married, “Gumboots” should be prepared well so that the consumer enjoys all nutrients.

Why others enjoy this delicacy

I shift to the next table where a patron who
identifies himself as Charles Onyi, a resident
of neighbouring Langata sub-urb sits isolated at a distance from where football screens are.

As he sips on beer while waiting for the waitress to take away the dirty plates, I engage him in a chat.

He admits that he enjoys “Gumboots” every evening and in rare cases at lunch time.

“To me, “gumboots” is more than food it is a source of bone marrow that helps in lubricating joints such as knees and elbows,” Onyi explains.

Asked if the sticky fat is of any harm to the body, he explains that when one takes alcohol and develop hangover, the fats help to neutralise the hangover and one feels refreshed after taking “Gumboots” accompanied by its resulting hot soup.

While a first time consumer may only eat the top
soft part of the hoof and throw away the bones, Onyi advises inside the hollow bones is where the most important bone marrow that lubricates body joints is.

“It may not be scooped using hands or a fork but when the consumer holds the bone and sucks it out, they get it all out,” he stresses.

After about a 10-minutes- chat, he excuses himself to go and attend to other duties.

Another patron Robert Mukabi joins me.

He is a fairly tall and old man who is relishing the “Gumboots” side by side with a bottle of beer while watching football.

When his team misses a goal scoring opportunity, he almost forgets about his plate holding a bite on his fingers for what seems like long silent eternity, but seconds later, he resumes eating.

I divert his attention from the pain of watching his favourite team being humiliated on the TV screen to ask what secret he finds in eating “Gumboots” as I sip on a glass of water.

Robert does not hesitate to explain that when a person is low on food appetite, “Gumboots” soup does not only stimulate appetite
but works as a stomach cleanser.

“This soup detoxifies the stomach and leaves one feeling healthier than before,” he beams while explaining.

He adds, “It is also good for aging people. As we grow old, we tend to develop constant back pain.
So when someone begins to experience such a
problem and he or she takes “Gumboots” constantly, they may heal for good,” explaining further that it is food that someone can never get tired of and that it also helps in preventing constipation.

Then he surprises me by adding with a mischievous chuckle; “Mind you,it does wonders for areas around the crotch when one is as old as I am,and the missus is demanding home advantage “replay matches” in the bedroom!”

“Really?”

“Watch yourself this evening. You will bubbling hot in bed with your partner!”

Downtown

I then go to a spot at Visa place Park next to Uchumi Super market,Ongata Rongai Branch at an enclosed construction site.

This is
down town “Ronga” where people mostly those
retiring home from work pass by to feast on
“Gumboots”, it is no secret that the people there also enjoy it.

One by one, on benches positioned next to the
building people are served depending on how
much they want until the saucepan runs dry at
10pm.

Here, some customers are known to ‘Chiru’ who prepares “Gumboots” at Choma Zone. They call out her out on the phone for “outside catering service” since they have depleted the local stock in this joint,

She is able to understand who is calling her on the phone as this is a regular practice among her patrons when they move to other beer joints and what and how they want their evening meal served.

This happens as I look on, seated with Rogers
, a businessman and my treasured client in agribusiness.

As he holds a piece o “Gumboots” in the right hand and the other holding a bowl with few pieces of steamed banana plaintains, I’m
sipping on a cup of black tea and eating a chapatti, not because I do not have the Shs3,00 for “Gumboots”, but because my eating plan excludes having another heavy meal after 7pm.

“That food looks tasty,” I tell Rogers who is
enjoying his meal.

He is quick to respond that he learnt how to enjoy “Gumboots” from a friend about two years ago.

Though he eats it once a week, he is not shy to explain that alongside other benefits it
also increases his sexual performance.

Health experts say…

Madison Maara, a physiotherapist at Orthotech
and Physical Rehabilitation Centre, at Equatorial Hospital in Nairobi, says when you get proteins in the synovial fluids found in the joints and compare it with what you get from eating “Gumboots”, the latter is more important because it mainly targets the joints where it contributes to joint lubrication and softening.

“If a human joint was getting dry and a person takes “Gumboots”, the joint regains its
performance,” Maara notes.

In the process of boiling “Gumboots”, the calcium and phosphates composed in the bones transfers to the soup, and when one takes the soup, Maara says, the minerals help in strengthening and hardening of bones.

On how often one should eat “Gumboots”, he
explains that in case of osteorthritis, a
degenerative disease that one contracts as a result of the wear and tear of joint tissues which is common among people with reduced amounts of calcium in their joints, “gumboots” is a healthy remedy.

He advises that a person with such a condition
should take “Gumboots” twice a week.

However, its fatty quality may pose risks such as
fat accumulation in blood vessels and around the heart that causes hypertension.

Maara advises that after eating it, one should subject themselves to regular exercises like jogging to burn the fats.

And in a situation of a positive rheumatoid factor, a condition where the joint proteins become reactive or incompatible to the proteins in “Gumboots” which may sometimes lead to the swelling of the knee, it is recommended that the affected person should either limit protein intake or identify what causes the swelling commonly referred to as “Gout”.

Then, he or she can stop eating that particular food, be it “Gumboots” especially if the condition happened when the person has eaten it for the first time.

Cost of the delicacy

Depending on where one buys it, which could
either be at a restaurant, hotel or a bar in places
adjacent or within Nairobi City, a piece of
“Gumboots”served with steamed or
roast matooke(Banana plaintains) it costs between Shs2,500 and Shs6,000.

From the market and butcheries in Ongata Rongai Town, a cow leg costs between Shs 4,00 and Shs 8,00.

It is then chopped into hooves, the join
and the pipe.
At Visa Place Park in Rongai, I had to part with
Shs4,00 for a piece served with steamed banana plaintain.

In some cases where it may stay overnight without being eaten, ‘Chiru’ advises that it’s better to separate the soup from the “Gumboot” pieces; because it is likely to cause food poisoning.

Well,go on and have some “Gumboots” for your Easter Dinner this weekend!

Bernard Wainaina is an Independent Agribusiness Advisor and CEO at Profarms Consultants®,Nairobi,Kenya.

He mainly works with Agribusiness Youth Groups in Eastern African Region.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

My thoughts on Easter 2015; I have seen the Lord

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Many years ago, when I was in college,
the arguments were more prominent and
more intense than they are today about
whether Jesus rose historically and bodily
from the dead.

There was widespread consensus among believers and non- believers generally in Africa that deciding about that claim really mattered.

You took a stand—you believed in the resurrection, or you didn’t—and if you did,
you generally believed the rest of the Bible
and called yourself a Christian.

And if you didn’t, then you were intentionally not a Christian,a heathen probably,inspite of being indoctrined in African Religion and spirituality .

Today that question, that debate—Did
Jesus really rise from the dead historically,
bodily?—is not as prominent or as intense
because, at one level, people feel that it
doesn’t matter to them, because different
people believe in different things, and
maybe it happened, maybe it didn’t; and if
it did, or didn’t, and that helps you get
along in life, fine; but it doesn’t make
much difference to me.

I may or may not call myself a Christian, and if the resurrection seems helpful to me, I may
believe it; and if it doesn’t, then I won’t,
and I don’t think any body should tell me
that I have to.

Behind those two different kinds of unbelief—the kind from many years ago and the kind from the present day—is a different set of assumptions.

For example, in my college days the assumption pretty much still held sway, though it was starting to give way with the rise of existentialism, that there are fixed, closed natural laws, that make the world understandable and scientifically manageable, and these laws do not allow the truth of the claim that someone has risen from the dead to live forever.

That was a commonly held assumption: The modern world with its scientific understanding of natural laws does not allow for resurrections.
So unbelief was often rooted in that kind of
assumption.

But today, that’s not the most common
working assumption.

Today the assumption is not that there are natural laws outside of me forbidding the resurrection of Jesus, but there is a personal law inside of me that says: I don’t have to adapt my life to anything I don’t find helpful.

Or you could state it another way: Truth for me is what I find acceptable and helpful.

Now with that assumption in place, and that inner law in place, it doesn’t matter whether Jesus rose from the dead, because, whether he did or didn’t, my issue is: Do I care? Do I find that idea helpful? Do I feel that it helps me flourish as a human being?

And if it seems like it doesn’t, then I will
just view it the way I view UFOs and
possible life in some distant galaxy—I just
don’t need to bother with it.

If it helps you, that’s fine; but don’t press it on me.

Some of us think that way without even
knowing that’s the way you think.

You have simply absorbed it from the culture,
since that way of thinking is woven into
most television shows and advertising and
movies and modern educational curricula.

So what I am attempting to do is raise the
level of everyone’s awareness of how we sift through the realities that are coming at
us every day.

And my hope is that when I put the resurrection of Jesus before you, with heightened self-awareness you will not so easily be carried along by modern assumptions from 40 years ago or post- modern assumptions today, but may, with God’s help have a true concern for what really matters to you—not just what nature
or your own heart says matters to you.

I am going to come to John 20 in a
moment, but let me begin with a sermon
that the apostle Paul preached to
philosophy-lovers on Mars Hill in Athens
about 20 years after the death of Jesus.

It’s found in Acts 17 and ends like this:
The times of ignorance God overlooked,
but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has
given assurance to all by raising him from the dead. ( Acts 17:30–31)

At that point in the sermon, his listeners cut
him off and mocked him because of the
claim that Jesus was raised from the dead
—which in itself is very significant because it means the amazing spread of Christianity in the early years did not happen in a gullible world that thought resurrections were normal.

But notice what Paul said: God calls the
whole world to repent, because we have all
sinned against him—that is, we have not
treasured him above all things.

We are de facto idolaters.

This repentance is urgent because God is going to judge the world in perfect righteousness.

And he is going to do it by a man, Jesus Christ.

Jesus will be the judge of every human someday.

Every human will stand before the living God-
man, Jesus.

None of our excuses will work in that court.

We will all be guilty unless we have trusted Christ as our Saviour and Authority and Treasure.

This word from the apostle Paul is flying
full force, with love, into the face of the
contemporary assumption that even if
Christ rose from the dead, it doesn’t matter
to me because I don’t find it helpful.

Paul is saying: It will matter to you whether you
find it helpful or not. God’s judgment of the world by Jesus Christ is not like possible life in another galaxy; it’s like death—it is coming, and saying it doesn’t concern you, is like closing your eyes and saying there is no such thing as light because it’s dark behind your eyelids.

The last thing Paul says in his sermon in
Athens is: “Of this God has given assurance (or warrant, or evidence, or proof) to all by raising Jesus from the dead.” To all! In other words, the resurrection of Jesus is designed by God to
be a global warrant or assurance that
repentance is necessary.

How does it do that when 20 years have
gone by, or 20 centuries have gone by?

The answer is that God always intended for the
resurrection to be known and believed through human witnesses.

This doesn’t rule out the work of his Spirit in opening our eyes.

But it is always through witnesses.

There were no tape recordings, no video
cameras, no photographs.

When it happened, God saw to it that there were
witnesses, and that Jesus appeared to witnesses in enough settings that they were fully convinced of his reality and could tell others and then write it down for us to read.

When Paul says, “God has fixed a day on
which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead,” what he meant was that the
testimony of those who saw him will spread through the whole world and be a valid warrant for faith, a valid assurance that this really happened.

Here’s the way another eyewitness besides
Paul puts it.

The apostle Peter in a sermon preached about 8 or 10 years after the resurrection of Jesus said,
God raised [Jesus] on the third day and made him to appear, not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.( Acts 10:40–41)

In other words, it was God’s intentional design not for the risen Christ to be seen by everyone—not even in the day when it happened.

And not today, as much as we might wish we could!

His intentional design is: He appeared repeatedly and with many proofs (Acts 1:3) to a limited group of people whose job it was to bear witness in what they said and what they wrote so
that everyone who hears or reads this witness will be able know the assurance that God provides for the world about the resurrection of his Son.

That’s the way God designed for us to know.

That’s what we have in John 20—John’s
eyewitness account of the resurrection
appearances of Jesus.

That’s what we have in Matthew 28—Matthew’s eyewitness account; Luke 24—Luke was not an
eyewitness but lived and travelled with Paul
who was, and he talked to many others
( Luke 1:2); Mark 16—as we hear Mark’s
echo of Peter’s eyewitness testimony, as well as his own as a young man living in Jerusalem; and other writings in the New Testament.

On either side of John 20, we have this claim.

Look at John 19:35. In the middle of
Jesus’ crucifixion, John breaks off and
says, “He who saw it has borne witness—
his testimony is true, and he knows that he
is telling the truth—that you also may
believe.”

This is what Paul meant: The world can know what happened in those last hours because there were witnesses, and they give testimony and there are ways to test the testimony of witnesses.

Or look at John 21:24: “This is the disciple
who is bearing witness about these things,
and who has written these things, and we
know that his testimony is true.”

The point of this verse is that an eyewitness is telling this story. This is not hearsay. And his
testimony can be checked out with others
in the New Testament.

So let’s let him have his witness to us. And
you judge for yourselves ( Luke 12:57) if
these things are so.

“They Have Taken the Lord” (Verses 1–2)
Look at John 20:1–2.

Now on the first day of the week Mary
Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.

So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them,“They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they
have laid him.”

Mary did not believe the resurrection had happened.

She assumed the body was moved.

This is another evidence how slow the disciples, including the women, were to believe Jesus had been raised.

These were not easily excitable, gullible people.
Peter and John at the Tomb (Verses 3–11)

Then Peter and the other disciple— probably John, the writer of this book—ran to the tomb.

John outran Peter and stood looking in. Verse 5 says, “Stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there.”

This is what Jesus’ body had been wrapped
in when they buried him (John 19:40).

Then Peter comes and goes right into the
tomb. Verses 6–7: “Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself.”

What does John want us to learn about the
resurrection from this?

Two things, at least.

1. Risen Bodily, Not Just Spiritually

First, Jesus has risen from the dead bodily,
not just spiritually. Some are willing to talk
about the resurrection as a symbol of Jesus’
ongoing influence or his spirit alive in the
world or his soul returning to God. That is
not John’s point. The body was not there.
He had risen bodily. In fact, one of the
most striking and stubborn historical facts
is that the enemies of Jesus and of
Christianity in those first days and weeks
and months in Jerusalem could not produce
the body. That would have ended the whole
thing.

There was no dead body, because Jesus was raised bodily.

2. Like the Body That Died—But Not Exactly

Second, this body was not exactly like the body that died, and yet it was like the body that died. There is continuity and discontinuity. This is important because the resurrection of Jesus in the New Testament is viewed as the firstfruits of the harvest of the resurrection of all Christians.

As Paul put it: “Christ the firstfruits, then at his
coming those who belong to Christ” ( 1 Corinthians 15:23).

The point of saying the linen cloths were
there, and even mentioning the cloth that
was bound around his face, is probably to
show how this resurrection was different
from Lazarus’ resurrection.

Recall from chapter 11 that Jesus raised Lazarus after he had been dead four days. And John 11:44 it says, “The man who had died
came out, his hands and feet bound with
linen strips, and his face wrapped with a
cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him,
and let him go.”

Different from Lazarus

People had to help Lazarus out of the linen
strips and face covering. That’s because he
had a mortal body. He would die again.
After the resurrection, Jesus did not have
mortal body. He would never die again.

“We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again” (Romans6:9).

Jesus’ body is different.

He simply passed through those grave cloths the way he passed through doors in John 20:19 and 26. “Although the doors were locked, Jesus
came and stood among them” ( John 20:26).
But at that very moment of entering the room like no ordinary body can, he says to doubting Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe” ( John 20:27).

This was a physical body that you could recognise, and touch. And Luke tells us he ate fish after he had risen ( Luke 24:43).

If you think this does not matter to you,
remember, those who are in Christ—that
is, who believe on him, and belong to him,
and receive forgiveness and reconciliation
from him—will be raised with him.

And Paul says in Philippians 3:21 that Jesus
“will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.”

This is not a UFO, or irrelevant life on another galaxy. This is what will happen when God judges the world by a man, Jesus Christ.

If you belong to him by faith in him, you
will receive a body like his, which will be
suited to see him and enjoy him and enter
finally into the new heavens and the new
earth where you will spend eternity admiring God in all that he has made.

And this world that we love so much, compared
to that one, will be like a candle compared
to the sun.

Here’s the issue: Do you see? In verse 8 it
says, “Then the other disciple [John], who
had reached the tomb first, also went in,
and he saw and believed” ( John 20:8).
What did he see? What did he believe?
Jesus wasn’t there—just some cloths that
he left behind.

Compare this to Mary in verse 18: She has
met Jesus in the garden and spoken to him.
She returns to the disciples and says, “I have seen the Lord” ( John 20:18).

We don’t have Mary’s direct evidence. We are
more like John in the tomb—there is evidence, and either we see through it or we don’t. The issue is: Do you see?

Let me close with an analogy; Your
doorbell rings this afternoon and one of
your friends asks to talk to you.

He comes and says, “I have some really bad news.
Your brother Jim is dead.”

And you say, shaking your head, “I don’t
believe it. I just saw him this morning. He
was fine. I don’t believe it. It can’t be.”

And your friend says, “We went to the game together, and as we were leaving, this car went out of control and jumped the curb, and hit Jim. I knelt over him. I waited for the medical examiner. I saw it. He’s gone.”

And you say, softly, “I see.”

What do you mean, “I see”? You mean that
the witness of your friend has become a window. And the reality in the window has
become plain.

You were not there. You did not see (the way Mary saw), but still you say—and it is right to say—with all your heart, “I see.”

“I Have Seen the Lord”

God has brought you here in my blog for this message and for this Scripture and for this story of the resurrection of Jesus and this witness.

And my prayer for you, as we close is that
you will now or very soon, by God’s grace,
say, “I see.”

There is one main difference between Jesus
and my illustration: He’s alive. It is as
though another messenger crashes through
the door while you are crying and says,
“Jim’s alive. I talked to him.” That’s what
Mary said, “I have seen the Lord.”

And in my own life too,”I have seen the Lord”.

That’s why my heart rings with joy of knowing that my Lord is alive.

And through him,my soul will live through eternity.

All of my genes may all die with my body here on earth,but my soul will live through the resurrection of my Lord and Saviour,Jesus Christ!

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Chutzpah; learning from a cat

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Jaffa,my cat, has been real company for the solitude that I’ve chosen as my lifestyle.

The fact that I live alone means that Jaffa only comes into contact with only one human being most of the times,and that has its own implications;I sometimes neglect him since I also got my own things to do!

I came to learn about the word chutzpah from an Indian movie.

Chutzpah, in simple terms,means that there is nothing out there stopping you from doing whatever you want to do,irrespective of the consequences.

Let me illustrate: there is this solo bank robber who holds up a bank by passing a little note to the teller which demands that he empties his till into a provided paper bag. This is done pronto as he is armed. Having done that,he then carries his paper bag full of bank notes into a cashier’s window in the same bank and demands that the whole loot is deposited into his bank account! He then walks out of the bank door just as the cops who have been alerted by the robbed teller are coming in to arrest him. But he doesn’t have any money on him. It is both hilarious and complicated to the bank staff and the sceptical cops! That’s what I call Chutzpah,and Jaffa has it all,and more.

There were thousands of things I was certain would be impossible for me to ever do again after leading a complicated life that drained all my energy and enthusiasm for trying new things(that’s a story for another day!)

Jaffa’s attitude was what I needed to get on my feet again.

But that required believing I could actually learn from a cat.

I learned that the word “impossible” was nothing other than a word, which only carried meaning if I allowed it to.

Jaffa believed nothing was impossible.

And by watching him, nothing was.

At the beginning of my life after my ‘big failure’, I saw obstacles as just that – obstacles.

And therefore put them on my “can’t do” list.

But Jaffa never accepted obstacles as anything
other than challenges.

He opened cabinets by putting his paws around
the knobs and pulling.

My after-shave bottles made great rattling noises in the bathroom on crash landings.

I bought child-proof magnets at the hardware
store.

Jaffa simply tugged a little harder.

Back to the hardware store for hook and eye locks.

Jaffa flipped the hooks open with one paw.

Back to the hardware store for deadbolt locks.

He easily slid those bolts to the side.

The guy at the hardware store already had
combination locks on the counter in anticipation of my next visit “for something slightly different” in way of effective locks. He always looked amused about the stories of my “strange cat”,his words,not mine! They at least helped a little.

I was in awe of Jaffa’s tenacity.

By watching him, I learned that words like “can’t” and “hopeless” were just not in his feline vocabulary.

When I’d see a barrier that would prevent me from getting to where I wanted to go, I’d instantly turn around.

This happened recently when I decided to
surprise Daisy,my regular partner, with her favourite bacon, egg and toast breakfast sandwich.

She has a way of scrambling great breakfasts for me,I just wanted to repay back her kindness one fine Saturday morning.

The first lot got the toast burnt up into charcool texture,I’m not a very good chef when I multitask such simple things like whistling my favourite song as well as watching over the grilling toast!

I helped myself to the first lot as a way of ‘destroying’ the evidence before Daisy woke up from her blissful morning slumber to ‘witness’ my horrible breakfast for her!

I was lucky on the second one.

She was really taken in,not knowing I had knots twisting in my protesting gut after helping myself to the first horrible lot,and feigning to enjoy my second helping when sitting at the breakfast table with her that lovely Saturday morning.

I credit Jaffa for my newly found Chutzpah!

He never gives up.

Yet when barriers thwarted Jaffa, he’d never quit trying.

He’d never give up and turn around like I’ve done so many times after encountering barriers.

Every morning, I’d wake to the blaring sound of
Nairobi traffic reports.

That’s because Jaffa learned to push the button on my bedside clock radio.

He wants to wake me so he’d get fed.

Yes, of course I’ve tried moving the radio.

He would simply hunt for two seconds and find it.

Yes, of course ive tried covering it with books on my bedside reading table carefully
placed perfect angles.

Jaffa simply shoves all the books off at once.

There was no way to stop him.
So I did the only sensible thing and locked it in, in one of bedside drawers.

I got rid of the clock radio recently by gifting it to a friend after I lost Jaffa.

It was too much of a memory to keep around my bed.

What else could I do with a cat like
Jaffa? (I heard that similar despair from a close friend of mine!)

To him, anything could fall into the toy category.

He’d unravel entire rolls of toilet paper and play around with the shards whenever he gets bored. I then had to keep it in an empty Nescafe coffee can.

One day years ago, he found something else that will surely go down in the “History of the Best Cat Toys” book.

I was on the phone with a friend, Eddie.

I had barely said “hello”.

That’s when Jaffa came running in with something in his mouth. He had opened the new box of tampons that Daisy bought that morning.

He was flinging the tampon in the air like it was a toy mouse,the stringed end excited him most.

My friend asked if I was all right because not only had I stopped talking barely after greeting in astonishment of this vulgar play, I was
having an earsplitting laughing fit that I just could not control!

He assumed I was having a traumatic stress reaction for living alone and said, “When you live one, you’re often not in control of your emotions and that’s okay. It’s fine to
laugh.”

Living alone with Daisy in my house for a weekend sleepover?

That cracked me up even more.

I managed to blurt out, ” Shh! Daisy is here!!” before seeing the tampon go flying across the room.

Then I hung up — on my friend to let out pearls of laughter.

For the past two years, Jaffa has been sick after a violent encounter with a neighbour’s that almost amputated his tail and disfigured a side of his face.

Ive spent lots of time massaging him on either side of his face.

He always loved that.

On one afternoon, I used my fingers to comb through his lovely full set of whiskers he had eventually grown.

That’s when I saw the one side effect from the medicine he was taking.

As I gently rubbed along his face, all of his whiskers came off in my hands, except for one.

I placed them in a tiny needlepoint purse my partner made for me.

He came into my life with one whisker.

And,presumably that is how he would leave.

Three months ago, on a quiet Sunday afternoon, I kissed his forehead and whispered, “I love you.” He looked up at me.

His face showed the love he was never successful at hiding.

As Daisy softly sang, “Food, glorious food, hot sausage and mustard ,” Jaffa took his last
breath
.
While his body was still warm, I cradled him in my arms and rocked him. I held his head so he was nestled against my neck. I said, “You came into my life when I needed you the most.”

Daisy was crying as She stood next to us, watched me rocking my little soul mate. “Jaffa,” I could barely speak. “You will
always be a part of me.”

I didn’t want to let him go from my arms.

But Daisy, so lovingly and slowly, gently took him away.

And so, I honor the life and the lessons of my
wonderful cat who, from the beginning, stood apart from all the others.

My beautiful cat, my Jaffa, just a plain gray tabby, as common as a housefly,but always so special to me.

There will never be another “Jaffa”,though Daisy hastily got me another kitten and named him Jaffa to console me for my loss.

That’s Chutzpah,but I learnt the true meaning of Chutzpah from my departed soulmate,Jaffa.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

We love best when we do not love out of desperation

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If it is possible to live with a purpose, what should that purpose be?

A purpose might be a guiding principle, a philosophy, or a value of sovereign importance that informs and directs our activities and thoughts.

To have one is to live seriously —though not necessarily wisely — following some track, believing in a hub to the wheeling universe or a
sea toward which we flow or an end before which all the hubbub of civilisation subsides.

What is your purpose, friend, or what should it be?

Now,when I honestly answered this question to my buddhist teacher by telling him that I live for the true love of my soul,he chuckled and said that I’m a naturally born narcissist,then wisely added that,while is narcissim is not entirely wrong,a narcissist like me needs to be taught compassion for others as it is difficult for him to love others;his true love is only for himself.

I couldn’t agree with him more on his honest observation about me.

Perhaps most of us do not come to a clear
conclusion in the matter, but this does not mean we have no other purpose but to love ourselves, only that we do not recognise it or admit it or even choose it for ourselves.

In the unhappiest case nature simply takes its course, which is a turbid meandering through the swamps of desire,not love.

If love means nothing to us, then only pleasure is worthwhile; or if love has meaning and we cannot get at it then still only enjoyment matters — such is the view of narcissists and some sophisticated philosophers.

It slips into the unconscious by default when we hold no other, but we are reluctant to entertain it and will rather, if we think about it, take as our purpose support of family, search for beauty, improvement of society, fame, self-expression, development of talent, and so on.

But it might be fair to say that apart from
these or beneath these the fundamental purpose of many of us is the search for love, particularly
romantic love.

The love of a man for a woman and a woman for a man is often the floor to which people fall after the collapse of other dreams.

It is held to be solid when nothing else is, and though it frequently gives way and dumps them into a basement of despair, it still enjoys a reputation of dependability.

No matter that this reputation is illogical — it still flourishes and will continue to flourish regardless of what is said in any book.

Love, or possibly the myth of love, is the first,
last, and sometimes the only refuge of
uncomprehending humanity.

What else makes our hearts beat so fast?

What else makes us swoon with feeling?

What else renders us so intensely alive and
aching?

The search for love — the sublime, the
nebulous, the consuming — remains sacred in a world that increasingly despises the sacred.

When the heroic and the transcendental are but memories, when religious institutions fill up with bureaucrats and social scientists, when nobody believes there is a sky beyond the ceiling, then there seems no other escape from the prison of self than the abandon of love.

With a gray age of spiritual deadness upon us,
we love, or beg for love, or grieve for love.

We have nothing higher to live for.

Narcissists guarantee themselves true and unfailing love by loving ONLY themselves.

Others have to work hard to secure love from outside of themselves.

Indeed, many take it on faith that romantic love is the highest thing to live for.

Popular literature, movies, art, and music tirelessly celebrate it as the one truth accessible to all.

Such love obliterates reason, as poets have long sweetly lamented, and this is part of its charm and power, because we want to be swept up and spirited out of our calculating selves.

“Want” is the key word, for in the spiritual void of modern life the wanting of love becomes increasingly indistinguishable from love itself.

So powerful, so insistent is it that we seldom notice that the gratification is rare and the craving relentless.

Love from outside oneself is mostly in anticipation; it is an agony of anticipation; it is an ache for a completion not found in the dreary round of mundane routine.

That we never seem to possess it in its imagined fullness does not deter most us who are not narcissists.

It hurts so bad,and that way, it must be good.

Practically nobody questions the supremacy of
romantic love, which is good enough reason to do a little poking around the foundations of its pedestal.

Who is entirely satisfied with the romance in his or her life?

Who has found the sublime rapture previously imagined?

And if one has actually found such a thing, does it last, or does it not rather change and decline from the peak of ecstasy?

And if it declines what becomes of one’s purpose in life?

If a purpose is achieved it is no longer a purpose; it can no longer guide or sustain us.

Does one taste of nectar satisfy us forever?

When we tire of crass, material goals we may go
searching for love instead of, say, religious insight, because love seems both more accessible and more urgent, and because so much of institutional religion in our time has degenerated into insipid humanism.

Some claim refuge here but many more, longing for authentic and moving experience, turn to the vision of the “lover,” that source of wonder, joy, and transcendence, who, it is thought, must be pursued and if captured perfected and if perfected then enjoyed forever — or until some other lover lights up the horizon.

Love is its own justification, especially for the young who have no other inspiration or no
career or responsibilities to dull themselves with as their plodding elders do.

Longing bursts through this one channel that seems open, dizzily insisting that the life of unreflecting passion is the highest they can
aspire to.

They do not reason, but fall.

Their elders do reason — obsessively — but fall all the same, thereby admitting that, with all their thought and experience, they find, when driven to extremity, they have nothing but love to live for.

This is not to say that such a surrender must be bad, only that it happens out of instinct and uninformed passion.

Love is sweet and it is our nature to give
way.

But why do we worship it so ardently and why
do we break off our search for fulfillment here?

Perhaps because we see no other earthly “gods”.

Yet if love is the highest thing to live for then this is a hopeless universe, because we should see in a calm hour that Cupid’s arrows not only thrill us but make us bleed.

“Man Kills Estranged Lover, Then Self.” “Wife Stabs Husband in Domestic Quarrel.” “Love Triangle Leads To Shooting.” So read the headlines with depressing regularity.

The stories behind these are only the most
shocking of countless tales of passion, but they do forcefully suggest that romantic love is not always a blessing.

One might object that hate, not love, spawns such tragedies, but where has such hate
come from if not from a prior attachment now
broken?

We should know from experience how easily
what we call love can turn to bitterness, jealousy, and malice, and though we protest that this is not the fault of love, we ought to notice that where one passion arises another is likely to follow.

Passions are unreliable, volatile, dangerous, and a poor foundation for happiness.

Divorces, suicides, dissipation, violence, depravity,fanaticism, and other miseries great and small follow from passion, and yet passion is still, in the public mind, considered commendable, a mark of vigor and liveliness.

Though everybody will admit that passion
gone awry is dangerous, few realize that passion is by its nature likely to go awry.

Romantic love is a chancy passion that may result in the opposite of what is desired.

It may have happy consequences,
too — else it would not have so many adherents — but it raises the stakes in the gamble of life and makes us more vulnerable both to our own weaknesses and to unpredictable fortune.

As most of us count the joys of successful love (however we define it) worth the pain involved in its pursuit, we must learn to step lightly and with intelligence.

We believe, with some reason, that love can ennoble and redeem us, and call forth our purest energies, but we are slower to see that when the lamp of love flickers out, as it
tragically tends to do, we might lose our way in a fearful labyrinth of suffering.

Granted that few will shun the pursuit of romance out of fear of unhappy consequences, what can be done to ameliorate those consequences?

If we really have nothing higher to live for, nothing to fall back on, the lugubrious truth is that nothing much can be done to ameliorate them, given the volatile nature of human affections, so it would be wise to make sure
there really is no superior, sustaining ideal before committing ourselves exclusively to the chase.

Buddhism, of course, teaches such an ideal, which is nothing less than deliverance from all sorrow, called Nibbana.

While worldly joys are mutable and fleeting,
Nibbana is established, sorrowless, stainless, and secure.

While worldly pains are piercing,unpredictable, and unavoidable, Nibbana is altogether free from pain. It is the end of suffering, the supreme refuge, the ultimate emancipation.

The Buddha himself applied many terms of praise to it while recognising their essential inadequacy.

Nibbana cannot be grasped by language or concept, but it can be known and realised by one who makes the right efforts.

This is a critical point.

Nibbana is not something that happens to us through an external agency; rather it is something that we ourselves may achieve.

The Buddha certainly never would have troubled himself to teach had he not understood that his own realisation was not fortuitous but rightly won and that those who followed his instructions could win realisation for
themselves.

That understanding, passed down, has
sustained the Buddhist religion to the present day.

The diligent are not powerless.

Suffering can be overcome.

Still, knowing ourselves to be sunk in confusion and beset by myriad defilements, we might regard Nibbana as too remote to do us much good here and now.

We persist in seeing an unbridgeable chasm
between saints and ordinary people like ourselves.

We think practically everybody is like us (or worse) while maybe there are one or two genuine saints in the world, they presumably having just been born in that condition or with the exceptional good luck to get themselves elevated — who knows how?

Yet the human condition is not, according to Buddhism, a fixed sentence to this or that level of wisdom and virtue.

Beings are living at all stages of attainment,
and they do not stay in the same place.

They rise through their own good efforts, and
decline through their own negligence in the endless action and reaction of intentional deeds (kamma) and results of deeds (kamma-vipaka).

The Buddha did not teach the Dhamma for the
entertainment of those already perfected; he taught it for the benefit of fallible people like us who were struggling to avoid pain and make sense of the world.

Even to those who came to him with no intention to scale high spiritual summits he imparted the progressive training of giving, morality and mental development.

Why?

Because there is always scope for improvement and because the human alternatives are not limited to holy wisdom or cloddish ignorance.

Suffering lessens and happiness increases when we make an effort to follow the Noble Eightfold Path, whatever our present condition.

In the classic formula, the Dhamma is “directly
visible, timeless, calling one to come and see, leading onwards, to be personally realized by the wise.”

Perhaps we cannot see Nibbana resplendent on the horizon, but we can certainly make out the ground beneath our feet; we can know when we draw a joyful breath or put behind us an old sorrow or refrain from a vicious act or compose an agitated mind.

The Dhamma confers benefits here and now as well as in the future.

Is there not satisfaction in performing a good deed with a clear mind?

Is there not uplift in a moment of quiet contemplation saved from the tumult of the day?

The Dhamma lightens our burdens in the present and gives us grounds for hope.

What then does this have to do with the problems of love?

Simply this. The Dhamma puts the delights and
torments of love into perspective, so that we can
break the illusion of love as the highest of aspirations and most essential of desires.

Henry Thoreau wrote (when young): “The only remedy for love is to love more.”

We might amend this to say: The only remedy
for love is to love better.

The understanding and the practice of the Dhamma do not destroy our capacity
to love or enjoy love — far from it.

The Dhamma purges the grasping, selfish qualities from our love and makes it purer and nobler.

As we come to understand through personal
experience the rightness and goodness of the path of Dhamma, we may discover — slowly or suddenly — that the consuming passions we previously thought to be the only reasons for our existence are really not so, and that something of wondrous value overarches them — indistinct as yet but flashing out now and again from the clouds of possibility.

What do our heaving emotions matter compared with that?

When we lean hard, out of passion, we will fall hard— such is the nature of attachment. But when we do not lean, when instead we stand upright with an eye to the heights, then the love we bestow flows out of us without weakening us, like a superabundance of vigor.

This is metta — loving-kindness devoid of
selfishness.

It becomes purer to the extent we realize
it is not the purest; it becomes happier to the extent we realise it is not the happiest.

Nibbana surpasses
all.

If, through our own ripening knowledge, we
appreciate that our ultimate and highest purpose should be Nibbana, the absolute end of sorrow, then all goals beneath that are cast in a new light.

When we have something to live for that is higher than fame, honor, friendship, or health — higher even than love — we can never be utterly impoverished or ruined.

We are in fact in a much better position to
enjoy whatever may be achieved in worldly life,
because we no longer depend solely on changeable circumstances for our happiness.

Love cools, friendships wane, calamities carry off the good and the beautiful. Who can deny it? If we are to overcome despair and grief we must not invest ourselves obsessively in what is perishable.

We need to keep our minds, and consequently our actions, as free as possible from craving and attendant defilements like covetousness and possessiveness: Our actions are all led by the mind;
mind is their master, mind is their maker.

If one acts or speaks with a defiled state of mind,then suffering follows like the cart-wheel
that follows the foot of the ox.

Our actions are all led by the mind; mind is their master, mind is their maker.

If one acts or speaks with a pure state of mind,
then happiness follows like a shadow that remains behind without departing.

While nobody can cut off craving simply by an act of will, we can certainly loosen its frightful grip on us by following the path and paying attention to the ultimate deliverance that shines at its end.

Love is never the poorer for being accompanied by wisdom.

It is not harmed by being deprived of a crown.

The agonies we endure and inflict in the name
of love come from making love bear too heavy a
weight.

While we are in the world and engaged in the
life of a householder we will naturally form
attachments to family, job, friends, and lovers, but the suffering produced from these attachments will vary according to our wisdom and maturity.

If we see nothing higher at all and abandon ourselves to the lottery of gaining and losing, we will surely suffer great pain, but if we keep the ideals of the Dhamma before us we will gain a measure of insulation against worldly inclemencies.

According to Buddhism, everything that has the
nature of arising has the nature of ceasing, so it is well to place our greatest faith in Nibbana, which, being beyond all concepts and limits, does not “arise,” and thus does not fluctuate with the teetering universe.

An independent mind, intent on deliverance, is not a cold, unfeeling mind, but a mind whose love is uncalculated, beneficent, free — and
empty of the furious I want of ego.

If we don’t live for love we won’t die for it either.
If the windows of our mind are open to the streaming light of Dhamma then that light will bathe our thoughts and actions and distinguish the skillful from the foolish.

Even without understanding of the Dhamma most of us will distinguish in theory between love and infatuation.

We think of infatuation as capricious,
irresponsible, and shallow, and true love as mature, serious, and steady — though in practice it is hard to tell where one ends and the other begins.

At least we recognise some advantage to clear sight and reflection, and this recognition grows sharper with actual experience of the Dhamma.

We become less likely to throw ourselves at the feet of the adored object and more likely to stand erect, honest, and mindful, ready to meet our fortune with bravery.

To a world that knows nothing loftier than the convulsions of craving, this may seem a loss, but to one who truly experiences the refreshment of wisdom there comes no narrowness but rather a loosening of the bonds of fear and selfishness.

One can love without compulsion, out of free will.

How gratifying when affection is given, or received, without a bill for services rendered!

Even under promising circumstances there is no
guarantee that love will be returned in equal
measure, or that it will last long, or that it will provide unalloyed joy.

When we depend on it entirely for our
happiness we must dwell in the shadow of pain,
however bright our amorous interludes.

What if we should lose our heart’s support tomorrow?

We’re okay as long as we have each other, we assure ourselves dreamily.

But we will not have each other long.

Quarrels, time, distance, changes, or finally
death dissolve all unions of friends, lovers, and
relatives, plunging the unwary into despair and
meaninglessness; and if we have no wisdom we too may go creeping about the lonely streets with our eyes staring hungrily into other eyes and seeing the same hunger there.

But in the way of the Buddha there is relief from distress and exile.

In wisdom there is security.

Because love is fragile and temporary it cannot
protect us forever, but if we relax our grip it may bloom even better, allowing us to give and receive without encumbrance, frenzy, or fear, offering to each other our strength instead of our weakness.

In a sense the practice of Dhamma is like gradually filling the abyss of ignorance with knowledge until that terrible vacuum is appeased and neutralized and the heart no more cries for unknown succor.

The perfected one, clinging to nothing here or hereafter, asks nothing and requires nothing, so he is wholly free.

His loving-kindness is just the over-measure,
the overflowing of his goodness quite purified of the need, the visceral wanting and the vacillation of ordinary attachment.

While we cannot all at once purify our sentiments of their dross, we can raise the aim of our thought and conduct, and reflect on — indeed, contemplate — the virtues of the Buddha and the noble ones who are free from taint.

Their achievement is an image to set before our inner eye, something higher to live for,
within and beyond the motions of our conventional life.

No good thing prospers in ignorance.

The more we understand this flawed universe the more skillfully we can live, and the happier we will be.

We love best when we do not love out of desperation.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Grievous humour; He attended the wrong funeral

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Sometimes,grief stiffens our sense of humour,but it doesn’t actually kill it.

In my life,and in the customs of the community I come from, death is a solemn affair.

So,when my associate colleague died,I had to travel to Rwanda for funeral.

That was not so long ago,and there is still a lot of grief clouding my heart for her. R.I.P.

But something funny happened during her funeral service that I find worth sharing with my readers.

We were all sitting solemnly inside a church when I heard the church door open with a hideous creak.

Quick footsteps hurried along the wooden tiled floor.

An exasperated young man looked around briefly and then sat next to me.

He folded his hands and placed them on his lap.

His eyes were brimming with tears.

He began to sniffle.

“I’m late,” he explained, though no explanation was necessary.

After several eulogies from her close friends and family, he leaned over and
commented, “Why do they keep calling
Mary by the name of Margaret?”

“Because, that was her name, Margaret.
Never Mary, no one called her Mary,'” I
whispered.

I wondered why this person couldn’t have
sat on the other side of the church.

He interrupted my grieving with his tears and
fidgeting. Who was this stranger anyway?

“Isn’t this the Lutheran church?”

“No, the Lutheran church is across the
street.”

“Oh.”

“I believe you’re at the wrong funeral, Sir.” I volunteered,if only to shut him up.

Then something very strange happened to me;
The solemness of the occasion mixed with
the realisation of the man’s mistake bubbled up inside me and came out as laughter.

I cupped my hands over my face, hoping it would be interpreted as sobs.

The creaking pew gave me away.

Sharp looks from other mourners only made the situation seem more hilarious.

Was I becoming neurotic or what?

I peeked at the bewildered, misguided man seated beside me.

He was laughing too, as he glanced around, deciding it was too late for an uneventful exit.

I imagined everybody laughing,and that made it even more hilarious.

Grief can sometimes bring out the worst of us.

At the final ‘Amen,’ we both darted out a door
and into the parking lot.

“I do believe we’ll be the talk of the town,” he smiled.

He said his name was Rick and, since he had
missed his aunt’s funeral, asked me out for
a cup of coffee.

That afternoon began a lifelong journey for me with this man who attended the wrong funeral, but was in the right place.

A year after our meeting, he invited me to his wedding and they were married at a country church where he was the assistant pastor.

This time we both arrived at the same church, right on time.

Later,after the ceremony,he sidled up to me with his new bride and was laughing even before he grabbed my hand for an enthusiastic handshake.

“I want you to meet my new bride before the ink settles on our marriage certificate so that you can do this one thing for me…..”

“Anything you ask,I’ll do it for you”,I replied,not really sure what he was going to ask of me.

“Do you think I attended the “right wedding”? He ventured sheepishly as his new bride dropped her eyes in surprise and shame,not knowing what this was all about.

“Let me see”,I said as I lifted the bride’s veil feigning close scrutiny of her face. “I’m afraid you attended the wrong wedding again,but I guess the bride is the right one!”

“Come on!”,he cried out as he grabbed me by the shoulders wrestling me to the ground in mirth of uproarious laughter.

In my time of sorrow, God gave me
laughter.

In place of loneliness and grief, God gave
me laughter again and new love for a stunning young family for friends .

Bernard Wainaina is an Independent Agribusiness Advisor and CEO at Profarms Consultants®,Nairobi,Kenya.

He mainly works with Agribusiness Youth Groups in Eastern African Region.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Stereotypes; “A lot of Kenyans think cheese is disgusting!”

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Whenever I travel outside my country,Kenya,I’m always surprised by how the rest of the world sees us.

In other words,the Kenyan stereotype.

Recently,when I visited DR Congo on a tour of duty,a lady serving at a local food stall sidled up to my table after serving my lunch and asked me without any preamble; “How many miles do you run each morning?”

I was shocked by her brave intrusiveness.

When I recovered,I meekly told her that the last time I ran was during my high school cross country races which I hated very much,but they were compulsory,all the same.

She didn’t look very satisfied with my answer.

“But you look thin and athletic”.She egged me on.

I honestly didn’t know what to tell her after that.

You see,Kenya is known for successive generations of marathon champions in world races.

The rest of the world seems to think that every other Kenyan is an athlete!

And that was not enough; a white lady colleague during the duration of my stay offered me a package in a recycled carton of biscuits,and told me to take it to “my wife”.

“What is in the box? I was curious.

“Oh-some undies that I don’t want to fly out of here with”. She replied.

Now,at my age,she assumed I had wife,and a big family that was probably in need of clothes.

Kenya,according to WHO statistics has been topping the list of “high fertility and unsustainable population growth”.

I presume this is what informed her decision to donate clothes for “my exploding family”.

