Karma settles it all…

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Looking back, I have fed mouths that went on to slander my character.

I have wiped tears from faces of people who later caused mine.

I have picked people up from their lowest moments who have later tried to knock me down.

I have consoled people who later caused my grief.

I have shown love to people who later wished me death.

I have been generous to people who later stole from me.

Well, was I wrong to do all these?

It takes a fool to fail twice, thrice, and still be willing to start all over again…. And that fool is me!

But guess what?

Karma is honest..

All those ingratiates have had karma bite their backside for me.

Karma settles it all!

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What drives you? Define the language of love…

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On your birthday they sent you a meme. And not even a funny one. It was over when you last met at the lobby of the bank and their laughter was dry and dishonest and they were ready to bolt, sitting there at the edge of their seat like they had mumps on their ass. You just knew the two of you were drowning in this phoney geniality when they asked you, “Did you change your spectacles?” You hadn’t changed your specs in four years.
Truth is, you didn’t know them anymore. They knew you even less. You could have shaved and gotten a tattoo of a vulture on your bald scalp and they wouldn’t have noticed because you were looking at each other in past tense. Everything had changed. Time had chipped away at the two of you turning you into an amateurish sculpture of unrequited love.
It was over when you went for weeks without really speaking, because they were busy and you were busy and you all let that relationship sink further in that murk of indifference. The last time you saw them you were at the bar and you had stepped outside to smoke. It had rained; one of those moonless nights so dark that even the breeze seems to be coloured black. Standing there under the awning, cigarette burning between your fingers, you lazily watched a girl in a dress that looked like a parachute that had deployed prematurely painfully clomp up the staircase in her impossible wooden wedges. As she got closer, you realised that the person she was hanging onto for support was them. You don’t recall the awkward conversation that ensued but you remember that their teeth looked whiter than usual. “Maybe you should stop smoking, we don’t want to lose you,” they said lightly. Well, they had a smoke of their own and they were blowing it up your ass.
And so when it was finally over it ended without any spark; like a dead battery. And it was both a relief and a surprise; at how you simply accepted it without investigating its consequence. It had run its course – a year and two months, but who was counting? The night you were deleting their old messages from your phone you went through the text messages they had sent and they were all “Will call you right back.” That made you chuckle. It was a clean break. There were no long speeches of “I wish you well, I hope you find happiness and we will always be friends.” None of that claptrap. You were not going to be friends. You were never really friends. You had fun moments, yes, but you wouldn’t say that you were besotted. Maybe they would block you on Whatsapp and Instagram, maybe they wouldn’t. You didn’t care. You never heard from them again. They went back to their lives. You went back to yours. One day you saw them in traffic, they were eating something from a serviette, it could have been bitterness. But it wasn’t carbs.
Then you never saw them again.
Your life continued. You chased business. You discovered an ingenious way to read the FT for free. You joined a new gym. You handed your office landlord notice because for how long were you going to complain about the office toilet? You bought a new suit. You bought your father a new suit. Against your better judgement you went for a stag party in Kitisuru where a large stripper gave you a lap dance and your lap hurt for days. Your mother lost two of her cows to a disease that sounded a hell lot like something that Nairobi motorists have. You took a roadtrip to Nanyuki with a girl with a silver ring on her navel and who had never seen Mt. Kenya and you would wake up to find her seated in the cold of the balcony, staring hard at the mountain. You lost a client. Then got another one. You re-read Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol. You rode in a Chrysler driven by a former special forces operative at midnight. You discovered a new word: disjune.
Months passed.
Then you met someone else. They were introduced to you as someone “you would click with. They like Zumba like you.” You don’t like Zumba, you like Rhumba. Well. Not another dancer, you thought to yourself, you were not about to allow anyone to dance on your lap again. You called them up on the phone and they sounded warm and charming. They sounded like those people who cut their apple into four equal pieces. You then met them – of all the places – in a meeting room because sometimes these things are a business transaction; you deal with the currency of hearts and expectations after all. To mean it wasn’t a real date. A meet and greet.
How that happened was that they were doing some banking at Yaya and you happened to have been getting a haircut up Ring Road. They were dressed the way bankers dress; like they are going for a business luncheon after. She commented on your aftershave. You explained that you had just had a haircut. She looked at your head and mumbled politely, “Oh, nice.” They seemed nice. But they all seem nice the first time, don’t they? They offered you coffee from the complimentary confectionery because they are with Priority banking and guys there get pampered because they are the geese that lay the golden eggs. You would very much have liked a cookie with your coffee but you didn’t want to look like a foodie.