All over the world,people have formed stereotypes about other people,and most international interactions are usually based on this stereotypes.

Listen to my taxi driver in Kinshasha literally driving home this stereotype point;

“I can get you a girl to warm your bed tonight;I know Kenyan men like ‘Nyama Choma” (roasted meat) and young girls. Do you want a good girl?”

Me; “No. I already have a young girl who is only 22 years old,very loving,very beautiful; she is my daughter!”

Driver; “I mean one that you can take back to your hotel room”.

Me; “Would you mind if I first consulted someone about this?”

Driver; “Not at all. Let me know about this arrangement after you have consulted”.

He was just not going to give up so easily.

He was probably a pimp,and his cut meant more to him than my screaming morals.

Anyway,I did consult,after all.

I whatsapped my daughter back in Nairobi,breaking the ice first about this uncomfortable topic with a “Hi”.

One hour later,only one tick still displayed in my sent message.

Four hours later,two blue ticks and a reply;

“Hi dad,how was your day?”

Me; “very fine,very interesting!”

Daughter; “Interesting like how,Dad?”

Me; ” I don’t know how I should tell you this,but do you remember the many conversations we’ve had about how you should relate with men,taking care of yourself,I mean?”

Daughter; “Yes Dad,but pliz,let’s not go over that again tonight,pliz.”

Me; “I’m afraid we will have to,Liza,but this time,it is about me”.

Daughter;” What has happened Dad? Shoot!”

Me; “It is like this, Liza, this afternoon,when I was being driven back to my hotel room,my Taxi driver offered to get me a young girl for the night”.

Long pause.

One hour later; “did you take up that offer,Dad?”

Me; “No”.

Daughter; “Thank you Dad,and please take care of yourself!”

Conversation muted from her end.

This conversation must have been nerve-racking for my daughter.

We have talked many times with my daughter about morals,her morals,but never my morals.

She also doesn’t seem to buy the idea of stereotype of “Kenyan men” always wanting “young nubile escort girls,at least,not about her dad.

But who I’m I to argue about the Kenyan stereotype.

I googled “Kenyan stereotype” after this disconcerting episode,and here is what I got from ‘QUORA';

»Question”How is the stereotype of people from Kenya?
Doesn’t have to be right, it’s just a stereotype. Also;
-include stereotypical physical appearance if exist.
-Factual information is easy to get, but cultural info
e.g. stereotypes are hard to analyse.
Cultural stereotype gives insight not only about the stereotyped society, but also the society who
stereotypes.-
and remember, it’s just a stereotype, doesn’t have to be right, and please don’t get emotional over stereotype”.

Best Answer;”Best Answer: They are very friendly, welcoming, and family oriented.
The women work very hard all day long, washing, cooking, pretty much doing everything. The guys have a lot more free time.
They are proud of Obama – he’s Kenyan!
The kids are very good students and get excited
about learning even though the resources aren’t
always there.
A lot of Kenyans will have multiple boyfriends or girlfriends.
This doesn’t necessarily mean they’re sleeping together, often they don’t even live in the same city but someone will say “yeah, I have three
girlfriends!”
The food is pretty basic but the Kenyans love their ‘ugali'(Maize meal Cake). It’s the national food. Most foreigners aren’t huge fans of ‘ugali’, chapatti’s more palatable.
They love sugary things like children – chocolate, soda, especially Fanta. A
lot of Kenyans think cheese is disgusting.
Kenyans are crazy drivers. They also prefer to drive over walking. I’ve never seen a Kenyan out for a jog.
Kenya is very multicultural so everyone has
stereotypes about other groups. For example, the Kikuyu are business people and the Kikuyu women are the hardest to handle! Luhya women are loyal and if their husbands are difficult they will stand by them anyway. The Maasai are the most trustworthy, you can feel very safe in Maasailand. Maasai women
have crazy earrings and jewellery and the men are quite noticeable. People from the coast are really relaxed and friendly. Anyone not from Nairobi will tell you that the city is full of thieves, someone could steal from you and no one will care. Kenyans don’t always trust Somalis.
Kenyans also stereotype white people, believing that we are all rich and well-educated. As for rich, well, most foreigners in Kenya are, so they’re right on target there.
Source(s):
A mix of my own generalizations and stereotypes I
heard while in Kenya by Ryemtl ·

Answer two;”A Kenyan is a party animal who loves beer and nyama choma for a general kenyan, when you go to tribes the luos are
known to be proud and gives ladies a treat of their life, Obama is a luo. The luhyas are known for their love of Ugali and Kuku (maize meal taken with chicken) Kikuyus for their love of money. If you are in kenya just drop a shilling and those who will turn to look at it are kikuyus. kambas for their love for witchcraft.”
Source(s):
for more about kenya http://
http://www.ugandalastminute.com/safaris/…;
ugandalastminute ·

Answer three; “They run fast in Track and Field events because back at home, they have to run from cheetahs and avoid getting trampled by zebras”.
Source(s):
Stereotypes. Not Facts.
Bleh ·

Answer four “They get elected President of the USA”
Wrenchman57 ·

I bet stereotype is the way the rest of the world sees us,no matter the factual truth.

I’m glad that my daughter does not share this view about me as a “Kenyan man” with the rest of the world!

Bernard Wainaina is an Independent Agribusiness Advisor and CEO at Profarms Consultants®,Nairobi,Kenya.

He mainly works with Agribusiness Youth Groups in Eastern African Region.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Drunk!

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I’m drunk with deep joy that life has
thrown at my heart;I won’t touch any other kind of
wine tonight.

OR;

Maybe I’m too old to keep a good love
going, but tonight you’re on my mind, though
you’ll never know.

But it makes me happy,all the same!

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Cruised round Kampala in 90 minutes,but I never moved an inch!

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Last week,on an ecological study at Mapira forest, I took the chance to revolve in Kampala.

Not in a head-spinning way,as you’ll understand when I explain.

Gently, it was.

It took a full 90 minutes to turn through 360 degrees.

I’m talking about the revolving restaurant at the top of the Golf Course Hotel.

They call it the Seven Hills Revolving
Restaurant.

That’s because Kampala is said to have been built on seven hills: Kasubi Hill, site of the Kasubi Tombs, the tombs of the Kabakas; Mengo Hill, site of the present Kabaka’s palace and the headquarters of the Buganda Court of Justice; Kibuli Hill, with its Kibuli Mosque; Namirembe Hill, topped by the Namirembe Protestant Cathedral; Rubaga Hill, topped by the rival Rubaga Catholic Cathedral; Nsambya, site of the Nsambya Hospital; and finally, the little hill of Impala, once the hunting ground for the Ugandan kings.

I was at the restaurant for dinner,courtesy of my clients.

So it was after dark, and I couldn’t distinguish the seven hills.

But from the way the lights of the city spread out into the visible distance, they showed that Kampala now covers many more hills than the
original seven.

The Seven Hills on the tower of the Golf Course Hotel is one of only six revolving restaurants in Africa.

Nairobi,my city, once had one, didn’t it? At the top of the KICC.

Sadly, it no longer revolves — it doesn’t even exist.

I don’t know why. But it’s a pity. Because the view was magnificent.

It showed that Nairobi is still very much a green city — and usually in the sun.

Mind you, it is still possible to take in the view by riding the lift to the top of the building — but not to linger over it with a juicy steak and a glass of red wine at the now stalled restaurant.

At night, from the Seven Hill Restaurant, one of the most striking features of the view were the unbroken streams of red or yellow lights of the cars moving along the main Yusuf Lule
Road.

My mind went back to a conversation I had with a consultant colleague about late 1990s when we were staying at the Sheraton Hotel in the middle of Kampala.

“Have you seen the hotel’s car park?” I asked him. “It’s crammed with cars — Uganda is recovering.”

“But have you looked at what they are?” he asked back.

“Mainly white Land Cruisers or other four-wheel drives.

Mainly cars of foreign aid agencies.

When the car park is full of city saloons like Mercedes and BMWs and owned by Ugandans, only then can we say Uganda has moved on!”

Anyway, back to Kampala … Yes, Uganda has really moved on.

Except that there are now so many cars of all shapes and sizes that it is difficult to move at all in the city. Not to mention the pesky hordes of motorcycle taxis that run over your feet on pavements!

Another indicator of development that evening as I looked out of the slowly moving windows were the lights down below of the adjacent and huge Garden City shopping complex, with its supermarket, cinema, bowling alley, casino,
banks, forex bureaux, big bookshop and many trendy clothes shops.

The other side of the hotel was the black hole in the undulating carpet of lights that was the city’s central golf course.

In the morning, at breakfast in the attractive ground floor restaurant by the bright blue of the serpentine pool, through the screen of trees you could see a few golfers already engaging in what my old mentor called a “good walk spoilt”.

So, with golf on one side and a shopping complex on the other, the Golf Course Hotel must be attractive for those who like an easy — even a spoilt — walk to many things they
might want to do in Kampala.

For me, I chose it because the meeting I was attending was being held there — not even a walk away but a short lift ride.

The hotel is a bit cheaper than the nearby Sheraton and Serena, and a bit more expensive than the also nearby Speke or the Grand Imperial.

But that was for my clients to sort out.

I like it. The conference room was airy; the view from my room over the golf course was refreshing; the breakfast was as varied as you could wish — and dinner in the revolving
restaurant was unforgettable.

And I miss the one atop KICC back in Nairobi,patriotic pride certainly draws envy.

Bernard Wainaina is an Independent Agribusiness Advisor and CEO at Profarms Consultants®,Nairobi,Kenya.

He mainly works with Agribusiness Youth Groups in Eastern African Region.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Mr. Independent

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Sometimes I hate you,Jaffa!
Just because you are my cat,
doesn’t mean that I’m your slave!

Why do you carry yourself around
With so much airs,until lunchtime?

You scratch the door,as if you want to come in,
But when I open the door for you,you just put your paws on the door frame;
You haven’t yet made up your mind whether to get in or not.

And I have to hold the door for you;
I’m your butler.
I’m your slave!

Do I own you,
Or do you own me?

What about that fight you picked with my neighbour’s dog?
That was really foolish of you.
You lost the fight to the dog,right?
And your tail was almost amputated by that bite.

But that was not all;
You jumped through my kitchen window howling,
And broke my china set!

That’s you mr. Independent,
Always coming off clean in your innocent cute face,
Feigning innocence after playing the devil!

But guess what,Jaffa?

That’s the very reason I love you,Jaffa,
Because you are independent like me.

But do you have to put on the display for me?

Your cat personality,so aloof,gives me goose pimples!

And did you have to scratch at my girlfriend when she got close?

Are you jealous?

Do you have to show it?

I’m madly in love with you,Jaffa,
But please don’t mess with my human relationships!

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Singing under the shower of ‘gods’ in Samburu

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It is so hot over the day in Samburu.
If you try to take a shower,water dries off your shoulders before you scrub.
I take my showers at night,under the open starry skies.
Around here,we have baptised this practice as “shower of gods”.

I like to do weird things in the
shower, like drink my coffee,
brush my teeth and drink a
smoothie. It’s good time
management,I suppose.
This is all possible now,under the shower of ‘gods’.

But my favourite way to blow off
steam after a busy day is to sing
loud in the shower.(Pity that my friends tell me I sing so off key,it kills all the love they have for good songs!)

Listen to what others tell you
about your voice. If you’re only
singing to please yourself, you
might as well just sing under the
shower. But if you’re singing for
others, you are reliant on them
to ask you to sing.

I have the soul of a singer and
do splendidly in the shower but
the world will never hear it.
Basically, I’m the only Kenyan Soul(sole,I think!) singer
person who can’t carry a tune.

I always sing Adele in the
shower. But everyone should
know you never sing an Adele
song in public because no one’s
better than Adele.

I’d love to sing it proud and sing loud.
But I’m embarrassed I might draw a rude crowd.
So in public I’m dour,
Though I sing in the shower.
It’s the only time singing loud is allowed.

There’s no half-singing in the
shower, you’re either a rock star
or an opera diva.

Singing in the shower is all fun and games until you get soap bubbles in your mouth, then it just becomes a soap opera.

I really enjoyed staying at an
encampment at the top of a hill
in the Samburu Reserve.

You reach it through hard climbing; there is no electricity, no city noises and you sleep and
shower under the Milky Way, with moths fluttering around a kerosene lamp, knowing that there are elephants and lions
roaming free in the valley.

This is all a good experience for the budding-sorry-bathing musician in me.

So I wrote this poem; Shower of ‘gods’ in the shower;

Walking down the crooked street,
Throwaway culture around his feet,
Not one eye dares to meet
The man who sings real loud.
He is of the reactionary kind
The one they label “out of mind!”
One they’ve always tried to bind.
The man who sings real loud.
He swings his bags without a care
Trots around on an invisible mare
You can’t hurt what doesn’t care
The man who sings real loud.
You will hear him before you see
His voice and mind are loud and free
A man you wish that you could be:
The man who sings real loud.

Bernard Wainaina is an Independent Agribusiness Advisor and CEO at Profarms Consultants®,Nairobi,Kenya.

He mainly works with Agribusiness Youth Groups in Eastern African Region.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Poisoned in Samburu; I could die now, and very peacefully….

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“Do you know what plant this is?” I asked Lolyang,my point-man for my Ethno-botany study excursion in Samburu National Reserve.

“That’s not a good plant. It’s not indigenous to here, and you shouldn’t touch it. You need to wash your hands thoroughly.”

“But, I put it in my mouth.”

Blank stare, followed by Lolyang’s eyes growing wider.

“I took a bite of it and now my mouth is burning. Really burning.”

Anthony my research assistant who is a native of Samburu County,and acts as our other guide, heard me describe my symptoms, and told me that the locals use milk to cut down on the burning, and ran off to get my first of
what would turn out to be several litres of Camel milk for the day.

You see, moments before, while walking to breakfast with my colleague Tessa, I was enjoying breathing in the honey-like smell of a white flowering tree, fresh with the morning’s dew.

Surrounded by the flora and fauna of a new county, I was eager to taste its sweet smells.

I couldn’t help myself from breaking off a
stem of plant I thought I recognised and clamped down on it between my teeth.

I expected to taste the salty flavour of a
drought-resistant plant I had tried days before when learning about the cultural habits of the indigenous Samburu tribe in northern Kenya, who taught us all about the plants and herbs they used for cooking and medicine,both for livestock and man.

Nope. Wrong plant.

Tessa, my fellow colleague from Australia, who is a medicine man there, took one look at the plant I was holding, and named it immediately.

“That’s euphorbia.”

“I put it in my mouth.”

Tessa’s face went white, and the tears starting
flowing down my face.

I have always imagined myself dying a dignified death out of very old age,sorrounded by people who mean something in my life,as well as my catholic priest carrying on with my own final rites of passage.

Now,I’m going to die of such a silly mistake.

I could see my friends laughing me down in an open casket saying,”poor Ben,he was always so childish,and that’s what really did him in in the end!”

It is such disturbing thoughts that made my eyes water,not the impeding death,really.

“Why did you do that?”

“I don’t know.”

“Why are you crying?”

“I’m scared. “

“Of what?”

“Of dying.”

“Well, I’m scared for you, too.
However, I think you would be writhing
on the floor right now if you
ingested too much,so let’s just
closely monitor what happens next.

I’m here to look out for you.”

And that was it.

I calmed down,reassured.

My guardian angel Tessa, was going to be with me, whether I got better or not.

Far from family and friends, and on a work trip in the middle ever expanding Sahara Desert, it was comforting to know that someone I trusted would be there regardless.

I went to the bathroom to compose myself,and steel myself for a dignified death while they called for a doctor.

I took my clean handkerchief and scraped
my tongue, my inner cheeks, and the back of my throat.

I spit profusely, like a worked-up coach on the
sidelines.

But I couldn’t get rid of the taste of what I
did. I had poisoned myself.

WHAT DOESN’T KILL YOU MAKES YOU STRONGER

A local herbalist, the closest thing to a doctor in that area, came over to take a look at me.

Like Tessa, he wanted to know HOW LONG the euphorbia had been in my mouth.

“Not long” I replied. “I bit down on it and it was only in my mouth for a couple of seconds.”

“Well, there really is no antidote for the neurotoxins that are in your body right now. What we CAN do is get you to the nearest doctor for a shot to help alleviate the pain. I don’t think you took enough for it to be lethal. The doctor is a three-hour drive away, two and a half if we leave right now and drive
quickly.”

Wait a minute. Did he just use the word LETHAL? This is really the end of my short stint as a living human being!

What’s the use of all of our vanities?

Wait a minute-who is going to drive my car back to Nairobi? He had better be a good driver who will take good care of “my car” when I’m dead.

What about my cat,Jaffa? How will he manage all by himself?

More tears.

“More than likely, you are just going to have to wait four to five days for the poison to course its way through your system.”

Great! I can bear all the suffering,but death!-there is some finality in that name that may spell chaos in terms of all “my unfinished business”.

At this point in the waiting game, my body had
entered a defensive phase, and was in total “fight” mode.

The surge of adrenaline was impressive.

I felt like a Superman! I think the saying “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is completely true.

“Anybody need any cars lifted, or heavy loads
carried?” I asked.

“Wow! Your humorous demeanour during this time is astounding,” said Tessa, in disbelief that I could be so jovial despite the circumstances.

“Well, I’m either going to live, or I’m going to die.

Might as well make the most of it now with my soon-to-be useless lump of flesh.”

After my initial adrenaline panic, my mind and body slowed down and I thought, “Could this really be the end? Am I really going to be sent home in a box because I ate a wrong bush in Samburu?”

I then succumbed to a certain calmness I have never known before.

I felt a profound sense of peace.

My life held no regrets.

I had a great family, good friends.

I had seen a lot of the world and met some
incredible people.

I could die now here, and peacefully.

During this time I also had visions.

I imagined how my friends and colleagues at the Ethno-botany Summit that was taking place
the following day would be affected by my loss,
knowing that my death would put a damper on the whole event. I envisioned my fellow colleagues back at the office getting word
that I had passed away while on my trip, and could see our tea girl shaking her head, saying “Oh, Ben,” partly disappointed that I had been so silly in contributing to my own death, and yet on the other hand, not at all surprised.

She above anybody else knew that I had the curiosity of a three-year-old child when it comes to sweet smelling food.

It made me love my colleagues more for
understanding me so well.

Everyone else, I saw, would miss me, but would
remember fondly my curiosity of the world, and my courage in making it a large part of my life.

I saw that I had even inspired a few people to make positive changes, and that made me proud. I could go now…

But, I didn’t go. And soon after these visions, my Samburu tour group (who were more like my family now) and I needed to continue on our journey.

After driving for over three hours
through vast landscapes, they asked if I wanted to stop in at the doctor of the nearby town, but I opted not to go for the pain shot.

The Camel milk was doing wonders for the
burning sensation, even though I couldn’t go more than about seven seconds without the burning returning.

My biggest challenge at that point was not
vomiting, as a stomach full of milk and acid,
combined with driving on remote, bumpy roads in a Land Rover were not really compatible.

I learned more about the plant from our local guides as we drove.

Locals use this euphorbia as a barrier, protecting their crops or homesteads, as most
animals steer clear of the plant, so it’s used quite a bit in hedges.

Apparently, the only wild animal that can eat the euphorbia plant and get away with it is
the rhino.

Last time I checked, I weighed much less
than a rhino.

The name of Rhino Charge stuck for the
duration of the trip.

Later I learned that this euphorbia plant was also used to put on the ends of arrowheads, in order to paralyse and/or kill the targeted prey.

As for me, I dealt with horrible symptoms as the
poison made its way down my body, including
massive heart-burn and excruciating pain as it
coursed through my liver and kidneys, so much that I thought something was bursting.

But, with Tessa’s guidance and reassurance, and with another higher spiritual protector, I made it to our destination alive, perhaps a bit more humbled,but not dead, not as yet.

Bernard Wainaina is an Independent Agribusiness Advisor and CEO at Profarms Consultants®,Nairobi,Kenya.

He mainly works with Agribusiness Youth Groups in Eastern African Region.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Stories from the wild; On this tree,I’ll build my church!

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The sun can be hot around Samburu:I’ve heard stories of chicken laying “boiled” eggs in this kind of heat.

But last Sunday,I was thinking less of boiled eggs,and more about such things like firm foundations-a verse in the bible says;build your house on a firm foundation…this was the day’s sermon at the lodge chapel.

I was following a troop of baboons grazing in the plains of Samburu National Reserve.

As is the usual thing in a group of
baboons, they had arranged themselves in their usual military plan.

In the front, were the expendable males consisting of juveniles and low-ranking sub adults.

They act as the front buffers and scouts on the route.

Should they see any danger, they are supposed to confront the danger if they can.

If the danger is too much, they should alert the rest of the troop and the big boys will come to boost the war chest.

But should the enemy attack before the big bosses come, the troop will not lose much because the front liners are not the
most important in the group.

As the troop was digging for tubers in the soil, one of them noticed a lion walking along the shores of the river.

The lion was on the opposite side from where the baboons were grazing.

The scouts gave out the sound of alarm, but a weak one.

Like to say, “you may need to think about fast exit if the lion decide to cross over to our side”.

The troop leaders understood very well there was no hurry, but preparations were in order.

So, the biggest among the leaders of the group looked around to pick a tree which could be used as a safe refuge when trouble struck.

He chose an acacia tree full of dry thorns and with branches that hung loosely near the
ground.

He went up the tree and did something that got me laughing with admiration.

He literally interrogated the tree to see whether it was strong enough to hold the whole family
should the need arise.

He was shaking and swinging the branches until he was sure the tree would hold.

When he came down, the whole troop looked at ease feeding near the tree of life, while the scouts kept watch over the lion.

He walked back to the grazing troop as if to say
;“On this tree, I will build my church”.

Like these baboons, make plans with firm foundation

Bernard Wainaina is an Independent Agribusiness Advisor and CEO at Profarms Consultants®,Nairobi,Kenya.

He mainly works with Agribusiness Youth Groups in Eastern African Region.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

The stigma of “Skinny men”

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This post is inspired by an embarrassing incident with one of my new and very good client that I met for the first time last week in Kigali, Rwanda.

I’m not going to into the details of this incident here,but suffice to say that a good business deal was clicked after some uncomfortable grilling by my client,in relation to my dwarfish stature.

It was even more uncomfortable for me since my client was a tall hefty lady.

In my regular medical check-ups,I always feel ridiculed when a physically endowed nurse quips after recording my body weight; “do you really eat?”

What I’m I supposed to think after such a statement?

Is it a complement?

Is it ridicule?

At 50 plus now,I weigh 56kg and height of 175 cm.

I grew up skinny. Athletic since birth, I was always very active and played a sport for every season from elementary school through high school.

To be totally honest, I was so skinny that rather than being bullied for being overweight, I was
bullied for being underweight.

Even though I was healthy and had an athletic build, I still didn’t break the 50kg. mark on the scale until I was a senior in high school.

Because I was skinny and had a fairly high self-esteem (as high as a high school boy can have), I never gave much thought to what I ate.

As long as it tasted good, I didn’t really care what it was made of where it came from – as evidenced by my numerous sausage eating contest with my friends over weekends.

When I was a senior in high school I started to purposefully put on weight so that I could gain more muscle mass. I ate as much as I could as often as I could and eventually I gained about 5kg – most of it muscle.

I finally stopped being ridiculed about my low weight and I felt like a true athlete for the first time in my life.

I had a very successful year of dating and I vowed that I would continue hitting the gym even when I went to college so that I wouldn’t
lose the muscle that I worked so hard for.

A funny thing happened in college – I kept up my promise to myself and continued to work out regularly and I actually lost about 5kg, rather than gaining the so-called “Freshman”
5kg.

Though my weight crept up slowly for the next four years, I still ate what I wanted, when I wanted and didn’t put any thought into it because I never saw any negative consequences from my actions. After
my 21st birthday, when my doctor expressed some concern about my lack of weight gain I started to eat everything I could get my
hands on.

Still, nothing. Zilch! No weight gain.

I started hitting the gym five days a week, but months went by and I didn’t see any results. I couldn’t gain the weight.

After a while of hitting the gym and trying to get back into the required shape of a “protective man” with big biceps, I got frustrated with the lack of results and basically gave up. I didn’t know what to do or how to feel.

I was very down on myself about my
weight and I forced myself to make peace with the fact that I
would never be “big”.

Growing up skinny had skewed my perception of weight so much that, to an extent, I shut down.

Food is something I’ve always loved. I love to cook and I love to sit at the dinner and enjoy a meal.

The office tea-girl

“Ugh. I wish I had your problem!!”

This has become a constant refrain from our office tea-girl.

Initially she used to urge me on to clear my tea biscuits.

She had no idea that I could eat all the servings on the table meant for all the staff and still not gain a gram in weight over a year.

After realising later on that I take hefty amounts of any type of food without adding on any weight,she only shrugged and remarked;”Uug,I wish I had your problem.”

Yes, my “problem,” annoyingly dismissed by so many well-meaning people throughout my life, is that I’ve always been chronically underweight. Stick-thin. Skin and bones. Nothing to me. Size 000. (Okay, they don’t
make a triple zero. But I was super jazzed the day they came out with the double so I wouldn’t have to buy clothes from the kids’ department, anymore.)

I never wanted to be this way. When I had high
school teachers accusing me of being anorexic, I wished they would have known that I actually
probably had the exact opposite type of disorder — an obsession with wanting to gain weight.

But I couldn’t.

And, as alone as I have often felt in this struggle, I know that I really am not.

Us skinnies are definitely in the minority, but there are plenty of people out there who are underweight and do not wish to be.

And lots of families with kids who were just like me, and “failing to thrive.”

Pick the tabs

I have however learnt to live with it.

I used to be thoroughly embarrassed when I took my friends oout for a treat,and the waiters would keep pushing the bills to my “bigger” friends; their reasoning,I presume is that the bigger guy has the ability to “pay” the bills!

Or when a client who has been referred to my office by another client keeps on insisting that he wants to talk to the “CEO”.

It is quite difficult to picture a “skinny CEO” when comparatively looking at other “bigger” staff.

I won’t even go into the social side of it-girls want bigger “protective men”.

The society expects your body size to reflect your “social status”.

The list is endless!

Who said only the “fat” people are shamed,ridiculed,and stigmatised!

Bernard Wainaina is an Independent Agribusiness Advisor and CEO at Profarms Consultants®,Nairobi,Kenya.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

A grilled monkey for my lunch at a Kinshasha food stall,and the economics of Ebola in the game meat business

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I’m hungry.

I’m hungry in Congo,Kinshasha,to be precise,

But I can’t see any food here,sorry,I mean,some decent food.

There is only very un-edifying portions on game meat on offer at the capital food stalls.

Anything from tortoise, snake and monkey meat is a mouth-watering delicacy that goes on the menu in Democratic Republic of Congo.

That may sound nauseating, to East Africans, but Congolese have experimented with so much bush meat that it has become part of them.

Yet it comes at a deadly cost.

Last year, it cost them 49 lives when a rural bush hunter in Jeera, about 1,000km north of Kinshasa stumbled upon a dead monkey. It became part of the family dinner.

Days later, the hunter, his wife and children were dead.

Medical personnel who attended to them died later as well.

It was the beginning of another Ebola outbreak in DRC.

Since then, Congolese have become wary about
game meat, but they just haven’t stayed away from it.

“It is our way of life…customers did not stop
buying when Ebola broke out,” says Mama
Jeanette Elofa, 53, who has operated a market stall since 1988.

When the Ebola outbreak was reported, game
meat suddenly was not as popular at Marche de
libertie Market, built in 2003 to honour former
President Laurent Kabila.

On a busy day, hundreds of residents flock to the market to buy food.

The shopping list includes game meat brought into the city from the south and North of the country.

To a visitor in Kinshasa, the display can leave you dealing with culture shock.

There is the stunning sight of charcoal grilled snake, monkey meat or antelope meat laid out for customers to sample.

Game meat, which is sold by part not in kilos can fetch from $15 (Sh1,320) at the low to a high of $30(Sh2,640) while tortoise meat can fetch $10(Sh880).

When cut up, each of the piece of flesh for sale can average about a kilo a piece just by visually judging.

There is no weighing scale in sight.

Mama Elofa’s stall can get pretty busy, especially on weekdays.

On a good week, she can collect $1,000(Sh88,000) cementing the vibrancy of the
business.

Or as the Congolese like to say, it accentuates
“Lokasa na mbongo” (the flow of money).

But that flow, for many stall owners, was rudely
interrupted when the Ebola outbreak was reported last August in DRC. Suddenly, the customers vanished and tonnes of game meat lay at the market uncollected by consumers.

“Before the outbreak, we could sell eight or nine monkeys a day. Since then, we sell much less. We don’t have Ebola in Kinshasa and our families are starving,” says Mama Maggie Noseka, 50.

She claims reports on Ebola have ruined their
business.

The Ebola outbreak has complicated the menu
option for many Congolese and they have to
balance between popular delicacy and their
health. It is a fact that concerns even the DRC
Health minister Dr Felix Kabange.

“Makaka (monkey meat) is a delicacy among
residents. But we have to encourage them to roast the meat first before bringing it to the market. The exposure to heat eliminates the presence of Ebola virus in the meat,” he says.

But education on the deadly virus has gone a
notch higher in markets of Kinshasa, the country’s largest arena for game meat.

It has included public announcements through loudspeakers around the market.

Even the most dingy market has a radio station run by government and discusses sex, personal health and Ebola, among other issues.

This is attributed in part to why Ebola was kept out of Kinshasa, a nightmare scenario that would put at risk 12million residents.

Even so, when the news about Ebola was over and World Health Organiation declared DRC Ebola free last November, meat customers were already trickling back to the stalls in search of their favourite game meat.

At the Kabila Market, Mama Maggie Noseka is
already busy calling customers to her stall
sprawling with a variety of bush meat. “I have
eaten game meat since I was a child and have
never fallen ill,” she says, a swarm of flies
hovering over the sight of charcoal grilled monkey meat spread in front of her.

“ I don’t fear Ebola, I have no relatives who have died of Ebola,” she says defiantly.”

But does she take preventive measures? “What
preventive measures?” With that, she turns to a
waiting customer who purchases a collection of
roasted snakes.

Mafuta Roseli is a regular seller of game meat.

She has a stock of four monkeys, which will fetch an average of $40 (Sh3,520). She says demand is high.

Another game meat dealer, Yangisa Ewayi, 55,
wonders why anyone would stop buying game
meat because of Ebola. He gets on average 100kg to 150kg a day of game meat from Bandundu and Bakongo.

The market is a beehive of activity on any day. Besides game meat, Ebola notwithstanding, vegetables, clothes, shoes, dress materials find their way on the floor of stalls.

Talk of cultural shock!

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

My journey,alone

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I am an old man,
holding my walking stick in one hand,
A handkerchief on the other hand to wipe sweat off my brows.

I can see very far,though my eyesight is failing,
But in this last journey,I must walk alone.

My feet are heavy now, but on I go,
My head erect beneath the tragic toll of many years.

The way is steep, but I would have it so;
And dusty, but I lay-off the dust with my tears,
Though none can see me weep: alone I climb
The rugged path that leads me out of time –
Out of time and out of all;

Singing yet in sun and rain,
‘Heel and toe from dawn to dusk,
Round the world and home again.’
Farewell the hope that mocked, farewell despair
That went before me still and made the pace.

The earth is full of graves, and mine was there
Even before my life began, my resting-place;
And I shall find it out and be with my fellow dead men
Lie down for ever, all my sayings said –
Deeds all done and songs all sung,
While others chant in sun and rain,
‘Heel and toe from dawn to dusk,
Round the world and home again.’

This is my last journey,
And in this journey,
I know,and I have always known,
That I must walk alone.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Tessa

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Your kindness and your smile will always light up the world of those unhappy and unfortunate people.

I thank God for allowing me to meet you and thank you for teaching me kindness.

I promised myself to do good things in your honour, regardless of whether you love me or not on the day I met you.

TO me you are more than someone I love, a
teacher, a friend and a motivator.

You have motivated me to do good things in my life.

I am not a good person, but every time I think of the good things you do, I would like to change. I know you are a quiet, shy and homely girl.

Among all the girls I have ever met in my life, you are the kindest.

You are the prettiest girl I know in my life.

The reason I like you is not because of your beauty, but your kindness,and that inspires me to be kind too.

I know you do charity to help poor children and this has been an ambition of mine during childhood days which I forgot, and I thank you for bringing kindness back into my life.

I can’t speak French very well, but I
learned it to speak to you.

You are the kindest girl I ever met in my life, no girl I knew in my life is even close to you.

What I love about you is your kindness, you may not be the prettiest girl in the world, but you are the prettiest girl to me because you are
kind, gentle , honest and caring.

You are a girl that any guy would dream of.

A kind that will come only once in every million years.

I helped an old grandma in my neighbourhood to clean up the house, I usually don’t do that,but I learnt it from you.

I know you are kind and I want to learn to be kind like you,away from this cold man that I normally am.

Your kindness is contagious, like a light to my life.

I learnt to cook because I know you like homely guys and I would also love to cook for the
unfortunate people, I promise you this, if I ever grow rich, I will promise myself to make sure I will always help those around me in your
honour.

I really love you,how I wish I could wake up every morning with you beside me and I would cook for you,and your big family of homeless and elderly people breakfast, I love to cook and to be a family man.

I wish I could help clean your house and look after your parents when they are old.

It is said that if you love a woman, you will love their family too.

I wish I could take care of them.

If you do not like me I am still ok.

I just want to be a friend who will help during happy and times of hardship.

It is my honour to help a person as kind as you.

The reason I do not go after you is because I want you to have a better guy than me who has more to offer.

I am afraid I cannot live up to my promise of being a good guy.

I’d rather lose you than to make you unhappy.

Everything I do is in the interest of you. But I only want one thing from you,and that is to be your friend when you need me.

My love for you has no boundaries.

I thought to myself; if I really love you and I know I do,the best thing is to let you be,to let you serve the poor and the unfortunate without my distraction.

You have stolen my heart.

I ask myself this, if one day you do not look pretty anymore would I still love you?

And yes,I still would,because of kindness,and that never changes!

I thought hard and I told myself I would proudly go out and let everybody know I love you.

Looks is only physical part, but no one can ever take this away from you;

Your kindness.

I will love you no matter what happens.

Please take care of yourself.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Detachment eases the baggage that our life-long experiences use to hold us back from greatness

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Detachment is the art of withdrawing desire from lesser things, letting them fall away, so
as to harness their power to reach the heights of what a human being can attain.

I’m surprised that there is one great lesson about life that can be learned from Rocket Science…

When scientists began contemplating the conquest of space, the first problem they encountered – a problem that had to be solved before they could make any headway at all – was how to get beyond the pull of the earth’s gravity.

A rocket has to build up a speed of twenty-five thousand miles per hour to escape this pull, and engineers quickly ran into a kind of “catch-22”: to attain this speed, an ordinary rocket
would have to be so large that its sheer weight would never allow it to escape the pull of gravity.

Yet the human spirit delights in overcoming
obstacles.

Undaunted, scientists finally came up with
the idea of a multi-stage rocket, with one or more independent boosters attached.

Each booster holds fuel, which it burns in one great leap upward.

As soon as its fuel is expended, its job is done and the booster is dropped, freeing the spacecraft from the burden of its great weight.

This is how our very own life should play-out;we shouldn’t drag the unnecessary baggage from our past life into the future.

This is the kind of journey that in our own life brings an overflowing, ever-present
sense of joy.

The Buddha, who almost never talked about himself, once admitted quietly, “I am the
happiest of mortals. There is no one happier than I am.”

This is the joy for which every one of us is born.

Not tuppenny-ha’penny pleasures, not tinsel delights or costume jewellery, but a jewel that is beyond price: the jewel hidden in the very depths of our hearts.

Detachment not only releases joy; it is also the
secret of health.

It is the best medical insurance in the world, and not only because it can keep us free from physical habits that sap our vitality.

Most illness has a serious emotional element.

While there is an important place for physical measures in the treatment of disease, a mind at peace and a heart flooded with love can release healing powers that strengthen and revitalize the physical system.

Strength can be regained even after years of
emotional instability.

In extreme cases, I believe recovery can be brought about even from what seems a terminal illness.

Today, of course, it is widely appreciated that
because of advances in medical knowledge, we can expect to live much longer than was reasonable at the beginning of the twentieth century.

But we can lead lives that are not only longer but richer, more loving, and more productive.

The next steps in stretching the limits of human health and longevity, I believe, will not be in biotechnology.

They will come from learning to govern the way we think and feel.

Detachment is a longevity skill.

Freedom from compulsive emotional entanglements is the best insurance against stress.

More than that, by opening a window onto a fuller, loftier view of life than that dictated by self-interest, detachment brings a sense
of purpose.

Without a reason for living, the human
being withers and dies inside.

However paradoxical it may sound, it is detachment that enables us to give ourselves wholeheartedly to worthwhile work without
ever getting depressed, despondent, or burned out – right into the last days of our lives.

Most people who work hard – which means most men and women – bring their work
home with them, yapping like a poodle at their heels.

At the dinner table, when they sit thinking about their deadlines and responsibilities, the poodle is nestled under the chair, whining away.

They curl up with it at night and dream about reports that haven’t been filed, statistics that don’t point to the right conclusions, mail that hasn’t been responded to or that has been sent out with the wrong memo attached.

Detachment gives us the capacity to
concentrate completely while on the job and to drop our work completely when we walk out the door.

A detached worker is a reliable worker, a
cheerful worker, a harmonious worker.

And when you can drop your work completely at the end of the day, you arrive home ready to give all your love to your family and friends.

You feel fresh, relaxed.

You have no need to give vent to the kind of frustration that millions of good people air: “Leave me alone. I’ve had a misera-ble day!”

Mahatma Gandhi worked fifteen hours a day for fifty years for all of us who want a politically free world.

When he was asked,“Don’t you want a vacation, Mr. Gandhi?” he said quietly, “I’m always on vacation.”

It wasn’t a flippant reply; he meant every word of it. So don’t content yourself with two weeks in July or two weeks at a sunbath resort in January.

You deserve three hundred and sixty-five days of vacation, and that is exactly what detachment can give you.

Detachment brings this kind of protection at
every stage of life.

Many of the physical problems associated with old age, for example, are not at all a
necessary part of aging.

The fact that they are common does not mean they are inevitable.

Not only senility but even certain physical problems may well have more to do with life-style and thought-style than with changes triggered by some biological clock.

As researchers have observed, we have focused
so much on “ordinary aging” – what happens to the majority – that we have ignored “successful aging,” which we can observe in men and women like Mahatma Gandhi, George Bernard Shaw, and Mother Teresa, who grow in wisdom and vitality right into the last days of a long, creative, fulfilling life.

I grant you that in the evening of your life you may not be able to compete successfully on Centre Court at Wimbledon.

But every one of us can enjoy the vitality,
resourcefulness, and unerring judgment that come from a heart full of love and a vast reservoir of experience.

Detachment and love relationships

In English the word detachment sounds passive,
callous, unfeeling.

Yet it is just the opposite, and the best way to see this is to look at its application in personal relationships.

Sanskrit have two words that are often
translated as “love” – two words with a world of
difference between them, and the difference is
detachment.

Prema is pure love, in which I want nothing but your happiness. Your joy is my joy.

Karma, on the other hand, is self-centered personal attachment, generally with romantic overtones.

In the language of karma, “I love you” means “you please me.” It also follows this with a condition:”You have to love me back!”

Most of us need no formal introduction to
karma.

Selfish attachment(reward & punishment) is what holds most romantic novels together, what most popular songs are based on, what most films depict in graphic detail.

It is discouragingly easy to mistake selfish
attachment for love if we do not really know what love is.

If you want to see some of the greatest lov-
ers of all time, don’t look to Romeo or Juliet; look at Saint Francis of Assisi, or lovely Saint Teresa of Avila.

All you need do is read Teresa’s autobiograph-ical accounts to know that she lived in the empire of love.

What a won-derful paradox: to know what love
means, we have to turn to men and women who we say have “renounced the world”!

Listen to Jacob Boehme, the “cosmic cobbler” of medieval Germany, as he tells us how he knew when he was in love – eternal love:

No life can express, nor tongue so much as
name, what this enflaming, all-consuming love of God is.

It is brighter than the sun, it is sweeter than
anything called sweet; it is stronger than all strength;
it is more nutrimental than food, more cheering to the heart than wine, and more pleasant than all the joy and pleasantness of the world.

Whoever obtaineth it is richer than any monarch on earth; and he who getteth it is nobler than any emperor can be,and more potent and absolute than all power and
authority.

Boehme is talking about love in the truest sense.

The mark of true love is as simple as it is rare: it is detachment from the tangle of personal motives that makes us seek happiness in making others conform to our desires.

Detachment and love go hand in hand.

When all selfish attachments are gone, what is
left is pure love.

The other person is so dear to you that you never have to ask yourself the question,
“What is she going to give me?” – in the way of
respect, of affection, of loyalty.

Once you efface that question from your vocabulary completely, you and that person are no longer separate; both of you are one. That is what love means.

The secret to transforming relationships through detachment

All of us begin the quest for love with a great deal of selfish attachment. That is human nature.

But with the help of meditation and the allied disciplines we can diminish this selfish element day by day, by putting the welfare of those around us first and our own personal predilections last.

But practicing detachment in personal
relationships does not come easily.

No other arena of life is more challenging.

Disrupted relationships are endemic today, and not because people are immoral or because they don’t care about one another; they just don’t know how to develop detachment.

If you cannot stand back from your own
pleasure and profit, you cannot help manipulating other people.

Naturally, this kind of manipulation corrodes loyal relationships of any kind.

It leads to their speedy end, as we can see in the lives of millions of lonely people today.

When you practice detachment continuously – at home, at work, among friends, and especially with difficult people – you will find how much security it brings you in your relationships.

A spiritually detached person, which to me means a very loving person, will never allow relationships to degenerate to stimulus and response.

The test is simple: Even if you are angry with me, can I stay calm and loving with you and help you overcome your anger?

If you persist in disliking me, can I continue to like you?

For it is when you dislike me that I have all the more reason to be loyal to you, to show you what loyalty really means.

This problem of disliking people, which is a very
common one today, is essentially a problem of
disliking the images we have formed of them.

It is a reflection on us rather than on those we do not like.

For in almost all human relationships, we see others not as they really are but as we are.

To a suspicious person, everybody seems suspect; to a resentful person, every action is worthy of resentment.

Similarly, to a loving person, everybody is worthy of love; every occasion is an opportunity to practice love.

It is not that situations never get difficult when
you are detached, or that people are never
unpleasant.

But the choice of response is in your hands.

All of us can develop the detachment not to
react to the way we are treated.

This is the easiest, most effective way to solve problems in human relationships.

I once read a good aphorism from Buckminster
Fuller. “We are not nouns,” he says pointedly; “we are verbs.”

People who are content with rigid images of
others are thinking of themselves and others as
nouns, as things.

Those who keep trying to get closer to others, to understand and appreciate them more all the time, are verbs: active, creative, dynamic, able
to change themselves and to make changes in the world they live in.

Here is the practical difference: When we don’t
like somebody, we say, “He upsets me. I’m not going to go near him.”

That relationship is static; it has no chance of improving.

On the other hand, when we can go against our dislikes, we can actually enjoy the opportunity such a person presents us.

Just imagine the freedom!

We enjoy being with people who like us,
of course, but we can also enjoy being with people who don’t like us.

Sometimes I think Gandhi used to look forward to this kind of opportunity, because he knew it would draw up from within him the deeper
creative resources he needed for his work.

Without this kind of freedom, “love” is more an
inclination that comes and goes like the wind.

When your girlfriend is catering to you, doing all the things you like, you say you love her.

But when she turns around and does something that irritates you, you blurt out, “Get lost!”

Doesn’t this happen all too often?

To love truly, you must be able to love when
things are going your way and equally well when things are not going your way.

This is the test of detachment.

After all, when your partner is being especially nice to you, it’s easy to be pleasant in return.

It is when she goes out of her way to offend
you that you should not walk out.

That is just the time to sit by her side and for every unkind word she utters, as Jesus says, give her seven words that are kind.

For every shove she gives you, try to move that
much closer.

To do this at home in the morning, at work
throughout the day, and then in the evening among family and friends, you have to have a good measure of detachment from yourself.

These are challenges that can appeal to us deeply: the “acts of will” that Saint Teresa of Avila says the Lord wants of us.

They are difficult, but they can be practiced, and to great effect.

To grow to our full potential in love, we need
to try every day to develop a little more detachment from ourselves.

Those who get angry and walk out, who get resentful and won’t sit at the same table with
others, are refusing to try to grow.

Their problem can be solved very simply, to the benefit of everyone around them: they need to practice detachment every day in every situation, in every relationship.

This reminds me of a beautiful incident from the life of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, a young woman of our own century of whom I am very fond.

In her convent was a certain nun who had a knack for alienating others.

She seemed always to be waiting for someone to upset.

Naturally her sisters tended to avoid her – even Thérèse, the Little Flower, as she is sweetly called.

No one meant to be unkind; it was just that avoiding the unpleasant is so natural.

Then, with a shock, Thérèse realized what she
had been doing.

With her, as with Saint Francis – here is the mark of a saint! – to understand was to
act.

Immediately she began to make a point of giving her irritating sister a smile, answering her with kind words, doing little things to help her: although inside, she confesses, she used to wince with the effort.

One day, in a moment of marvelous simplicity,
that nun stopped Thérèse and surprised her with a question. “Sister, whenever we meet, you always give me such a sweet smile. Will you please tell me what attracts you so much to me?”

“Ah!” Thérèse confides to us. “How could I tell
her that what attracts me is Jesus, hidden in the
depths of her soul – Jesus who makes sweet that
which is most bitter!”

Jesus had taught her, “Bless them that curse you.

Do good to them that hate you.” That is love at its greatest.

In order to love like this, we cannot be attached to ourselves.

It is because we think so much about ourselves that we strike back, show resentment, speak harshly, move away.

Jesus’ words do not mean agreeing with
everything people say or supporting whatever they do.

In my role as a teacher wayback in time, I sometimes had to oppose people I love. Yet I did it tenderly, and I haven’t lost a single student friend from that part of my past.

On the contrary, my not so good friends now say, “Here is somebody who will stand by me
through thick and thin. If I make a mistake, he’ll support me, but he’ll do his best not to let me make that mistake again. If I’m going astray, he’ll bar my way with loving arms.”

As Shakespeare says, “Love bears it out even to
the edge of doom.” This is the secret of loving.

Let me repeat, for a long, long time everybody finds it difficult.

Everybody finds it distressing.

But when you go to bed after a day of practicing this kind of love, you know that you have grown.

You can stand against the wall and see that you have grown a full inch in spiritual stature.

Inch by inch, day by day, you can grow until your head is crowned with the stars.

That is our human destiny – the destiny for which all of us have been born.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Detachment eases the baggage that our life experiences use to hold us back from greatness

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, , , , , , ,


Detachment is the art of withdrawing desire from lesser things, letting them fall away, so
as to harness their power to reach the heights of what a human being can attain.

I’m surprised that there is one great lesson about life that can be learned from Rocket Science…

When scientists began contemplating the conquest of space, the first problem they encountered – a problem that had to be solved before they could make any headway at all – was how to get beyond the pull of the earth’s gravity.

A rocket has to build up a speed of twenty-five thousand miles per hour to escape this pull, and engineers quickly ran into a kind of “catch-22”: to attain this speed, an ordinary rocket
would have to be so large that its sheer weight would never allow it to escape the pull of gravity.

Yet the human spirit delights in overcoming
obstacles.

Undaunted, scientists finally came up with
the idea of a multi-stage rocket, with one or more independent boosters attached.

Each booster holds fuel, which it burns in one great leap upward.

As soon as its fuel is expended, its job is done and the booster is dropped, freeing the spacecraft from the burden of its great weight.

This is how our very own life should play-out;we shouldn’t drag the unnecessary baggage from our past life into the future.

This is the kind of journey that in our own life brings an overflowing, ever-present
sense of joy.

The Buddha, who almost never talked about himself, once admitted quietly, “I am the
happiest of mortals. There is no one happier than I am.”

This is the joy for which every one of us is born.

Not tuppenny-ha’penny pleasures, not tinsel delights or costume jewellery, but a jewel that is beyond price: the jewel hidden in the very depths of our hearts.

Detachment not only releases joy; it is also the
secret of health.

It is the best medical insurance in the world, and not only because it can keep us free from physical habits that sap our vitality.

Most illness has a serious emotional element.

While there is an important place for physical measures in the treatment of disease, a mind at peace and a heart flooded with love can release healing powers that strengthen and revitalize the physical system.

Strength can be regained even after years of
emotional instability.

In extreme cases, I believe recovery can be brought about even from what seems a terminal illness.

Today, of course, it is widely appreciated that
because of advances in medical knowledge, we can expect to live much longer than was reasonable at the beginning of the twentieth century.

But we can lead lives that are not only longer but richer, more loving, and more productive.

The next steps in stretching the limits of human health and longevity, I believe, will not be in biotechnology.

They will come from learning to govern the way we think and feel.

Detachment is a longevity skill.

Freedom from compulsive emotional entanglements is the best insurance against stress.

More than that, by opening a window onto a fuller, loftier view of life than that dictated by self-interest, detachment brings a sense
of purpose.

Without a reason for living, the human
being withers and dies inside.

However paradoxical it may sound, it is detachment that enables us to give ourselves wholeheartedly to worthwhile work without
ever getting depressed, despondent, or burned out – right into the last days of our lives.

Most people who work hard – which means most men and women – bring their work
home with them, yapping like a poodle at their heels.

At the dinner table, when they sit thinking about their deadlines and responsibilities, the poodle is nestled under the chair, whining away.

They curl up with it at night and dream about reports that haven’t been filed, statistics that don’t point to the right conclusions, mail that hasn’t been responded to or that has been sent out with the wrong memo attached.

Detachment gives us the capacity to
concentrate completely while on the job and to drop our work completely when we walk out the door.

A detached worker is a reliable worker, a
cheerful worker, a harmonious worker.

And when you can drop your work completely at the end of the day, you arrive home ready to give all your love to your family and friends.

You feel fresh, relaxed.

You have no need to give vent to the kind of frustration that millions of good people air: “Leave me alone. I’ve had a misera-ble day!”

Mahatma Gandhi worked fifteen hours a day for fifty years for all of us who want a politically free world.

When he was asked,“Don’t you want a vacation, Mr. Gandhi?” he said quietly, “I’m always on vacation.”

It wasn’t a flippant reply; he meant every word of it. So don’t content yourself with two weeks in July or two weeks at a sunbath resort in January.

You deserve three hundred and sixty-five days of vacation, and that is exactly what detachment can give you.

Detachment brings this kind of protection at
every stage of life.

Many of the physical problems associated with old age, for example, are not at all a
necessary part of aging.

The fact that they are common does not mean they are inevitable.

Not only senility but even certain physical problems may well have more to do with life-style and thought-style than with changes triggered by some biological clock.

As researchers have observed, we have focused
so much on “ordinary aging” – what happens to the majority – that we have ignored “successful aging,” which we can observe in men and women like Mahatma Gandhi, George Bernard Shaw, and Mother Teresa, who grow in wisdom and vitality right into the last days of a long, creative, fulfilling life.

I grant you that in the evening of your life you may not be able to compete successfully on Centre Court at Wimbledon.

But every one of us can enjoy the vitality,
resourcefulness, and unerring judgment that come from a heart full of love and a vast reservoir of experience.

Detachment and love relationships

In English the word detachment sounds passive,
callous, unfeeling.

Yet it is just the opposite, and the best way to see this is to look at its application in personal relationships.

Sanskrit have two words that are often
translated as “love” – two words with a world of
difference between them, and the difference is
detachment.

Prema is pure love, in which I want nothing but your happiness. Your joy is my joy.

Karma, on the other hand, is self-centered personal attachment, generally with romantic overtones.

In the language of karma, “I love you” means “you please me.” It also follows this with a condition:”You have to love me back!”

Most of us need no formal introduction to
karma.

Selfish attachment(reward & punishment) is what holds most romantic novels together, what most popular songs are based on, what most films depict in graphic detail.

It is discouragingly easy to mistake selfish
attachment for love if we do not really know what love is.

If you want to see some of the greatest lov-
ers of all time, don’t look to Romeo or Juliet; look at Saint Francis of Assisi, or lovely Saint Teresa of Avila.

All you need do is read Teresa’s autobiograph-ical accounts to know that she lived in the empire of love.

What a won-derful paradox: to know what love
means, we have to turn to men and women who we say have “renounced the world”!

Listen to Jacob Boehme, the “cosmic cobbler” of medieval Germany, as he tells us how he knew when he was in love – eternal love:

No life can express, nor tongue so much as
name, what this enflaming, all-consuming love of God is.

It is brighter than the sun, it is sweeter than
anything called sweet; it is stronger than all strength;
it is more nutrimental than food, more cheering to the heart than wine, and more pleasant than all the joy and pleasantness of the world.

Whoever obtaineth it is richer than any monarch on earth; and he who getteth it is nobler than any emperor can be,and more potent and absolute than all power and
authority.

Boehme is talking about love in the truest sense.

The mark of true love is as simple as it is rare: it is detachment from the tangle of personal motives that makes us seek happiness in making others conform to our desires.

Detachment and love go hand in hand.

When all selfish attachments are gone, what is
left is pure love.

The other person is so dear to you that you never have to ask yourself the question,
“What is she going to give me?” – in the way of
respect, of affection, of loyalty.

Once you efface that question from your vocabulary completely, you and that person are no longer separate; both of you are one. That is what love means.

The secret to transforming relationships through detachment

All of us begin the quest for love with a great deal of selfish attachment. That is human nature.

But with the help of meditation and the allied disciplines we can diminish this selfish element day by day, by putting the welfare of those around us first and our own personal predilections last.

But practicing detachment in personal
relationships does not come easily.

No other arena of life is more challenging.

Disrupted relationships are endemic today, and not because people are immoral or because they don’t care about one another; they just don’t know how to develop detachment.

If you cannot stand back from your own
pleasure and profit, you cannot help manipulating other people.

Naturally, this kind of manipulation corrodes loyal relationships of any kind.

It leads to their speedy end, as we can see in the lives of millions of lonely people today.

When you practice detachment continuously – at home, at work, among friends, and especially with difficult people – you will find how much security it brings you in your relationships.

A spiritually detached person, which to me means a very loving person, will never allow relationships to degenerate to stimulus and response.

The test is simple: Even if you are angry with me, can I stay calm and loving with you and help you overcome your anger?

If you persist in disliking me, can I continue to like you?

For it is when you dislike me that I have all the more reason to be loyal to you, to show you what loyalty really means.

This problem of disliking people, which is a very
common one today, is essentially a problem of
disliking the images we have formed of them.

It is a reflection on us rather than on those we do not like.

For in almost all human relationships, we see others not as they really are but as we are.

To a suspicious person, everybody seems suspect; to a resentful person, every action is worthy of resentment.

Similarly, to a loving person, everybody is worthy of love; every occasion is an opportunity to practice love.

It is not that situations never get difficult when
you are detached, or that people are never
unpleasant.

But the choice of response is in your hands.

All of us can develop the detachment not to
react to the way we are treated.

This is the easiest, most effective way to solve problems in human relationships.

I once read a good aphorism from Buckminster
Fuller. “We are not nouns,” he says pointedly; “we are verbs.”

People who are content with rigid images of
others are thinking of themselves and others as
nouns, as things.

Those who keep trying to get closer to others, to understand and appreciate them more all the time, are verbs: active, creative, dynamic, able
to change themselves and to make changes in the world they live in.

Here is the practical difference: When we don’t
like somebody, we say, “He upsets me. I’m not going to go near him.”

That relationship is static; it has no chance of improving.

On the other hand, when we can go against our dislikes, we can actually enjoy the opportunity such a person presents us.

Just imagine the freedom!

We enjoy being with people who like us,
of course, but we can also enjoy being with people who don’t like us.

Sometimes I think Gandhi used to look forward to this kind of opportunity, because he knew it would draw up from within him the deeper
creative resources he needed for his work.

Without this kind of freedom, “love” is more an
inclination that comes and goes like the wind.

When your girlfriend is catering to you, doing all the things you like, you say you love her.

But when she turns around and does something that irritates you, you blurt out, “Get lost!”

Doesn’t this happen all too often?

To love truly, you must be able to love when
things are going your way and equally well when things are not going your way.

This is the test of detachment.

After all, when your partner is being especially nice to you, it’s easy to be pleasant in return.

It is when she goes out of her way to offend
you that you should not walk out.

That is just the time to sit by her side and for every unkind word she utters, as Jesus says, give her seven words that are kind.

For every shove she gives you, try to move that
much closer.

To do this at home in the morning, at work
throughout the day, and then in the evening among family and friends, you have to have a good measure of detachment from yourself.

These are challenges that can appeal to us deeply: the “acts of will” that Saint Teresa of Avila says the Lord wants of us.

They are difficult, but they can be practiced, and to great effect.

To grow to our full potential in love, we need
to try every day to develop a little more detachment from ourselves.

Those who get angry and walk out, who get resentful and won’t sit at the same table with
others, are refusing to try to grow.

Their problem can be solved very simply, to the benefit of everyone around them: they need to practice detachment every day in every situation, in every relationship.

This reminds me of a beautiful incident from the life of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, a young woman of our own century of whom I am very fond.

In her convent was a certain nun who had a knack for alienating others.

She seemed always to be waiting for someone to upset.

Naturally her sisters tended to avoid her – even Thérèse, the Little Flower, as she is sweetly called.

No one meant to be unkind; it was just that avoiding the unpleasant is so natural.

Then, with a shock, Thérèse realized what she
had been doing.

With her, as with Saint Francis – here is the mark of a saint! – to understand was to
act.

Immediately she began to make a point of giving her irritating sister a smile, answering her with kind words, doing little things to help her: although inside, she confesses, she used to wince with the effort.

One day, in a moment of marvelous simplicity,
that nun stopped Thérèse and surprised her with a question. “Sister, whenever we meet, you always give me such a sweet smile. Will you please tell me what attracts you so much to me?”

“Ah!” Thérèse confides to us. “How could I tell
her that what attracts me is Jesus, hidden in the
depths of her soul – Jesus who makes sweet that
which is most bitter!”

Jesus had taught her, “Bless them that curse you.

Do good to them that hate you.” That is love at its greatest.

In order to love like this, we cannot be attached to ourselves.

It is because we think so much about ourselves that we strike back, show resentment, speak harshly, move away.

Jesus’ words do not mean agreeing with
everything people say or supporting whatever they do.

In my role as a teacher wayback in time, I sometimes had to oppose people I love. Yet I did it tenderly, and I haven’t lost a single student friend from that part of my past.

On the contrary, my not so good friends now say, “Here is somebody who will stand by me
through thick and thin. If I make a mistake, he’ll support me, but he’ll do his best not to let me make that mistake again. If I’m going astray, he’ll bar my way with loving arms.”

As Shakespeare says, “Love bears it out even to
the edge of doom.” This is the secret of loving.

Let me repeat, for a long, long time everybody finds it difficult.

Everybody finds it distressing.

But when you go to bed after a day of practicing this kind of love, you know that you have grown.

You can stand against the wall and see that you have grown a full inch in spiritual stature.

Inch by inch, day by day, you can grow until your head is crowned with the stars.

That is our human destiny – the destiny for which all of us have been born.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Heck! There are a thousand things I like about you,and then some more….

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I’m sitting here wondering
I’m sitting here thinking
Thinking, wondering about you,
What it is about you that I like
And I can’t seem to stop thinking
Of the endless things I like about you.

I’m caved in my little haven thinking
I like your lopsided smile, I like your laugh,
I like your simplicity, I like your lightheartedness,
I like your down to earth attitude
I like your adventurous spirit
I like your generosity and giving spirit.

And just when I think I’ve ran out of things
Things I like about you, then another thought pops in my head…
I like the way you take life as it comes,
I like your open mindedness,
I like your non judgmental attitude
I like the way you bring out your inner child
I like the way you are eager to learn and embrace new things.

I still keep thinking
I like the way your eyes light up
As you narrate about things that you like
In a spirited and animated way
I like the way you absorb in things
Even the nitty gritty details that most can’t be
bothered with
And that you remember them when necessary,
I like the way you can carry a deep conversation
I like your humour and that you don’t take life too seriously.

Wait, there’s still more things I like about you
That can’t fit in this limited media
That can’t all be said in a day, week, month or year
That can take a lifetime for me to say
Things that can only be appreciated forever
All this made me realize
That I like you, for you
And everything you are all about,
That I won’t be running out of things
That make me like you that easily
And it made me realize
That you must be a very special person
For me to sit down and think and wonder
And come up with an endless list
Of all the reasons I like you, and more….

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Lessons on love from the Wild; Like a dik dik, hold on to love that is yours and stray no more!

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I’m always fascinated by animal behaviour,especially more so because animals cannot tell us their thoughts,or explain their behaviour;we can only collate their perspectives about life from observing their behaviour.

I visited Samburu last week,and I saw dikdiks.

Those lucky enough to have the opportunity
to visit our national parks in Kenya, especially in areas of Samburu or Tsavo must have seen a very small gazelle, the dikdik.

It is the second smallest gazelle from the suni family.

It is also possible to see them outside the parks,
especially in semi-arid environment.

Being very small and not fast enough, the dikdiks are usually vulnerable to their predators.

The female poses tiny pointed horns that may be
basically useless against predators.

Although males develop slightly tougher horns, they use them more in courtship displays, and
against other males when protecting a territory.

But the horns are basically useless against the super predators.

Against all this odds, dikdiks still thrive and
are not among the endangered species. How
do they do it?

They employ what we call disruptive camouflage.

When danger calls they stand very still against a brush of dry vegetation, which effectively merges with the colour of the gazelle.

They don’t even blink.

Even with very sharp eyes of the eagles, it
would be very difficult to spot a dikdik if it has
already seen the enemy.

Another method the dikdik uses as a way of avoiding being eaten is to limit their numbers per territory.

They do this by chasing their children away from home as soon as they are weaned.

When they keep the numbers per area to minimum two, then there are ample areas to hide and also enough food to eat, so they don’t have to wonder around a large area looking for grazing ground.

In the bush, most times you will find the dikdiks living in twos.

Male and female. If there is a third one, it may well be a juvenile on his way out of home.

When they are feeding, one member of the couple would be watching, while the other one feeds.

They alternate as such and keep their back covered all the time.

In this case then, it is right to say that that dikdiks pair for life.

They are as celibate as the French and stay
true to the adage, “till death do we part”.

In their quest to protect their small territories, they mark the boundaries with a smelly oily secretions from a preorbital gland situated below the eyes.

They also deposit their dung in a communal spot, more like using a common toilet.

But at times, consumed by the male ego to show off to his wife, his will and commitment to protect her, he does it all the way to death.

He may become so preoccupied to watching
out for invading males, that he forgets that trouble may fall from heavens. The sky can fall.

I was driving around in Samburu National Park with clients on ecological study.

We were to be there for three days and each
time we went out for a game drive, the drive out of the lodge was the same.

There was a small thicket near the lodge which had a big acacia umbrella tree growing in the middle.

There was this couple of dikdiks that lived there.
They had made a good heap of dung in a small clearing to mark their territory.

The tree was also in the path of elephants heading to the river.

One day, a herd of elephants decided to use
the tree near the river as a shade.

As usual, they destroyed the bushes around the tree and there was no more ground cover for the dikdiks.

The elephants also dropped their dung all over the place, including on the dung heap of the dikdiks.

Thinking that the elephants were claiming their territory, the male dikdik waited until the elephants left the shade, then carefully dropped a pellet of his dung on top of the huge dropping of the elephant.

He was busy reclaiming his territory and reassuring his wife that however big the elephant dung was, his was on the top and the territory was restored.

He did not notice that he was completely in the open.

The bush cover had been destroyed by the elephants.

The female was well hidden away from the clearing but watching keenly what the male was doing.

Suddenly, the sky came tumbling down on the male dikdik.

A huge martial eagle had spotted the male dikdik from above and came down for lunch.

Sometimes it becomes necessary to change your
mind when situation changes,but who said love is a reasonable state of mind?

The male dikdik was only trying to hold to love that was his,and his alone;for that noble cause,he paid with his life!

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

After we stop trying so hard to chase “happiness,” to control life and make it look the way it ought to look, then we can probably begin to have a pretty good time

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“If only we’d stop trying to be happy, we could
have a pretty good time.” ~Edith Wharton

Eighteen years ago a well-known Zen Master
accepted me as a long distance student.

In one of our first email exchanges I wrote, “Dear Teacher, I am trying to sit every day for thirty minutes and in my practice I am trying to follow my breath.”

“Please,” he wrote back, “stop trying. You are your breath.”

I remember reading his words and feeling
perplexed, confused, almost annoyed.

What in the world did he mean?

Wasn’t it obvious that we had no choice but to be our breath?

Weren’t we all breathing beings?

And how did “being breath” in the end relate to my life, to my meditation, to my hope of becoming a better human being.

When my teacher’s words arrived, getting to my meditation mat was a huge effort.

Once I finally managed to get to the meditation
mat, I would set the timer and start counting my
breath: one (breathe in), two (breathe out), three (breathe in), four (breathe out), five (breathe in), six (breathe out), seven (breathe in)…

Needless to say, my thoughts would
immediately jump in and I would find myself
losing track of my breath and my counting.

I would have to start back from number one,
only to see the distractions appear all over
again.

I don’t remember ever getting to number
ten.

Not only was carving out thirty minutes for
meditation a huge effort, even the apparently
simple task of counting the breaths revealed itself to be an exhausting endeavour.

I knew at an intuitive level that it shouldn’t have
been like that—I knew that my teacher was right—but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what I was doing wrong.

It took me eight years, and many major life crises, failures, losses, and divorce to understand the meaning of his words.

Now that my life has fallen apart like I never
thought it would or could, I know what my Zen
teacher meant: I was trying too hard.

I can now see that in my meditation I was not
actually “following” my breath.

I was trying, very hard, to catch it.

I was chasing it. I was trying to grasp it, trying to hold onto it, trying to make it fit into my orderly numbered, counting boxes.

I was trying so hard to reign it in. I was trying so hard to control it.

Once I realised that, it only took a moment of self- honesty and one quick look at myself to see how that same impulse to control my breath was
operating in all aspects of my life.

I was “trying” to be a good man and always
promptly responded to needs of others, even when their needs could have probably waited just a bit longer—enough, maybe, to give me a chance to finish a chore or a much treasured cup of tea.

I was “trying” to be a good man and “tried” to
always be available for conversation, even when all I wanted and most needed was some quiet time to myself or simply some peace to concentrate on cooking my dinner.

I was “trying” to be the do-it-all man and took on a full-time teaching job, one hour away, while still teaching evening music classes.

I was “trying” to keep the social life of the family rich and fun and took on social commitments during the weekend even though most of it needed to be spent cleaning my house or going to a walk.

Just like I did with my breathing, I was chasing
my life in the attempt to reign it in, to catch it,
to grasp it in the hope of gaining some control
over it.

It took a messy divorce and loss of my financial security, two moves in less then a year, financial
uncertainty, and more losses of friends to finally
admit that I just could not “try” anymore.

I could no longer make my life unfold the way I
wanted it to unfold or make it look the way I
thought it should look.

I could no longer “try” to make people happy; I
could no longer be what I thought they wanted me to be.

I desperately wanted healing, and yet I didn’t even have the physical strength or the mental clarity to begin to mend the broken pieces of my shattered life.

Unlike other financially stable people, I could not take off and go on a meditation retreat in India in the hope to find my own lost self; my cat and dogs needed me.

Nor could I go to Sychelles to be with my
friends who had gone there on vacation.

Instead, I found myself completely alone after
having lost the entire social circle I shared in my failed marriage, and after moving to a small apartment in a struggling small rural town where I had no connections whatsoever.

There, I had no choice but to confront my
brokenness and aloneness; there I had to accept all the limitations of my new life, and as Charles
Bukowski says in his poem “Alone,” there, I had to learn my walls, I had to accept them and learn to love them.

It turned out that for me the only way out of
my darkness was not to escape it but to plunge
right into it.

Among the walls of my apartment I found myself gravitating to the mat again only to find out this time that I couldn’t even physically sit.

I had so much emotional pain stuck in my abdomen and chest that I couldn’t even feel my breathing.

Since the only way I could become aware of my
breath was by lying down, I decided to meditate in a supine position, shavasana style.

Once I gave myself the permission to do that,
something great happened: I experienced gravity, and gravity held me and healed me.

My abdomen relaxed; I could finally feel my belly muscles rising and falling; I could finally feel my breath.

With gravity’s healing support, I could then observe the breath; I could notice it, witness it.

In my brokenness I had to finally let go of
control, surrendered to whatever my life was
and had become, trusting that the breath of
life would take me where I needed to be, every
day, every moment.

That was only few years ago and now I am finally able to sit on my meditation pillow.

Following the breath is also quite a different
experience.

When I sit, I am able to be a viewer, an observer.

I watch my breath, I watch what it’s doing, I observe its rhythm, its ups and downs, its
ins and outs, and I just let it be. I accept it with all its irregularities. I just let it do its thing.

I am not sure yet how all of this is getting played out in my life.

One thing I have learned, however, is that letting go of how we think our life should be
and letting ourselves fall, maybe even backward, into radical self-acceptance and radical self-love are gifts to be treasured—even if those gifts come through harsh life lessons and losses.

Some of us were lucky enough to come into the
world with those gifts built into our system.

Some of us have to consciously make an effort and work hard at cultivating them—sometimes at creating them, sculpting them from the raw matter of our mistakes and failures, inventing them out of nothingness because nothing or too little was given to us.

But that, in my opinion, is where it’s worth trying.

That is an effort worth making—one that will not assure us of a smooth ride but that might bring us to a place of inner peace, joy, appreciation, and gratitude, where a lasting transformation might actually happen.

And then, after we stop trying so hard to chase
“happiness,” to control life and make it look the way it ought to look, then we can probably begin to have a pretty good time.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Walking yourself to a place of unconditional forgiveness

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“The greatest insight to personal awareness and freedom is when you arrive at a place in your life when you start feeling sorry for your enemy’s suffering.
Forgiveness does not change your past suffering and hurts, but it does enlarge your future”.

It is freeing to become aware that we do not have to be victims to our past hurts and slights, and can learn new ways of responding.

But there is a step beyond this recognition… It is the step of forgiveness.

Forgiveness is love practised among people who love us poorly.

It sets us free without wanting anything in return from them,they who have hurt us.

Having said that,I must start by confessing that I’m the type of person to hold a grudge.

It’s not that I want power over people, which is often the motive for holding a grudge, it’s just that I want all-due glory for my suffering.

This is what I mean: if somebody is causing me
some pain, I want them to know I am bearing it for them.

For this reason, it’s hard for me to forgive my enemies.

If people slam me on the internet,or even in real life, it’s hard to forgive.

If people undercut me in a business deal, it’s hard to forgive, too.

And for so long it seemed there was nothing I could do about it.

I knew I’d be better off to forgive, but how?

What are the steps to controlling your uncontrollable emotions?

I don’t fully know the answer to that question.

Part of the reason it’s so hard to forgive is pride.

If I forgive someone, it feels like I’m also saying that the other person had the right to do me wrong.

That doesn’t feel right.

But it’s a real feeling.

Even more difficult is having to forgive someone who hasn’t even recognised they’ve done me wrong.

So why forgive?

Before I say why, I should say how.

Here’s how:

•Go through the stages of grief.

Let the offence shock you, then let it completely hurt you.

Don’t avoid the pain.

Sit with it and feel it no matter how unbearable it is.

Please know it will end in time.

It will get 2% easier every day.

Just feel it like a toothache and soon enough it will transition into something bearable.

•Then let the offence make you angry.

Don’t lash it out to your perceived enemy, or you’ll be guilty yourself.

Talk about it with trusted friends but confess you’re angry and your emotions aren’t under control.

And don’t feel bad for being angry.

The last thing you need is anger and shame.

Just punch a pillow and make it through.

The anger, like the pain, will lessen over time.

•Then after being angry, accept what has been done.

Just accept it as a fact and don’t over analyse it. It happened.

This will still be shocking at first, but in time, you will accept it as a fact that you can’t change.

From there, you’re at a place to forgive.

It will be hard work, but it’s worth it.

Sit and pray for the person you’ve been hating.

Sit and imagine them with a good life, them
coming to realize that what they did was wrong, maybe not to you, but to somebody, perhaps to God.

•Then be willing to love them in your heart.

Want the best for them.

Hope for the best for them.

Stop praying for God to destroy them and pray
for God to bless them.

Pray for God to open up their hearts so they can receive the love that will stop them from hurting others.

This is the only way I know how to forgive.
• • •
Why then, should we feel obliged forgive?

Well, there are many reasons, but I’m only going to focus on a few.

The first is because, believe it or not, forgiveness is a pleasurable experience.

No kidding, it feels much better than anger or hate.

God has designed forgiveness as a powerful
blessing for those who have been hurt.

The experience of truly forgiving somebody can make you more happy than if you’d never been hurt in the first place.

•The second reason for you to forgive is that it removes you from being entangled in the rather dark thing that hurt you in the first place.

If it was a bad business deal, then you get to
be free of it and maintain your integrity.

If it was a family member talking behind your back, you get to remove yourself completely from all the complications of gossip.

Forgiveness sets you free from being bogged down in knee-deep mud of self destruction.

Forgiveness gives you a taste of what it feels like to obey God’s will that we forgive and love one another, and it’s a terrific feeling.

God forgave us because it gave Him pleasure to do so.

He was happy to do so.

Love forgives, and so does God, and so can you.

•The third reason to forgive is that you open yourself up to amazing possibilities for a happy life.

When you don’t forgive, you draw the curtains in your soul and your life gets dark.

When you forgive you let the light in again, and you go on about your life in peace. And don’t you want some peace?

Isn’t it time for some peace in your life?

The greatest thing about forgiveness is it will allow you to love again.

It will allow you to love and be loved.

And believe me, it’s worth it.

Forgiveness is tough, for sure, but love is infinitely more valuable than the pain of forgiveness costs.

No matter what you have to go through to forgive, you’re getting a steal of a deal to be able to love and be loved again.

Pay the price and I promise you’ll be happy you did.

Take a walk to a place of forgiveness in your life,and you will be glad you did it,more so for your own good,that that of your enemies.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Why Approval Addiction Makes Everyone Miserable

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“To put it simply, addiction to approval puts your happiness under the control of others.”

If wanting the approval of others is a natural
desire as social scientists tell us, how can it be a problem?

The problem is that, like any drug, the high you get from getting approval eventually wears off.

If having the approval of others is the only way you know how to feel happy, then you’re going to be miserable until you get your next “fix.”

What this means is that simply wanting approval isn’t the problem.

The real issue is being too attached to getting approval from others as the only way to feel fulfilled.

To put it simply, addiction to approval puts your
happiness under the control of others.

Because their happiness depends on others,
approval addicts can be the most easily
manipulated.

I often see this with unhealthy or even abusive relationships.

All an abuser has to do is threaten to make the approval addict feel rejected or like they’re being selfish, and they’ll stay under the abuser’s spell.

Approval addiction leads to a lack of boundaries and ultimately resentment.

Many times I felt resentment toward others because they crossed my boundaries, and yet I would remain silent. I didn’t want to come across as rude for speaking up about how someone upset me.

The problem is this would lead to pent up
resentment over time, because there’s a constant
feeling that people should just “know better.”

When I took an honest look at the situation, though, I had to consider whose fault it was if resentment built up because my boundaries were crossed.

Is it the fault of the person who unknowingly
crossed those boundaries, or the person who failed to enforce boundaries out of fear of rejection?

Looking at my own life, I actually appreciate when someone I care about lets me know I’ve gone too far.

It gives me a chance to make things right.

If I don’t let others know how they’ve hurt me because of fear of rejection, aren’t I actually robbing them of the opportunity to seek my forgiveness and do better?

This leads me to my final point, approval addiction leads to being selfish.

The deception is that the selfishness is often disguised and justified as selflessness.

As a person who works with public and communities at a professional level, I’m exposed to critics.

If I don’t overcome a desire for wanting approval from everyone, then their opinions can stop me from sharing something incredibly helpful with those who’d benefit from my work.

Approval addiction is a surefire way to rob the
world of your gifts.

How selfish is it to withhold what I have to offer to others all because I’m thinking too much about what some people may think of me?

As strange as it sounds, doing things for others can be selfish.

On an airplane,in case of an emergency, they say to put the oxygen mask on yourself before putting it on a child.

This is because if the adult passes out trying
to help the child, both are in trouble.

In much the same way, approval addiction can lead a person to martyr themselves to the point that everyone involved suffers.

For instance, if a person spends so much time
helping others that they neglect their own health, then in the long run, it may be everyone else who has to take care of them when they get sick, causing an unnecessary burden.

Selfless acts, done at the expense of one’s greater priorities, can be just as egotistical and destructive as selfish acts.

•How to Overcome Approval Addiction

The first way to overcome approval addiction is to be gentle with yourself.

Wanting to feel connected with others is normal.
It’s only an issue when it’s imbalanced with other priorities like having boundaries.

What approval addicts are often missing is self-
approval.

We all have an inner critic that says things like, “You’re not good enough. You’re nothing
compared to these people around you. If you give yourself approval, you’re being selfish.”

You can’t get rid of this voice.

What you can do is choose whether or not to buy into it or something greater.

You also have a part of yourself that says, “You’re worthy. You’re good enough. You’re just as valuable as anyone else.”

The question becomes: “Which voice do I choose to align to?”

This often means asking yourself questions like,
“Can I give myself some approval right now? What is something I appreciate about myself?”

The next step is to then be willing to actually allow yourself to receive that approval.

To break approval addiction, remember to treat
yourself the way you want others to treat you.

In much the same way, you can overcome approval addiction by equally valuing other important things, such as your need for significance and control.

While wanting to control things can be taken too far just like wanting approval, it is the Yang to approval-seeking’s Yin.

Both are necessary for balance.

Questions that typically help me are: “Do I want
other people’s opinions have power over me?
Would I rather let this person control me or
maintain control over my own life?”

Finally, there is the ultimate key to overcoming
approval addiction.

It’s by using the greatest motivator— unconditional love.

Worrying about what other people think
masquerades as love.

In reality, when you really love someone, you’re willing to have their disapproval.

Imagine a parent with a child.

If the parent is too concerned about the child’s opinion of them, they might not discipline their child for fear of the child disliking them.

Have you ever seen a parent who lets their child get away with anything because they don’t want to be the “bad guy?” Is this truly loving?

To break approval addiction, I realised I had to ask one of the most challenging questions anyone could ask themselves: Am I willing to love this person enough to have them hate me?

If you really care for someone, telling them, “You’re screwing up your life” and having them feel the pain of that statement might be the most loving thing you can do.

This comes with the very real possibility they will
reject you for pointing out the truth.

However, if you love someone, wouldn’t you rather have them go through a little short-term pain in order to save them a lot of pain down the road?

On the upside, many people will eventually come to appreciate you more in the long term if you’re willing to be honest with them and prioritise your love for them over your desire for their approval.

If you have to share a harsh truth, my mentor, Joseph Nderu Kimani , taught me that you can make this easier by first asking, “Can I be a true friend?” to let them know what you’re about to say is coming from a place of love.

I’ve found that everything, including the desire for approval, can serve or enslave you depending on how you respond to it.

Do you use your desire for approval as a force to help you see things from other people’s
perspective, or do you use it as a crutch on which you base your happiness?

Do you use your desire for approval as a reminder to give yourself approval, or do you use it as an excuse to be miserable when others don’t give you approval?

Finally, are you willing show the ultimate
demonstration of genuine love—sacrificing your desire for approval in order to serve another?

I believe the best type of approval would be your own self-approval;other peoples approval should only work as a bonus to this,and that is not selfish-it is just as we are told to “love others as much as we love ourselves”.

Can you love others “more”,if you love yourself “less”?

Hmmmmm. Ponder that. Or even much better,meditate on it!

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Little surprises and deliberately scripted “happiness routine” that bring great happy moments

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You know the feeling when you find your own money that had slipped down the back of the couch?

Or when you find something that you totally forgot you had?

What if you could manufacture your life to have more positive experiences like these?

I’ve been experimenting with this too.

I’ve tried setting random calendar notes or reminders for several weeks’ time, each with a short positive note or inspirational message to myself.

Both add a nice surprise to the day when you receive them out of the blue.

Perhaps order yourself a gift to arrive in the distant future and totally forget about it until it arrives.

Or maybe leave hidden notes in completely random places all over the house.

Get creative, because anything goes.

Even better still, begin crafting these little surprises for others too.

A couple of times a month think of somebody close to you and figure out a way you can help them.

Maybe that’s with a call or a surprise visit.

Maybe that’s a thoughtful gift or simply paying them a genuine compliment.

The world needs more pleasant surprises.

A few weeks ago I found myself having a bad day.

The frustrating thing was that on the outside
everything was okay, nothing had explicitly gone wrong, but inside everything was a mess.

It was one of those days where you’re in a constant battle with yourself.

At the beginning of this century I saved up enough to be able to quit my job and focus on building my own private business.

But on this particular day I felt nothing but doubt about my general progress and direction in life.

I couldn’t get my head straight, my business creativity was drained, and with everything I attempted I came up against a mental block.

In silent despair, I sank into my office chair and
stared blankly across the room.

As I gazed ahead, I looked at pictures from my travels stuck on the wall.

Each was a reminder of good times I’ve had
and things to look forward to in the future.

To the left, Steve Jobs’ biography sat staring at me on the shelf.

It’s tactfully put there, so that on days where I feel like I’m incapable of producing anything worthwhile, I get a reminder of what’s possible.

I’ve recently been experimenting with
incorporating things in my daily life to add
extra inspiration.

Things that give extra motivation when days are good and provide a weatherproof layer for the days when things aren’t going so well.

If our routines and everyday life occur by chance, it’s unlikely that they set us up to have the happiest, most meaningful and productive days that we’re capable of.

So I’ve started being deliberate in how I sculpt and script my days and routines. I guess you could call it happiness architecture.

Of course, true lasting happiness takes practice.
It’s a long-term commitment of expressing gratitude, being aware of our negative self-talk, and developing the ability to see the world around us with more optimism.

So, while designing your days isn’t a quick fix for instant happiness, it’s a way to help cultivate a fertile environment for happiness to grow.

Here are some of the things I’ve been toying with:

•Physical space and aesthetics

The easiest place to start sculpting a happier life is with your physical space.

Design your surroundings so they inspire you.

This doesn’t mean you have to move to the Himalayas or to a villa beside the sea,but instead craft your current surroundings so they
make you happier.

The reason Disneyland is considered one of the
happiest places on Earth isn’t by chance, but
because around every corner is a Mickey Mouse, a Disney Princess, or another deliberately crafted inspiring moment.

Craft your own daily Disneyland.

This is the reason for my strategically placed
biography of Steve Jobs.

It’s the reason I drink coffee out of a mug that reads “Follow Your Dreams.”

It’s the reason for the inspiring quotes
and messages all over my walls and on the
wallpaper of my computer.

Have daily reminders of your goals dotted around the house.

Surround yourself with plants, paintings,
colours, and other visual elements that make you happy.

Anything that can help ensure that not a single day goes by without some sort of visual kick-up-the-backto inspire you to be happier.

• The Company you keep

The people you spend time with can either raise or squander your energy and positivity.

If you want to be happier, be deliberate in choosing who you spend your time with.

I’m not the most extroverted of people, so who I’m spending time with can be the difference between me coming across as some crazy, passionate guy or a timid, bashful guy.

The latter of which tends to leave me questioning myself—“ What’s wrong with
me?” “Why am I so quiet?”

Very few of us are fortunate enough to be able to spend 24/7 around inspiring people who light us up, but we can craft opportunities to spend time with (or at very least call) somebody who inspires us a couple of times a week.

We often default to whatever company is available to us, just to avoid being alone.

We don’t pay any attention to how negatively that company might affect us.

Be totally honest with yourself and ask: does
spending time with these people make me come
away feeling better or worse?

If the answer is worse, then maybe it’s not worth it after all.

•Time for passionate things

Perhaps most importantly, we need to be very
deliberate with how we spend our time.

It’s so easy to fall into a routine and stay there no matter how counter-productive or negative it may be.

I try to do something I’m passionate about every single day.

For you, this could be taking an action that contributes toward a big goal, or maybe it’s
learning to dance Salsa, playing an instrument, or another activity you love to do.

You don’t have to spend long on it, but there’s a lot of satisfaction that can be had knowing that no matter how manic and stressful life may be, you are still working toward something that is
meaningful to you.

Make time to lose yourself in a book.

Give yourself a sacred fifteen minutes every morning to savour and enjoy a steaming of tea or coffee.

Make time to meditate, to enjoy the moment and to feel gratitude for all that you have.

Dedicate a part of your day to going out into nature and noticing the sound of the birds, the crisp bite of the wind, or simply the gentle crunch of the leaves beneath your feet.

Your time is the most precious thing in your life.

Without it, nothing else could exist.

•Elimination the negative by dealing with it,whichever way

With that in mind, just adding more positivity to
our days will always have limited success without eliminating the negative too.

I find it useful to eliminate the news from my life—I found that watching it caused me to see the world with so much more fear and negativity.

That’s not to say I turn a blind eye to that which is happening in the world, but instead I choose to ignore the negative slander that the news puts on everything.

Look at your own day and try to figure out what you can take out. What needs pruning?

What routines or habits have you got that add
nothing to your life—or worse, which ones actually have a negative effect?

Maybe you find the traffic always leaves you angry on the way to work, so search for a different route instead.

The road through the countryside may take
you longer, but if it inspires you more and leaves you more positive, then it’s time well spent.

Take the time to notice the other stressors in your life.

Which of these can you remove completely?

And if you can’t remove them, how can you reduce their impact?

Life is short.

We all have a limited time here, so it’s so important that we’re deliberate in how we use it.

That means being intentional and designing our lives to leave us as happy and fulfilled as possible.

Don’t leave that up that chance.

Enjoy your little moments;when these litlle moments add up in your lifetime,you will look back and say;” I lived a “great life” in my little moments!

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Random Thoughts

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Do you enjoy sipping your strong tea like I do?

In modern society most of us don’t want to be in touch with ourselves; we want to be in touch with other things like religion,sports, politics, a book – we want to forget ourselves.

Anytime we have leisure, we want to invite something else to enter us,opening ourselves to the television and telling the television to
come and colonise us

Anxiety, the illness of our time, comes primarily from our inability to dwell in the present moment.

You must be completely awake in the present to enjoy the tea.

Only in the awareness of the present, can your hands feel the pleasant warmth of the cup.

Only in the present, can you savour the aroma, taste the sweetness, appreciate the delicacy.

If you are ruminating about the past, or worrying about the future, you will completely miss the experience of enjoying the cup of tea.

You will look down at the cup, and the tea will be gone.

Life is like that.

If you are not fully present, you will look around and it will be gone.

You will have missed the feel, the aroma, the delicacy and beauty of life.

It will seem to be speeding past you.

The past is finished.

Learn from it and let it go.

The future is not even here yet.

Plan for it, but do not waste your time worrying about it.

Worrying is worthless.

When you stop ruminating about what has already happened, when you stop worrying about what might never happen, then you will be in the present moment.

Then you will begin to experience joy in life.

As much as this was about tea,its modest aim is to teach us to savour the present moment.

From time to time, to remind ourselves to relax and be peaceful, we may wish to set aside some time for a retreat, a day of mindfulness, when we can walk slowly, smile, drink tea with a friend, enjoy being together as if we are the happiest people on Earth.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Stay calm. Don’t lash out,and this world will be yours to conquer,to hold,and to behold

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I would like to share something personal
with you,a story from my youth.

It’s the story of how I first glimpsed at what true strength and power is and where they come from.

I hope this story helps to further illuminate your journey through life.

I remember one day when I was in the back seat of my parents’ car.

I was probably about thirteen or fifteen years old.

We were parked in a hospital driveway, waiting after I had been attended to for wound dressing, though I can’t recall why or what my father was waiting for.

After a few minutes, another car pulled up behind ours and the driver began to
impatiently honk at us.

Soon he began to scream and curse as well.

I think it was a taxi delivering a sick patient to the hospital.

I turned and saw a man whose face was contorted in anger, scarred deeply by furrows of rage and bitterness.

The driver had obviously lost control of
his emotions, as it was impossible for us
to go anywhere with his car blocking us
in at the rear end.

It was as clear as day that we were
stuck in the driveway until he moved.

What on earth did he want us to do?

My father sat in the driver’s seat, gazing into the rearview mirror.

His face was strained with confusion, trying to figure out how to process what was happening,but he held a calm demeanour as well amidst all this confusion.

My father was a great man, always striving to do what is right, strictly honest and keen to help others,especially those in distress.

Finally, somewhat frustrated, my father opened the door so he could go and speak with the impatient man in the
car behind us.

I remember feeling afraid when he stood up because I knew that the other person was really angry.

I watched my father begin to walk toward
the other car.

As the car horn continued to blow, my father abruptly stopped and paused.

He seemed to be contemplating something, and it appeared as if his entire being was softening.

Without saying a word to this angy driver , he slowly returned to the car and sat back down.

My father’s expression was one that I
had never seen before on him: a look of
straining and struggle with a hint of shame.

Eventually, the other man drove off and
that was the end of the incident.

The image of my father’s face profoundly
affected me and was forever tattooed in my memory.

I was just a young boy and, in my
mind, my father was perfect.

He was my hero and my role model; I idolised him.

He was not a large man and I never
knew him to fight; yet I felt a tinge of
disappointment that he hadn’t stood his
ground and confronted the other man.

I felt that he had retreated in what could have been one moment where he proved his heroship to me by fighting this cad of an arrogant driver.

And my impression was that he felt the same way.

I became full of anger.

I imagined myself beating him up again and again yelling,“This is for my father!”

I was angry, partly because he had hurt my father, but mostly because he had hurt my view of my father as my hero.

He revealed to me a flaw in my father’s
character: he was afraid and perhaps not
strong enough to fight back.

It left me bewildered and, for the first time, I realised that my hero wasn’t perfect.

Something deep inside me was forever
changed.

Years later, as a college student, a friend
and I went out for a meal.

While eating, an acquaintance of ours lost his temper and began yelling at my friend.

My friend listened silently, showing no change in his demeanour.

Eventually, the man finished yelling and my friend quietly stood up and walked away without saying a word. I was so impressed by how calm he was.

Later, I asked him how he managed to
keep his cool.

He smiled and told me, “A strong person is not one who knocks other people down; it is one who does not let his anger get the better of him.”

I was stunned.

Now,just like my father,I’m a very small man,and ussually,I compensate for my lack of stature with threats of violence and menance,and this has always been the curse of “small men”!

I knew that my friend was completely right.

Who demonstrated more strength?: the person who had lost control of his temper or my friend who had kept his?

These words touched my soul and aroused in me an understanding of where true power comes from: it comes from within.

And inner strength dwarfs physical
strength.

That night, this realization lingered in my
mind.

As I was digesting this lesson, suddenly I remembered the incident with my father and the horn-honker, many years before.

A voice within me asked, “Who was the
stronger man,my father or the crazy taxi driver?” and chills slowly crept up
my spine as I realised that it was, in fact, my father.

While the other man had allowed his
rage to overcome him, my father had
controlled himself.

The other man had lost; he lost to himself when he allowed his emotions to take over.

My father, on the other hand, had stood victorious over himself,conquering his own emotions, commanding them down.

The other man was a slave to his passions; my father was the master of his.

It was then that I saw my father for the
truly strong and courageous man that he was.

The weak and easy path would have been to return anger with anger, yelling with yelling.

But my father had the strength to resist
this; he had the power to calm his mind
while a tempest raged about him.

It was in this moment, that my own path
became a bit clearer.

I realized that I must embark on a journey of conquering myself,because I now knew that I did not want to
be a slave to my passions.

The only other option was to master myself, to command the hidden forces within.

When you feel negative emotions rising,
threatening to overcome you and make you into their puppet, remember that the
strength and power needed to maintain
calmness lie forever within you.

And that’s a lesson I learnt from my father,though at that time,and encumbered with the rashness of youth,I had considered my father to be the weaker man in that silly encounter with the taximan.

If you can master your own anger and passions at the moment of weakness,you will have conquered the weaker part of yourself,and in so doing,this world will be yours to conquer,to hold,and behold!

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

To Daisy:my best friend forever,my soulmate

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There are some people,
who we hold in our arms,
for just a little moment,
But our heart chooses,
to hold them forever.

And that’s you,Daisy,
my best friend forever,
my soulmate.

You’ve brightened up my life
With colours bold and bright.
Before you knocked at my door,
Black and white and grey,
graced my every day.

The colours were so cold,
But now they’re bright and bold.
Of my life, I felt so weary,
Surrounded by colours dim and dreary.
My life, it was bleak before,
But now there are colours galore.

You’ve brightened up my world –
New colours you’ve unfurled.
New colours came to play
And brightened up my day.
By bright colours, I am wooed:
They brighten up my mood.

Blacks and greys and whites,
Can make a striking sight,
But they’re colours of the night –
For me, they are too polite.
You’ve turned my world around:
New colours I have found.

Bright colours, I can see,
And all those in-between.
You’ve shown me different shades –
Added colour to my days.
My old life, I so hated,
But, a new world, you’ve created.

I know that without you,
I’d have a different view of this world.

To my life, you’ve added spice,
And it’s really rather nice.
You’ve shown me brand new paths;
You’ve made me smile and laugh.
I’m no longer feeling blue,
And it is all because of you.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Come celebrate my life with me

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Won’t you celebrate with me what i have shaped into a kind of life?

I had no model.

Born and brought up in Africa,
My dreams about future were just that;
Mere dreams.

But I made up a bouquet of tree leaves,
Placed it over my head,
And declared myself a black prince,
Amidst poverty and disease,
Famine and droughts,
Coups and civil wars.

I chose to cling on to my dark skin,
Without skin bleaches and foreign cultures,
Deprived of pride and dignity,
Among other great people of the world,
Who called ours, a “Dark continent”.

But standing here on this bridge of hope, between total decimation and optimism,
For a future that looks bleak,
I declare myself a true son of Africa,
Though despised and famished,
I want to live as Africa’s true native son,
Running free and wild,
In this new dawn for Africa.

My one hand holding tight to the ancestry of my forefathers,
my other hand holding out,
To capture the dreams that come with new dawn,
that wil will bathe the conciousness of the black man,
And secure his place at the table of the celebrated people of the world,
As an equal among equals!

That dawn is already here my friend; come celebrate with me that everyday
something has tried to kill me as a black man, and has failed!

By Bernard Wainaina,
Nairobi,1st August,2015.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Write it in your heart everyday that today is going to be the best day in your life

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We’ve inherited a desire to strive, to pursue success, to improve our external conditions, because this striving helped our ancestors survive and reproduce.

To find food, guard against threats,both real and imaginary impress potential mates.

It seems to me that contentment doesn’t
motivate us to be happy or even compel us to take action towards a lasting happiness; anxiety does.

Our vigilant ancestors had more anxious offspring than blissful ones, and so we are the children of restlessness.

Our emotional circuit was designed to induce behavior beneficial to survival and reproduction,not to create happiness.

We are hardwired to be effective in our futile game of survival, not satisfied.

This hardwiring of our psyche has at least six interrelated consequences on our emotions which misguide our pursuit of happiness.

• It’s preset: By default you have a baseline happiness level that you
spend most of your time at.

• It’s situational: Deviations from the baseline level are determined largely by whatever just happened to you.

• It’s relative: Your happiness depends not on your overall condition but on your current situation relative to your recent past or your expectations.

• It’s transient: successes and improvements generally don’t provide the expected lasting satisfaction.

•It’s acclimating: you get used to
what you have, it ceases to be enough, and you want more.

•It’s recurring: although the last
success led only to fleeting happiness, you don’t learn the lesson and still expect lasting satisfaction with the next success.

Let’s examine these consequences and their impact on our emotions and behaviour.
~ Preset: We each have baseline levels of happiness, contentment and satisfaction where most of our lives are spent.

These levels are remarkably persistent and largely hereditary.

A person’s future happiness is much more highly correlated with their past and present happiness than with their age, marital status, income or net worth.

Lottery winners are surprised to return to
their prior happiness levels once the initial high of winning wears off.

For most people, there’s minimal correlation between how well their
lives are going and how happy they are in the moment.

~Situational: The idea that one’s emotional state should be determined by events is pervasive; it’s no coincidence that the words happen and happy share a common root in their construction.

Almost every action life performs is designed to improve its external conditions: every amoeba wriggling up
a chemical gradient, every car on the road driven by someone to somewhere they’d rather be.

But letting today’s events determine today’s mood is problematic because circumstances are transient and so the happiness dissolves when the circumstances change, as they inevitably do.

Seeking refuge in the impermanent and the unreliable lets minute-by-minute events hijack your emotions, your mind, your self.

To the extent that your emotions drive your behavior, situational happiness reduces your authenticity, by expressing a conditional, contingent version
of you, not the absolute, essential you.

~ Relative: By default our happiness is
determined relatively-today in relation to yesterday-actual reality relative to desired.

Outcome is deemed to have relation to our expecations.

This is unfortunate because if you’re happy only when things are improving, or when things turn out better than expected, then no matter what you do, your life will be spent on a seesaw, above your baseline emotional state half the time and below it the other half.

~Transient: We behave as if we’ll get permanent happiness from our own achievements, but we usually get only fleeting happiness, even from
unchanging good circumstances.

One blessing, one smile rule applies here.
We are happy about the money we just
found in the street, not the pile we already had.

The sweetness of any good outcome swiftly fades as other concerns vie for our attention, and our emotional state returns to its default level.

After we accomplish a goal or realize a
dream, our attention is normally redirected elsewhere.

After silencing one inner voice of discontent, we hear the others more clearly.

This is good for survival, but bad for happiness.

~Acclimatising: Because our emotions were designed for circumstantial living, we have an impoverished ability to feel emotions that didn’t serve our ancestors’ day-to-day survival and reproduction.

Gratitude, compassion, and awe don’t come naturally.

Everyday miracles seem to go
unnoticed.

We quickly get jaded, and return to
our baseline happiness level.

We exaggerate the difference between our current circumstances and the next level up and down: up so that we’re motivated to improve, and down so that
we’re motivated to not lose the progress we’ve made.

Most people carry the feeling that they’re one step above poor and one step below wealthy.

When people are asked what the good life is, what would make them happy, their requirements tend to increaseover time as their circumstances improve.

If we already have more,we need more to stay happy.

Bliss remains just out of reach, tantalizingly close but elusive, always on
the receding horizon.

~ Recurring: When you get what you wanted, you find to your surprise that it leads only to temporary happiness.

Then you immediately forget the lesson and believe the next thing you get will lead to permanent happiness.

That promotion you got didn’t bring you lasting satisfaction?

That can be explained away this way; “I believe the next one will”,you say to yourself,and then lay down the present happiness to go for the next one.

You’re earning more now than you were before, but it’s still not quite enough;
with the next raise you’ll be able to buy the stuff you really want.

This mentality traps people in a cycle of hope, pleasure, disappointment,forever chasing the more.

So what can we do to about this predicament?

Bring mindful awareness to your emotional biases.

Notice when your emotions are influenced, or even controlled, by minute-to- minute circumstances.

Have an internal locus of happiness, not an external one that can be fostered everyday.

Resolve to make every day the best day of your life,in spite of the changing circumnstances

This enables a more authentic expression of the self, and it’s empowering to realize that your happiness is under your
control.

Base your happiness on absolute conditions, not relative conditions.

I’m not suggesting unconditional happiness here,that is only a fool’s paradise;all I’m saying is that one’s emotional state should be rooted in reality.

I’m saying that you have reasons to be happy, and they are fundamental and ongoing, not situational.

You are alive.

You are conscious.

You can contribute one happy sentence to humanity’s great story.

Cultivate a deep gratitude for these and
other persistent goodnesses.

Continue to improve your life.

As your happiness becomes based more on your absolute conditions, your progress will serve as a refuge, letting you handle the inevitable setbacks with equanimity.

Increase your baseline happiness level.

There are sources of happiness within your power: self-esteem, self-efficacy, extroversion, optimism, and gratitude.

All are accessible with the right frame of mind.

Be more present,both in your life and in larger environment.

Since we’re bad at knowing what will make us happy, focus more on today’s happiness than tomorrow’s happiness.

Don’t sacrifice the journey for the destination; a life should be lived, not optimised or perfected in order to realise happiness.

Being present doesn’t mean letting today’s events dictate today’s mood; it means living each moment with an awareness of persistent blessings and a savouring of temporary ones.

Your genes use happiness as a goal state to serve their ends; repurpose happiness to improve the present and not just the future.

Don’t deprive yourself of pleasure, or the things that give you momentary happiness.

Don’t turn away from the happiness right in front of you just because it won’t last, but accept its impermanence without longing for unendless roller coaster of see-saw happiness.

As you become more successful in life, don’t ratchet up your requirements for contentment.

Learn to differentiate between conditions and events that are renewable sources of happiness and ones that lead to adaptation and put you on a happiness treadmill.

Most people discover too late that achievements and material possessions
bring only fleeting happiness, while cultivating close friendships and pursuing self-selected passions bring lasting happiness.

But everyone is unique, so examine what works for you.

Don’t pursue happiness singlemindedly to the exclusion of other goods, like joy and meaning.

Don’t stop striving, but choose for yourself what’s worth striving for, what’s worth moving toward.

Achieve not just for the temporary
happiness it might give you, but also for the lasting impact the achievement has on the world.

Strive positively, not negatively.

Be motivated not by a desire to flee the present but a desire for an even better future.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

I face my own mortality with positive acceptance

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In the big scheme of things, our mortal body is on loan from the universe.

And that is the reason why I do not fear death.

I presume I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and I never suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.

Otherwise,where was I before I was born?

Along with the gift of self-awareness comes awareness of our own mortality.

Our battery is running down and can’t be recharged.

We prefer not to think about that, we wish wasn’t so, but the tragedy is that we are mortal, not just that we know we are mortal.

Knowledge yields power, and by
accepting that our time is limited, we can use this information to live better.

How?-you may ask.

By being grateful for the time we have.

We can lament that our time is finite, or we can rejoice that we have any time at all to be alive.

We didn’t do anything to deserve a life.

The sequence of events necessary for us to have arisen out of nothing were so unimaginably improbable that we should
be stunned that we are here at all.

Out of all of the people who could have existed, we are among the small percentage who actually do.

We can complain that we don’t have much time, or we can celebrate that we have a lot of time-think about someone who complains of boredom;this is someone who has a lot of idle time on his hands with nothing to put in it,but still wants more time to live!

At the cosmic scale,our life is an infinitesimal dot between two infinite spans that encompass eternity.

But at the human scale, a lifetime is long enough to do amazing things.

To pursue and master a dozen passions.

To build a hundred friendships.

To love and lose and love again, and again many times over.

To chase our dreams and,if we care enough to work hard, to reach them.

To have an exciting, fulfilling, meaningful,
awesome life.

Each one of us is also hanging from a branch that we call life,which will eventually break.

We must foster the commonality of our plight, foster. empathy and kinship while we still have time to live.

Help others to cope with their mortality and to get the most out of the time they
do have.

Resolve to live as long as you can, and stay as healthy as you can. Grasp the branch firmly; don’t let go and fall before
it actually breaks by killing your soul with worries and fears about the certainity of mortality.

And help others to live healthier, longer
lives as well.

Did you know that we are dying all the time,even as we live?

The child we once were no longer exists; as we change we are continually dying and being reborn into new phases of our life.

With this frame of mind, what we call death affects only the last of a long series of many versions of our own selves, all of whose predecessor phases having already passed on.

We are an incredibly fortunate collection
of atoms forged in stellar furnaces and pulled together by gravity or some deeper, hidden force to create us, as existing live beings,say as opposed to the very same carbon atoms that form rock granite,or diamond.

When we are finished with our body, its atoms will be recycled to further use to serve spirit along its upward journey toward ever more complex and useful forms.

Let’s Celebrate that we can get to participate in such a beautiful process of renewal into new forms that will serve this universe right after our demise!

Maybe,our body atoms will be recycled into trees that will enhace the living environment for those who come after us.

Accepting our own mortality as opposed to resigning to its impotent fate makes us savour life in a very positive way without fearing to take risks .

Let’s take more risks and make life more adventurous.

Each of us descended from an incredibly long and unbroken series of creatures
who survived long enough to reproduce, and so we’re instinctively wired for survival.

This makes us fearful of death but not fearful of living wrong or false to our own convictions.

Ignoring mortality encourages the belief that we have something to lose.

We have nothing to lose in death:it has always been a certainity since the moment we were born.

It is incredible that with the infant mortality that prevailed at the time of my birth,I have had the opportunity to live this long!

And in between,I’ve lost most of my agemates too!

Mortality therefore,is merely a question of when, not if.

We are not risking our life: we are only risking the time we have left, and what we could have experienced and accomplished in that time.

It’s possible to carry this too far and
take too many risks, but most people take too few, and as a result they live unnecessarily dull and mundane lives.

Life shouldn’t be safe;it is death that will be safe. I mean,we can’t be more dead if we are already dead-isnt that safe enough?

It is important that we pursue meaning instead of just being alive for the sake of it.

Some people don’t like to think about mortality because they fear that it renders life meaningless.

What’s the use of struggling so hard if we are to die,they ask.

But the very transient nature of life renders the search for meaning not absurd, but urgent.

This fear results from a focus on the self as a source of meaning.

We,as individuals,cannot encompass all the meaning there is to life.

But we can create meaning that death can’t destroy by looking outside
our self and making a small difference each day by increasing the happiness and reducing the suffering of those around us.

Let’s make a big difference over the course of our life by changing the world a little at a time, doing something to let the future know we were here.

It is important to treat life as an urgent business that must be attended to at THE PRESENT MOMENT.

Trying to prepare for death is largely futile.

Once we are living our ideal life, we will love every day and won’t want it to end.

Closure in death is impossible.

The best we can do to prepare is to do everything we want to do, as often as we can by valuing our time highly and
making the most of every day.

Also, not only is our time finite, but we
probably won’t know in advance when our branch will break.

Tomorrow is not guaranteed.

Let’s sing and dance while we can.

Let’s tell people who mean anything to us how we feel about them, repair our own regrets, and forgive ourselves for having taken life so seriously that we are not able to embrace our own mortality as a part it.

And let’s not say anything that we wouldn’t want to stand as the last thing we ever say to them.

When not sure about what to say to our dear ones,then silence is preferred,even on our death bed.

Let’s not make a practice of ruminating on our mortality as a loss, it’s depressing and counterproductive.

Let’s factor it in to our behaviour towards ourselves and others,and then get on with the main business of living for the time that is left.

Let’s only think about it to the extent that it improves our life, by cultivating gratitude, compassion, selflessness, health, boldness, urgency, and meaning.

B.W~30th July,2015.

Take my hand,and I will lead you away from negativity-trust me,I’ve been there!

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By all standard definitions, I used to be an positive energy vampire.

I lived in my own self-created drama world, prone to rages, complaints,
and self-pity.

I exhausted the people around me and played games of control, superiority, and victimhood.

A positive energy vampire, by my own
experience of that definition, is someone
lacking in self-love and trying to pull that
love out of others,much like a dentist would pull out a rotten tooth.

Such a person is simply hungry for self-love, not inherently flawed.

I know. I’ve been there.

When I decided to change, I realized just
how much I hated myself, how much I
judged myself, how many impossible
standards I set for my own acceptance.

I began to work on accepting and loving
myself just as I was.

Bit by bit, I opened up to the beauty of my face, the beauty of nature, the beauty of the human smile.

I began to fall deeply in love with everything and everyone.

After years of hunger, years of being a love vampire, biting others to get it, I realised that I could feed myself.

I didn’t have to hurt myself or anyone else to get the love I wanted.

In that awareness, I remembered the
people who had accepted me when I was
“toxic.”

These people became my teachers and mentors.

Their kindness and love, which was invisible to me in a state of desperate love hunger, suddenly became crystal clear in my newfound self-awareness.

It hurts me to confess that some of these
people never got to see me get better.

They gave up on me and left.

All they knew was my darkness and they gave as much as they could before they left.

And they are still,my greatest teachers.

After I healed my mind and replenished my self-love tank, I began to reach out to others on the same dark journey.

I’ve met so many people who have been
abandoned by everyone around them,
because they’re “positive energy vampires.”

I find these people in my family.

I find them in my old circles of friends.

It hasn’t been easy, but I’ve really tried to give back what was given to me in form of self-love after healing.

I’ve tried my best to be loving and supportive to people who only know how to take (at least, right now).

And it’s been worth it.

A few years ago, I lived with one person that everyone around me told me was toxic.

I was always exhausted after hanging around her and I knew that, deep
down, she resented me.

She treated me just like I used to treat people.

I didn’t “cut ties” or “protect myself”
from her as all the advice articles say.

I gave her some of my time—not all of it, but some of it.

I took care of myself enough that I
could heal from any emotional pain I got
in our meetings.

Eventually, she stopped talking to me.

We didn’t speak for close to five years and, the other day, she suddenly called me to ask if we could meet up.

When I saw her, her eyes were sparkling
and her smile shone for miles.

She couldn’t stop talking about all the epiphanies she’d had and all the ways she’d healed.

She had stumbled across some powerful lessons in a program she enrolled in and it changed her life.

She kept saying, “Now, I understand.”

Everything I would talk about that she eyed suspiciously—now, she understood.

After a long conversation about her new,
joyful life, she paused, looked away, and
said, “I hated you, you know. I couldn’t
believe anything you said and I just didn’t
understand that happiness like this was
possible. I thought you were lying. I was
such a jerk to you. Why did you keep talking to me?”

I smiled and said the words that I’d used to defend her behind her back when others would interrogate me with the same question: “You deserve it. I saw myself in you. You weren’t a jerk. You were hungry. I knew you’d wake up one day and, when you did, you’d remember this, remember me.
And, one day, you’d be that person for
someone else.”

And, now, she is.

I’m not saying we should all surround
ourselves with people who make us feel
bad.

I’m not saying that we should spend all
our time giving compassion to others at our own demise.

What I am saying is this—oftentimes the
“toxic” people are the ones that need
compassion the most.

And although you probably won’t get a
“Thank You” from them in that moment,
being kind, seeing them from a
compassionate perspective, and refusing to resort to negative adjectives—that could really change a person’s life.

Your acts of kindness, though they may not be immediately rewarded, are never wasted.

They will sit inside the recipient’s mind,
outside the walls of their self-imposed
limiting beliefs, awaiting their awakening.

And, if they do awaken, they will remember you and they will learn from you.

And your acts will have contributed to a more loving world with fewer “positive energy vampires” and more people who love themselves and love others.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Shame on me… I still love you!

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Everyone of my friends is furious with me for going back to you, but they don’t understand us.

Daisy! I am so lonely I can hardly bear
it.

Once in a while, like today, I meditate on it and realize how lucky I am to share my life with the greatest woman I ever met.

You still fascinate and inspire me.

You influence me for the better.

As one needs happiness so have I
needed your love; that is the deepest need of my human spirit.

And as I love you utterly, so have you now become the whole world of my spirit.
It is beside and beyond anything that you can ever do for me; it lies in what you are, dear love— to me so infinitely lovely that to be near you, to see you, hear you, is now the only happiness, the only life, I know.

How long these hours are,just here alone by myself!

Yet,it is good for me to know the measure
of my love and need, that I may at least
be brought realise who and what you are to me,never to lose the love and trust that you have given me.

Dear Daisy, let us make and keep our
love more beautiful than any love has
ever been before.

I can only live, either altogether
with you or not at all.

Yes, I’m. determined to wander about for so long far away, until I can fly into your arms and call myself quite at home with you, can send my soul enveloped by yours into the realm of my earthly paradise….

You will get over it all the more as you know my faithfulness to you; never another one can own my heart, never — never! O God, why must one go away from what one loves so much?

Your love made me the happiest and unhappiest at the same time.

At my age, I should need some continuity, sameness of life — can that exist under our circumstances?

My Angel, I just hear that this blog post goes out every day — and must close therefore, so that you get to read it at once.

Be calm— love me — today — like yesterday,and if tomorrow ever comes,love me again too.

My trust for your love is sometimes mingled with fear, because I feel myself unworthy of your love.

But if I am worthy of it, you will
always love me; and if there be
anything good and pure in me for you, it will be proved by my always loving you.

I feel that it is only with you that I can do
anything good at all.

I can’t say how every time I ever put my
arms around you I felt that I was home.

Do remake my ruined life for me, and then our friendship and love will have a different meaning to the world.

I wish that when we met at home last, we had not parted at all.

There are such wide abysses now of space and land between us.

But we love each other.

My little girl…happiness is within you….

So unlock the chains from your heart and let yourself grow like the sweet flower
you are…

I know the answer to all your worries — Just spread your wings and set yourself FREE.

The important thing is, I don’t want to be
without you for the next 20 years, or 40, or however many there are left in my life.
I’ve gotten very used to being happy around you and I love you very much indeed.

Should I ever draw you the picture of my
Heart, it would be what I hope you
would Love; though it contains nothing
new; the early possession you obtained
there; and the absolute power you have
ever maintained over it; leaves not the
smallest space unoccupied.

I look back to the early days of our love;
and Friendship, as the days of Love
and Innocence; and with an indescribable pleasure I have seen near
a score of years roll over our Heads,
with an affection heightened and
improved by time — nor have the
dreary years of absence in the smallest
degree effaced from my mind the
Image of the dear untitled but beautiful woman to
whom I gave my Heart.

We will get old and get used to each other,but never take each other for granted.

We think alike.

We read each other’s minds.

We know what the other one wants without asking.

Sometimes we irritate each other a little bit.

Maybe sometimes take each other for granted.

I love you,precious, with all my heart and to know that you love me means my life.

How often I have thought about the immeasurable joy that will be ours some day!

Though still in bed, my thoughts go out to
you….walk with you,till you come back to my arms again.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Hope is a pocket of possibility

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“We’re born alone, we live alone, we die
alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we’re not alone.”

~Orson Welles

“Remember: the time you feel lonely is the time you most need to be by yourself.
Life’s cruellest irony.”

~Douglas Coupland

I’ve been screaming in my heart for years and no one has ever heard me.

I am nothing but a nobody.

I am numb, a world of nothing, all feeling and emotion gone forever.
I am a whisper that never was.
Because loneliness has been my loyal companion.

And I’ve fallen.

Fallen so hard.

I’ve hit the ground.

Gone right through it.

Never in my life have I felt like this.

Nothing like this.

I’ve felt shame and cowardice,
weakness and strength.

I’ve known terror and indifference, self-hate and general disgust.

I’ve seen things that cannot be
unseen.

And yet I’ve known nothing like this
terrible, horrible, paralysing feeling of dying alone.

I feel crippled.

Desperate and out of control.

And it keeps getting worse.

Every day I feel more sick.

Empty and somehow aching.

Life is a heartless bastard.

Loneliness in these last moments is a strange sort of thing.

It creeps on you, quiet and still, sits by
your side in the dark, strokes by your hair
as you sleep.

It wraps itself around your bones, squeezing so tight you almost can’t
breathe.

It lies in your heart, lies next to you at night, leaches the light out of every corner.

It’s a constant companion, clasping your hand only to yank you down when you’re struggling to stand up.

You wake up in the morning and wonder
who you are.

You fail to fall asleep at night and tremble in your skin.

You doubt you doubt you doubt.

-do I

-don’t I

-should I

-why won’t I

And even when you’re ready to let go of life,you doubt whether there is really no one out there who has any use for your poor life.

When you’re ready to break free from agonies of life,you hesitate.

-Maybe someone out there still needs me-you lie to yourself.

When you’re ready to be re-brand-new-you hesitate.

Loneliness is an old friend standing beside you in the mirror, looking you in the eye,
challenging you to live your life without
it.

You can’t find the words to fight
yourself, to fight the words screaming that you’re not enough never enough never ever enough.

Loneliness is a bitter, wretched
companion.

Sometimes it just won’t let go.

Makes me wonder about the falling raindrops outside my window:

I always wonder about raindrops.

I wonder about how they’re always falling
down, tripping over their own feet,
breaking their legs and forgetting their
parachutes as they tumble right out of the sky toward an uncertain end.

It’s like someone is emptying their pockets over the earth and doesn’t seem to care where the contents fall, doesn’t seem to care that the raindrops burst when they hit the ground, that they shatter when they fall to the floor, that people curse the days the drops dare to tap on their doors.

I am a raindrop.

My parents emptied their pockets of me
and left me to evaporate on a concrete
slab-a lonely life.

In these last days of my life,hope,empty hope, is hugging me, holding me in its
arms, wiping away my tears and telling
me that today and tomorrow and two days from now I will be just fine and I’m so delirious I actually dare to believe it.

Hope is a pocket of possibility.

I’m holding it in my hand.

Hope.

It’s like a drop of honey, a field of tulips
blooming in the springtime.

It’s a fresh rain, a whispered promise, a cloudless sky, the perfect punctuation mark at the end of a sentence.

And it’s the only thing in the world keeping me afloat.

I have absolutely no pleasure in the
stimulants in which I sometimes so madly
indulge.

It has not been in the pursuit of pleasure that I have periled life and reputation and reason.

It has been the desperate attempt to escape from torturing memories, from a sense of insupportable loneliness and a dread of some strange impending doom.

Raindrops are my only reminder that
this lonely world has another heartbeat besides mine.

That I have one,too.

But soon,and soon enough,I will lie down in eternal rest and silence.

But my soul died out of loneliness,many years ago.

I never had a friend.

But I wanted to be somebody’s friend.

I wanted to be the friend you fall hopelessly in love with.

The one you take into your arms and into your bed and into the private world I keep trapped in my head.

I wanted to be that kind of friend.

The one who will memorize the things you say as well as the shape of your lips when you say them.

I wanted to know every curve, every freckle, every shiver of your body.

I wanted to know where to touch you, I wanted to know how to touch you.

I wanted to know how to convince you to design a smile just for me.

Yes, I did want to be your friend.

I wanted to be your best friend in the entire world.

That’s now water under the bridge.

I’m leaving this world without a friend.

I’m just a blot in the dust that the wind will soon blow out of place.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Create a brave new world in Stoicism; Indifference is power

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“I’m always ready to die. If now, I am ready to die. If, after a short time, I
now dine because it is the
dinner-hour; after this I will
then die. How? Like a man
who gives up what belongs to
another,without regret,without resistance,without bitterness.” From Discourses,by Epictetus

The above passage shows us how Epictetus treated death from his stoic perspective.

The bitter truth is, indifference,which the core-value of STOICISM, really is a power.

When selectively applied, and living in such a way is not only eminently possible, with a conscious adoption
of certain attitudes, it facilitates a freer, more expansive, more adventurous mode of living.

Joy and grief are still there, along with all the other emotions, but they are tempered – and, in their temperance, they are less tyrannical.

If we can’t always go to our philosophers for an understanding of Stoicism, then where can we go?

One place to start is the Urban Dictionary.

Check out what this crowdsourced online
reference to slang gives as the definition of a ‘stoic’:
~stoic~Someone who does not care about the stupid things in this world that most people care so much about.

Stoics do have emotions, but only for the
things in this world that really matter.

They are the most real people alive.

Picture this scene with a stoic; A group of kids are sitting on a porch. Stoic walks
by.

Kid – ‘Hey man, you are an old faggot an you suck!’

Stoic – ‘Good for you.’

Stoic keeps going,unperturbed.~

You’ve got to love the way the author manages to make mention of a porch in there, because Stoicism has its root in the word stoa, which is the Greek name for what today we would call a porch.

Actually, we’re more likely to call it a portico, but the ancient Stoics used it as a kind of porch, where they would hang out and talk about enlightenment
and stuff.

The Greek scholar Zeno is the founder,
and the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius the most famous practitioner, while the Roman statesman Seneca is probably the most eloquent and entertaining.

But the real hero of Stoicism, most
Stoics agree, is the Greek philosopher Epictetus.

He’d been a slave, which gives his words a credibility that the other Stoics, for all the hardships they endured, can’t quite match.

He spoke to his pupils, who later wrote down his words.

These are the only words we know today
as Epictetus’, consisting of two short works, the Enchiridion and the Discourses, along with some fragments.

Among those whom Epictetus taught
directly is Marcus Aurelius (another Stoic
philosopher who did not necessarily expect to be read; his Meditations were written expressly for private benefit, as a kind of self-instruction).

Among those Epictetus has taught indirectly is a whole cast of the distinguished, in all fields of endeavour.

One of these is the late US Navy Admiral James Stockdale.

A prisoner of war in Vietnam for seven years during that conflict, he endured broken bones, starvation, solitary
confinement, and all other manner of torture.

His psychological companion through it all were the teachings of Epictetus, with which he had familiarised himself after graduating from college and joining the Navy, studying philosophy at Stanford University on the side.

He kept those teachings close by in Vietnam, never letting them leave his mind even when things were at their
most dire. Especially then.

He knew what they were about, those lessons, and he came to know their application much better than anyone should have to.

Stockdale wrote a lot about Epictetus, in speeches and memoirs and essays, but if you want to travel light (and, really, what Stoic doesn’t?), the best thing you could take with you is a speech he gave
at King’s College London in 1993, published as Courage Under Fire: Testing Epictetus’s Doctrines in a Laboratory of Human Behavior (1993).

That subtitle is important. Epictetus once
compared the philosopher’s lecture room to a hospital, from which the student should walk out in a little bit of pain.

‘If Epictetus’s lecture room was a hospital,’ Stockdale writes, ‘my prison was a laboratory – a laboratory of human behaviour.

I chose to test his postulates against the demanding real-life challenges of my laboratory.

And as you can tell, I think he passed with flying colours.’

~‘You are unfortunate in my judgment, for you have never been unfortunate’~

Stockdale rejected the false optimism proffered by mainstream religions, because he knew, from direct observation, that false hope is how you went insane in that prison.

The Stoics themselves believed in gods, but ultimately those resistant to religious belief can take their Stoicism the way
they take their Buddhism, even if they can’t buy into such concepts as karma or reincarnation.

What the whole thing comes down to, distilled to its briefest essence, is making the choice that choice is really all we have, and that all else is not worth considering. ‘Who […] is the invincible
human being?’ Epictetus once asked, before answering the question himself: ‘One who can be disconcerted by nothing that lies outside the sphere of his own choice.’

Any misfortune ‘that lies outside the sphere of choice’ should be considered an opportunity to strengthen our resolve, not an excuse to weaken it.

This is one of the truly great mind-hacks ever devised, this willingness to convert adversity to opportunity, and it’s part of what Seneca was extolling when he wrote what he would say to one whose spirit has never been tempered or tested by hardship: ‘You are unfortunate in my judgment, for you have never been unfortunate. You have passed through life with no antagonist to face you; no one will know what you were capable of, not
even you yourself.’

We do ourselves an immense favour when we consider adversity an opportunity to make this discovery – and, in the discovery, to enhance what we find there.

Another shrewdly resourceful Stoic mind-hack is what William B Irvine – in his book A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy (2009)– has given the name ‘negative visualisation’.

By keeping the very worst that can
happen in our heads constantly, the Stoics tell us, we immunise ourselves from the dangers of too much so-called ‘positive thinking’, a product of the
mind that believes a realistic accounting of the world can lead only to despair.

Only by envisioning the bad can we truly appreciate the good; gratitude does not arrive when we take things for granted.

It’s precisely this gratitude that leaves us content to cede control of what the world
has already removed from our control anyway.

How did we let something so eminently
understandable become so grotesquely
misunderstood?

How did we forget that that dark passage is really the portal to transcendence?

Many will recognise in these principles the general shape and texture of cognitive- behavioral therapy (CBT).

Indeed, Stoicism has been identified as a kind of proto-CBT. Albert Ellis, the US psychologist who founded an early
form of CBT known as Rational Emotive
Behaviour Therapy (REBT) in 1955, had read the Stoics in his youth and used to prescribe to his patients Epictetus’s maxim that ‘People are disturbed not by things but by their view of things.’

‘That’s actually the “cognitive model of
emotion” in a nutshell,’ Donald Robertson tells us, and he should certainly know, as a therapist who in 2010 wrote a book on CBT with the subtitle ‘Stoic Philosophy as Rational and Cognitive Psychotherapy’.

This simplicity and accessibility ensure that Stoicism will never be properly embraced by those who prefer the abstracted and esoteric in their
philosophies.

In the novel A Man in Full (1998),
Tom Wolfe gives Stoicism, with perfect
plausibility, to a semi-literate prison inmate.

This monologue of Conrad Hensley’s may be stilted, but there’s nothing at all suspect about the sentiment behind it.

When asked if he is a Stoic, Conrad replies: ‘I’m just reading about it, but I
wish there was somebody around today, somebody you could go to, the way students went to Epictetus.

Today people think of Stoics – like, you
know, like they’re people who grit their teeth and tolerate pain and suffering.

What they are is, they’re serene and confident in the face of anything you can throw at them.’

Marcus Aurelius started each day telling himself: ‘I shall meet with meddling, ungrateful, violent, treacherous, envious, and unsociable people’

Which leads us naturally to ask just what it was that was thrown at them.

We’ve already noted that Epictetus had the whole slavery thing going on, so
he checks out.

So does Seneca, in spite of what many have asserted – most recently the UK
classicist Mary Beard in an essay for the New York Review of Books that asks: ‘How Stoical Was Seneca?’ before providing a none-too- approving answer. What Beard’s well-informed and otherwise cogent essay fails to allow for is
just how tough it must have been for Seneca – tubercular, exiled, and under the control of a sadistically murderous dictator – no matter what access he sometimes had to life’s luxuries.

It was Seneca himself who said that ‘no one has condemned wisdom to poverty’, and only an Ancient Greek Cynic would try to deny this.

Besides, Seneca would have been the first to tell you, as he told a correspondent in one of his letters: ‘I am not so shameless as to undertake to
cure my fellow-men when I am ill myself. I am, however, discussing with you troubles which concern us both, and sharing the remedy with you,just as if we were lying ill in the same hospital.’

Marcus Aurelius lay ill in that hospital, too.

As beneficiary of the privileges of emperor, he also endured the struggles and stresses of that very same position, plus a few more besides.

I know better than to try to improve on the following accounting, provided in Irvine’s A Guide to the Good Life:

~He was sick, possibly with an ulcer. His family life was a source of distress: his wife appears to have been unfaithful to him, and of the at least 14 children she bore him, only six survived. Added to
this were the stresses that came with ruling an empire. During his reign, there were numerous frontier uprisings, and Marcus often went personally to oversee campaigns against upstart tribes. His own officials – most notably, Avidius Cassius, the governor of Syria – rebelled against
him. His subordinates were insolent to him, which insolence he bore with ‘an unruffled temper’.
Citizens told jokes at his expense and were not punished for doing so. During his reign, the empire also experienced plague, famine, and natural disasters such as the earthquake at Smyrna.
Ever the strategist, Marcus employed a trusty technique in confronting the days that comprised such a life, making a point to tell himself at the start of each one of them: ‘I shall meet with
meddling, ungrateful, violent, treacherous, envious, and unsociable people.’ He could have been different about it – he could have pretended
things were just hunky-dory, especially on those days when they really were, or seemed to be. But how, then, would he have been prepared to angle both into the wind and away from it – adapting,
always, to fate’s violently vexing vicissitudes?~

Where would that have left him when the weather changed?

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Meditation by the seaside-cultivate a sea of tranquillity in your life

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The theme of tranquillity oriented meditation is based on letting go.

{Insight; Letting go: not fighting or going after something that comes into your life,which you have already formed some attachment to.}

The most important aspect of this type of meditation is your attitude.

There are seven attitudes that
form the foundation of mindfulness
practice: “nonjudging, patience, beginner’s mind, trust, nonstriving, acceptance and letting go.”

Nature acts as tonic to our stressful lives.

As you practice this kind of buddhist meditation, you may notice your
mind is busy with thoughts.

That is okay.

Thoughts are not the enemy.

You do not have to fight them and you do not have to follow them, either.

Treat thoughts like anything else that draws your attention.

Notice them, allow them to be as they are, and gently let your attention open back to, and settle on, the breath sensations.

Create a mental beach and an ocean as the baseline of your meditation frame.

Let all of your conscious experience — sounds, sensations, thoughts, emotions, everything — become the wind,the breeze coming over the sea.

Feel all of it moving and changing, arriving, moving around and over you, and then going.

Notice how the wind takes on different qualities — soft, strong, harsh, gusty, gentle.

Relax as the wind blows around you.

Let it come and go in all its forms.

You remain here, in
calmness, abiding by the enveloping tranquility that this mental breeze creates in your mind.

Close your eyes and visualize yourself
at the beach, sitting on the warm sands,
with a refreshing sea breeze sprinkling
your whole body.

You are safe and secure.

You are watching the waves drift in and out, over and over again.

Each wave is like your breath, rising up inside from deep within and then releasing and returning out to sea.

What do you notice about the surface
of the ocean?

It’s much like your life — some parts are rough, choppy, with impending waves of uncertainty pounding away.

Breathe in these moments that are challenging and upsetting.

Remember that you have the stability and strength to weather the storm.

Breathe out your fears and doubts
about the outcome.

What will be will be?

Only the waves can carry all your secrets
and anxieties out to sea.

What’s happening below the surface
of the ocean?

It is a calm, serene, quiet and contemplative underwater experience.

Schools of fish are swimming to and fro.

Sea plants are sashaying to a mysterious, musical current.

Starfish cling to rocks in colorful display.

Luminescent shards of sunlight splice through the water, transmitting
warmth and radiance downward.

Depending on what life tosses your way, you may be bodysurfing the big one
or floating along a sea of serenity.

Be mindful of the journey, the highs and
lows, the good times and the bad, the joy
and the pain.

Move gently with each wave.

Remember: you are not your anxiety.

People who struggle with anxiety tend to think it’s permanent and part of their identity.

When you’re in the midst of angst, it’s understandable to think
this way.

But these reactions, in reality,are
temporary.

Worrisome thoughts are a sign or signal;
they contain a message for you to decipher that will help guide you to a place of well-being.

They suggest asking yourself the
following three questions to help you
better understand yourself and figure out
the changes you can make toward your
well-being.

Go on and create tranquillity in your mind,and the whole world will bow to your rhythm of peace and tranquility.

Bernard Wainaina is an Independent Agribusiness Advisor and CEO at Profarms Consultants®,Nairobi,Kenya.

He mainly works with Agribusiness Youth Groups in Eastern African Region.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

To all girls: You’re beautiful!

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First and foremost,this is to all the girls who at one time or the other,have come into my life.

This too,is to all the girls who left,and those who have stayed in my life.

In effect,this is to all girls!

This is for girls who have the tendency to
stay up at night listening to music that
reminds them of their current situation.

Who hide their fears, hurt, pain and tears
under the smiles, laughs and giggles on a
daily basis.

The girls who wear their heart on their sleeve.

The girls who pray that things will work out just once and they’ll be satisfied in this life.

The girls who scream and cry to their pillows because everyone else fails to listen.

The girls who have so many secrets but wont tell a soul.

The girls who have mistakes and regrets as a daily moral.

The girls that never win,both in life,and in love.

The girls that stay up all night thinking about that one boy and hoping that he’ll notice her one day.

The girls who take life as it comes, to the girls who are hoping that it’ll get better somewhere down the road.

For the girls who love with all their heart
although it always gets broken.

To girls who think it’s all over.

This is to real girls, to all girls: You’re beautiful,and you know it! Don’t ever let any one take this away from you;you are beautiful!

And don’t ever let a guy make you feel ugly because no matter what, you are beautiful, with or without him

Remember: Just because you don’t have a prince yet in your life, does not mean you are not a princess!

And life,my dear girls, isn’t a music player where you get to choose what’s being played, it is a radio where you have to enjoy what’s being played.

Bernard Wainaina is an Independent Agribusiness Advisor and CEO at Profarms Consultants®,Nairobi,Kenya.

He mainly works with Agribusiness Youth Groups in Eastern African Region.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Call-to-action; “Don’t sabotage your own happiness!”

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Most people don’t want to be happy, which is why they aren’t.

Give me a few moments of your time to allow me to explain this disheartening fact in an objective way:

People are programmed to achieve their foremost desire at almost any cost (imagine the adrenaline-fuelled superhuman powers people develop in life-or-death emergencies.)

It’s just a matter of what that foremost desire is.

People don’t want to be happy because they think it means giving up on achieving more through suffering.

They believe happiness is a reward for their stoic suffering.

More people don’t want to believe it’s a choice because that puts responsibility in their hands,and not the circumstances.

It’s for the same reason people do self-pity: to delay action, to make an outcry to the universe, as though the more they
state how bad things are in their life, the more likely it is that someone else other than themselves will change them.

Happiness is not a rush of positive emotion elicited by random events that affirm the way you think something should go.

Not sustainable happiness, anyway.

The real stuff is the product of an intentional, mindful, daily practice, and it
begins with choosing to commit to it.

Everybody has a happiness tolerance – an upper limit – as it is.

It is the capacity for which we allow ourselves to feel good.

Other psychologists call it the “baseline,” the amount of happiness we “naturally” feel, and eventually revert back to, even if certain events or circumstances shift us temporarily either to immense sadness or rapture.

The reason we don’t allow those shifts to become baselines is because of the upper limit – as soon as our circumstances extend beyond the amount of happiness we’re accustomed, and comfortable, feeling, we unconsciously begin to self-sabotage.

We are programmed to seek what we’ve known.

So even though we think we’re after happiness, we’re actually trying to find whatever we’re most accustomed to,our modus operandi,so to say, and we project that on whatever actually exists, over and over again.

These are just a few of many psychological impediments that hold us back from the emotional lives we claim to
want.

Here are a few others:

•Everybody has a limited tolerance for feeling good

When things go beyond that limit, we sabotage ourselves so we can return to our so called comfort zones.

The tired cliché of stepping outside the comfort zone then serves a crucial purpose: it makes people comfortable with discomfort, which is the gateway to expanding their tolerance for happiness.

•There is a “likability limit” that people like to remain under: everybody has a level of ‘success’ that they perceive to be admirable – and un-threatening
to others.

Most things people do are in an effort to ‘earn’ love or approval.

Many desires, dreams and ambitious are
build out of a space of severe lack of our self-love.

It’s for this reason that some of the most emotionally dense people are also the most successful: they use their desire for acceptance, love, wholeness, as fuel –
(for better and for worse.)

The point is: once people surpass the point at which they think people will judge and ridicule them for their success (as opposed to praise them for it) they promptly cut themselves off, or at
minimum severely downplay/minimize it so as to keep themselves in good standing with those they desire approval from.
(It’s ultimately not that people value ego and material over love, but that they think those things will earn them love.)

Most prefer the comfort of what
they’ve known to the vulnerability of what they don’t.

… Even when “what they don’t know” is, objectively, much better.

If we redefine “happiness,” in terms
of what human beings innately desire (comfort, inclusiveness, a sense of purpose, etc.) we can then make the choice to seek comfort from things
that are ultimately aligned with what we want to achieve.

•Many people are afraid that
‘being happy’ equals to giving up on achieving more.

Happiness is, in essence,a form, acceptance.

It’s arriving at the end-goal, passing the finish line, letting the wave of accomplishment wash over you.

Deciding to be that way every day can make it seem as though the race is already over, so we subconsciously associate ‘happiness’ and acceptance’ with ‘giving up.’

But the opposite is true: the path to a greater life is not ‘suffering until
you achieve something’ but letting bits and pieces of joy and gratitude and meaning and purpose gradually build, bit by bit.

•People delay action once they know truth – and the interim between knowing and doing is the space where suffering
thrives.

Most of the time, it’s not about not knowing what to do (or not knowing who you are).

It’s about the resistance between what’s right and what’s easy, what’s best in the long vs. short term.

We hear our instincts, we just don’t listen.

This is the single most common root of discomfort: the space between knowing and doing.

•We’re culturally addicted to procrastination, but we’re also just as
enamored by deflection.

By not acting immediately, we think we’re creating space for the truth to shift itself from riff-raff of life, when really, we’re only creating discomfort so that we can sense it more completely (though we’re suffering needlessly in the process.)

•People believe that apathy is
safety.

We’re all afraid of losing the pieces and people that make up our lives.

Some people try to cut ahead of the pain-curve and don’t let themselves feel as though they wanted or liked those things in the first place.

The undercurrent here is the sense
that everything ends and all its impermanent and while those things are more or less true, there is something just slightly truer, and it is that death gives life meaning.

It’s the fact that we can lose what we have that makes it sacred and precious
and wonderful.

It’s not about what pain you suffer,
it’s about what you suffer for.

You can choose to cut yourself off from feeling good so as to buffer the sense of loss and suffer from numbness, or you
can have an incredible life and have to mourn wildly when it’s over, but at least there was a means to that end.

•Few know how to practice
feeling good (or why it’s necessary).

It is almost essential to raising your upper limit, augmenting your baseline, and ultimately assimilating to the new chapter(s) of your life without destroying them out of unfamiliarity.

Practicing feeling good is simply taking a moment to, literally, let yourself feel.

Extend that rush just a few seconds longer, meditate on some things
you’re grateful for and let it wash over you as much as possible.

Seek what’s positive, and you’ll find that your threshold for feeling it expands as
you decide it can.

•People think happiness its an
emotional response facilitated
by a set of circumstances, as
opposed to a choice and shift of
perception/awareness.

It seems that the people who are steadfast in their belief that circumstances create happiness are not
to be swayed – and that makes sense.

It’s for the same reason that we buy into it so much: it’s easier. It’s the way to cut-corners on your emotional life.

It’s seemingly logical and fairly easy to attain, so why not stand by it fiercely?

Because it’s ultimately false.

It maintains that you must wait to feel happy, and as we know, unless you are cultivating your baseline to be all-around
higher, you’ll spend the rest of your life hopping from one perceived high to another.

Some of the statistically happiest countries in the world are nearly-impoverished, some of the most
notable and peaceful individuals to grace the Earth died with only a few cents to their name.

•The commonality is a sense of purpose, belonging and love: things you can choose to feel and cultivate,
regardless of physical/material circumstance.

Most people don’t know that it’s
possible to shift their baseline,
since it’s always framed in a way
of being “how one naturally is.”
If I’ve heard it once I’ve heard it a thousand times: the woman with anxiety who says “it’s just the way I am.” The man with a dozen irrational fears
who attributes them to “his personality.”

The thing is that nothing has to be an essential part of you unless you decide it is – least of all anxiety and fear.

In fact, those things are never essentially part of who someone is, they are learned behaviors.

They are ego-reactions that go unchecked.

They are flashing lights and waving flags from our innermost selves that something is not right, but we’re avoiding making the shift (mostly by deflecting on the circumstance being out of our control.)

•People believe that suffering
makes them worthy.

To have wonderful things in our lives without having suffered for them somehow translates to us feeling as though we haven’t truly “earned” them,
and therefore, they are not completely ours.

On the flip side: the idea that beautiful, joyous things could simply be ours without any conscious creation of them on our part is terrifying, because
the opposite could just as well be true.

•Many people believe they can beat fear to the finish line.

Worry is a cultural past time of most people, and it’s ultimately a deflection from the fact that we buoy between extremes: not caring about anything or
caring so much about one thing it could break us altogether.

Worrying conditions us to the worst possible outcomes so they don’t cause as much pain if they come to pass.

We’re thinking through every irrational possibility so we can account for it,
prepare for it, before it surprises us. We try to imagine every “bad” thing a person could say about us so they’re not the first to do it.

But this does not change anything.

You still won’t expect difficult things to arise.

You will never know what people are really thinking, or how often.

You will not be able to prepare to cope with your irrational fears, because there’s no basis in a reality you could possibly get ready to deal with.

You cannot beat fear to the finish line.

You are not cheating your way around pain.

You’re actively pursuing more and more of it.

•Happy people are often
perceived as being naive and
vulnerable.

If nothing else, happy people are stigmatized as being clueless and ill-informed and delusionally positive and disconnected from reality, but the
only people who perceive them that way are people who do everything in their power to justify the negativity in their lives they feel they cannot control.

It is people who don’t choose a better life
that are naive and truly vulnerable, as “happy people” may lose everything they have, but people who never choose to fully step out of their comfort-zone- lives never have anything at all.

I’m compelled to believe that just like love,happiness finds its home in the lives and hearts of those who allow themselves to be most vulnerable!

Bernard Wainaina is an Independent Agribusiness Advisor and CEO at Profarms Consultants®,Nairobi,Kenya.

He mainly works with Agribusiness Youth Groups in Eastern African Region.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Memories of Phone Conversations with my father~Father’s Day 2015

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There was no need to check the caller ID.
I always knew it was him. I could tell by the ring—it grabbed you by the shoulders and spun you. around.

Even the phone seemed to panic, sprouting arms and legs and scurrying down the counter.

“Pick it up! Pick it up!” it implored. “He hates to wait!”

“Hello?”

“Ben?”

“Hey, Dad.”

“OK, listen very carefully. Your mother bought a new cereal that’s the best organic cereal I’ve ever had in my life. It fortifies your whole body. You’ll never
eat another cereal again as long as you live.”

“Wow. What’s the name of it?”

“The name of what?”

“The cereal. What’s it called?”

Brief pause. Obscure questions like this annoyed my father.

Muttering to himself: “Uh … What’s the thing called?”

Then to me: “It’s got a helluva box. You should see all the literature on the back. It’s very educational. I’m just trying to remember the name of the thing … Hold on.”

Muffled crushing sound. His massive hands were slaughtering the mouthpiece.

“Joyce?”

Beat.

“Joyce?”

Another beat.

“JOYCE!”

My mother, responding from a cave in Pharaohs pyramid,issued an unintelligible squawk.
“Ben’s on the phone! He called me. He wants to know the name of that cereal!”
“Arrayrrrkkkk?” It was impossible to understand her. She was in the other room, and the TV was blaring.

“The name of that cereal you bought!”

We were getting close to launch.

“Warrakkaa?”

“THE CEREAL! WHAT’S THE NAME OF THE
CEREAL YOU BOUGHT TODAY?”

Liftoff.

“DO I HAVE TO BUY A BULLHORN TO
HAVE A CONVERSATION WITH YOU? OR
SHOULD I SEND UP SMOKE SIGNALS?” To
me: “She won’t be happy till she blows my voice box out. If you want to know the truth, she’d love to kill me. Then she can eat all the cereal she wants with her next husband. Hold on. Let me get the box.”

He dropped the phone on the counter. It slid off and bounced on the floor a few times. I heard the sound of slamming cabinet doors and a snatch of conversation as my mother entered the room.

Joyce: “Calm down. It’s over there—two feet in. front of your face.”

Some more rustling as the receiver made its bumpy pilgrimage back to his hand.

“Ben?”

“Yeah?”

“I got it right here. Just hold on …”

Beat.

“OK, you there?”

“I am.”

“You listening?”

“Completely.”

“It’s called … Frosted Mini-Wheats.”

~

Six weeks later,another new conversation, the telltale ring sounded again.

I’m having my favourite dinner; chicken sauce and honey pasted pancakes.

My startled telephone, frantic and disoriented,jumped up and hurled a pepper grinder through the kitchen window. I ran in and lunged for the
receiver.

“Ben?”

“Hey, Dad. How’s it going?”

“Do you have a minute?”

“Yeah. What’s up?”

“OK, well, your mother and I have decided we want to die together. I don’t want to get morbid or anything, I’m just—did I interrupt your dinner?”

“No, no, I’m fine.” I lie,but I’m kicking myself for allowing him to frighten my healthy appetite for this good dinner begging me to maul it!

“Listen, we’ve been together a long time. I could never live without this woman-your mother, that is. And if I go first, I
can promise you, she won’t last long. She’ll will herself to die. Are you sure you’re not eating?”

“Positive.”

“OK, now point two: no funeral. We want to be cremated, and we want to go in the lake. You know, the lake behind the neighborhood here.”

“Right. I know.”

“So here’s how it works: Whoever dies first, they get incinerated and put in the closet. When the second one goes, mix us together and put us in the lake.”

“We won’t have to deal with this for a long time …”

“And I want the cat in there too.”

“You want the cat in where?”

“I want the cat cremated and mixed in with us.”

“Oh. So Mom’s OK with that?”

“Hey, she knows what that cat means to me. Here, ask her yourself.”

He called for my mother.

“Joyce!”

A hush.

“Joyce!”

Total Radio silence.

“JOYCE!”

She hollered back from the laundry room:
“What?”

“Ben’s on the phone! He called me(a lie!) Tell him about the cat!”

“What about the cat?”

“The ashes! When we’re dead! Never mind!” To me: “I told you she lost her hearing aid again, didn’t I? They have a shrine to her at the hearing aid factory.

Listen, once we’re all dead, mix me,
your mother, and the cat together. Then put us in the lake. Just dump us in by the bird feeders.”

My mother entered the room.

“Here comes the Queen. They built the Suez Canal Canal in the time it takes her to move from one room to the other.”

“Why are you yelling? You know I can’t hear you from back there.”

“You couldn’t hear me if we were Siamese twins locked in a trunk.”

“Don’t give me nightmares,” she said, picking up the other phone.

Me: “So you’re OK with the cat, Mom?”

Mom: “If it makes him happy.”

Dad: “Listen, Ben. We’ve only been married 60 years. If that’s not love, everyone can go screw themselves. I mean, next to us, Romeo and Juliet
were a couple of morons.”

Me: “It’s quite a love story,you have,Dad.”

Dad: “I almost had a heart attack the first time I. laid eyes on your mother, she was so beautiful.
She’s gotta be the kindest human being who ever lived.”

Me: “I agree.”

Beat.

Dad: “I told you she bought me those Mini- Wheats cereals, right?”

Me: Yep!

Dad: No. I mean,she used to wear mini-skirts then,and I tell you,Ben,she was a thing….

Me: stop it Dad….I gottta go,see you later!

Total Radio Silence.

Happy Fathers’ day Dad,you were a real eccentric!

Bernard Wainaina is an Independent Agribusiness Advisor and CEO at Profarms Consultants®,Nairobi,Kenya.

He mainly works with Agribusiness Youth Groups in Eastern African Region.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Fathers’ Day,2015: The thankless role of an under-appreciated dad

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By Daisy Mburu-Guest Author

Before I became Madam Daisy to my dad, I was his little girl, who went everywhere with him.

He a little ahead, while I trailed him wearing him down with incessant questions and chatter, which he bore with patience and fortitude.

I had a habit of going through his pockets
because I would always find sweets and coins, which I would gleefully keep. (He recently told me that he left them there for me to find).

As the last of four children, his third daughter, I should not have been special, but I think I was, if my childhood memories are anything to go by.

My earliest memories are of me and dad making burnt omelettes, reading newspapers instead of storybooks and traipsing across the hills of his
childhood.

Most memorable however, are the pretty new dresses he picked out and bought for us, his girls.

My mother’s choices never quite
compared.

LUCKY GIRL

As I grew older, as a tween going on teen, it was dad who took me shopping as I prepared to join secondary school.

Those days there were no malls, and supermarkets had just a few aisles
with even fewer shelves and a poor selection of anything a teen would like.

We stopped at a rural shop, and from the look on her face, the woman behind the counter could not believe that a Meru man had brought his daughter to shop.

Her mouth was agape when I started ordering everything, from mudboots, garish blue nail polish to the most personal items a teenage girl would need in boarding school.

My dad bowed to my every whim, paying for everything I asked for.

“You are one lucky girl,” she told me, as dad stood aside, smiling indulgently as I took hours to pick the many items I wanted, items I knew my mother would not approve.

I never thought much of the woman’s remarks, as I soon thereafter transformed into a nasty teenager with a bad case of attitude.

Dad patiently bore my frequent tantrums and door slamming, and through it all, he found it difficult to say no to me.

The only time he did was to refuse me a pair of secondhand shoes because he insisted on buying a new pair!

Many years later, shopping late at night in a 24-hour supermarket with numerous aisles and countless shelves, a distressed middle-aged man stopped next to me, apologised and thrust his phone at me and asked for my help picking items
appearing on his screen. “Teenagers…” he offered in way of explanation.

From the list, I couldn’t help but notice how sophisticated teenagers have become.

The man was relieved when I finally tossed the last item into his shopping cart.

On a whim, I asked if his daughter appreciated his efforts.

MOMENT OF TRUTH

“I’m afraid I don’t hear thank you enough,” he said.

My heart stopped.

Right there, in my mind, I saw my dad following me in trepidation, gingerly
treading on the egg shells around the demanding force my teenage self had become: a heavy sulking cloud of moods threatening to rain constantly, demanding my dad’s wallet.

Then, it hit me that not once did I ever say thank you. Even once.

I had walked around entitled, while my beloved bewildered dad followed in my wake picking the tab of a spoilt brat, probably wondering where his little girl had gone.

I now realise it was a choice he made to labour in love and sacrifice by taking on the thankless role of an underappreciated dad.

Mr Mburu, thank you. You are the best dad a girl could ask for, and I appreciate you everyday most especially on this Fathers’ Day.

Today, many years later, I want to apologise for all I put you through.

Thank you for suffering me.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

All of my temptations are held inside the hotel’s mini bar fridge,please don’t leave it open!

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I’m on a two week treat at Lamu Island,courtesy of one of my generous clients.

When I’m the one footing the hotel accommodation bill,I’m normally very fussy about the mini bar in th the hotel room.

Picture this,dear friends;

You check into a hotel for a short
holiday, right?

If you are checking into a
Grand hotel like the ‘Nyumba Gereza’ guesthouse wonderfully situated in the center of Lamu Town, just behind the
market (incredible place!), a pleasant porter called Yusuf or Hussein, will grab your bags and lead you to your room while asking where you are from, (Malawi, you respond without blinking), and if it’s your first time in Lamu and he will tell you how to differentiate between a Lamu door inspired by the Arabs and
one inspired by Indians. (One is square
the other is dome-shaped….now you
know).

He will slip a key attached to a wooden
holder into your lock and step aside for
you to walk in first (just in case there is a
boobytrap).

Then he will place your luggage on a low side table and show you around: This lights come on from this switch.
(I can never find what switch
lights what bulb normally, by the way).

This is an AC just in case it gets too hot,
just press this red button to switch it off
and on.

This is the bathroom and amenities. (Oh brilliant, what’s the hotel’s policy on standing on toilet seat?); and that is your hairdryer if…wait,I don’t think you will be needing that Mister. Yusuf, stop!

He will continue: Here we have a bowl of
fruits courtesy of the hotel: (Are the
fruits real or plastic?).

This is the mini bar, you can have your soft drinks and alcohol from it, and this here is the price-list of the items. (Note to self: Do.Not.Touch. Minibar.)

Me: Do you mind removing the minibar
from the room, please?

Porter: Excuse me?

Me: Yes, like remove it, take it away.

Porter: You mean like the whole fridge?

Me: Yes, like the whole fridge.

Porter: I’m sorry, but we can’t.

Me: Why, is it too heavy? It’s only a mini-
fridge, I can help you carry it out if your
back is bad.

Porter: Haha. My back is fine. It’s not the weight, it’s just that we are not allowed.

Me: By who, hoteliers association?

Porter: Hehe. No, it’s… why don’t you want the mini-fridge in your room?

Me: Because I will be tempted to drink all the wine and Vodka in there.
No I’m serious. I will wake up at 2-am
and feel miserable and drink
everything.Don’t give me those eyes…
you know that feeling; when you wake
up in panic and all you want to do is sit
in front of the mini-bar in your
underwear and drink all the booze in
those small pretty bottles?

Porter: (with a self-concious supercilious laugh)Haha. No, Mister. That has never
happened to me.

Me: Not even once?!

Porter: No. I’m sorry.

Me: Oh, don’t be. I just thought we had a
connection there.

Porter: Haha. Look, I don’t know, maybe I can remove all the drinks in there instead?

Me: Then you take them where? To
someone’s minibar and increase his
temptation threefold?

Me: No, the store….maybe. I don’t know. I
will ask housekeeping.

Me: Um, Look, on second thoughts, don’t
bother, leave the drinks there I need to
practice some self control. Do you have
a key?

Porter: A key?

Me: To the mini-bar!

Porter: Oh, no. Sorry, the minibars don’t come with keys.

Me: That’s odd, don’t you think?

Porter: That minibars don’t come with keys?

Me: No, that elephants can’t hiccup, yes, that minibars don’t have keys.

Porter: Uhm, yes, it’s…it’s a bit odd, yes. (Odd look).

Me: Next time you go shopping for a mini
bar please get one with a key.

Porter: Uhm, why, sir?

Me: So that you can lock all the drinks and all of my temptations in there.

Porter: (Offers a very concerned look) Certainly Mister.
.
Me: Did I tell you I’m SDA?

Porter: No. No. I don’t remember you
mentioning that part. So you don’t eat
meat?

Me: Why not?

Porter: Because SDAs don’t eat meat.

Me: Oh, I eat meat all right. I’m not that kind of SDA. I’m the kind of SDA that gets
tempted by the minibar.

Porter: Haha.

Me: Haha.

Porter: Anyway, Uhm, so here is our safe. You can keep all your valuables here.

Now, I have a thing about safes.

I have always wondered about this safe
biashara by the way. I have used the
hotel safe about zero times in all my
travels. Who uses the safe? Are there
guys who travel with shitloads of cash,
like 2 meter – and stuff it in the safe
because where they come from they
haven’t heard of VIsa?

Or those very old wealthy women
from some unknown oligarchy in
Eastern Europe who come with
expensive jewellery which they place
there as one just doesn’t wear expensive
baubles while one snorkels.

Or maybe you travelled with your title deed for that newly bought plot in Kitengela. You figured you have worked so hard to buy that plot of land
the title deed deserves a holiday too, so
you bring it to Lamu and as you sip your
cognac with ice (horror!), you get it out
of the safe and you stare at it as you sit
on your balcony because it makes life so
much better. (By the way I predict that
should the madness on social media
hold for much longer, people will start
Instagramming their title deeds very
soon.)

The lovely porter,Yussuf, is saying: And this complimentary bottle of wine is from
the manager to welcome you to our fine
establishment.

You pick the bottle of wine and weigh it in your hands and pretend to read the label, nodding appreciatively.

You know nothing about wine
but you pretend to know by taking ages
reading the label as he looks outside at
the sea and thinks how he will not miss
this part of his job when he retires.

Talking of wine, don’t you hate those
people who take 20 hours reading the
label when the waiter brings a bottle of
wine swathed in a white napkin at
dinner.

The poor waiter stands there holding the bottle tilted with one hand behind his back as they nod and then comes the pretentious question to try and prove how much they know about wine: So was this a late harvest? Like you
lived in France for 12-years.

You reluctantly place your complimentary wine back on the table as the the porter says, Breakfast is from 7.30am to 10.30am, dinner is from 7.30pm to 10pm, please enjoy your stay with us, Mister and don’t hesitate to call us in case you need any assistance.

Caution!; Dear Nairobian middle-class, the decent thing to do at this point is to tip the guy. Give him 500 bob, I’m sure it
won’t create a crater in your budget. And
it will mean a lot to him.

After he is gone, you will remove your
shirt and pants and pick the envelope
with the letter from the manager and
you will instantly know the lazy hotels
from the real deals.

Lazy hotels will always address you as, “Dear Guest” and then print out this template letter that they have used since the hotel opened.

The real hotels who actually care about
you will take time off their very busy
schedules to write your full names and
even have the manager sign the letter at
the bottom using a pen. Nyumba Gereza Guest house always writes my name.

Then the manager will sign it at the bottom in ink, and basically what that says is that this guy sat down and signed a few dozen of those letters because it matters to the hotel, because it’s important!

The details are indeed where the devil lives.

Read that letter. It introduces you to the
product.

It tells you what you might want to do if you are at a beach or a bush property.

The letter might say, Dear Sir, after dark please don’t leave your room to go to the restaurant without an escort because there are buffaloes roaming around .

If you don’t read the darned letter you won’t know about the buffaloes and when you leave your room after dark and you pass by a thicket and hear something cough and you assume it’s a Maasai and you tell it, “ero, sasa?” and the buffalo takes offense for being mistaken for Maasai and it charges, you will wish you read the letter. So read the damn letter, it’s like 200 words maximum,after all.

After reading the letter you will walk to
your balcony in your underwear and
look out at sea. (I love beach properties,
safaris are too ‘mzungu'(Snobbish) for me.)

There, you will think of something deep and unworldly which might unlock a nirvana of sorts.

You will go back in, pass by the mini-fridge without making eye contact,
and grab a bottle of water which you will
open and take to your chair, back on the
balcony, and watch saggy tourists amble
by the beach, followed by dark ribbed
chaps with darker nipples trying to sell
them beads or a glass-boat excursion
(oh wow, look, I can see the corals!) or
sex or maybe if they’re lucky, weed.

It’s a capitalist economy, whatever he is
selling someone will buy.

You will open your book and read or if you have some female company, you will stare at her lovely thighs and pretend you aren’t in a real hurry to get her to bed.

You must attempt to be a gentleman.

I don’t even know why I wrote that
whole lengthy introduction to this post.

Hotel room boredom,I suppose.

But here is what I wanted to say in the first place.

When you visit a hotel you spend time in
two places, the restaurant and the
swimming pool…wait, by the way, I think
us, Nairobians, have the worst
swimming shorts in Eastern and Central
Africa!

Have you seen the dreadful fabric
comedy by the swimming pools when
you go on holiday?

The level of chitzy swimwear men rock up with by the pool?

I can write 5,000 words on Kenyan
men’s choice of swimwear. (note to self)
I can understand why you would wear a
swim trunk with a cartoon on it, or of
swan or geese (what’s the difference?) or
a picture of Mount Kenya, I really can,
but I can’t understand why anyone
would wear swimming shorts that go
past their knees!

Or those chaps who wear swimming shorts with side-pockets;

what are you carrying in there, your
laminated driver’s licence?

However, I think it’s the fault of the
women in their lives.

Yes. You can’t lie there in a your hot two-piece while your man frolics in the baby pool with these ghastly shorts, scaring those poor kids and ruining them for life.

It turns out that normally it’s these chaps who can’t swim; grown ass men in their late 30’s, elbowing kids in the baby pool with their Alibaba And The Forty Thieves shorts!

Men who have floaters attached to their
arms, coughing in the pool! Come on,
guy, get out of that pool…and then get
out of them shorts!

Where was I? Yeah, so in your time at a
hotel, in all these places and during the
time you interact with the waiters and
waitresses and the barmen and the front
desk guys and the porters and the towel
guys and the people selling shit in the
curio shops, you practically talk to
everyone.

But have you noticed that nobody ever
talks to the guy who cleans the pool?

Has anyone ever wondered how the pool
guy feels about that?

You see him late in the evening after 6pm, putting up the “pool closed” board (as he patiently waits for the grown men who can’t swim to come out of the shallow end) and he soundlessly pours his chemicals into the pool and stands there until dusk.

The next morning, if you wake up really early to book a pool-bed, you will spot a
shadowy figure, using that long-ass
squeegee to clean the floor of the pool,
and that machine to suck the dirt and
the net to get the leaves floating on the
surface.

But you won’t see this because you will still be sleeping and by the time you finish with your breakfast and slip into your Geese-shorts, he will be gone,
maybe taking on the different task of
pruning the flower gardens.

You will spend five days in a resort and you will never say hello to this guy.

Nobody tips him.

Nobody knows his name.

He’s a shadow.

A ghost.

Next time you are on holiday, walk up to
a pool guy and ask them their name.

Then watch how they beam when you
ask them about their work; How does
this pump work? How long have you
been doing this? Oh you were a
gardener before here? Do you enjoy it?
Do you have kids, Abdalla? That’s a cool
name. How do you Muslims name you
kids? I have a boy too. Does yours climb
everything? Has he hit his head so loudly
you heard it through a closed door? No?

Then your boy is a girl. Hahaha.

Spend five minutes with him. He will
never forget you because people love
talking about what they do and who they
are.

If he sees you the next day he will
say hello with a big smile like you are
buddies for life.

He will reserve the best pool bed for you the next day and everyday after that until your holiday ends. When you meet him the next morning, you will address him by name because people love when you don’t forget their name: Hey Musa, how did you sleep? How is Abdalla, has be bumped his head yet? No? Shameful,
just shameful! The pool looks dirty
today, doesn’t it? By the way, Musa, I
have wondered about this for so long;
who do you think pees most in
swimming pools? Men or ladies?

Haha.

Me: No, really, who?

Abdallah: I don’t know, really. Haha.

Me: I’m sure you know, you just don’t want to tell me.

Abdallah: I don’t know, Sir, that’s a crazy
question.

Me: Is it? I imagine you get asked that a lot by your pals.

I honestly still don’t know what this post that I’ve written today is all about: Maybe it is about Yussuf, or Abdallah, or the Mini bar, or about my treat in Lamu.

I really don’t have an appropriate headline for it,but bear with me and my rambling thoughts!

Bernard Wainaina is an Independent Agribusiness Advisor and CEO at Profarms Consultants®,Nairobi,Kenya.

He mainly works with Agribusiness Youth Groups in Eastern African Region.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

I hit on a girl last week,but it wasn’t very interesting!

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This story isn’t actually meant to shed light on my now outdated and underwhelming seduction skills.

This story is about a girl and her cherished car.

So last week the devil threw me – not
under a bus – but under a small car-a Toyota Vitz,if you care at all about vehicle models.

But that’s not even the worst part, the worst part is that it was a small car owned by a woman.

Look, I see people complain on twitter”#KOT-about traffic jam or lousy bosses or clients from hell or Kenya Power,which holds the patented rights of a fully paid-for blackout when your dinner has just been placed on your dining table.

I see people whining about something that a politician did.

Or about Monday blues in general. But you haven’t had a lousy day until you have hit a woman’s car in traffic.

It was technically my fault.

No, actually it was the devil’s fault.

So I’m waiting at the head of a traffic queu to turn left from Marcus Garvey Road onto Argwings Kodhek road in downtown Nairobi, right?

In front of me is
a new Toyota Vitz,with the latest issue of car number plate, a KCC something
something H.

We have both indicated left and I’m concentrating at looking at the cars coming from right.

What happens is that I assume that the Vitz has already turned onto the road and left and so I do the natural thing & I turn
onto the road…only to realise, a bit too
late, that she hasn’t moved and bang,
I’m kissing her Toyota Vitz’s back end.

There’ small thud on impact, but a thud all the same.

I turn on my hazard lights, adjust my Deny-hat and step out of my vehicle to inspect the damage.

At the same time this lady steps out holding a phone and I’m like Oh heck,this just the kind of trouble I need today to make my life more interesting!

Just my luck!

I’ve seen before what ladies do to men who have hit their treasured car. It’s ugly.

They don’t take prisoners. It normally
takes a sexist route very quickly if you
say the wrong word. Just one word and
she will be like, Are you saying because
I’m a woman I can’t drive? Then you will
be like, Oh come on, I didn’t say that!

Here is a home truth,if you hit a woman’s
car, especially from behind, don’t say
anything.

Anything you say will be twisted to project a sexist angle.

It’s worse if it’s her first car!

If it’s her first car, you’re safer insulting
her hair than hitting her car.

Anyway, the damage to her car is not
big, no scratch on the paintwork, just a
dent inside, something a mechanic can
just hit once and it pops back into shape.

She’s wearing flat shoes, but going by
her dress her heels are on the floor by
the passenger side.

She’s about 29 or early 30’s.

Probably drinks lots of water at her desk (read; glowing skin inviting a tender touch).

About 5’6” tall. Chocolate. She has these thick braids that curl like serpents on top of her head.

(Lucifer hiding in there,waiting to lay an evil ambush on hapless me
maybe? No? Disappointed is me.)

She wears no lipstick. Large breasts. A big-faced gold dress-watch on a thin wrist. No earrings. Or necklace.

When she comes out of the car she
shoots me this disgusted look as if I’m
the one who has serpents on my head.

Like I’m a scumbag.

She looks at the dent.

The hell? She says.

Not too bad, at least the paint isn’t
scratched.

Are you kidding me? The paint is
scratched!

Uhm, not really.

So she bends and runs her palm over
the dent and then points with a finger
(she has chipped blue nail polish) and
says sarcastically, This, to me, looks like
chipped paint!

I want to point out that that is an old chip, and you would have to use a
microscope to see it.

But I tell her that this is something my mechanic can fix quickly.

I don’t know your mechanic, she
sniggers, to imply that my mech is
incompetent.

He does great body work, this will be
fixed.

No, we have to take it to my mechanic. I
don’t take my car to strange garages.

Then she walks away, shaking her head
while bringing her phone up to her ear.

Look, I don’t know why ladies normally
get all worked up during these small
fender benders.

Why froth at the mouth and act like the world has stopped spinning because you hit their car.

And what’s with the raised voice?

There is never any reason to raise your voice.

I swear if you just speak in a normal tone,
you will be heard.

And then there is always someone she knows in a passing car who rolls down her window and asks, Sheila, kwani what happened?

And she rolls her eyes at me and tells her, HE happened, I’m sooo pissed off I don’t even know! Then her pal shoots you a dirty look and tells her, Call the cops, aki pole! Call me girl,if he misbehaves,I know people who can crank some sense into his head. And she drives off.

Only she doesn’t call the cops or her
mechanic, she calls her man.

Ladies, will you please stop doing that?

Stop calling your men when you are
involved in a small fender bender!

Unless they are also your mechanic.

Your men can’t help you. Everyday, there
are hundreds of men in this city walking
out of important meetings to hear a rant
about a small scratch on their girlfriend’s or spouse’s car.

Well meaning, hard working men are losing 10-mins of their precious time holding the phones to their ears, I say holding because they can’t get a word in
edgewise in that fast nagging tone to beat the daylights out of the traffic offender.

The lady just rants and rants and rants and then before he says anything she says, Let me call you back and you are left wondering, do I wait outside this meeting room until she calls back or do I walk back in and walk back out again when she calls?

Then before you make up your mind you phone starts pinging with about 30 whatsapp pictures of what is supposed to be the most tragic accident in Nairobi.

Life, as you know it, MUST stop to attend to this vehicular emergency!

As the lady paces up and down, spewing
hate into the phone, (I catch words like
“babe”, and “blind” and “some guy” and
“bat”…or maybe it was “butt”) I stand
there like a schoolboy who had been
caught sneaking out of class early.

By this time, traffic has backed-up to Jogoo road & people have started ranting on Twitter about the insane traffic jam.

I really wished she would get off the
phone so that we can sort this out
before the next Christmas especially since I hadn’t even said I was blameless.

Here is what I noticed though.

As other motorists drove around this carnage that could have been easily sorted out with dialogue, I noticed how the male motorists gave me that sympathetic look.

The one that said, they’d hate to be
you in this kind of situation.

That look you give someone who
has gout out of drinking beer liberally and tucking in tonnes of roasted goat ribs.

She finally gets off the phone with “babe” and I’m wondering, Is Babe
coming over to put me across his knees
and spank me with a big stick?

Is Babe going to leave his desk unmanned and come rap me over the knuckles with a ruler?

And, pray, what unprecedented
judgement would mighty Babe pass on
poor me?

Is this how my life ends, at the merciless hands of a lady with chipped nails?

The devil has surely won.

Let’s wait for the cops.

She declares with her hands defiantly across her chest.

Cops? Is that necessary? I ask.

Yes, I think they should come and decide
who is on the wrong.

I am in the wrong, we don’t need a cop
to decide. Look, this is simple take your
car to the mechanic and I will pay for
the damage.

I have meetings you know! How will I
move around? Will you pay for my cab?

I come oh so close to telling her, No, but
I will pay for your manicure. But I try to
recall some verse in the book of
Ecclesiastes 7 or something which says,
Be not quick in your spirit to become
angry, for anger lodges in the bosom of
fools.

She walks away in a huff, leans on her
door and starts going through her old
messages.

Suddenly a skinny cop shows up – I hate skinny cops by the way, they don’t yield, they are stubborn and they don’t negotiate.

The cop comes and asks, Kuna shida(is there a problem)?

And in my head a little voice says, Hakuna shida, officer, tuna relax tu
hapa kwa intersection na huyu mrembo
ana kucha mbaya. (We have no trouble,officer. We just decided to take a brief traffic rest at this particular intersection to allow the lady here to file her nails.)

The skinny cop looks at the damage and
says it’s not bad, that we can sort it out,
so could we remove these cars from the
road immediately?

We drive and park by Chaka Road and, still with hands across her chest, she rolls her eyes all the way to the back of her skull when I tell her I will offer her 1,500 bob. (I know, hehe).

After 30mins or serious pulling and tagging we finally agree on 3K. I pay her
and she gets into her car and drives off
without even giving me a hug. (Nkt).

Her Babe never showed up,even after fifty snaps of this carnage sent to his Whatapp chat.

This is to all female drivers on our roads.

Accidents aside, why don’t most of you
ever see the need to give us way?

Most women drivers will NOT give you way.

A huge ball of fire could be headed your
way but she will not let you get in, she
will stare straight ahead under her huge
shades, chin defiantly thrust forward like
she’s a soldier in a passing parade.

You will burn and die in your lane, my friend.

But you should see them when they
want to join, how they roll down their
windows and flash you those smiles like
you have genes that they might want for
their babies and you know it’s a ruse, but
you always fall for the smile and let
them in.

I know the Bible says do good without expecting anything in return but would it kill you at all to say thanks when we
let you in?

Of course for every mean female driver
there are about five great ones.And may the good Lord keep blessing these five drivers.

May he stop lucifer from standing in the way between you,dear ladies, and reverse parking.

Bernard Wainaina is an Independent Agribusiness Advisor and CEO at Profarms Consultants®,Nairobi,Kenya.

He mainly works with Agribusiness Youth Groups in Eastern African Region.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

TRAVEL HORROR: Me a drug peddler? No way,Mr. Officer! I just have a running stomach!

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On a working trip to DRC Congo, my girlfriend and I were characteristically late for the return flight to Nairobi.

We had travelled by bus from a village where I was handling an agribusiness project for my client, which is well known
cannabis producing region, to the
capital, Kinshasha, and it had been a
rather long uncomfortable journey.

It was made a lot worse by the fact
that for the last couple of days i had
had a rather “loose” stomach.

We got to Kinshasha airport with about forty minutes to spare until our flight took off, so we rushed through check in, changed what little money we had left, pushed to the front of the passport queue and then tried to get through
security.

At that point, we were rather flustered and flushed from all the rushing,
and I, pressed by my running stomach more than I previously thought
was possible, urgently needed the toilet.

This caused me to profusely sweat on my face.

Inevitably, the guy in security,taking a cue from my flustered discomfort, pulled
us to one side to take a closer look at
our bags.

And after emptying everything decided he should get another security guard to take a further look.

I then made the mistake of telling him that I very much would like to go to the toilet while we waited because i had quite a bad stomach.

He asked if i had taken any thing to which i replied, i have — some Imodium –a stomach relief medicine, but it hadn’t helped.

He then asked if i needed to have a doctor to check out my stomach, I said that i was OK, I just really needed to toilet.

I then realised that we had very
different understandings of what was
wrong.

Telling me that he knew that I came to the airport from a cannabis growing village- he must have checked my exit visa or guessed – he suggested that my
bad stomach might be something to
do with all the drugs I had taken or
was smuggling in my stomach.

I was looking nervous, he told me.

I tried to explain that I needed the loo.

At that point, out came two armed police
officers with sniffer dogs, and we were dragged to the corner of security and we waited, confident if a little nervous, for them to check out our bags.

I then got taken to an interview
room, where a police officer poked at
my stomach with a thick wooden baton while quizzing me about my drug consumption habits.

I told him that “of course there is cannabis in that village — you get offered it all the time — but “of course i didn’t take any.”

He then said, after a little conferring, that I I would have to wait while they found a doctor to “examine me.”

I tried to explain, once more, that this was a big misunderstanding and I just needed to go to the toilet but the more I
remonstrated the more it seemed
inevitable that i would end up with a
latex gloved hand exploring my most
intimate parts.

We waited, my girlfriend in tears; the
police now were giggling and taking
what seemed to be a remarkable
amount of joy from our misery.

Eventually somebody arrived to examine me: the original security officers.

I asked about their medical credentials but i was told i didn’t have a choice.
Round the corner I went with him.

We stopped outside a disabled designated toilet and he pointed to the door.

Finally! I thought.

And then it became obvious that the disabled toilets were in fact the examining room and he was coming in with me.

He then told me that he was going to check if i was lying or not and told me that if I needed to go i should go now in a
rather threatening tone, although he
might have just been pissed off that
he had drawn the short-straw of
watching me ease the discomfort of my stomach upset just to embarass me.

I was just about to ask if he could
leave me alone while i went in to the loo, but i no longer cared.

Down came my trousers, and while I enjoyed an explosive relief, i looked up at him
and with a smug smile that said “well
i did tell you that there is nothing more to it than just my running stomach.”

After a minute or so, he decided to leave me to it.

And by the time I returned back to security bay, my girlfriend was packing
our bags once more, still a little
shaken and uncertain as to where
they had taken me.

The plane ended up being delayed, so
we even got on our flight back to Nairobi.

But it’s taught me a lot.

There are always bastard cops where ever you are; learning your rights is up there with remembering your passport; and make sure you carry money in case
you need to bribe somebody in a
disabled toilet in an airport in order
to get home safe and clean back from DRC Congo.

Bernard Wainaina is an Independent Agribusiness Advisor and CEO at Profarms Consultants®,Nairobi,Kenya.

He mainly works with Agribusiness Youth Groups in Eastern African Region.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

A Snapshot of a City; Nairobi,my city,is a beautiful mix of heaven and hell

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By Bernard Wainaina
CEO,Profarms Consultants®

“For every person complaining of floods in my Nairobi City, there’s three blighters, not necessarily Kikuyus, thinking of the dough they could make if rice grew on flooded tarmac.”
~B. Wainaina

The other day I thought, “What is unique about my Nairobi?”

Then I asked the same question to a few chaps.

Here is Nairobi as seen by myself and a few different folk.

It’s easy to moan about Nairobi.

Moan about floods.

Moan about traffic-jam and “matafakas” cutting you off in traffic.

Moan about the drainage system
and about solid waste heaps.
(Those two are not related,at least not to our city fathers!.)

It’s easy, in moments of cynicism to think the worst of Nairobi, how hopeless and desperate it has all become.

It’s easy to stare at the iconic KICC building and get angry at the Koreans for putting their SONY logo up there. (Yeah, like Ketepa
will put a banner up there?).

And don’t you just hate this new army of
obnoxious motorbike taxi guys with their
stinky leather jackets in 32 degree heat,
choking life on the roads and literally
begging you to run them over?

It’s so easy to sit and think this city has totally
gone to the hounds.

Well, until you leave the country and you realise that, with all its dysfunctions, this is heaven.

That there is a reason expatriates cling to the
trousers of the immigration ladies when
it’s time for them to go back home.

Best Hotel

You,a bachelor like me, are sitting in the house on a Saturday night, no plan, feeling depressed because you are broke and someone said, I will call you later for drinks and they didn’t call.

And the Baby mama you were hoping to hook up with hasn’t said a word even though the two
ticks have turned blue on your WhatsApps chat.
You feel like you aren’t loved.

That the best part of your life is over.

You have a loose thousand shillings? (Surely you must).

Then wait until 10pm and drive to Best Western
Hotel, take the elevator to 7th floor, use
the stairs to 8th, there is a bar there called Level 8.

It’s overpriced and it’s blue, so don’t go in. (Not yet).

Stand at the edge of the rooftop, turn the collar
of your jacket, thrust your hands in your
pocket and look out at the arresting vista
of the beautiful Nairobi.

There is nowhere in Nairobi with a more spectacular view of Nairobi than that rooftop.

It’s gobsmackingly gorgeous.

Don’t take a picture, because this is one image you need store in your heart.

Later, jump into Level 8 and order a hot
toddy.

Old, meet new at the ancient Kipande House

The bank sits in a building on the corner of Kenyatta Avenue and Muindu Mbingu
Street (I think). It’s an old building,probably built at the start of the century.

Pre-colonial architecture: Arched windows.

Heavy wooden doors in deep brown.

White and gray concrete that refuses to age.

The pillars at the entrance, they stand so tall you HAVE to tilt your head back to see how far up they run.

Working my way up the stairs past those
pillars reels me back to a time where
nothing surrounded this building but
open opportunity.

And time momentarily stands still when I am
stepping into the bank.

When I have one foot in and one foot out, I feel as if I am crossing over the line that separates one century from another.

I overhear conversations of men, from a century ago,planning to build a great city.

Men on the outside speak of building a great city, men on the inside are writing cheques and counting bills to conquer that city.

They don’t speak, their money speaks for them.

The men on the outside built us a city –
our city – and we took it from them.

The energy this building exudes defines
Nairobi for me; an energy that drives men who dream of building and conquering cities.

My words shiver with that energy.

The sun,meanwhile is still shining in Nairobi.

They once called it the “The Green City
in The Sun.”

The only green left,perhaps, are in the golf courses.

But the sun stayed on.

I asked Ayisi Makatiani – Venture Capitalist, CEO Fanisi Capital – what his Nairobi is and he said, “Nairobi for me is a perfect sunny day, and they are more of them in Nairobi than any
other city I have visited or lived in.

Despite the cloudy or dry days that you
might occasionally get, the perfect sunny days in Nairobi more than makes up.”

Uhuru Highway Traffic~beautiful noise!

There is a scene in ‘Training Day’ Movie where
Denzel Washington tells Hawke to roll down his car window and “listen” to the sound of the
street.

We spend time in traffic in our air
conditioned cars, locking out Nairobi.

Crack it open next time as you sit there
immobile.

Let the spirit of Nairobi fill your car.

That sound you hear, that restless sound?

That is the sound of Nairobi’s inertia.

Diamond Plaza Snack Bar~a view of Angels

Go at 9pm.

Ask for this guy called
Jackson. His number is 0725 ¤¤¤ ¤¤¤.

Get that chicken in coconut sauce and
two garlic naans. Eat with your hands.

Then later sit there and have a fresh
pineapple-mint juice and watch the
smorgasbord of Asian families on a
night-out.

It’s a carnival, this place.

There is a family on the next table; they
have this amazingly handsome little boy
whose chin is at the edge of the table, as
he struggles to see the rest of the table,
and his sandaled feet swing gaily from
the edge of the bench.

That boy’s innocence has not been scratched by
the city and it drowns all the hubbub
around you.

Finish your juice and go home.

JOY ~An Angel in the rain

Her name is Joy and she has a face so
beautiful it hurts my eyes.

I meet those eyes the moment I walk into Kaldis
Coffee, wet from the rain.

Joy finds me a place to sit. Kaldis was once this quiet spot where I slid into to get away from
the heavy breathing streets of Nairobi.

These days it is always full and noisy.

Murmurs gather in the air and hold a raucous marketplace sort of din.

I have been meaning to find another spot which chaps from city suburbs have not turned into a spot for informal meetings.

But I still do not know any other place that
serves better milkshakes than Kaldi’s Coffee.

And then there is Joy.

She is the kind of waitress that makes it hard for me to leave after my cup of coffee.

She has a heart I would like to kiss.

I sit facing the door.

Outside, the sky is leaking by buckets.

Joy comes back with a menu.

I look up at her, at those African poetry
eyes and she says to mock my regular order at this joint,“Joy, get me a vanilla shake and…” “…sirloin steak, well done with chips. I
know.”

Meanwhile outside, water rolls down the
glass door like tears from a tired heart.

Nairobi is weeping, but I know she is not
one bit sad. Its joy in the rains!

A city stirs. My city.

Chris Bitti – CEO, the TheDBagency –and my friend, lives on the penthouse suite of International House.

Sometimes at 5am he steps off his balcony with a cup of tea in hand he looks over the city slowly stirring awake.

“It’s still at that time, there are a few people up and about but mostly it’s still. But you can feel the city slowly awaken, like a hungry giant. You
can feel something major coming, like this massive wave that is building somewhere and is headed right to the heart of the city and you know something serious will happen in the
day, you know someone out there is about to take your place. Nairobi is a beautiful mix of heaven and hell.”

The Tunnel~inside the intestines of Nairobi

The only place Daisy,my partner, loves more than a swimming pool is that tunnel that gets
you off Thika Road and into Forest Road.

That tunnel that looks like you are in Nairobi’s large intestine.

She could be asleep at the back of the car but you have to wake her up to experience that
tunnel or she sulk for hours.

“It’s because of the darkness, and the lights,I just love them so!” she explains.

Whenever I drive through there, I tilt the rear view mirror and watch her at the back, the lights slashing her face in rapid succession, and when we finally emerge into the sunlight she always says, “let’s do it again!” And there is an echo in her voice that rings erotic,though it’s just the tunnel she is talking about.

I am not from Nairobi.

I just live in Nairobi. Tried. Tested. Contented.
Being there, done that and did not even
want the T-shirt.

My Nairobi is all about contrasts.

The anguish of bumper to bumper traffic on Langata Road versus the open savannah of the Nairobi National park. Totally English. Karen
Blixen, afternoon tea on greens at Muthaiga. Little India. Maru Bhajias at DP in Parklands. Or standard Central cuisine with Kienyeji boilo, mukimo at Njuguna’s.

Best of Kisumu flavours at Mama Oliech’s in Dago for fresh fish and osuga. Bonding with the boys. Kuku choma, beer baridi(cold beer) and a car wash at Nairobi West. Back uptown for a little bohemian experience.

Cappuccino at Java House.

Chilled Mojitos at Mercury but still keep it real with a White Cup and Rhumba at Carnivore.

Bourgeois herd

Picnic for the expat friends at Blankets n
Wine.

Shake a leg at Choices Baricho Road with the clandestine gal before the Midnight ratchet special at F1 with the usual perverts.

Mdundo, Old school music with
E-Sir and Ogopa DJs. Doing the Lipala
with Sauti Sol or the sophisticated air
guitar with Jonathan Butler at Safaricom
Jazz. This is my Nairobi.

The Post Office,a funplace for masochists in Nairobi

I recently went to the registered mail section of the post office to get my mail from abroad.

It’s down a steep staircase that drops you into the soulless pit of GPO.

There I found a sluggish and uninspired old man who shuffled around in sandals. (It was a Saturday).

He barely looked at me (or my ID) as he
pointed with dark nails at the place I
should sign.

It was this old massive book.

Then he went and sat on this wooden chair with a sigh (or was it the chair that sighed?) and got back to his newspaper and mug of steaming tea and I wondered if he had an email address.

Three wise”sculptor” men? A Sculptor of a foreign war fought by my people

A sculptor is pedestalled majestically alon Kenyatta Avenue.

It tells of heroes of Second World War.

Our men fought in that foreign war.

“There are three men on Kenyatta
Avenue. They have been standing there
for nearly eight decades, watching as the
swampy town became a city right in
front of them. The man on the left is
wearing a shuka and carrying a staff in
one hand, as if he is going to herd goats
and not to kill other men. He has his gun
slung, almost like an afterthought, to his
left arm. You can tell he wants the one
in the middle to think he is staring at
him, but his gaze goes far higher. The
one in the middle is a conformer, in his
ironed shorts and military pose. He is a
man of war, the kind you don’t want to
mess with. He stares at the obelisk on
the other side, the story of another war.
The third man has a rifle strung to his
left shoulder. There isn’t much to him,
not enough character even other than a
seeming discomfort with his new role.
There are three men on Kenyatta
Avenue. They share the same rock, a
symbol of a shared destiny lost in the
sands of time, in the stories of other
thousands of men forced to be the ‘ feet
and hands of the army.’ Under their feet,
Rudyard Kipling promises “Even if you
die, your sons will remember your
name .” But their sons didn’t, and their
stories got lost in the struggles that
followed. Their story is Nairobi’s story,
untold.”

Mama Ngina Street

Stand at the edge of Hilton, facing Mama
Ngina Street at 8pm, when a large throng of people are heading home.

Its thick mass of humanity, worn faces who
are always hopeful about tomorrow.

One entrepreneur told me, “When you see this mass going home you can’t help asking yourself, ‘what product do I have to come up with so that all these people can buy it?’”

The streets!

It is an early Monday morning, the chill
is at its harshest and the roads are flooded.

Flooded by hordes of people and vehicles wading through the water.

Like always, everybody is in a rush.

Navigating through the pavements, I
catch brewery whiffs of the weekend on people’s’ breaths.

Cars pass by, splashing water on us because, well, that’s what floats their boat (read Toyota vitz).

Archives Building looms large,indifferent to everything happening around it.

It has had to endure Gor Mahia Soccer Club fans vandalism for eons, nothing much can surprise it now.

It does not give a whit that for all the lessons they could learn from their past, Nairobians prefer to use it as a beacon in giving directions because it knows that’s how Nairobi people are.

They do not conform.

For every person complaining of floods in my Nairobi City, there’s three blighters, not necessarily Kikuyus, thinking of the dough they could make if rice grew on flooded tarmac.

It is all so fascinating.

As I trot down Tom Mboya street, I walk past the same people daily; the balding newspaper vendor with playboy magazines hidden beneath Parents, the conductors who double up as peddlers and the capped dude who walks around selling dummies to dummies.

The only thing you can be sure of, and that I have learned about Nairobi, is that “it
don’t belong to your mother.” I wouldn’t even try to fine tune that African proverb into sense~it simply warns of lurking dangers in Nairobi,my City.

The great divide in Nairobi

If you stand on the balcony of any of the
residences of the new National Housing
corporation houses in Langata, something powerful is clear.

Immediately below you, the rooftop of
your little 2000cc car is clear.

After that, another block, then the wall, the big
one. The mighty Kibera slum starts immediately after it, and that wall makes all the difference.

You are standing on the middle class side, where the gates create the big difference between you and everyone else.

Rusty tin roofs litter the horizon, with the slum’s streets invisible to your bird’s eye view.

Yet your host’s househelp comes from the other side, because it is the only way the system
works.

The wall separates the lower working class from the lower middle class.

Nairobi is defined by its walls.

Gray and unforgiving, at least on the side you
can see from the balcony, that wall makes all the difference.

Nairobi’s walls are its stories.

Best Music Band in Town

Calabash Band.

Tuesdays and Thursdays,Explorer Tavern, Kilimani. Izzo on keyboard. Mayor on drums. Johnny Bass on guitar. Then, standing before the microphone, is Linda Muthama,
breaking this musical testosterone with a voice that anchors the night (and you) in one spot.

When birds mate in Nairobi

Nairobi is a place of extremes, the litmus
of limits and testing point of resilience.

It shuffles your cards, topples your dominos and rearranges your normal nervous balance.

Take traffic jams,for instance.

They are the melting pot of all pseudo-classes.

We meet here every day from 6am to 9pm.

The poor and the rich: the pragmatic
and the romantic.

Crazy Traffic equalizes us all then neatly encapsulates Nairobi’s two
great exports: radio and patience.

We sit and listen to radio hosts talk about
traffic with the same enthusiasm teenage boys talks about girls.

You try to be patient as you watch two grand
Marabou stocks recklessly mate on top
of a tree branch above your car.

We pray that at least the monstrous Mbukinya trademark bus in front of us will have moved before the birds break the weak branch which will fall smack on your windscreen for the frantic exertions of these gigantic birds in their mating dance.

We pray the guy hawking life saver vests gets to you before the flash floods hit town.

We watch as the sun sits on the horizon like
an old sultan as it eats the skyline like
yams.

Then, the city will turn to a smorgasbord of grace, soft crime, jazzy tranquility and Sabina Joy hookers joint.

And for the rest of us in traffic, radio and patience.

But let me tell you what Nairobians have
managed to do that other cities have not
– they have anaesthetized themselves
against Nairobi.

You’ll know because the next morning, in their true métier, Nairobians will all meet up again in the crazy traffic for a crazy snail dance back into the bowels and intestines of my beautiful city!

Bernard Wainaina is an Independent Agribusiness Advisor and CEO at Profarms Consultants®,Nairobi,Kenya.

He mainly works with Agribusiness Youth Groups in Eastern African Region.

Knowing that I have had your friendship will forever be a treasured memory

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Though there is gold up in the belly of
mountains-
Lovely pearls deep in the sea-
Those treasures do not mean as much
As your friendship means to me.

While diamonds may be beautiful,
And worth a lot of money,
They cannot give a warm embrace
Or share jokes that we both think are funny.

I know it’s true some people
Will collect much priceless art,
Yet I have never seen a picture
That showed me a loving heart.

So I don’t need to spend a fortune
To have what means the most to me.

Knowing that I have had your friendship
Will be a treasured memory.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Till death do us apart…….

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I’ve been a massive animal lover since birth,
basically.

When I was a kid, I had a cat named “Trouble”, whom I enjoyed chasing, harassing,
and forcing to snuggle with me; she enjoyed
routinely scratching my face when she wasn’t
purring and being a lovebug.

She lived to be 16,well into my early twenties!

Animals are furry,and they feel soft to touch(though I’d be more careful touching a porcupine!).

Plus they make us feel less alone(I do feel lonely in presence of some of my acquaintances!).

Here are five reasons why I’ve always
been head-over-heels for them.

Anyway, here are my five reasons why animals
are better than people.

1. THEY’RE COVERED IN FUR!
They’re like living, breathing stuffed animals.

How could anyone NOT go instantly mush-gush and start involuntarily emitting squeaky high- pitched noises when confronted with fuzzy
critters? (I’m equal opportunity — my strongest
passion is for cats, but clean dogs and
donkeys and ferrets and all kinds of other small
furry animals are great, too).

How could anyone NOT want to take an adoptable fur-face home for their very own?

There’s nothing I like more than watching a movie like “Gone with the wind” with a purring cat sprawled across my chest.

2. THEY CAN’T TALK

This means they can’t yell at you, or fight with
you, or belittle you, or try to make you jealous,
or insult your intelligence, or catcall at you
(heh), or ask you for things you aren’t prepared
to give, or tell you how to live your life.

This also means they (sadly) can’t propose marriage, or thank you for dinner, or give you life advice, or ask you to change their cat litter.

But who cares!

Sitting in silence with an animal is just awesome.

And they communicate effectively with meows, barks, glances, glares, and odd body language (my personal favourite: “the good roll”, when a cat rolls on the ground right on my feet to indicate that he wants you to tickle his tummy).

3. THEY’RE HONEST: IT’S ALL ABOUT
INSTINCT, MAN.

They have no ulterior motives.

They don’t plot to
steal your boyfriend/girlfriend, or make insipid comments about your roots starting to go grey, or answer important questions with frustrated sighs.

They’re all heart and gut.

They do what they feel, and they can tell if you’re sad.

When they love you, it’s clear;their love is just so sincere to hide.

If they aren’t that into you, it’s also clear.

There are no guessing games with animals,
no human-scale subtleties, nuances or shades of grey.

Sure, there can be some mixed signals when you first meet ’em — when they’re not sure
about you, when you’re first starting to build a
bond.

But once they’ve learned to trust you, they tend to become wholeheartedly obsessed with you — and they have zero interest in “playing it cool,” feigning indifference, or not calling you back.

4. THEY MAKE US FEEL IMPORTANT.

Humans like to be needed.

I’d even go so far as to say that we NEED to be needed by animals to realise what unconditional love is all about.

It makes us feel valuable, like our existence matters, like it would be a concrete loss — to them — if we died.

Our animals need us.

They rely on us for food, and shelter, and
bathroom supplies, and luxuries like toys and
treats. (And love, of course!)

And because they can’t ask for what they need,or nag when feeling ignored, this kind of
dependence feels even weightier — not only do
they need us, but we’re expected to KNOW what
they need without them asking or telling us.

They’re like babies, but … forever!

This is a real responsibility, one that obviously shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Thankfully, for many animal lovers, I don’t think it is.

Plenty of us actually enjoy feeling responsible for keeping our creatures healthy and happy.

They pay us back a zillionfold with cuddles, purrs.

5. THEY LOVE US ANYWAY.
Animals give us the kind of acceptance we
should be giving our own selves, but don’t.

They don’t give a whit about our hair, or our outfit, or our adorable new platform shoes, or how bad we stink when we’ve somehow managed to forget to take a shower for 3 days. (Actually, who knows — maybe they DO give a whit, but they can’t verbalize it, so we’d never know! Dooooh!)

Regardless, our pets’ love for us is untainted and unconditional.

They accept us whole; they don’t mind kissing us when we have morning breath, and they certainly don’t mind snuggling up with our sweaty gym clothes or dirty socks from the
hamper (they actually kind-of like it — ew).

They’re cool with whatever we do, however we
look, however we feel.

They’re just SO INCREDIBLY OUT-OF-THIS-WORLD GLAD that we’re there at all.

Did I forget anything?!

I’m sure that I’ve given less reasons for kind of love I feel for animals,but feel free to add on this list!

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Tessa; an instrument of perfect feminine mystique. Mother’s day 2015

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It takes a very feminine woman to bring out the full masculinity in a man, and massage to peaceful repose, the insecurities of his fragile ego.

Tessa is probably the only woman in the world who can manage a man’s ego; she will respect his whims without taking them very seriously.

She will not require her man to behave “correctly”,according to a woman’s handbook on good male behaviour.

And if a man annoys her,she will reprove him without malice,and in strong terms that he deserves and understands.

But any man would melt in Tessa’s feminine ways; she is every man’s dream of what a homely woman should be-feminine,but resolute,and no man can ever resist such guile in a submissive woman who treats her man like a king,but excites his intense passion in private.

In the feminine mystique, there is a sure way for a woman to dream of creation or of the future.

There is a way she can even dream about herself,as her children’s mother, her husband’s wife.

But Tessa doesn’t need to do any of those feminine things that define most women to be a woman;her feminine mystique stands on its own feet.

When a woman,like Tessa, rises up in feminine glory, her energy is magnetic to men and her
sense of possibility contagious.

When men and women are able to respect and accept their differences as a monument of polar attraction, then love has a chance to blossom.

Most women,unlike Tessa, often have little awareness of how truly healing feminine
energy is to men.

Let your radiance touch everyone, because you are beautiful in spirit of what it is to be truly feminine,Tessa,my girl.

You are truly, an instrument of perfect feminine mystique!

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Blessed are the broken hearts, for they shall let in the light

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In 2008, after sixteen years of marriage,
I decided to divorce.

Though my ex and I got along well most of the time, the marriage was missing an intimate, heartfelt romantic connection.

Loneliness and longing for my freedom grew with each
passing year of my dull marriage until I could no longer ignore them.

I knew the kind of intimacy for which I yearned was not possible in my marriage, so I opted for a divorce.

Because my ex- and I actually led mostly
separate lives under the same roof, I assumed the transition through divorce would be fairly smooth.

Boy, was I in for a rude awakening!

Divorce, like most significant losses, takes
the safe and familiar contour of our lives
and blows it to smithereens, leaving us
vulnerable and unprotected until the new
shape forms.

It is easy to underestimate the comfort we draw from what is known,though it is sometimes the very source of our unhappiness.

Shortly after the separation, much like a
Ficus tree seems to all but die when
moved from its familiar spot, I went into a
state of self recrimination.

I reminded myself that,right from the beginning,this marriage was mismatched; it was more as a result of transient bodily lusts than love.

I was a fool to follow my bodily lusts into a sham marriage that was incompatible at all levels.

Much of my suffering was not even related to losing my ex,but cursing my unwise decision in being trapped into a loveless marriage in a moment of weakness.

The pain and hurt I was suffering was directed more inwards to myself,than at the loss of this marriage.

It felt like I was doing penance for my foolish decision that imprisoned me into a very skewed relationship,both at the emotional and intellectual level.

I flogged myself for it.

It was as if my nerve endings were relocated outside my skin, perturbed at even the slightest agitation.

Once- routine tasks, like getting out of bed or
going to the grocery store, seemed barely doable.

I told myself it was not okay to feel the
pain because it was a consequence of my
own choices.

But what about those lost sixteen years of my life?

My emotional suitcases were so heavy with fear, shame, and self-doubt, I thought these feelings defined me.

One night, the struggle reached a crescendo.

Sadness and dread filled my entire body, from the inside out, until I was heaving with sobs and howling like a trapped animal.

I cried for having made a wrong choice that led to loss of my precious youth,time and material investment in this sham that I called marriage.

I was convinced the pain would either not stop or that it would kill me. I secretly wished for the latter.

It was in this moment I realised that some
pain is, quite literally, unsoothable: there
is no one, no place, and nothing in that
moment that can make it better.

The only way out of unsoothable pain is
to go straight through it.

Even with this awareness, however, I still wanted to run.

I realised that at the material time of my sham marriage,what I needed was love,not necessarily marriage.

But I thought then,that love was found in marriage.

How wrong I was!

When we tell ourselves that we need
something, we inadvertently look for it in
places we are guaranteed not find it.

This is life’s clever way of showing us,
again and again,that faking a relationship will always fail.

Through breakups and divorce.

At the base of every true heart connection is acceptance.

We cannot offer acceptance to others until we can accept ourselves, wrenched heart and all.

Three years and two failed relationships
later, I decided to face grief, and to build a solid life on my own.

I have eschewed all romantic relationships,devoting that time to friendships and long-neglected passions, and music. I felt alone,but not lonely and frequently got scared that I no longer held any feelings for women, but fear was outmatched by a deeply held conviction that I was finally free of chains that limited my life to chronic unhappiness.

Though I once hoped it would, I am happy
to report that, unsoothable pain did not kill me.

In fact, the willingness to push through its
contractions has increased my confidence
to handle my other subsequent life’s losses and uncertainties.

The same can be true for anyone willing to
face his/her own darkness.

If you are experiencing unsoothable pain,
you may be tempted to reach for
something or someone to numb yourself.

Avoidance is a way of inviting into your life more of the very thing you are attempting to banish; resistance is futile.

Your feelings are intense because something important is happening, so keep going!

Sometimes unsoothable pain presents itself as fear, telling us the struggle won’t end.

Sometimes it assumes the voice of self-doubt, convincing us we can’t do it.

Sometimes pain is accompanied by shame, which cajoles us into believing there is something fundamentally wrong with us because we are hurting.

Fear, self-doubt, and shame are the
normal, temporary emotional byproducts
of any significant life-change.

Unsoothable pain is the threshold over which we must cross to access more self love and more light within ourselves.

While masking its symptoms won’t cure the disease, taking good emotional, spiritual, and physical care of yourself goes a long way.

Here are a few things to consider:

1. Slow down and breathe.

It may feel like you are dying when you
pause for a bit, but I encourage you to do
it anyway.

When we slow down and sit with hard feelings, we are taking a brave step toward showing ourselves that we are stronger than pain.

2. Create small goals.

During the darkest times, the idea of getting through an entire day felt like a lot, so I broke the day into small chunks to make it more manageable.

My goal list looked like “Shower and groom”
or “Make it to lunch time.”

3. Celebrate achievements.

When I reached each small milestone, I would
sometimes say, out loud and in my goofiest cheerleader voice, “Heck! You made it to bedtime! Another day has turned to
history!”

It may feel silly to celebrate events that
seem otherwise unremarkable but, when
your nerves are inside out, even the
simplest of tasks can feel like a big deal.

4. Trust more and confide often.

Make a short list of the people in your life
you feel safe falling apart with and let
yourself fall apart with them.

There is nothing shameful about unsoothable pain—it is our vulnerability that allows us to create meaningful bonds with other humans.

Sometimes a supportive comment or gesture from a trusted friend can be the encouragement
you need to keep going.

5. Move around.

Please do move your body at least once per day.
Whether your preferred movement is
yoga, walking, running, dancing, hiking, or
biking, remember that emotions are
physical events—we can literally move
through them sometimes.

6. Do something that scares you.

Keeping health and safety in mind, figure
out two or three small things you can do
that are outside of your comfort zone.

I wanted to reconnect with my academic studies
side, so I joined college for further studies.

7. Speak kindly to yourself.

We are more likely to advocate for people
we like; so, when you are in pain, speak to
yourself as if you are your own valued friend.

It is when we are hurting that we are most
deserving of our own tenderness.

Gently remind yourself that you are doing your best to take care of yourself,free of burden of taking care of others.

8. Be patient.

Building a new life shape takes time, so
give it the time it deserves.

Acting hastily merely increases your chances of having to start hurting all over later.

Building a friendlier relationship with
discomfort can eventually diminish its
strength and frequency.

In the meantime, it may help to remember that unsoothable pain is often the sign of a well-lived life—it proves you were courageous enough to risk, to fail, and to be affected by loss.

After all, it is when the shapes of our lives are wide open that the most light can get in.

Broken hearts allow in more light into our lives that helps us reorganise our priorities.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

A stress management lesson from the wild; live your life like forgetful warthogs

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Not very long ago at Mara Game Reserve, I was watching a lioness bent over a hole on the side of an ant hill and digging vigorously.

I stopped to capture the shots when and if the lioness found what she was digging for.

It was not my first time to see something like this.

That is why I knew for sure, the lioness is after something buried within the ant hill.

Aardvarks and anteaters dig holes on the side of anthills to eat the ants inside.

Then the holes are modified and enlarged by a myriad of species of animals including hyenas, warthogs, mongooses and even pythons as their homes.

They make their homes in the holes and even give birth in there.

It is not even strange to find a lioness giving birth inside an anthill hole dug by the aardvarks, if the anthill is well placed in an enclosed area with bushy outcrops around it.

We could term the aardvark in the category of the Keystone species, the species that modify the environment for the benefit of other species who would not survive otherwise.

Among those who benefit from the holes dug by
the aardvarks, warthogs are the most vulnerable.

The rest have a more secure way of keeping off
attackers.

They either put up a sentry at the entry to look out for trouble and alert those inside, as is
the case with the little mongooses, or attack any
intruder bravely using brutal force, as is the case with hyenas.

But for the warthogs, their only means of escape is to dash off from the hole with as much noise as is possible and throwing dust with their snouts on the faces of the intruders in order to confuse them momentarily.

Sometimes they succeed but other times, the intruder is not overly concerned with the noise and the dust.

In the case of a lion or a leopard, they will stay put at the entrance and grab the warthogs for a snack.

That was what I was hoping to happen with this
particular lioness.

She looked hungry and there seemed to be ready food in the hole.

I waited for a while, camera trained on the
hole.

Then it happened so quickly that there was
hardly time to press the record button for the
videos.

Normally in holes that are already occupied by the warthogs, the male sits close to the entrance while the female and the babies settle at the very end of the burrows.

This male came out with his head lowered to the ground ready to use its tusks at the lioness.

Close to the entry point, he scooped up loose soil on the snout and threw it straight into the eyes of the lioness.

A cloud of dust covered the whole anthill
and for a moment, I could hardly see what was happening.

The accompanying noise was so loud that the lioness retreated a few metres from the hole.

By the time she recovered, the last of the babies was galloping away behind the parents at a
speed that surprised all,especially the lioness and I.

The lioness did not even bother to follow.

The warthogs family had made such a lead that it was impossible for her to catch up.

She looked inside the hole with a hope that a baby was late in getting out.

Bad luck.

All had made the escape.

The next course of action for the warthogs family was to find another hole as quickly as possible and hide inside.

When they find a hole, the babies go in first, in reverse, while the parents bring up the rear also the rear end first so that their heads face the entrance.

In this case, the babies saw a culvert drain and went in.

Before the last one disappeared into the culvert, there was another loud squeaks and the whole group was out again in a greater hurry.

But they were minus one baby.

In their customary rear end entry into the hole,
they did not see a hyena already inside the culvert resting away from the scotching sun.

The hyena came out with a baby warthog dangling from his jaws.

The rest of the group was running in the
direction of the first hole, where they had had a
narrow escape from the lioness!!

In such a short period of time, they had forgotten and were not stressed by the episode
with the lioness!!

Lucky for them,the lion had ambled away in defeat.

With only a small loss of one baby,the warthogs were comfortably resettled in their former home within a few minutes that would have meant death for most of the family.

But in the mind of warthogs,that episode seemed to have happened long way back,and it was already mummified in the cobwebs of warthogs short memory.

It no longer stressed them.

They were a happy family again,just a few minutes from the brink of very cruel deaths.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to live our life stressfree,like warthogs!

Blame it on our solid memories that sometimes haunt us for life.

And isn’t it puzzling too,that our happy memories only seem to be remembered for a few minutes.

Selective memory too,is our bane,as rational beings!

Bernard Wainaina is an Independent Agribusiness Advisor and CEO at Profarms Consultants®,Nairobi,Kenya.

He mainly works with Agribusiness Youth Groups in Eastern African Region.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Bees always deflate my ego,and dampen my chivalry

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I hate to admit that I fear bees,yes,those tiny insects that others brush off ever so casually off their faces.

My paranoia around bees is informed by past undignified trauma.

I stopped denying that I suffer from an irrational fear of bees long time ago,and that took away a big chip off my bloated male ego..

Sample this recent encounter with a full colony of bees;

A female work colleague has a turned her guest wing into a private office where we spend long hours editing content for content blogging for our online clients on weekends.

On this particular day, I heard bees buzzing on her roof and immediately raised my concerns.

She explained that bees had set up a colony in her ceiling but an ‘expert’ was coming to sort it out.

Her casualness in this awaiting catastrophe was remarkable.

How could she be so calm with danger lurking above, up in her ceiling?

I should have listened to my instincts after all, but instead I listened to my big male ego.

I did not want appear overly paranoid,although I’ve seen a lion scampering into safety of thick bushes in face of these dangerous insects.

An hour into our peaceful afternoon, I heard
footsteps on the roof and a familiar sense
of uneasiness set in.

” Maybe we should step out and let the man on the roof finish his task”. I was dismissed with a wave of hand. “He is an expert. All the way from ICIPE.” ( International Centre of Insect
Physiology and Ecology).

I started to panic and true enough, moments later, an entire hive fell right through the ceiling into the room.

There was no time to think.

In a surge of adrenaline that propelled my flight response, I threw my jacket over the lady
and rushed her out of the door through a
hailstorm of bees.

Not a single bee stung her.

I got hit 9 times! and lived to tell the story,my best try at chivalry in presence of bees,so far.

I generally display a composed manner of a true gentleman, even where noisy banter is approved.

But that calm demeanour is blown to smithereens the moment I hear the distinct buzz of a bee.

The change of reaction surprises people.

Bees scare the daylights out of me.

A single bee drifting towards my coffee mug is
bound to set off all my panic buttons.

In female company, the panic attack is
heightened because at the back of my mind
is the inevitable and sheer embarrassment
of getting my ego stung as well.

Once in the company of an attractive young lady at a business meeting, a bee hovered in front of my face as if taking aim.

I lost track of conversation and was preoccupied with how to get away from the source of threat without breaking into a run.

The lady noticed my obvious discomfort and said reassuringly, “It is only a bee”. Of course, She wouldn’t understand. And her short well meaning observation made a big dent on my male ego.

How can I even pretend to be a “protector” of a lass who doesn’t fear bees?

In certain instances,bees have trampled on my hope for successful dating when they enter the scene.

I become flustered,incoherent,sweaty and stammering all at a low buzz of a single bee,ruining my date!

I can produce a very clear and detailed history of completely unprovoked attack from bees.

I have gotten stung so many times, I reasoned that this level of profiling bees as heartless insects can only be penance for my sins committed in a past life.

I have even been stung while getting interviewed for an agribusiness documentary.

The venue was a tropical garden.

On this one sunny day, a bee decided to crawl up my leg heading up to goodness knows where, and stung me just when I was getting into my groove for this exciting interview.

I took the sting like a man and did not utter
a word. the host was impressed when I told
him about it afterwards and he promptly
roasted me off air afterwards for being stoic.

The Tv man thought it would increased the ratings of the documentary if I had spontaneously hollered in horror in live camera at the sting of that single bee.

My friends told me later that I looked like a
man suffering from a constipation
throughout the remainder of the interview.

In another incident, during an important
fundraiser at a friend’s house, a bee landed on
the edge of my cup of water, placed on the
ground, next to my seat.

When I reached under the seat to take a cool gulp, I got stung on my upper lip.

Of all the cups in a gathering of about 50 people, I became the chosen one for this dishonour.

The commotion that followed was ugly.

I cursed the bee so ferociously in front of little children who started crying in horror of my swear words.

I spilled water over an elderly man, lost my
sense of bearing,charging like a wounded fighter bull for a few seconds as I
stumbled through chairs trying to suppress
the raw panic and the pain of the sting.

People panicked, some started running and if it
was not for a calm MC who laughed off my paranoia to the panicked crowd, I would have set off a stampede.

I was not very happy with my swollen face afterwards that looked like a freak deformed monster pumpkin.

Of course,I love the bees for their honey,but,Oouch! They do sting.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

You could be living through your best moments in life,but you don’t know it,as yet….

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In the ever busy rat-race that we call “a successful life”,you probably have everything that makes your life a ‘true success’ already,but you have not had the insight to realise that you are already a success.

My Buddhist teacher illustrated this paradox to me in the following story when I queried him on how to draw out a plan that will help me achieve my life-goals;

A “successful” cold storage & meat businessman was on vacation in a small lakeside village, when a small boat came ashore and he saw the fisherman pull out several large fish.

Impressed, he asked how long it had taken to catch them, to which the fisherman replied, “Just a little while.”

“Then why didn’t you stay longer and catch more?”

The fisherman replied, “This is enough to feed my whole family.”

“Then what do you do the rest of the day?”

The fisherman smiled and replied, “Well, I have a late breakfast and then I play with my kids. In
the afternoon, I take a nap with my wife, and come evening, I join my buddies in the village for a drink— we play guitar, sing and dance throughout the evening.”

The businessman felt sorry for the fisherman and wanted to help. “I have an MBA in business and I can help you succeed. From now on, you should spend more time at sea and catch as many fish as possible. When you’ve saved enough money, buy a bigger boat and catch even more fish. Soon you will be able to afford our own fleet. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman, you’ll sell directly to the
processor, eventually opening your own plant. You’ll control the product, processing, and distribution. By then, you’ll have moved out of this village to the big city, where you can set up your HQ and manage your operations.”

The fisherman seemed intrigued; “and then what?”

The businessman laughed heartily, “after about
15-20 years, you’ll go public and float your shares in the Stock Exchange. You’ll be rich!”

The fisherman,still listening keenly asked, “and then what?”

The businessman continued; “Afterwards, you can finally retire, move to a small coastal village.
Life will be sweet because you’ll be able to enjoy
fishing, play with your kids, have a nice afternoon nap with your wife, and in the evening, you would join your buddies for a drink, play the guitar, and sing and dance throughout the evening!”

The hapless fisherman was puzzled, “Isn’t that what I am already doing now?”

Our little apocryphal story teaches us that as Henry Ward Beecher once said, “Wealth is not an end of life but an instrument of life”.

The words of an old song put it well, “It can
buy you roses, but money can’t buy you love.” It can buy you a beautiful mattress but money can’t buy you sleep. It can buy you a vacation but money can’t buy you rest. It can help you afford the best education for your kids but money can’t make them succeed in life.”

Now, I’ve nothing against making loads of money.

That’s not my point.

Just a caution this Buddhist meditation week though that as you chase it, you don’t neglect and end up destroying the very things that you are chasing it for.

And guess what,you may already be living through the best days of your life,without knowing it!

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Easter Recipes; Cow hoof recipe that is a weird delicacy for middle aged Kenyan men

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If there’s any secret in eating cow hooves
popularly known as “Gumboots” here in Kenya, then many men of approximately 35years and above yearn for it the most.

In very rare cases will you find a woman ordering for “Gumboots” unless she is in company of a middle aged male “chaperon”.. While at Choma Zone joint in Ongata Rongai, in Ngong, one of the places where one can find this delicacy, you will hardly find any youth in their 20s ordering for it, unless it is on doctor’s orders.

“Gumboots” looks like a piece of fat on a hollow bone.

It is also not a meal you will enjoy using a
fork or chop sticks, but rather your hands.

You might only need a spoon to scoop soup from the bowl.

On one Sunday evening, at Choma Zone, a joint I frequent with friends, middle aged men dressed in T-shirts and sandals form most of the crowd.
And mind you,these middle aged Kenyan men are very wealthy judging from their very patronising demeanour and the type of high end cars that they drive into this joint.

I’ve deliberately pointed this trivial detail to disabuse my readers that “Gumboots” is delicacy for the ‘poor patrons’ who want to save on a cheap dish so that they can afford one more bottle of beer.

A few women go to this place,alone.

I’m in good company of my wealthy clients who run a string of agribusinesses in high end residential zone of Karen,Nairobi County.

To take my order, a female light skinned plump chef,known around here by her men patrons fondly as ‘Chiru’ approaches me asking which part of the cow leg I want. Confused, I tell her to bring a piece with fine meat.

She labours to explain that there are different
parts viz “Mahungu” (the hoof), the joint and the pipe.

I get to learn that most people prefer “Mahungu”,the lowest part of the hoof, to any
other.

After enjoying my meal that came with pieces of
steamed banana plaintains, she came to clear the table.

I asked her what it takes to prepare “Gumboots” at home for my partner,Daisy,as a surprise for her Easter treat.

“She may not appreciate it. Women do like these crazy hooves that you middle aged men seem to relish so much”. She retorts,catching me off guard by her sincere observation.

“But she liked it,last time we were here. You served us,remember?”

“That was only meant to caress your delicate ego as a man. Listen,if you want to surprise her “pleasantly”,fry her some potato chips and chicken,and add a lot of Ketch-up,dear man. That’s what we girls like”. She sums up her golden advice with a nice and victorious trot away from my table,or is it seductive?

I’m not sure,but ‘chiru’ has left me more intrigued by her honest and unsolicited advice.

I’m in a funny muse pondering this turn of events as I watch her gigantic derriere swinging on her slender hips as if it had a life of its own.

Sometimes,I find women more beautiful when they are “walking away” from me.

Its a sight to behold,especially in those who are endowed with a massive butt on slender hips,like ‘Chiru’.

Anyway,Chiru is back at my table with a pencil and legal yellow memo pad.

She lowers herself seductively at an opposite chair and hands me down the pencil and the yellow memo pad.

“Write this recipe down for yourself,and please don’t go try to poison your girlfriend with this trash that you men like”;

Recipe for “Gumboots” a.k.a cow hooves.

To prepare “Gumboots”, you need the following:
•Four tomatoes
•Two onions, leeks
•One big green paper
•One big carrot
•A pinch of salt
•Small onion leaves and a teaspoon of black pepper or other spice and salt.

METHOD

•Roast the hided cow hoof over a direct low flame to remove the fur.

•Ensure you do not burn the hooves to charcoal texture!.

•Gently scrape the remaining fur and parts that may have burnt. Cut the hoof into pieces of a
reasonable size.

•Soak in water for about 30 minutes.

•Drain and place in a saucepan.

•Add water and salt and boil for about an hour.

•Add the garlic, leeks, carrot, onion and leave to
simmer on slightly low fire until the soup reduces.
•Add a few pieces of peeled whole Irish potatoes and simmer until Irish is cooked but
not mashed.

Add black pepper and serve.

If the “Gumboots” is from for a younger cow, cook it for four hours, unlike for an old cow that takes six to eight hours .

First roast it so that the fur gets burnt and it is easy to scrap off the skin. After, chop it into the
desirable number of pieces.

“The common mistake that people who prepare it at home do is to fry “Gumboots”. This dilutes or spoils natural nutrients,” she points out.

The waitress asks me if I want to buy some materials for my partner to start cooking it from home but I’m honest that I’m single,most of the times,except over the coming long Easter weekend.

She laughs at me and advises that if I ever
get married, “Gumboots” should be prepared well so that the consumer enjoys all nutrients.

Why others enjoy this delicacy

I shift to the next table where a patron who
identifies himself as Charles Onyi, a resident
of neighbouring Langata sub-urb sits isolated at a distance from where football screens are.

As he sips on beer while waiting for the waitress to take away the dirty plates, I engage him in a chat.

He admits that he enjoys “Gumboots” every evening and in rare cases at lunch time.

“To me, “gumboots” is more than food it is a source of bone marrow that helps in lubricating joints such as knees and elbows,” Onyi explains.

Asked if the sticky fat is of any harm to the body, he explains that when one takes alcohol and develop hangover, the fats help to neutralise the hangover and one feels refreshed after taking “Gumboots” accompanied by its resulting hot soup.

While a first time consumer may only eat the top
soft part of the hoof and throw away the bones, Onyi advises inside the hollow bones is where the most important bone marrow that lubricates body joints is.

“It may not be scooped using hands or a fork but when the consumer holds the bone and sucks it out, they get it all out,” he stresses.

After about a 10-minutes- chat, he excuses himself to go and attend to other duties.

Another patron Robert Mukabi joins me.

He is a fairly tall and old man who is relishing the “Gumboots” side by side with a bottle of beer while watching football.

When his team misses a goal scoring opportunity, he almost forgets about his plate holding a bite on his fingers for what seems like long silent eternity, but seconds later, he resumes eating.

I divert his attention from the pain of watching his favourite team being humiliated on the TV screen to ask what secret he finds in eating “Gumboots” as I sip on a glass of water.

Robert does not hesitate to explain that when a person is low on food appetite, “Gumboots” soup does not only stimulate appetite
but works as a stomach cleanser.

“This soup detoxifies the stomach and leaves one feeling healthier than before,” he beams while explaining.

He adds, “It is also good for aging people. As we grow old, we tend to develop constant back pain.
So when someone begins to experience such a
problem and he or she takes “Gumboots” constantly, they may heal for good,” explaining further that it is food that someone can never get tired of and that it also helps in preventing constipation.

Then he surprises me by adding with a mischievous chuckle; “Mind you,it does wonders for areas around the crotch when one is as old as I am,and the missus is demanding home advantage “replay matches” in the bedroom!”

“Really?”

“Watch yourself this evening. You will bubbling hot in bed with your partner!”

Downtown

I then go to a spot at Visa place Park next to Uchumi Super market,Ongata Rongai Branch at an enclosed construction site.

This is
down town “Ronga” where people mostly those
retiring home from work pass by to feast on
“Gumboots”, it is no secret that the people there also enjoy it.

One by one, on benches positioned next to the
building people are served depending on how
much they want until the saucepan runs dry at
10pm.

Here, some customers are known to ‘Chiru’ who prepares “Gumboots” at Choma Zone. They call out her out on the phone for “outside catering service” since they have depleted the local stock in this joint,

She is able to understand who is calling her on the phone as this is a regular practice among her patrons when they move to other beer joints and what and how they want their evening meal served.

This happens as I look on, seated with Rogers
, a businessman and my treasured client in agribusiness.

As he holds a piece o “Gumboots” in the right hand and the other holding a bowl with few pieces of steamed banana plaintains, I’m
sipping on a cup of black tea and eating a chapatti, not because I do not have the Shs3,00 for “Gumboots”, but because my eating plan excludes having another heavy meal after 7pm.

“That food looks tasty,” I tell Rogers who is
enjoying his meal.

He is quick to respond that he learnt how to enjoy “Gumboots” from a friend about two years ago.

Though he eats it once a week, he is not shy to explain that alongside other benefits it
also increases his sexual performance.

Health experts say…

Madison Maara, a physiotherapist at Orthotech
and Physical Rehabilitation Centre, at Equatorial Hospital in Nairobi, says when you get proteins in the synovial fluids found in the joints and compare it with what you get from eating “Gumboots”, the latter is more important because it mainly targets the joints where it contributes to joint lubrication and softening.

“If a human joint was getting dry and a person takes “Gumboots”, the joint regains its
performance,” Maara notes.

In the process of boiling “Gumboots”, the calcium and phosphates composed in the bones transfers to the soup, and when one takes the soup, Maara says, the minerals help in strengthening and hardening of bones.

On how often one should eat “Gumboots”, he
explains that in case of osteorthritis, a
degenerative disease that one contracts as a result of the wear and tear of joint tissues which is common among people with reduced amounts of calcium in their joints, “gumboots” is a healthy remedy.

He advises that a person with such a condition
should take “Gumboots” twice a week.

However, its fatty quality may pose risks such as
fat accumulation in blood vessels and around the heart that causes hypertension.

Maara advises that after eating it, one should subject themselves to regular exercises like jogging to burn the fats.

And in a situation of a positive rheumatoid factor, a condition where the joint proteins become reactive or incompatible to the proteins in “Gumboots” which may sometimes lead to the swelling of the knee, it is recommended that the affected person should either limit protein intake or identify what causes the swelling commonly referred to as “Gout”.

Then, he or she can stop eating that particular food, be it “Gumboots” especially if the condition happened when the person has eaten it for the first time.

Cost of the delicacy

Depending on where one buys it, which could
either be at a restaurant, hotel or a bar in places
adjacent or within Nairobi City, a piece of
“Gumboots”served with steamed or
roast matooke(Banana plaintains) it costs between Shs2,500 and Shs6,000.

From the market and butcheries in Ongata Rongai Town, a cow leg costs between Shs 4,00 and Shs 8,00.

It is then chopped into hooves, the join
and the pipe.
At Visa Place Park in Rongai, I had to part with
Shs4,00 for a piece served with steamed banana plaintain.

In some cases where it may stay overnight without being eaten, ‘Chiru’ advises that it’s better to separate the soup from the “Gumboot” pieces; because it is likely to cause food poisoning.

Well,go on and have some “Gumboots” for your Easter Dinner this weekend!

Bernard Wainaina is an Independent Agribusiness Advisor and CEO at Profarms Consultants®,Nairobi,Kenya.

He mainly works with Agribusiness Youth Groups in Eastern African Region.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

My thoughts on Easter 2015; I have seen the Lord

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Many years ago, when I was in college,
the arguments were more prominent and
more intense than they are today about
whether Jesus rose historically and bodily
from the dead.

There was widespread consensus among believers and non- believers generally in Africa that deciding about that claim really mattered.

You took a stand—you believed in the resurrection, or you didn’t—and if you did,
you generally believed the rest of the Bible
and called yourself a Christian.

And if you didn’t, then you were intentionally not a Christian,a heathen probably,inspite of being indoctrined in African Religion and spirituality .

Today that question, that debate—Did
Jesus really rise from the dead historically,
bodily?—is not as prominent or as intense
because, at one level, people feel that it
doesn’t matter to them, because different
people believe in different things, and
maybe it happened, maybe it didn’t; and if
it did, or didn’t, and that helps you get
along in life, fine; but it doesn’t make
much difference to me.

I may or may not call myself a Christian, and if the resurrection seems helpful to me, I may
believe it; and if it doesn’t, then I won’t,
and I don’t think any body should tell me
that I have to.

Behind those two different kinds of unbelief—the kind from many years ago and the kind from the present day—is a different set of assumptions.

For example, in my college days the assumption pretty much still held sway, though it was starting to give way with the rise of existentialism, that there are fixed, closed natural laws, that make the world understandable and scientifically manageable, and these laws do not allow the truth of the claim that someone has risen from the dead to live forever.

That was a commonly held assumption: The modern world with its scientific understanding of natural laws does not allow for resurrections.
So unbelief was often rooted in that kind of
assumption.

But today, that’s not the most common
working assumption.

Today the assumption is not that there are natural laws outside of me forbidding the resurrection of Jesus, but there is a personal law inside of me that says: I don’t have to adapt my life to anything I don’t find helpful.

Or you could state it another way: Truth for me is what I find acceptable and helpful.

Now with that assumption in place, and that inner law in place, it doesn’t matter whether Jesus rose from the dead, because, whether he did or didn’t, my issue is: Do I care? Do I find that idea helpful? Do I feel that it helps me flourish as a human being?

And if it seems like it doesn’t, then I will
just view it the way I view UFOs and
possible life in some distant galaxy—I just
don’t need to bother with it.

If it helps you, that’s fine; but don’t press it on me.

Some of us think that way without even
knowing that’s the way you think.

You have simply absorbed it from the culture,
since that way of thinking is woven into
most television shows and advertising and
movies and modern educational curricula.

So what I am attempting to do is raise the
level of everyone’s awareness of how we sift through the realities that are coming at
us every day.

And my hope is that when I put the resurrection of Jesus before you, with heightened self-awareness you will not so easily be carried along by modern assumptions from 40 years ago or post- modern assumptions today, but may, with God’s help have a true concern for what really matters to you—not just what nature
or your own heart says matters to you.

I am going to come to John 20 in a
moment, but let me begin with a sermon
that the apostle Paul preached to
philosophy-lovers on Mars Hill in Athens
about 20 years after the death of Jesus.

It’s found in Acts 17 and ends like this:
The times of ignorance God overlooked,
but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has
given assurance to all by raising him from the dead. ( Acts 17:30–31)

At that point in the sermon, his listeners cut
him off and mocked him because of the
claim that Jesus was raised from the dead
—which in itself is very significant because it means the amazing spread of Christianity in the early years did not happen in a gullible world that thought resurrections were normal.

But notice what Paul said: God calls the
whole world to repent, because we have all
sinned against him—that is, we have not
treasured him above all things.

We are de facto idolaters.

This repentance is urgent because God is going to judge the world in perfect righteousness.

And he is going to do it by a man, Jesus Christ.

Jesus will be the judge of every human someday.

Every human will stand before the living God-
man, Jesus.

None of our excuses will work in that court.

We will all be guilty unless we have trusted Christ as our Saviour and Authority and Treasure.

This word from the apostle Paul is flying
full force, with love, into the face of the
contemporary assumption that even if
Christ rose from the dead, it doesn’t matter
to me because I don’t find it helpful.

Paul is saying: It will matter to you whether you
find it helpful or not. God’s judgment of the world by Jesus Christ is not like possible life in another galaxy; it’s like death—it is coming, and saying it doesn’t concern you, is like closing your eyes and saying there is no such thing as light because it’s dark behind your eyelids.

The last thing Paul says in his sermon in
Athens is: “Of this God has given assurance (or warrant, or evidence, or proof) to all by raising Jesus from the dead.” To all! In other words, the resurrection of Jesus is designed by God to
be a global warrant or assurance that
repentance is necessary.

How does it do that when 20 years have
gone by, or 20 centuries have gone by?

The answer is that God always intended for the
resurrection to be known and believed through human witnesses.

This doesn’t rule out the work of his Spirit in opening our eyes.

But it is always through witnesses.

There were no tape recordings, no video
cameras, no photographs.

When it happened, God saw to it that there were
witnesses, and that Jesus appeared to witnesses in enough settings that they were fully convinced of his reality and could tell others and then write it down for us to read.

When Paul says, “God has fixed a day on
which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead,” what he meant was that the
testimony of those who saw him will spread through the whole world and be a valid warrant for faith, a valid assurance that this really happened.

Here’s the way another eyewitness besides
Paul puts it.

The apostle Peter in a sermon preached about 8 or 10 years after the resurrection of Jesus said,
God raised [Jesus] on the third day and made him to appear, not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.( Acts 10:40–41)

In other words, it was God’s intentional design not for the risen Christ to be seen by everyone—not even in the day when it happened.

And not today, as much as we might wish we could!

His intentional design is: He appeared repeatedly and with many proofs (Acts 1:3) to a limited group of people whose job it was to bear witness in what they said and what they wrote so
that everyone who hears or reads this witness will be able know the assurance that God provides for the world about the resurrection of his Son.

That’s the way God designed for us to know.

That’s what we have in John 20—John’s
eyewitness account of the resurrection
appearances of Jesus.

That’s what we have in Matthew 28—Matthew’s eyewitness account; Luke 24—Luke was not an
eyewitness but lived and travelled with Paul
who was, and he talked to many others
( Luke 1:2); Mark 16—as we hear Mark’s
echo of Peter’s eyewitness testimony, as well as his own as a young man living in Jerusalem; and other writings in the New Testament.

On either side of John 20, we have this claim.

Look at John 19:35. In the middle of
Jesus’ crucifixion, John breaks off and
says, “He who saw it has borne witness—
his testimony is true, and he knows that he
is telling the truth—that you also may
believe.”

This is what Paul meant: The world can know what happened in those last hours because there were witnesses, and they give testimony and there are ways to test the testimony of witnesses.

Or look at John 21:24: “This is the disciple
who is bearing witness about these things,
and who has written these things, and we
know that his testimony is true.”

The point of this verse is that an eyewitness is telling this story. This is not hearsay. And his
testimony can be checked out with others
in the New Testament.

So let’s let him have his witness to us. And
you judge for yourselves ( Luke 12:57) if
these things are so.

“They Have Taken the Lord” (Verses 1–2)
Look at John 20:1–2.

Now on the first day of the week Mary
Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.

So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them,“They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they
have laid him.”

Mary did not believe the resurrection had happened.

She assumed the body was moved.

This is another evidence how slow the disciples, including the women, were to believe Jesus had been raised.

These were not easily excitable, gullible people.
Peter and John at the Tomb (Verses 3–11)

Then Peter and the other disciple— probably John, the writer of this book—ran to the tomb.

John outran Peter and stood looking in. Verse 5 says, “Stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there.”

This is what Jesus’ body had been wrapped
in when they buried him (John 19:40).

Then Peter comes and goes right into the
tomb. Verses 6–7: “Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself.”

What does John want us to learn about the
resurrection from this?

Two things, at least.

1. Risen Bodily, Not Just Spiritually

First, Jesus has risen from the dead bodily,
not just spiritually. Some are willing to talk
about the resurrection as a symbol of Jesus’
ongoing influence or his spirit alive in the
world or his soul returning to God. That is
not John’s point. The body was not there.
He had risen bodily. In fact, one of the
most striking and stubborn historical facts
is that the enemies of Jesus and of
Christianity in those first days and weeks
and months in Jerusalem could not produce
the body. That would have ended the whole
thing.

There was no dead body, because Jesus was raised bodily.

2. Like the Body That Died—But Not Exactly

Second, this body was not exactly like the body that died, and yet it was like the body that died. There is continuity and discontinuity. This is important because the resurrection of Jesus in the New Testament is viewed as the firstfruits of the harvest of the resurrection of all Christians.

As Paul put it: “Christ the firstfruits, then at his
coming those who belong to Christ” ( 1 Corinthians 15:23).

The point of saying the linen cloths were
there, and even mentioning the cloth that
was bound around his face, is probably to
show how this resurrection was different
from Lazarus’ resurrection.

Recall from chapter 11 that Jesus raised Lazarus after he had been dead four days. And John 11:44 it says, “The man who had died
came out, his hands and feet bound with
linen strips, and his face wrapped with a
cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him,
and let him go.”

Different from Lazarus

People had to help Lazarus out of the linen
strips and face covering. That’s because he
had a mortal body. He would die again.
After the resurrection, Jesus did not have
mortal body. He would never die again.

“We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again” (Romans6:9).

Jesus’ body is different.

He simply passed through those grave cloths the way he passed through doors in John 20:19 and 26. “Although the doors were locked, Jesus
came and stood among them” ( John 20:26).
But at that very moment of entering the room like no ordinary body can, he says to doubting Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe” ( John 20:27).

This was a physical body that you could recognise, and touch. And Luke tells us he ate fish after he had risen ( Luke 24:43).

If you think this does not matter to you,
remember, those who are in Christ—that
is, who believe on him, and belong to him,
and receive forgiveness and reconciliation
from him—will be raised with him.

And Paul says in Philippians 3:21 that Jesus
“will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.”

This is not a UFO, or irrelevant life on another galaxy. This is what will happen when God judges the world by a man, Jesus Christ.

If you belong to him by faith in him, you
will receive a body like his, which will be
suited to see him and enjoy him and enter
finally into the new heavens and the new
earth where you will spend eternity admiring God in all that he has made.

And this world that we love so much, compared
to that one, will be like a candle compared
to the sun.

Here’s the issue: Do you see? In verse 8 it
says, “Then the other disciple [John], who
had reached the tomb first, also went in,
and he saw and believed” ( John 20:8).
What did he see? What did he believe?
Jesus wasn’t there—just some cloths that
he left behind.

Compare this to Mary in verse 18: She has
met Jesus in the garden and spoken to him.
She returns to the disciples and says, “I have seen the Lord” ( John 20:18).

We don’t have Mary’s direct evidence. We are
more like John in the tomb—there is evidence, and either we see through it or we don’t. The issue is: Do you see?

Let me close with an analogy; Your
doorbell rings this afternoon and one of
your friends asks to talk to you.

He comes and says, “I have some really bad news.
Your brother Jim is dead.”

And you say, shaking your head, “I don’t
believe it. I just saw him this morning. He
was fine. I don’t believe it. It can’t be.”

And your friend says, “We went to the game together, and as we were leaving, this car went out of control and jumped the curb, and hit Jim. I knelt over him. I waited for the medical examiner. I saw it. He’s gone.”

And you say, softly, “I see.”

What do you mean, “I see”? You mean that
the witness of your friend has become a window. And the reality in the window has
become plain.

You were not there. You did not see (the way Mary saw), but still you say—and it is right to say—with all your heart, “I see.”

“I Have Seen the Lord”

God has brought you here in my blog for this message and for this Scripture and for this story of the resurrection of Jesus and this witness.

And my prayer for you, as we close is that
you will now or very soon, by God’s grace,
say, “I see.”

There is one main difference between Jesus
and my illustration: He’s alive. It is as
though another messenger crashes through
the door while you are crying and says,
“Jim’s alive. I talked to him.” That’s what
Mary said, “I have seen the Lord.”

And in my own life too,”I have seen the Lord”.

That’s why my heart rings with joy of knowing that my Lord is alive.

And through him,my soul will live through eternity.

All of my genes may all die with my body here on earth,but my soul will live through the resurrection of my Lord and Saviour,Jesus Christ!

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Chutzpah; learning from a cat

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Jaffa,my cat, has been real company for the solitude that I’ve chosen as my lifestyle.

The fact that I live alone means that Jaffa only comes into contact with only one human being most of the times,and that has its own implications;I sometimes neglect him since I also got my own things to do!

I came to learn about the word chutzpah from an Indian movie.

Chutzpah, in simple terms,means that there is nothing out there stopping you from doing whatever you want to do,irrespective of the consequences.

Let me illustrate: there is this solo bank robber who holds up a bank by passing a little note to the teller which demands that he empties his till into a provided paper bag. This is done pronto as he is armed. Having done that,he then carries his paper bag full of bank notes into a cashier’s window in the same bank and demands that the whole loot is deposited into his bank account! He then walks out of the bank door just as the cops who have been alerted by the robbed teller are coming in to arrest him. But he doesn’t have any money on him. It is both hilarious and complicated to the bank staff and the sceptical cops! That’s what I call Chutzpah,and Jaffa has it all,and more.

There were thousands of things I was certain would be impossible for me to ever do again after leading a complicated life that drained all my energy and enthusiasm for trying new things(that’s a story for another day!)

Jaffa’s attitude was what I needed to get on my feet again.

But that required believing I could actually learn from a cat.

I learned that the word “impossible” was nothing other than a word, which only carried meaning if I allowed it to.

Jaffa believed nothing was impossible.

And by watching him, nothing was.

At the beginning of my life after my ‘big failure’, I saw obstacles as just that – obstacles.

And therefore put them on my “can’t do” list.

But Jaffa never accepted obstacles as anything
other than challenges.

He opened cabinets by putting his paws around
the knobs and pulling.

My after-shave bottles made great rattling noises in the bathroom on crash landings.

I bought child-proof magnets at the hardware
store.

Jaffa simply tugged a little harder.

Back to the hardware store for hook and eye locks.

Jaffa flipped the hooks open with one paw.

Back to the hardware store for deadbolt locks.

He easily slid those bolts to the side.

The guy at the hardware store already had
combination locks on the counter in anticipation of my next visit “for something slightly different” in way of effective locks. He always looked amused about the stories of my “strange cat”,his words,not mine! They at least helped a little.

I was in awe of Jaffa’s tenacity.

By watching him, I learned that words like “can’t” and “hopeless” were just not in his feline vocabulary.

When I’d see a barrier that would prevent me from getting to where I wanted to go, I’d instantly turn around.

This happened recently when I decided to
surprise Daisy,my regular partner, with her favourite bacon, egg and toast breakfast sandwich.

She has a way of scrambling great breakfasts for me,I just wanted to repay back her kindness one fine Saturday morning.

The first lot got the toast burnt up into charcool texture,I’m not a very good chef when I multitask such simple things like whistling my favourite song as well as watching over the grilling toast!

I helped myself to the first lot as a way of ‘destroying’ the evidence before Daisy woke up from her blissful morning slumber to ‘witness’ my horrible breakfast for her!

I was lucky on the second one.

She was really taken in,not knowing I had knots twisting in my protesting gut after helping myself to the first horrible lot,and feigning to enjoy my second helping when sitting at the breakfast table with her that lovely Saturday morning.

I credit Jaffa for my newly found Chutzpah!

He never gives up.

Yet when barriers thwarted Jaffa, he’d never quit trying.

He’d never give up and turn around like I’ve done so many times after encountering barriers.

Every morning, I’d wake to the blaring sound of
Nairobi traffic reports.

That’s because Jaffa learned to push the button on my bedside clock radio.

He wants to wake me so he’d get fed.

Yes, of course I’ve tried moving the radio.

He would simply hunt for two seconds and find it.

Yes, of course ive tried covering it with books on my bedside reading table carefully
placed perfect angles.

Jaffa simply shoves all the books off at once.

There was no way to stop him.
So I did the only sensible thing and locked it in, in one of bedside drawers.

I got rid of the clock radio recently by gifting it to a friend after I lost Jaffa.

It was too much of a memory to keep around my bed.

What else could I do with a cat like
Jaffa? (I heard that similar despair from a close friend of mine!)

To him, anything could fall into the toy category.

He’d unravel entire rolls of toilet paper and play around with the shards whenever he gets bored. I then had to keep it in an empty Nescafe coffee can.

One day years ago, he found something else that will surely go down in the “History of the Best Cat Toys” book.

I was on the phone with a friend, Eddie.

I had barely said “hello”.

That’s when Jaffa came running in with something in his mouth. He had opened the new box of tampons that Daisy bought that morning.

He was flinging the tampon in the air like it was a toy mouse,the stringed end excited him most.

My friend asked if I was all right because not only had I stopped talking barely after greeting in astonishment of this vulgar play, I was
having an earsplitting laughing fit that I just could not control!

He assumed I was having a traumatic stress reaction for living alone and said, “When you live one, you’re often not in control of your emotions and that’s okay. It’s fine to
laugh.”

Living alone with Daisy in my house for a weekend sleepover?

That cracked me up even more.

I managed to blurt out, ” Shh! Daisy is here!!” before seeing the tampon go flying across the room.

Then I hung up — on my friend to let out pearls of laughter.

For the past two years, Jaffa has been sick after a violent encounter with a neighbour’s that almost amputated his tail and disfigured a side of his face.

Ive spent lots of time massaging him on either side of his face.

He always loved that.

On one afternoon, I used my fingers to comb through his lovely full set of whiskers he had eventually grown.

That’s when I saw the one side effect from the medicine he was taking.

As I gently rubbed along his face, all of his whiskers came off in my hands, except for one.

I placed them in a tiny needlepoint purse my partner made for me.

He came into my life with one whisker.

And,presumably that is how he would leave.

Three months ago, on a quiet Sunday afternoon, I kissed his forehead and whispered, “I love you.” He looked up at me.

His face showed the love he was never successful at hiding.

As Daisy softly sang, “Food, glorious food, hot sausage and mustard ,” Jaffa took his last
breath
.
While his body was still warm, I cradled him in my arms and rocked him. I held his head so he was nestled against my neck. I said, “You came into my life when I needed you the most.”

Daisy was crying as She stood next to us, watched me rocking my little soul mate. “Jaffa,” I could barely speak. “You will
always be a part of me.”

I didn’t want to let him go from my arms.

But Daisy, so lovingly and slowly, gently took him away.

And so, I honor the life and the lessons of my
wonderful cat who, from the beginning, stood apart from all the others.

My beautiful cat, my Jaffa, just a plain gray tabby, as common as a housefly,but always so special to me.

There will never be another “Jaffa”,though Daisy hastily got me another kitten and named him Jaffa to console me for my loss.

That’s Chutzpah,but I learnt the true meaning of Chutzpah from my departed soulmate,Jaffa.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

We love best when we do not love out of desperation

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If it is possible to live with a purpose, what should that purpose be?

A purpose might be a guiding principle, a philosophy, or a value of sovereign importance that informs and directs our activities and thoughts.

To have one is to live seriously —though not necessarily wisely — following some track, believing in a hub to the wheeling universe or a
sea toward which we flow or an end before which all the hubbub of civilisation subsides.

What is your purpose, friend, or what should it be?

Now,when I honestly answered this question to my buddhist teacher by telling him that I live for the true love of my soul,he chuckled and said that I’m a naturally born narcissist,then wisely added that,while is narcissim is not entirely wrong,a narcissist like me needs to be taught compassion for others as it is difficult for him to love others;his true love is only for himself.

I couldn’t agree with him more on his honest observation about me.

Perhaps most of us do not come to a clear
conclusion in the matter, but this does not mean we have no other purpose but to love ourselves, only that we do not recognise it or admit it or even choose it for ourselves.

In the unhappiest case nature simply takes its course, which is a turbid meandering through the swamps of desire,not love.

If love means nothing to us, then only pleasure is worthwhile; or if love has meaning and we cannot get at it then still only enjoyment matters — such is the view of narcissists and some sophisticated philosophers.

It slips into the unconscious by default when we hold no other, but we are reluctant to entertain it and will rather, if we think about it, take as our purpose support of family, search for beauty, improvement of society, fame, self-expression, development of talent, and so on.

But it might be fair to say that apart from
these or beneath these the fundamental purpose of many of us is the search for love, particularly
romantic love.

The love of a man for a woman and a woman for a man is often the floor to which people fall after the collapse of other dreams.

It is held to be solid when nothing else is, and though it frequently gives way and dumps them into a basement of despair, it still enjoys a reputation of dependability.

No matter that this reputation is illogical — it still flourishes and will continue to flourish regardless of what is said in any book.

Love, or possibly the myth of love, is the first,
last, and sometimes the only refuge of
uncomprehending humanity.

What else makes our hearts beat so fast?

What else makes us swoon with feeling?

What else renders us so intensely alive and
aching?

The search for love — the sublime, the
nebulous, the consuming — remains sacred in a world that increasingly despises the sacred.

When the heroic and the transcendental are but memories, when religious institutions fill up with bureaucrats and social scientists, when nobody believes there is a sky beyond the ceiling, then there seems no other escape from the prison of self than the abandon of love.

With a gray age of spiritual deadness upon us,
we love, or beg for love, or grieve for love.

We have nothing higher to live for.

Narcissists guarantee themselves true and unfailing love by loving ONLY themselves.

Others have to work hard to secure love from outside of themselves.

Indeed, many take it on faith that romantic love is the highest thing to live for.

Popular literature, movies, art, and music tirelessly celebrate it as the one truth accessible to all.

Such love obliterates reason, as poets have long sweetly lamented, and this is part of its charm and power, because we want to be swept up and spirited out of our calculating selves.

“Want” is the key word, for in the spiritual void of modern life the wanting of love becomes increasingly indistinguishable from love itself.

So powerful, so insistent is it that we seldom notice that the gratification is rare and the craving relentless.

Love from outside oneself is mostly in anticipation; it is an agony of anticipation; it is an ache for a completion not found in the dreary round of mundane routine.

That we never seem to possess it in its imagined fullness does not deter most us who are not narcissists.

It hurts so bad,and that way, it must be good.

Practically nobody questions the supremacy of
romantic love, which is good enough reason to do a little poking around the foundations of its pedestal.

Who is entirely satisfied with the romance in his or her life?

Who has found the sublime rapture previously imagined?

And if one has actually found such a thing, does it last, or does it not rather change and decline from the peak of ecstasy?

And if it declines what becomes of one’s purpose in life?

If a purpose is achieved it is no longer a purpose; it can no longer guide or sustain us.

Does one taste of nectar satisfy us forever?

When we tire of crass, material goals we may go
searching for love instead of, say, religious insight, because love seems both more accessible and more urgent, and because so much of institutional religion in our time has degenerated into insipid humanism.

Some claim refuge here but many more, longing for authentic and moving experience, turn to the vision of the “lover,” that source of wonder, joy, and transcendence, who, it is thought, must be pursued and if captured perfected and if perfected then enjoyed forever — or until some other lover lights up the horizon.

Love is its own justification, especially for the young who have no other inspiration or no
career or responsibilities to dull themselves with as their plodding elders do.

Longing bursts through this one channel that seems open, dizzily insisting that the life of unreflecting passion is the highest they can
aspire to.

They do not reason, but fall.

Their elders do reason — obsessively — but fall all the same, thereby admitting that, with all their thought and experience, they find, when driven to extremity, they have nothing but love to live for.

This is not to say that such a surrender must be bad, only that it happens out of instinct and uninformed passion.

Love is sweet and it is our nature to give
way.

But why do we worship it so ardently and why
do we break off our search for fulfillment here?

Perhaps because we see no other earthly “gods”.

Yet if love is the highest thing to live for then this is a hopeless universe, because we should see in a calm hour that Cupid’s arrows not only thrill us but make us bleed.

“Man Kills Estranged Lover, Then Self.” “Wife Stabs Husband in Domestic Quarrel.” “Love Triangle Leads To Shooting.” So read the headlines with depressing regularity.

The stories behind these are only the most
shocking of countless tales of passion, but they do forcefully suggest that romantic love is not always a blessing.

One might object that hate, not love, spawns such tragedies, but where has such hate
come from if not from a prior attachment now
broken?

We should know from experience how easily
what we call love can turn to bitterness, jealousy, and malice, and though we protest that this is not the fault of love, we ought to notice that where one passion arises another is likely to follow.

Passions are unreliable, volatile, dangerous, and a poor foundation for happiness.

Divorces, suicides, dissipation, violence, depravity,fanaticism, and other miseries great and small follow from passion, and yet passion is still, in the public mind, considered commendable, a mark of vigor and liveliness.

Though everybody will admit that passion
gone awry is dangerous, few realize that passion is by its nature likely to go awry.

Romantic love is a chancy passion that may result in the opposite of what is desired.

It may have happy consequences,
too — else it would not have so many adherents — but it raises the stakes in the gamble of life and makes us more vulnerable both to our own weaknesses and to unpredictable fortune.

As most of us count the joys of successful love (however we define it) worth the pain involved in its pursuit, we must learn to step lightly and with intelligence.

We believe, with some reason, that love can ennoble and redeem us, and call forth our purest energies, but we are slower to see that when the lamp of love flickers out, as it
tragically tends to do, we might lose our way in a fearful labyrinth of suffering.

Granted that few will shun the pursuit of romance out of fear of unhappy consequences, what can be done to ameliorate those consequences?

If we really have nothing higher to live for, nothing to fall back on, the lugubrious truth is that nothing much can be done to ameliorate them, given the volatile nature of human affections, so it would be wise to make sure
there really is no superior, sustaining ideal before committing ourselves exclusively to the chase.

Buddhism, of course, teaches such an ideal, which is nothing less than deliverance from all sorrow, called Nibbana.

While worldly joys are mutable and fleeting,
Nibbana is established, sorrowless, stainless, and secure.

While worldly pains are piercing,unpredictable, and unavoidable, Nibbana is altogether free from pain. It is the end of suffering, the supreme refuge, the ultimate emancipation.

The Buddha himself applied many terms of praise to it while recognising their essential inadequacy.

Nibbana cannot be grasped by language or concept, but it can be known and realised by one who makes the right efforts.

This is a critical point.

Nibbana is not something that happens to us through an external agency; rather it is something that we ourselves may achieve.

The Buddha certainly never would have troubled himself to teach had he not understood that his own realisation was not fortuitous but rightly won and that those who followed his instructions could win realisation for
themselves.

That understanding, passed down, has
sustained the Buddhist religion to the present day.

The diligent are not powerless.

Suffering can be overcome.

Still, knowing ourselves to be sunk in confusion and beset by myriad defilements, we might regard Nibbana as too remote to do us much good here and now.

We persist in seeing an unbridgeable chasm
between saints and ordinary people like ourselves.

We think practically everybody is like us (or worse) while maybe there are one or two genuine saints in the world, they presumably having just been born in that condition or with the exceptional good luck to get themselves elevated — who knows how?

Yet the human condition is not, according to Buddhism, a fixed sentence to this or that level of wisdom and virtue.

Beings are living at all stages of attainment,
and they do not stay in the same place.

They rise through their own good efforts, and
decline through their own negligence in the endless action and reaction of intentional deeds (kamma) and results of deeds (kamma-vipaka).

The Buddha did not teach the Dhamma for the
entertainment of those already perfected; he taught it for the benefit of fallible people like us who were struggling to avoid pain and make sense of the world.

Even to those who came to him with no intention to scale high spiritual summits he imparted the progressive training of giving, morality and mental development.

Why?

Because there is always scope for improvement and because the human alternatives are not limited to holy wisdom or cloddish ignorance.

Suffering lessens and happiness increases when we make an effort to follow the Noble Eightfold Path, whatever our present condition.

In the classic formula, the Dhamma is “directly
visible, timeless, calling one to come and see, leading onwards, to be personally realized by the wise.”

Perhaps we cannot see Nibbana resplendent on the horizon, but we can certainly make out the ground beneath our feet; we can know when we draw a joyful breath or put behind us an old sorrow or refrain from a vicious act or compose an agitated mind.

The Dhamma confers benefits here and now as well as in the future.

Is there not satisfaction in performing a good deed with a clear mind?

Is there not uplift in a moment of quiet contemplation saved from the tumult of the day?

The Dhamma lightens our burdens in the present and gives us grounds for hope.

What then does this have to do with the problems of love?

Simply this. The Dhamma puts the delights and
torments of love into perspective, so that we can
break the illusion of love as the highest of aspirations and most essential of desires.

Henry Thoreau wrote (when young): “The only remedy for love is to love more.”

We might amend this to say: The only remedy
for love is to love better.

The understanding and the practice of the Dhamma do not destroy our capacity
to love or enjoy love — far from it.

The Dhamma purges the grasping, selfish qualities from our love and makes it purer and nobler.

As we come to understand through personal
experience the rightness and goodness of the path of Dhamma, we may discover — slowly or suddenly — that the consuming passions we previously thought to be the only reasons for our existence are really not so, and that something of wondrous value overarches them — indistinct as yet but flashing out now and again from the clouds of possibility.

What do our heaving emotions matter compared with that?

When we lean hard, out of passion, we will fall hard— such is the nature of attachment. But when we do not lean, when instead we stand upright with an eye to the heights, then the love we bestow flows out of us without weakening us, like a superabundance of vigor.

This is metta — loving-kindness devoid of
selfishness.

It becomes purer to the extent we realize
it is not the purest; it becomes happier to the extent we realise it is not the happiest.

Nibbana surpasses
all.

If, through our own ripening knowledge, we
appreciate that our ultimate and highest purpose should be Nibbana, the absolute end of sorrow, then all goals beneath that are cast in a new light.

When we have something to live for that is higher than fame, honor, friendship, or health — higher even than love — we can never be utterly impoverished or ruined.

We are in fact in a much better position to
enjoy whatever may be achieved in worldly life,
because we no longer depend solely on changeable circumstances for our happiness.

Love cools, friendships wane, calamities carry off the good and the beautiful. Who can deny it? If we are to overcome despair and grief we must not invest ourselves obsessively in what is perishable.

We need to keep our minds, and consequently our actions, as free as possible from craving and attendant defilements like covetousness and possessiveness: Our actions are all led by the mind;
mind is their master, mind is their maker.

If one acts or speaks with a defiled state of mind,then suffering follows like the cart-wheel
that follows the foot of the ox.

Our actions are all led by the mind; mind is their master, mind is their maker.

If one acts or speaks with a pure state of mind,
then happiness follows like a shadow that remains behind without departing.

While nobody can cut off craving simply by an act of will, we can certainly loosen its frightful grip on us by following the path and paying attention to the ultimate deliverance that shines at its end.

Love is never the poorer for being accompanied by wisdom.

It is not harmed by being deprived of a crown.

The agonies we endure and inflict in the name
of love come from making love bear too heavy a
weight.

While we are in the world and engaged in the
life of a householder we will naturally form
attachments to family, job, friends, and lovers, but the suffering produced from these attachments will vary according to our wisdom and maturity.

If we see nothing higher at all and abandon ourselves to the lottery of gaining and losing, we will surely suffer great pain, but if we keep the ideals of the Dhamma before us we will gain a measure of insulation against worldly inclemencies.

According to Buddhism, everything that has the
nature of arising has the nature of ceasing, so it is well to place our greatest faith in Nibbana, which, being beyond all concepts and limits, does not “arise,” and thus does not fluctuate with the teetering universe.

An independent mind, intent on deliverance, is not a cold, unfeeling mind, but a mind whose love is uncalculated, beneficent, free — and
empty of the furious I want of ego.

If we don’t live for love we won’t die for it either.
If the windows of our mind are open to the streaming light of Dhamma then that light will bathe our thoughts and actions and distinguish the skillful from the foolish.

Even without understanding of the Dhamma most of us will distinguish in theory between love and infatuation.

We think of infatuation as capricious,
irresponsible, and shallow, and true love as mature, serious, and steady — though in practice it is hard to tell where one ends and the other begins.

At least we recognise some advantage to clear sight and reflection, and this recognition grows sharper with actual experience of the Dhamma.

We become less likely to throw ourselves at the feet of the adored object and more likely to stand erect, honest, and mindful, ready to meet our fortune with bravery.

To a world that knows nothing loftier than the convulsions of craving, this may seem a loss, but to one who truly experiences the refreshment of wisdom there comes no narrowness but rather a loosening of the bonds of fear and selfishness.

One can love without compulsion, out of free will.

How gratifying when affection is given, or received, without a bill for services rendered!

Even under promising circumstances there is no
guarantee that love will be returned in equal
measure, or that it will last long, or that it will provide unalloyed joy.

When we depend on it entirely for our
happiness we must dwell in the shadow of pain,
however bright our amorous interludes.

What if we should lose our heart’s support tomorrow?

We’re okay as long as we have each other, we assure ourselves dreamily.

But we will not have each other long.

Quarrels, time, distance, changes, or finally
death dissolve all unions of friends, lovers, and
relatives, plunging the unwary into despair and
meaninglessness; and if we have no wisdom we too may go creeping about the lonely streets with our eyes staring hungrily into other eyes and seeing the same hunger there.

But in the way of the Buddha there is relief from distress and exile.

In wisdom there is security.

Because love is fragile and temporary it cannot
protect us forever, but if we relax our grip it may bloom even better, allowing us to give and receive without encumbrance, frenzy, or fear, offering to each other our strength instead of our weakness.

In a sense the practice of Dhamma is like gradually filling the abyss of ignorance with knowledge until that terrible vacuum is appeased and neutralized and the heart no more cries for unknown succor.

The perfected one, clinging to nothing here or hereafter, asks nothing and requires nothing, so he is wholly free.

His loving-kindness is just the over-measure,
the overflowing of his goodness quite purified of the need, the visceral wanting and the vacillation of ordinary attachment.

While we cannot all at once purify our sentiments of their dross, we can raise the aim of our thought and conduct, and reflect on — indeed, contemplate — the virtues of the Buddha and the noble ones who are free from taint.

Their achievement is an image to set before our inner eye, something higher to live for,
within and beyond the motions of our conventional life.

No good thing prospers in ignorance.

The more we understand this flawed universe the more skillfully we can live, and the happier we will be.

We love best when we do not love out of desperation.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Grievous humour; He attended the wrong funeral

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Sometimes,grief stiffens our sense of humour,but it doesn’t actually kill it.

In my life,and in the customs of the community I come from, death is a solemn affair.

So,when my associate colleague died,I had to travel to Rwanda for funeral.

That was not so long ago,and there is still a lot of grief clouding my heart for her. R.I.P.

But something funny happened during her funeral service that I find worth sharing with my readers.

We were all sitting solemnly inside a church when I heard the church door open with a hideous creak.

Quick footsteps hurried along the wooden tiled floor.

An exasperated young man looked around briefly and then sat next to me.

He folded his hands and placed them on his lap.

His eyes were brimming with tears.

He began to sniffle.

“I’m late,” he explained, though no explanation was necessary.

After several eulogies from her close friends and family, he leaned over and
commented, “Why do they keep calling
Mary by the name of Margaret?”

“Because, that was her name, Margaret.
Never Mary, no one called her Mary,'” I
whispered.

I wondered why this person couldn’t have
sat on the other side of the church.

He interrupted my grieving with his tears and
fidgeting. Who was this stranger anyway?

“Isn’t this the Lutheran church?”

“No, the Lutheran church is across the
street.”

“Oh.”

“I believe you’re at the wrong funeral, Sir.” I volunteered,if only to shut him up.

Then something very strange happened to me;
The solemness of the occasion mixed with
the realisation of the man’s mistake bubbled up inside me and came out as laughter.

I cupped my hands over my face, hoping it would be interpreted as sobs.

The creaking pew gave me away.

Sharp looks from other mourners only made the situation seem more hilarious.

Was I becoming neurotic or what?

I peeked at the bewildered, misguided man seated beside me.

He was laughing too, as he glanced around, deciding it was too late for an uneventful exit.

I imagined everybody laughing,and that made it even more hilarious.

Grief can sometimes bring out the worst of us.

At the final ‘Amen,’ we both darted out a door
and into the parking lot.

“I do believe we’ll be the talk of the town,” he smiled.

He said his name was Rick and, since he had
missed his aunt’s funeral, asked me out for
a cup of coffee.

That afternoon began a lifelong journey for me with this man who attended the wrong funeral, but was in the right place.

A year after our meeting, he invited me to his wedding and they were married at a country church where he was the assistant pastor.

This time we both arrived at the same church, right on time.

Later,after the ceremony,he sidled up to me with his new bride and was laughing even before he grabbed my hand for an enthusiastic handshake.

“I want you to meet my new bride before the ink settles on our marriage certificate so that you can do this one thing for me…..”

“Anything you ask,I’ll do it for you”,I replied,not really sure what he was going to ask of me.

“Do you think I attended the “right wedding”? He ventured sheepishly as his new bride dropped her eyes in surprise and shame,not knowing what this was all about.

“Let me see”,I said as I lifted the bride’s veil feigning close scrutiny of her face. “I’m afraid you attended the wrong wedding again,but I guess the bride is the right one!”

“Come on!”,he cried out as he grabbed me by the shoulders wrestling me to the ground in mirth of uproarious laughter.

In my time of sorrow, God gave me
laughter.

In place of loneliness and grief, God gave
me laughter again and new love for a stunning young family for friends .

Bernard Wainaina is an Independent Agribusiness Advisor and CEO at Profarms Consultants®,Nairobi,Kenya.

He mainly works with Agribusiness Youth Groups in Eastern African Region.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Stereotypes; “A lot of Kenyans think cheese is disgusting!”

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Whenever I travel outside my country,Kenya,I’m always surprised by how the rest of the world sees us.

In other words,the Kenyan stereotype.

Recently,when I visited DR Congo on a tour of duty,a lady serving at a local food stall sidled up to my table after serving my lunch and asked me without any preamble; “How many miles do you run each morning?”

I was shocked by her brave intrusiveness.

When I recovered,I meekly told her that the last time I ran was during my high school cross country races which I hated very much,but they were compulsory,all the same.

She didn’t look very satisfied with my answer.

“But you look thin and athletic”.She egged me on.

I honestly didn’t know what to tell her after that.

You see,Kenya is known for successive generations of marathon champions in world races.

The rest of the world seems to think that every other Kenyan is an athlete!

And that was not enough; a white lady colleague during the duration of my stay offered me a package in a recycled carton of biscuits,and told me to take it to “my wife”.

“What is in the box? I was curious.

“Oh-some undies that I don’t want to fly out of here with”. She replied.

Now,at my age,she assumed I had wife,and a big family that was probably in need of clothes.

Kenya,according to WHO statistics has been topping the list of “high fertility and unsustainable population growth”.

I presume this is what informed her decision to donate clothes for “my exploding family”.

All over the world,people have formed stereotypes about other people,and most international interactions are usually based on this stereotypes.

Listen to my taxi driver in Kinshasha literally driving home this stereotype point;

“I can get you a girl to warm your bed tonight;I know Kenyan men like ‘Nyama Choma” (roasted meat) and young girls. Do you want a good girl?”

Me; “No. I already have a young girl who is only 22 years old,very loving,very beautiful; she is my daughter!”

Driver; “I mean one that you can take back to your hotel room”.

Me; “Would you mind if I first consulted someone about this?”

Driver; “Not at all. Let me know about this arrangement after you have consulted”.

He was just not going to give up so easily.

He was probably a pimp,and his cut meant more to him than my screaming morals.

Anyway,I did consult,after all.

I whatsapped my daughter back in Nairobi,breaking the ice first about this uncomfortable topic with a “Hi”.

One hour later,only one tick still displayed in my sent message.

Four hours later,two blue ticks and a reply;

“Hi dad,how was your day?”

Me; “very fine,very interesting!”

Daughter; “Interesting like how,Dad?”

Me; ” I don’t know how I should tell you this,but do you remember the many conversations we’ve had about how you should relate with men,taking care of yourself,I mean?”

Daughter; “Yes Dad,but pliz,let’s not go over that again tonight,pliz.”

Me; “I’m afraid we will have to,Liza,but this time,it is about me”.

Daughter;” What has happened Dad? Shoot!”

Me; “It is like this, Liza, this afternoon,when I was being driven back to my hotel room,my Taxi driver offered to get me a young girl for the night”.

Long pause.

One hour later; “did you take up that offer,Dad?”

Me; “No”.

Daughter; “Thank you Dad,and please take care of yourself!”

Conversation muted from her end.

This conversation must have been nerve-racking for my daughter.

We have talked many times with my daughter about morals,her morals,but never my morals.

She also doesn’t seem to buy the idea of stereotype of “Kenyan men” always wanting “young nubile escort girls,at least,not about her dad.

But who I’m I to argue about the Kenyan stereotype.

I googled “Kenyan stereotype” after this disconcerting episode,and here is what I got from ‘QUORA';

»Question”How is the stereotype of people from Kenya?
Doesn’t have to be right, it’s just a stereotype. Also;
-include stereotypical physical appearance if exist.
-Factual information is easy to get, but cultural info
e.g. stereotypes are hard to analyse.
Cultural stereotype gives insight not only about the stereotyped society, but also the society who
stereotypes.-
and remember, it’s just a stereotype, doesn’t have to be right, and please don’t get emotional over stereotype”.

Best Answer;”Best Answer: They are very friendly, welcoming, and family oriented.
The women work very hard all day long, washing, cooking, pretty much doing everything. The guys have a lot more free time.
They are proud of Obama – he’s Kenyan!
The kids are very good students and get excited
about learning even though the resources aren’t
always there.
A lot of Kenyans will have multiple boyfriends or girlfriends.
This doesn’t necessarily mean they’re sleeping together, often they don’t even live in the same city but someone will say “yeah, I have three
girlfriends!”
The food is pretty basic but the Kenyans love their ‘ugali'(Maize meal Cake). It’s the national food. Most foreigners aren’t huge fans of ‘ugali’, chapatti’s more palatable.
They love sugary things like children – chocolate, soda, especially Fanta. A
lot of Kenyans think cheese is disgusting.
Kenyans are crazy drivers. They also prefer to drive over walking. I’ve never seen a Kenyan out for a jog.
Kenya is very multicultural so everyone has
stereotypes about other groups. For example, the Kikuyu are business people and the Kikuyu women are the hardest to handle! Luhya women are loyal and if their husbands are difficult they will stand by them anyway. The Maasai are the most trustworthy, you can feel very safe in Maasailand. Maasai women
have crazy earrings and jewellery and the men are quite noticeable. People from the coast are really relaxed and friendly. Anyone not from Nairobi will tell you that the city is full of thieves, someone could steal from you and no one will care. Kenyans don’t always trust Somalis.
Kenyans also stereotype white people, believing that we are all rich and well-educated. As for rich, well, most foreigners in Kenya are, so they’re right on target there.
Source(s):
A mix of my own generalizations and stereotypes I
heard while in Kenya by Ryemtl ·

Answer two;”A Kenyan is a party animal who loves beer and nyama choma for a general kenyan, when you go to tribes the luos are
known to be proud and gives ladies a treat of their life, Obama is a luo. The luhyas are known for their love of Ugali and Kuku (maize meal taken with chicken) Kikuyus for their love of money. If you are in kenya just drop a shilling and those who will turn to look at it are kikuyus. kambas for their love for witchcraft.”
Source(s):
for more about kenya http://
http://www.ugandalastminute.com/safaris/…;
ugandalastminute ·

Answer three; “They run fast in Track and Field events because back at home, they have to run from cheetahs and avoid getting trampled by zebras”.
Source(s):
Stereotypes. Not Facts.
Bleh ·

Answer four “They get elected President of the USA”
Wrenchman57 ·

I bet stereotype is the way the rest of the world sees us,no matter the factual truth.

I’m glad that my daughter does not share this view about me as a “Kenyan man” with the rest of the world!

Bernard Wainaina is an Independent Agribusiness Advisor and CEO at Profarms Consultants®,Nairobi,Kenya.

He mainly works with Agribusiness Youth Groups in Eastern African Region.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Drunk!

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I’m drunk with deep joy that life has
thrown at my heart;I won’t touch any other kind of
wine tonight.

OR;

Maybe I’m too old to keep a good love
going, but tonight you’re on my mind, though
you’ll never know.

But it makes me happy,all the same!

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Cruised round Kampala in 90 minutes,but I never moved an inch!

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Last week,on an ecological study at Mapira forest, I took the chance to revolve in Kampala.

Not in a head-spinning way,as you’ll understand when I explain.

Gently, it was.

It took a full 90 minutes to turn through 360 degrees.

I’m talking about the revolving restaurant at the top of the Golf Course Hotel.

They call it the Seven Hills Revolving
Restaurant.

That’s because Kampala is said to have been built on seven hills: Kasubi Hill, site of the Kasubi Tombs, the tombs of the Kabakas; Mengo Hill, site of the present Kabaka’s palace and the headquarters of the Buganda Court of Justice; Kibuli Hill, with its Kibuli Mosque; Namirembe Hill, topped by the Namirembe Protestant Cathedral; Rubaga Hill, topped by the rival Rubaga Catholic Cathedral; Nsambya, site of the Nsambya Hospital; and finally, the little hill of Impala, once the hunting ground for the Ugandan kings.

I was at the restaurant for dinner,courtesy of my clients.

So it was after dark, and I couldn’t distinguish the seven hills.

But from the way the lights of the city spread out into the visible distance, they showed that Kampala now covers many more hills than the
original seven.

The Seven Hills on the tower of the Golf Course Hotel is one of only six revolving restaurants in Africa.

Nairobi,my city, once had one, didn’t it? At the top of the KICC.

Sadly, it no longer revolves — it doesn’t even exist.

I don’t know why. But it’s a pity. Because the view was magnificent.

It showed that Nairobi is still very much a green city — and usually in the sun.

Mind you, it is still possible to take in the view by riding the lift to the top of the building — but not to linger over it with a juicy steak and a glass of red wine at the now stalled restaurant.

At night, from the Seven Hill Restaurant, one of the most striking features of the view were the unbroken streams of red or yellow lights of the cars moving along the main Yusuf Lule
Road.

My mind went back to a conversation I had with a consultant colleague about late 1990s when we were staying at the Sheraton Hotel in the middle of Kampala.

“Have you seen the hotel’s car park?” I asked him. “It’s crammed with cars — Uganda is recovering.”

“But have you looked at what they are?” he asked back.

“Mainly white Land Cruisers or other four-wheel drives.

Mainly cars of foreign aid agencies.

When the car park is full of city saloons like Mercedes and BMWs and owned by Ugandans, only then can we say Uganda has moved on!”

Anyway, back to Kampala … Yes, Uganda has really moved on.

Except that there are now so many cars of all shapes and sizes that it is difficult to move at all in the city. Not to mention the pesky hordes of motorcycle taxis that run over your feet on pavements!

Another indicator of development that evening as I looked out of the slowly moving windows were the lights down below of the adjacent and huge Garden City shopping complex, with its supermarket, cinema, bowling alley, casino,
banks, forex bureaux, big bookshop and many trendy clothes shops.

The other side of the hotel was the black hole in the undulating carpet of lights that was the city’s central golf course.

In the morning, at breakfast in the attractive ground floor restaurant by the bright blue of the serpentine pool, through the screen of trees you could see a few golfers already engaging in what my old mentor called a “good walk spoilt”.

So, with golf on one side and a shopping complex on the other, the Golf Course Hotel must be attractive for those who like an easy — even a spoilt — walk to many things they
might want to do in Kampala.

For me, I chose it because the meeting I was attending was being held there — not even a walk away but a short lift ride.

The hotel is a bit cheaper than the nearby Sheraton and Serena, and a bit more expensive than the also nearby Speke or the Grand Imperial.

But that was for my clients to sort out.

I like it. The conference room was airy; the view from my room over the golf course was refreshing; the breakfast was as varied as you could wish — and dinner in the revolving
restaurant was unforgettable.

And I miss the one atop KICC back in Nairobi,patriotic pride certainly draws envy.

Bernard Wainaina is an Independent Agribusiness Advisor and CEO at Profarms Consultants®,Nairobi,Kenya.

He mainly works with Agribusiness Youth Groups in Eastern African Region.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Mr. Independent

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Sometimes I hate you,Jaffa!
Just because you are my cat,
doesn’t mean that I’m your slave!

Why do you carry yourself around
With so much airs,until lunchtime?

You scratch the door,as if you want to come in,
But when I open the door for you,you just put your paws on the door frame;
You haven’t yet made up your mind whether to get in or not.

And I have to hold the door for you;
I’m your butler.
I’m your slave!

Do I own you,
Or do you own me?

What about that fight you picked with my neighbour’s dog?
That was really foolish of you.
You lost the fight to the dog,right?
And your tail was almost amputated by that bite.

But that was not all;
You jumped through my kitchen window howling,
And broke my china set!

That’s you mr. Independent,
Always coming off clean in your innocent cute face,
Feigning innocence after playing the devil!

But guess what,Jaffa?

That’s the very reason I love you,Jaffa,
Because you are independent like me.

But do you have to put on the display for me?

Your cat personality,so aloof,gives me goose pimples!

And did you have to scratch at my girlfriend when she got close?

Are you jealous?

Do you have to show it?

I’m madly in love with you,Jaffa,
But please don’t mess with my human relationships!

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Singing under the shower of ‘gods’ in Samburu

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It is so hot over the day in Samburu.
If you try to take a shower,water dries off your shoulders before you scrub.
I take my showers at night,under the open starry skies.
Around here,we have baptised this practice as “shower of gods”.

I like to do weird things in the
shower, like drink my coffee,
brush my teeth and drink a
smoothie. It’s good time
management,I suppose.
This is all possible now,under the shower of ‘gods’.

But my favourite way to blow off
steam after a busy day is to sing
loud in the shower.(Pity that my friends tell me I sing so off key,it kills all the love they have for good songs!)

Listen to what others tell you
about your voice. If you’re only
singing to please yourself, you
might as well just sing under the
shower. But if you’re singing for
others, you are reliant on them
to ask you to sing.

I have the soul of a singer and
do splendidly in the shower but
the world will never hear it.
Basically, I’m the only Kenyan Soul(sole,I think!) singer
person who can’t carry a tune.

I always sing Adele in the
shower. But everyone should
know you never sing an Adele
song in public because no one’s
better than Adele.

I’d love to sing it proud and sing loud.
But I’m embarrassed I might draw a rude crowd.
So in public I’m dour,
Though I sing in the shower.
It’s the only time singing loud is allowed.

There’s no half-singing in the
shower, you’re either a rock star
or an opera diva.

Singing in the shower is all fun and games until you get soap bubbles in your mouth, then it just becomes a soap opera.

I really enjoyed staying at an
encampment at the top of a hill
in the Samburu Reserve.

You reach it through hard climbing; there is no electricity, no city noises and you sleep and
shower under the Milky Way, with moths fluttering around a kerosene lamp, knowing that there are elephants and lions
roaming free in the valley.

This is all a good experience for the budding-sorry-bathing musician in me.

So I wrote this poem; Shower of ‘gods’ in the shower;

Walking down the crooked street,
Throwaway culture around his feet,
Not one eye dares to meet
The man who sings real loud.
He is of the reactionary kind
The one they label “out of mind!”
One they’ve always tried to bind.
The man who sings real loud.
He swings his bags without a care
Trots around on an invisible mare
You can’t hurt what doesn’t care
The man who sings real loud.
You will hear him before you see
His voice and mind are loud and free
A man you wish that you could be:
The man who sings real loud.

Bernard Wainaina is an Independent Agribusiness Advisor and CEO at Profarms Consultants®,Nairobi,Kenya.

He mainly works with Agribusiness Youth Groups in Eastern African Region.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Poisoned in Samburu; I could die now, and very peacefully….

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“Do you know what plant this is?” I asked Lolyang,my point-man for my Ethno-botany study excursion in Samburu National Reserve.

“That’s not a good plant. It’s not indigenous to here, and you shouldn’t touch it. You need to wash your hands thoroughly.”

“But, I put it in my mouth.”

Blank stare, followed by Lolyang’s eyes growing wider.

“I took a bite of it and now my mouth is burning. Really burning.”

Anthony my research assistant who is a native of Samburu County,and acts as our other guide, heard me describe my symptoms, and told me that the locals use milk to cut down on the burning, and ran off to get my first of
what would turn out to be several litres of Camel milk for the day.

You see, moments before, while walking to breakfast with my colleague Tessa, I was enjoying breathing in the honey-like smell of a white flowering tree, fresh with the morning’s dew.

Surrounded by the flora and fauna of a new county, I was eager to taste its sweet smells.

I couldn’t help myself from breaking off a
stem of plant I thought I recognised and clamped down on it between my teeth.

I expected to taste the salty flavour of a
drought-resistant plant I had tried days before when learning about the cultural habits of the indigenous Samburu tribe in northern Kenya, who taught us all about the plants and herbs they used for cooking and medicine,both for livestock and man.

Nope. Wrong plant.

Tessa, my fellow colleague from Australia, who is a medicine man there, took one look at the plant I was holding, and named it immediately.

“That’s euphorbia.”

“I put it in my mouth.”

Tessa’s face went white, and the tears starting
flowing down my face.

I have always imagined myself dying a dignified death out of very old age,sorrounded by people who mean something in my life,as well as my catholic priest carrying on with my own final rites of passage.

Now,I’m going to die of such a silly mistake.

I could see my friends laughing me down in an open casket saying,”poor Ben,he was always so childish,and that’s what really did him in in the end!”

It is such disturbing thoughts that made my eyes water,not the impeding death,really.

“Why did you do that?”

“I don’t know.”

“Why are you crying?”

“I’m scared. “

“Of what?”

“Of dying.”

“Well, I’m scared for you, too.
However, I think you would be writhing
on the floor right now if you
ingested too much,so let’s just
closely monitor what happens next.

I’m here to look out for you.”

And that was it.

I calmed down,reassured.

My guardian angel Tessa, was going to be with me, whether I got better or not.

Far from family and friends, and on a work trip in the middle ever expanding Sahara Desert, it was comforting to know that someone I trusted would be there regardless.

I went to the bathroom to compose myself,and steel myself for a dignified death while they called for a doctor.

I took my clean handkerchief and scraped
my tongue, my inner cheeks, and the back of my throat.

I spit profusely, like a worked-up coach on the
sidelines.

But I couldn’t get rid of the taste of what I
did. I had poisoned myself.

WHAT DOESN’T KILL YOU MAKES YOU STRONGER

A local herbalist, the closest thing to a doctor in that area, came over to take a look at me.

Like Tessa, he wanted to know HOW LONG the euphorbia had been in my mouth.

“Not long” I replied. “I bit down on it and it was only in my mouth for a couple of seconds.”

“Well, there really is no antidote for the neurotoxins that are in your body right now. What we CAN do is get you to the nearest doctor for a shot to help alleviate the pain. I don’t think you took enough for it to be lethal. The doctor is a three-hour drive away, two and a half if we leave right now and drive
quickly.”

Wait a minute. Did he just use the word LETHAL? This is really the end of my short stint as a living human being!

What’s the use of all of our vanities?

Wait a minute-who is going to drive my car back to Nairobi? He had better be a good driver who will take good care of “my car” when I’m dead.

What about my cat,Jaffa? How will he manage all by himself?

More tears.

“More than likely, you are just going to have to wait four to five days for the poison to course its way through your system.”

Great! I can bear all the suffering,but death!-there is some finality in that name that may spell chaos in terms of all “my unfinished business”.

At this point in the waiting game, my body had
entered a defensive phase, and was in total “fight” mode.

The surge of adrenaline was impressive.

I felt like a Superman! I think the saying “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is completely true.

“Anybody need any cars lifted, or heavy loads
carried?” I asked.

“Wow! Your humorous demeanour during this time is astounding,” said Tessa, in disbelief that I could be so jovial despite the circumstances.

“Well, I’m either going to live, or I’m going to die.

Might as well make the most of it now with my soon-to-be useless lump of flesh.”

After my initial adrenaline panic, my mind and body slowed down and I thought, “Could this really be the end? Am I really going to be sent home in a box because I ate a wrong bush in Samburu?”

I then succumbed to a certain calmness I have never known before.

I felt a profound sense of peace.

My life held no regrets.

I had a great family, good friends.

I had seen a lot of the world and met some
incredible people.

I could die now here, and peacefully.

During this time I also had visions.

I imagined how my friends and colleagues at the Ethno-botany Summit that was taking place
the following day would be affected by my loss,
knowing that my death would put a damper on the whole event. I envisioned my fellow colleagues back at the office getting word
that I had passed away while on my trip, and could see our tea girl shaking her head, saying “Oh, Ben,” partly disappointed that I had been so silly in contributing to my own death, and yet on the other hand, not at all surprised.

She above anybody else knew that I had the curiosity of a three-year-old child when it comes to sweet smelling food.

It made me love my colleagues more for
understanding me so well.

Everyone else, I saw, would miss me, but would
remember fondly my curiosity of the world, and my courage in making it a large part of my life.

I saw that I had even inspired a few people to make positive changes, and that made me proud. I could go now…

But, I didn’t go. And soon after these visions, my Samburu tour group (who were more like my family now) and I needed to continue on our journey.

After driving for over three hours
through vast landscapes, they asked if I wanted to stop in at the doctor of the nearby town, but I opted not to go for the pain shot.

The Camel milk was doing wonders for the
burning sensation, even though I couldn’t go more than about seven seconds without the burning returning.

My biggest challenge at that point was not
vomiting, as a stomach full of milk and acid,
combined with driving on remote, bumpy roads in a Land Rover were not really compatible.

I learned more about the plant from our local guides as we drove.

Locals use this euphorbia as a barrier, protecting their crops or homesteads, as most
animals steer clear of the plant, so it’s used quite a bit in hedges.

Apparently, the only wild animal that can eat the euphorbia plant and get away with it is
the rhino.

Last time I checked, I weighed much less
than a rhino.

The name of Rhino Charge stuck for the
duration of the trip.

Later I learned that this euphorbia plant was also used to put on the ends of arrowheads, in order to paralyse and/or kill the targeted prey.

As for me, I dealt with horrible symptoms as the
poison made its way down my body, including
massive heart-burn and excruciating pain as it
coursed through my liver and kidneys, so much that I thought something was bursting.

But, with Tessa’s guidance and reassurance, and with another higher spiritual protector, I made it to our destination alive, perhaps a bit more humbled,but not dead, not as yet.

Bernard Wainaina is an Independent Agribusiness Advisor and CEO at Profarms Consultants®,Nairobi,Kenya.

He mainly works with Agribusiness Youth Groups in Eastern African Region.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Stories from the wild; On this tree,I’ll build my church!

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The sun can be hot around Samburu:I’ve heard stories of chicken laying “boiled” eggs in this kind of heat.

But last Sunday,I was thinking less of boiled eggs,and more about such things like firm foundations-a verse in the bible says;build your house on a firm foundation…this was the day’s sermon at the lodge chapel.

I was following a troop of baboons grazing in the plains of Samburu National Reserve.

As is the usual thing in a group of
baboons, they had arranged themselves in their usual military plan.

In the front, were the expendable males consisting of juveniles and low-ranking sub adults.

They act as the front buffers and scouts on the route.

Should they see any danger, they are supposed to confront the danger if they can.

If the danger is too much, they should alert the rest of the troop and the big boys will come to boost the war chest.

But should the enemy attack before the big bosses come, the troop will not lose much because the front liners are not the
most important in the group.

As the troop was digging for tubers in the soil, one of them noticed a lion walking along the shores of the river.

The lion was on the opposite side from where the baboons were grazing.

The scouts gave out the sound of alarm, but a weak one.

Like to say, “you may need to think about fast exit if the lion decide to cross over to our side”.

The troop leaders understood very well there was no hurry, but preparations were in order.

So, the biggest among the leaders of the group looked around to pick a tree which could be used as a safe refuge when trouble struck.

He chose an acacia tree full of dry thorns and with branches that hung loosely near the
ground.

He went up the tree and did something that got me laughing with admiration.

He literally interrogated the tree to see whether it was strong enough to hold the whole family
should the need arise.

He was shaking and swinging the branches until he was sure the tree would hold.

When he came down, the whole troop looked at ease feeding near the tree of life, while the scouts kept watch over the lion.

He walked back to the grazing troop as if to say
;“On this tree, I will build my church”.

Like these baboons, make plans with firm foundation

Bernard Wainaina is an Independent Agribusiness Advisor and CEO at Profarms Consultants®,Nairobi,Kenya.

He mainly works with Agribusiness Youth Groups in Eastern African Region.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

The stigma of “Skinny men”

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This post is inspired by an embarrassing incident with one of my new and very good client that I met for the first time last week in Kigali, Rwanda.

I’m not going to into the details of this incident here,but suffice to say that a good business deal was clicked after some uncomfortable grilling by my client,in relation to my dwarfish stature.

It was even more uncomfortable for me since my client was a tall hefty lady.

In my regular medical check-ups,I always feel ridiculed when a physically endowed nurse quips after recording my body weight; “do you really eat?”

What I’m I supposed to think after such a statement?

Is it a complement?

Is it ridicule?

At 50 plus now,I weigh 56kg and height of 175 cm.

I grew up skinny. Athletic since birth, I was always very active and played a sport for every season from elementary school through high school.

To be totally honest, I was so skinny that rather than being bullied for being overweight, I was
bullied for being underweight.

Even though I was healthy and had an athletic build, I still didn’t break the 50kg. mark on the scale until I was a senior in high school.

Because I was skinny and had a fairly high self-esteem (as high as a high school boy can have), I never gave much thought to what I ate.

As long as it tasted good, I didn’t really care what it was made of where it came from – as evidenced by my numerous sausage eating contest with my friends over weekends.

When I was a senior in high school I started to purposefully put on weight so that I could gain more muscle mass. I ate as much as I could as often as I could and eventually I gained about 5kg – most of it muscle.

I finally stopped being ridiculed about my low weight and I felt like a true athlete for the first time in my life.

I had a very successful year of dating and I vowed that I would continue hitting the gym even when I went to college so that I wouldn’t
lose the muscle that I worked so hard for.

A funny thing happened in college – I kept up my promise to myself and continued to work out regularly and I actually lost about 5kg, rather than gaining the so-called “Freshman”
5kg.

Though my weight crept up slowly for the next four years, I still ate what I wanted, when I wanted and didn’t put any thought into it because I never saw any negative consequences from my actions. After
my 21st birthday, when my doctor expressed some concern about my lack of weight gain I started to eat everything I could get my
hands on.

Still, nothing. Zilch! No weight gain.

I started hitting the gym five days a week, but months went by and I didn’t see any results. I couldn’t gain the weight.

After a while of hitting the gym and trying to get back into the required shape of a “protective man” with big biceps, I got frustrated with the lack of results and basically gave up. I didn’t know what to do or how to feel.

I was very down on myself about my
weight and I forced myself to make peace with the fact that I
would never be “big”.

Growing up skinny had skewed my perception of weight so much that, to an extent, I shut down.

Food is something I’ve always loved. I love to cook and I love to sit at the dinner and enjoy a meal.

The office tea-girl

“Ugh. I wish I had your problem!!”

This has become a constant refrain from our office tea-girl.

Initially she used to urge me on to clear my tea biscuits.

She had no idea that I could eat all the servings on the table meant for all the staff and still not gain a gram in weight over a year.

After realising later on that I take hefty amounts of any type of food without adding on any weight,she only shrugged and remarked;”Uug,I wish I had your problem.”

Yes, my “problem,” annoyingly dismissed by so many well-meaning people throughout my life, is that I’ve always been chronically underweight. Stick-thin. Skin and bones. Nothing to me. Size 000. (Okay, they don’t
make a triple zero. But I was super jazzed the day they came out with the double so I wouldn’t have to buy clothes from the kids’ department, anymore.)

I never wanted to be this way. When I had high
school teachers accusing me of being anorexic, I wished they would have known that I actually
probably had the exact opposite type of disorder — an obsession with wanting to gain weight.

But I couldn’t.

And, as alone as I have often felt in this struggle, I know that I really am not.

Us skinnies are definitely in the minority, but there are plenty of people out there who are underweight and do not wish to be.

And lots of families with kids who were just like me, and “failing to thrive.”

Pick the tabs

I have however learnt to live with it.

I used to be thoroughly embarrassed when I took my friends oout for a treat,and the waiters would keep pushing the bills to my “bigger” friends; their reasoning,I presume is that the bigger guy has the ability to “pay” the bills!

Or when a client who has been referred to my office by another client keeps on insisting that he wants to talk to the “CEO”.

It is quite difficult to picture a “skinny CEO” when comparatively looking at other “bigger” staff.

I won’t even go into the social side of it-girls want bigger “protective men”.

The society expects your body size to reflect your “social status”.

The list is endless!

Who said only the “fat” people are shamed,ridiculed,and stigmatised!

Bernard Wainaina is an Independent Agribusiness Advisor and CEO at Profarms Consultants®,Nairobi,Kenya.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

A grilled monkey for my lunch at a Kinshasha food stall,and the economics of Ebola in the game meat business

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I’m hungry.

I’m hungry in Congo,Kinshasha,to be precise,

But I can’t see any food here,sorry,I mean,some decent food.

There is only very un-edifying portions on game meat on offer at the capital food stalls.

Anything from tortoise, snake and monkey meat is a mouth-watering delicacy that goes on the menu in Democratic Republic of Congo.

That may sound nauseating, to East Africans, but Congolese have experimented with so much bush meat that it has become part of them.

Yet it comes at a deadly cost.

Last year, it cost them 49 lives when a rural bush hunter in Jeera, about 1,000km north of Kinshasa stumbled upon a dead monkey. It became part of the family dinner.

Days later, the hunter, his wife and children were dead.

Medical personnel who attended to them died later as well.

It was the beginning of another Ebola outbreak in DRC.

Since then, Congolese have become wary about
game meat, but they just haven’t stayed away from it.

“It is our way of life…customers did not stop
buying when Ebola broke out,” says Mama
Jeanette Elofa, 53, who has operated a market stall since 1988.

When the Ebola outbreak was reported, game
meat suddenly was not as popular at Marche de
libertie Market, built in 2003 to honour former
President Laurent Kabila.

On a busy day, hundreds of residents flock to the market to buy food.

The shopping list includes game meat brought into the city from the south and North of the country.

To a visitor in Kinshasa, the display can leave you dealing with culture shock.

There is the stunning sight of charcoal grilled snake, monkey meat or antelope meat laid out for customers to sample.

Game meat, which is sold by part not in kilos can fetch from $15 (Sh1,320) at the low to a high of $30(Sh2,640) while tortoise meat can fetch $10(Sh880).

When cut up, each of the piece of flesh for sale can average about a kilo a piece just by visually judging.

There is no weighing scale in sight.

Mama Elofa’s stall can get pretty busy, especially on weekdays.

On a good week, she can collect $1,000(Sh88,000) cementing the vibrancy of the
business.

Or as the Congolese like to say, it accentuates
“Lokasa na mbongo” (the flow of money).

But that flow, for many stall owners, was rudely
interrupted when the Ebola outbreak was reported last August in DRC. Suddenly, the customers vanished and tonnes of game meat lay at the market uncollected by consumers.

“Before the outbreak, we could sell eight or nine monkeys a day. Since then, we sell much less. We don’t have Ebola in Kinshasa and our families are starving,” says Mama Maggie Noseka, 50.

She claims reports on Ebola have ruined their
business.

The Ebola outbreak has complicated the menu
option for many Congolese and they have to
balance between popular delicacy and their
health. It is a fact that concerns even the DRC
Health minister Dr Felix Kabange.

“Makaka (monkey meat) is a delicacy among
residents. But we have to encourage them to roast the meat first before bringing it to the market. The exposure to heat eliminates the presence of Ebola virus in the meat,” he says.

But education on the deadly virus has gone a
notch higher in markets of Kinshasa, the country’s largest arena for game meat.

It has included public announcements through loudspeakers around the market.

Even the most dingy market has a radio station run by government and discusses sex, personal health and Ebola, among other issues.

This is attributed in part to why Ebola was kept out of Kinshasa, a nightmare scenario that would put at risk 12million residents.

Even so, when the news about Ebola was over and World Health Organiation declared DRC Ebola free last November, meat customers were already trickling back to the stalls in search of their favourite game meat.

At the Kabila Market, Mama Maggie Noseka is
already busy calling customers to her stall
sprawling with a variety of bush meat. “I have
eaten game meat since I was a child and have
never fallen ill,” she says, a swarm of flies
hovering over the sight of charcoal grilled monkey meat spread in front of her.

“ I don’t fear Ebola, I have no relatives who have died of Ebola,” she says defiantly.”

But does she take preventive measures? “What
preventive measures?” With that, she turns to a
waiting customer who purchases a collection of
roasted snakes.

Mafuta Roseli is a regular seller of game meat.

She has a stock of four monkeys, which will fetch an average of $40 (Sh3,520). She says demand is high.

Another game meat dealer, Yangisa Ewayi, 55,
wonders why anyone would stop buying game
meat because of Ebola. He gets on average 100kg to 150kg a day of game meat from Bandundu and Bakongo.

The market is a beehive of activity on any day. Besides game meat, Ebola notwithstanding, vegetables, clothes, shoes, dress materials find their way on the floor of stalls.

Talk of cultural shock!

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

My journey,alone

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I am an old man,
holding my walking stick in one hand,
A handkerchief on the other hand to wipe sweat off my brows.

I can see very far,though my eyesight is failing,
But in this last journey,I must walk alone.

My feet are heavy now, but on I go,
My head erect beneath the tragic toll of many years.

The way is steep, but I would have it so;
And dusty, but I lay-off the dust with my tears,
Though none can see me weep: alone I climb
The rugged path that leads me out of time –
Out of time and out of all;

Singing yet in sun and rain,
‘Heel and toe from dawn to dusk,
Round the world and home again.’
Farewell the hope that mocked, farewell despair
That went before me still and made the pace.

The earth is full of graves, and mine was there
Even before my life began, my resting-place;
And I shall find it out and be with my fellow dead men
Lie down for ever, all my sayings said –
Deeds all done and songs all sung,
While others chant in sun and rain,
‘Heel and toe from dawn to dusk,
Round the world and home again.’

This is my last journey,
And in this journey,
I know,and I have always known,
That I must walk alone.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Tessa

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Your kindness and your smile will always light up the world of those unhappy and unfortunate people.

I thank God for allowing me to meet you and thank you for teaching me kindness.

I promised myself to do good things in your honour, regardless of whether you love me or not on the day I met you.

TO me you are more than someone I love, a
teacher, a friend and a motivator.

You have motivated me to do good things in my life.

I am not a good person, but every time I think of the good things you do, I would like to change. I know you are a quiet, shy and homely girl.

Among all the girls I have ever met in my life, you are the kindest.

You are the prettiest girl I know in my life.

The reason I like you is not because of your beauty, but your kindness,and that inspires me to be kind too.

I know you do charity to help poor children and this has been an ambition of mine during childhood days which I forgot, and I thank you for bringing kindness back into my life.

I can’t speak French very well, but I
learned it to speak to you.

You are the kindest girl I ever met in my life, no girl I knew in my life is even close to you.

What I love about you is your kindness, you may not be the prettiest girl in the world, but you are the prettiest girl to me because you are
kind, gentle , honest and caring.

You are a girl that any guy would dream of.

A kind that will come only once in every million years.

I helped an old grandma in my neighbourhood to clean up the house, I usually don’t do that,but I learnt it from you.

I know you are kind and I want to learn to be kind like you,away from this cold man that I normally am.

Your kindness is contagious, like a light to my life.

I learnt to cook because I know you like homely guys and I would also love to cook for the
unfortunate people, I promise you this, if I ever grow rich, I will promise myself to make sure I will always help those around me in your
honour.

I really love you,how I wish I could wake up every morning with you beside me and I would cook for you,and your big family of homeless and elderly people breakfast, I love to cook and to be a family man.

I wish I could help clean your house and look after your parents when they are old.

It is said that if you love a woman, you will love their family too.

I wish I could take care of them.

If you do not like me I am still ok.

I just want to be a friend who will help during happy and times of hardship.

It is my honour to help a person as kind as you.

The reason I do not go after you is because I want you to have a better guy than me who has more to offer.

I am afraid I cannot live up to my promise of being a good guy.

I’d rather lose you than to make you unhappy.

Everything I do is in the interest of you. But I only want one thing from you,and that is to be your friend when you need me.

My love for you has no boundaries.

I thought to myself; if I really love you and I know I do,the best thing is to let you be,to let you serve the poor and the unfortunate without my distraction.

You have stolen my heart.

I ask myself this, if one day you do not look pretty anymore would I still love you?

And yes,I still would,because of kindness,and that never changes!

I thought hard and I told myself I would proudly go out and let everybody know I love you.

Looks is only physical part, but no one can ever take this away from you;

Your kindness.

I will love you no matter what happens.

Please take care of yourself.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Detachment eases the baggage that our life-long experiences use to hold us back from greatness

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Detachment is the art of withdrawing desire from lesser things, letting them fall away, so
as to harness their power to reach the heights of what a human being can attain.

I’m surprised that there is one great lesson about life that can be learned from Rocket Science…

When scientists began contemplating the conquest of space, the first problem they encountered – a problem that had to be solved before they could make any headway at all – was how to get beyond the pull of the earth’s gravity.

A rocket has to build up a speed of twenty-five thousand miles per hour to escape this pull, and engineers quickly ran into a kind of “catch-22”: to attain this speed, an ordinary rocket
would have to be so large that its sheer weight would never allow it to escape the pull of gravity.

Yet the human spirit delights in overcoming
obstacles.

Undaunted, scientists finally came up with
the idea of a multi-stage rocket, with one or more independent boosters attached.

Each booster holds fuel, which it burns in one great leap upward.

As soon as its fuel is expended, its job is done and the booster is dropped, freeing the spacecraft from the burden of its great weight.

This is how our very own life should play-out;we shouldn’t drag the unnecessary baggage from our past life into the future.

This is the kind of journey that in our own life brings an overflowing, ever-present
sense of joy.

The Buddha, who almost never talked about himself, once admitted quietly, “I am the
happiest of mortals. There is no one happier than I am.”

This is the joy for which every one of us is born.

Not tuppenny-ha’penny pleasures, not tinsel delights or costume jewellery, but a jewel that is beyond price: the jewel hidden in the very depths of our hearts.

Detachment not only releases joy; it is also the
secret of health.

It is the best medical insurance in the world, and not only because it can keep us free from physical habits that sap our vitality.

Most illness has a serious emotional element.

While there is an important place for physical measures in the treatment of disease, a mind at peace and a heart flooded with love can release healing powers that strengthen and revitalize the physical system.

Strength can be regained even after years of
emotional instability.

In extreme cases, I believe recovery can be brought about even from what seems a terminal illness.

Today, of course, it is widely appreciated that
because of advances in medical knowledge, we can expect to live much longer than was reasonable at the beginning of the twentieth century.

But we can lead lives that are not only longer but richer, more loving, and more productive.

The next steps in stretching the limits of human health and longevity, I believe, will not be in biotechnology.

They will come from learning to govern the way we think and feel.

Detachment is a longevity skill.

Freedom from compulsive emotional entanglements is the best insurance against stress.

More than that, by opening a window onto a fuller, loftier view of life than that dictated by self-interest, detachment brings a sense
of purpose.

Without a reason for living, the human
being withers and dies inside.

However paradoxical it may sound, it is detachment that enables us to give ourselves wholeheartedly to worthwhile work without
ever getting depressed, despondent, or burned out – right into the last days of our lives.

Most people who work hard – which means most men and women – bring their work
home with them, yapping like a poodle at their heels.

At the dinner table, when they sit thinking about their deadlines and responsibilities, the poodle is nestled under the chair, whining away.

They curl up with it at night and dream about reports that haven’t been filed, statistics that don’t point to the right conclusions, mail that hasn’t been responded to or that has been sent out with the wrong memo attached.

Detachment gives us the capacity to
concentrate completely while on the job and to drop our work completely when we walk out the door.

A detached worker is a reliable worker, a
cheerful worker, a harmonious worker.

And when you can drop your work completely at the end of the day, you arrive home ready to give all your love to your family and friends.

You feel fresh, relaxed.

You have no need to give vent to the kind of frustration that millions of good people air: “Leave me alone. I’ve had a misera-ble day!”

Mahatma Gandhi worked fifteen hours a day for fifty years for all of us who want a politically free world.

When he was asked,“Don’t you want a vacation, Mr. Gandhi?” he said quietly, “I’m always on vacation.”

It wasn’t a flippant reply; he meant every word of it. So don’t content yourself with two weeks in July or two weeks at a sunbath resort in January.

You deserve three hundred and sixty-five days of vacation, and that is exactly what detachment can give you.

Detachment brings this kind of protection at
every stage of life.

Many of the physical problems associated with old age, for example, are not at all a
necessary part of aging.

The fact that they are common does not mean they are inevitable.

Not only senility but even certain physical problems may well have more to do with life-style and thought-style than with changes triggered by some biological clock.

As researchers have observed, we have focused
so much on “ordinary aging” – what happens to the majority – that we have ignored “successful aging,” which we can observe in men and women like Mahatma Gandhi, George Bernard Shaw, and Mother Teresa, who grow in wisdom and vitality right into the last days of a long, creative, fulfilling life.

I grant you that in the evening of your life you may not be able to compete successfully on Centre Court at Wimbledon.

But every one of us can enjoy the vitality,
resourcefulness, and unerring judgment that come from a heart full of love and a vast reservoir of experience.

Detachment and love relationships

In English the word detachment sounds passive,
callous, unfeeling.

Yet it is just the opposite, and the best way to see this is to look at its application in personal relationships.

Sanskrit have two words that are often
translated as “love” – two words with a world of
difference between them, and the difference is
detachment.

Prema is pure love, in which I want nothing but your happiness. Your joy is my joy.

Karma, on the other hand, is self-centered personal attachment, generally with romantic overtones.

In the language of karma, “I love you” means “you please me.” It also follows this with a condition:”You have to love me back!”

Most of us need no formal introduction to
karma.

Selfish attachment(reward & punishment) is what holds most romantic novels together, what most popular songs are based on, what most films depict in graphic detail.

It is discouragingly easy to mistake selfish
attachment for love if we do not really know what love is.

If you want to see some of the greatest lov-
ers of all time, don’t look to Romeo or Juliet; look at Saint Francis of Assisi, or lovely Saint Teresa of Avila.

All you need do is read Teresa’s autobiograph-ical accounts to know that she lived in the empire of love.

What a won-derful paradox: to know what love
means, we have to turn to men and women who we say have “renounced the world”!

Listen to Jacob Boehme, the “cosmic cobbler” of medieval Germany, as he tells us how he knew when he was in love – eternal love:

No life can express, nor tongue so much as
name, what this enflaming, all-consuming love of God is.

It is brighter than the sun, it is sweeter than
anything called sweet; it is stronger than all strength;
it is more nutrimental than food, more cheering to the heart than wine, and more pleasant than all the joy and pleasantness of the world.

Whoever obtaineth it is richer than any monarch on earth; and he who getteth it is nobler than any emperor can be,and more potent and absolute than all power and
authority.

Boehme is talking about love in the truest sense.

The mark of true love is as simple as it is rare: it is detachment from the tangle of personal motives that makes us seek happiness in making others conform to our desires.

Detachment and love go hand in hand.

When all selfish attachments are gone, what is
left is pure love.

The other person is so dear to you that you never have to ask yourself the question,
“What is she going to give me?” – in the way of
respect, of affection, of loyalty.

Once you efface that question from your vocabulary completely, you and that person are no longer separate; both of you are one. That is what love means.

The secret to transforming relationships through detachment

All of us begin the quest for love with a great deal of selfish attachment. That is human nature.

But with the help of meditation and the allied disciplines we can diminish this selfish element day by day, by putting the welfare of those around us first and our own personal predilections last.

But practicing detachment in personal
relationships does not come easily.

No other arena of life is more challenging.

Disrupted relationships are endemic today, and not because people are immoral or because they don’t care about one another; they just don’t know how to develop detachment.

If you cannot stand back from your own
pleasure and profit, you cannot help manipulating other people.

Naturally, this kind of manipulation corrodes loyal relationships of any kind.

It leads to their speedy end, as we can see in the lives of millions of lonely people today.

When you practice detachment continuously – at home, at work, among friends, and especially with difficult people – you will find how much security it brings you in your relationships.

A spiritually detached person, which to me means a very loving person, will never allow relationships to degenerate to stimulus and response.

The test is simple: Even if you are angry with me, can I stay calm and loving with you and help you overcome your anger?

If you persist in disliking me, can I continue to like you?

For it is when you dislike me that I have all the more reason to be loyal to you, to show you what loyalty really means.

This problem of disliking people, which is a very
common one today, is essentially a problem of
disliking the images we have formed of them.

It is a reflection on us rather than on those we do not like.

For in almost all human relationships, we see others not as they really are but as we are.

To a suspicious person, everybody seems suspect; to a resentful person, every action is worthy of resentment.

Similarly, to a loving person, everybody is worthy of love; every occasion is an opportunity to practice love.

It is not that situations never get difficult when
you are detached, or that people are never
unpleasant.

But the choice of response is in your hands.

All of us can develop the detachment not to
react to the way we are treated.

This is the easiest, most effective way to solve problems in human relationships.

I once read a good aphorism from Buckminster
Fuller. “We are not nouns,” he says pointedly; “we are verbs.”

People who are content with rigid images of
others are thinking of themselves and others as
nouns, as things.

Those who keep trying to get closer to others, to understand and appreciate them more all the time, are verbs: active, creative, dynamic, able
to change themselves and to make changes in the world they live in.

Here is the practical difference: When we don’t
like somebody, we say, “He upsets me. I’m not going to go near him.”

That relationship is static; it has no chance of improving.

On the other hand, when we can go against our dislikes, we can actually enjoy the opportunity such a person presents us.

Just imagine the freedom!

We enjoy being with people who like us,
of course, but we can also enjoy being with people who don’t like us.

Sometimes I think Gandhi used to look forward to this kind of opportunity, because he knew it would draw up from within him the deeper
creative resources he needed for his work.

Without this kind of freedom, “love” is more an
inclination that comes and goes like the wind.

When your girlfriend is catering to you, doing all the things you like, you say you love her.

But when she turns around and does something that irritates you, you blurt out, “Get lost!”

Doesn’t this happen all too often?

To love truly, you must be able to love when
things are going your way and equally well when things are not going your way.

This is the test of detachment.

After all, when your partner is being especially nice to you, it’s easy to be pleasant in return.

It is when she goes out of her way to offend
you that you should not walk out.

That is just the time to sit by her side and for every unkind word she utters, as Jesus says, give her seven words that are kind.

For every shove she gives you, try to move that
much closer.

To do this at home in the morning, at work
throughout the day, and then in the evening among family and friends, you have to have a good measure of detachment from yourself.

These are challenges that can appeal to us deeply: the “acts of will” that Saint Teresa of Avila says the Lord wants of us.

They are difficult, but they can be practiced, and to great effect.

To grow to our full potential in love, we need
to try every day to develop a little more detachment from ourselves.

Those who get angry and walk out, who get resentful and won’t sit at the same table with
others, are refusing to try to grow.

Their problem can be solved very simply, to the benefit of everyone around them: they need to practice detachment every day in every situation, in every relationship.

This reminds me of a beautiful incident from the life of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, a young woman of our own century of whom I am very fond.

In her convent was a certain nun who had a knack for alienating others.

She seemed always to be waiting for someone to upset.

Naturally her sisters tended to avoid her – even Thérèse, the Little Flower, as she is sweetly called.

No one meant to be unkind; it was just that avoiding the unpleasant is so natural.

Then, with a shock, Thérèse realized what she
had been doing.

With her, as with Saint Francis – here is the mark of a saint! – to understand was to
act.

Immediately she began to make a point of giving her irritating sister a smile, answering her with kind words, doing little things to help her: although inside, she confesses, she used to wince with the effort.

One day, in a moment of marvelous simplicity,
that nun stopped Thérèse and surprised her with a question. “Sister, whenever we meet, you always give me such a sweet smile. Will you please tell me what attracts you so much to me?”

“Ah!” Thérèse confides to us. “How could I tell
her that what attracts me is Jesus, hidden in the
depths of her soul – Jesus who makes sweet that
which is most bitter!”

Jesus had taught her, “Bless them that curse you.

Do good to them that hate you.” That is love at its greatest.

In order to love like this, we cannot be attached to ourselves.

It is because we think so much about ourselves that we strike back, show resentment, speak harshly, move away.

Jesus’ words do not mean agreeing with
everything people say or supporting whatever they do.

In my role as a teacher wayback in time, I sometimes had to oppose people I love. Yet I did it tenderly, and I haven’t lost a single student friend from that part of my past.

On the contrary, my not so good friends now say, “Here is somebody who will stand by me
through thick and thin. If I make a mistake, he’ll support me, but he’ll do his best not to let me make that mistake again. If I’m going astray, he’ll bar my way with loving arms.”

As Shakespeare says, “Love bears it out even to
the edge of doom.” This is the secret of loving.

Let me repeat, for a long, long time everybody finds it difficult.

Everybody finds it distressing.

But when you go to bed after a day of practicing this kind of love, you know that you have grown.

You can stand against the wall and see that you have grown a full inch in spiritual stature.

Inch by inch, day by day, you can grow until your head is crowned with the stars.

That is our human destiny – the destiny for which all of us have been born.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Detachment eases the baggage that our life experiences use to hold us back from greatness

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Detachment is the art of withdrawing desire from lesser things, letting them fall away, so
as to harness their power to reach the heights of what a human being can attain.

I’m surprised that there is one great lesson about life that can be learned from Rocket Science…

When scientists began contemplating the conquest of space, the first problem they encountered – a problem that had to be solved before they could make any headway at all – was how to get beyond the pull of the earth’s gravity.

A rocket has to build up a speed of twenty-five thousand miles per hour to escape this pull, and engineers quickly ran into a kind of “catch-22”: to attain this speed, an ordinary rocket
would have to be so large that its sheer weight would never allow it to escape the pull of gravity.

Yet the human spirit delights in overcoming
obstacles.

Undaunted, scientists finally came up with
the idea of a multi-stage rocket, with one or more independent boosters attached.

Each booster holds fuel, which it burns in one great leap upward.

As soon as its fuel is expended, its job is done and the booster is dropped, freeing the spacecraft from the burden of its great weight.

This is how our very own life should play-out;we shouldn’t drag the unnecessary baggage from our past life into the future.

This is the kind of journey that in our own life brings an overflowing, ever-present
sense of joy.

The Buddha, who almost never talked about himself, once admitted quietly, “I am the
happiest of mortals. There is no one happier than I am.”

This is the joy for which every one of us is born.

Not tuppenny-ha’penny pleasures, not tinsel delights or costume jewellery, but a jewel that is beyond price: the jewel hidden in the very depths of our hearts.

Detachment not only releases joy; it is also the
secret of health.

It is the best medical insurance in the world, and not only because it can keep us free from physical habits that sap our vitality.

Most illness has a serious emotional element.

While there is an important place for physical measures in the treatment of disease, a mind at peace and a heart flooded with love can release healing powers that strengthen and revitalize the physical system.

Strength can be regained even after years of
emotional instability.

In extreme cases, I believe recovery can be brought about even from what seems a terminal illness.

Today, of course, it is widely appreciated that
because of advances in medical knowledge, we can expect to live much longer than was reasonable at the beginning of the twentieth century.

But we can lead lives that are not only longer but richer, more loving, and more productive.

The next steps in stretching the limits of human health and longevity, I believe, will not be in biotechnology.

They will come from learning to govern the way we think and feel.

Detachment is a longevity skill.

Freedom from compulsive emotional entanglements is the best insurance against stress.

More than that, by opening a window onto a fuller, loftier view of life than that dictated by self-interest, detachment brings a sense
of purpose.

Without a reason for living, the human
being withers and dies inside.

However paradoxical it may sound, it is detachment that enables us to give ourselves wholeheartedly to worthwhile work without
ever getting depressed, despondent, or burned out – right into the last days of our lives.

Most people who work hard – which means most men and women – bring their work
home with them, yapping like a poodle at their heels.

At the dinner table, when they sit thinking about their deadlines and responsibilities, the poodle is nestled under the chair, whining away.

They curl up with it at night and dream about reports that haven’t been filed, statistics that don’t point to the right conclusions, mail that hasn’t been responded to or that has been sent out with the wrong memo attached.

Detachment gives us the capacity to
concentrate completely while on the job and to drop our work completely when we walk out the door.

A detached worker is a reliable worker, a
cheerful worker, a harmonious worker.

And when you can drop your work completely at the end of the day, you arrive home ready to give all your love to your family and friends.

You feel fresh, relaxed.

You have no need to give vent to the kind of frustration that millions of good people air: “Leave me alone. I’ve had a misera-ble day!”

Mahatma Gandhi worked fifteen hours a day for fifty years for all of us who want a politically free world.

When he was asked,“Don’t you want a vacation, Mr. Gandhi?” he said quietly, “I’m always on vacation.”

It wasn’t a flippant reply; he meant every word of it. So don’t content yourself with two weeks in July or two weeks at a sunbath resort in January.

You deserve three hundred and sixty-five days of vacation, and that is exactly what detachment can give you.

Detachment brings this kind of protection at
every stage of life.

Many of the physical problems associated with old age, for example, are not at all a
necessary part of aging.

The fact that they are common does not mean they are inevitable.

Not only senility but even certain physical problems may well have more to do with life-style and thought-style than with changes triggered by some biological clock.

As researchers have observed, we have focused
so much on “ordinary aging” – what happens to the majority – that we have ignored “successful aging,” which we can observe in men and women like Mahatma Gan