They sipped their water and smiled a lot and you made small talk. The meeting room was small and functional, a place that doesn’t invite lingering. A place for busy geese. Their subtle perfume filled the room. They asked you about yourself and instead you told them what you do. You asked them if they love what they do. You asked them about their last name and what it meant. You wanted to ask for more sugar in your coffee but you didn’t want to come across as needy, so you suffered through that cup. Later when you played over the meeting as you drove back to your office you concluded that indeed it had gone well, even though you almost ruined it in the end when you asked them if they cut their apple into four equal parts.
At some point the two of you got into a relationship.
It’s always difficult to know when a relationship starts. One day you wake up and you just realise you are in one. Some start with a sloppy kiss in the parking outside a bar. Some start by the other party saying something as abstract like, “I hope you are not shagging someone else.” Some start when you are invited to accompany them to their daughter’s school play and they turn and enthuse, “Isn’t she talented!” and you have to lie that she is even though that little girl – cute as a button as she is – can’t sing for shit. Sometimes they just make you an egg and boom, you are dating. Sometimes you could be buying batteries for your electric toothbrush on your way to meet them and they say, “Do you mind awfully picking sanitary pads for me, I just realised I’m out.” For others it takes them getting in the bathroom and sitting there taking a leak as you are having a shower. The point is, if you aren’t careful you will always find yourself in a relationship. And nobody is to blame.
When you think about it, relationships are very like the relationships you have with your bank relationship manager. There are always expectations and some are met while others are not. Money and finances are also always things that can make or break. These relationships, not nurtured, breed disappointment and then people simply drift apart and break up and move on to other relationships. The only difference is that they are mature; nobody blocks or unfriends anybody or goes to the next relationship and talks badly about what a nightmare their previous relationship was.
I have a theory (based on my last experience with my relationship manager) that as long as you have defined what your languages of love are, there will always be less problems.
For the sake of the cool people seated there at the back, going through their Instagram feed, there are five languages of love. One of them is words of affirmation. This is the language for people who want to be told nice things. Oh, such big handsome hands, Christine! Oh, look at how you stir your coffee, such flair and great coordination. Oh, you are so intelligent, run me through the pythagoras theorem again. Etc etc.
Then there is the language of quality time. These are the people who invented date night. They want to spend an intense amount of blocked time with you without you replying an email or taking a call or blowing your nose. You can’t even go to the loo. You know how in Luke 14:5 they ask if it’s okay to pull out your ox that has fallen in a well on the sabbath? Well, the people whose language of love is quality time would not allow that. That ox would die in that well. How dare it fall during their quality time?
The third language of love is receiving gifts. These are people who equate gifts to love. Doesn’t matter that Jesus gave them a gift by dying on the cross for their sins. They still and will always want something wrapped. Or it will be a wrap.
The fourth language of love is acts of service. If this is your language then you are better off learning Luganda. Then getting a Baganda woman. They kneel before you. They serve you as King. Or they used to. There are girls who don’t want much from you; the very act of removing their nail polish is enough for them. They wouldn’t ask for more.
The last language of love is physical touch. Did you know that there are men who love to have their backs rubbed? You want to get him to take you on a holiday? Rub his back. He’s mad at something you did? Rub his back. You want to get him in the mood; rub his back. He’s like a genie in a bottle. He probably purrs while you rub his back.
The language of love that works for two people in this bank relationship manager – client relationship are “acts of service” and “gifting.” But in hard Kenyan cash. You make them money and they serve you. The world of relationship managers would be a much better place with this understood.
My relationship with my ex-relationship manager with Stanchart’s Priority Banking wasn’t working, so we broke up. It wasn’t a nasty breakup. No bad SMSes were traded. Nobody made any disparaging remarks about anybody’s loving skills. We just became strangers and we went our separate ways. Sometimes I think about him. I hope he’s doing well wherever he is. I hope he’s happy. I hope he finally found his banking chakra. I hope he found someone who understands his language of love. I take part of the responsibility for that relationship’s failure; I never read his language of love properly. I think his language of love was quality time and physical touch and given that we weren’t meeting and I certainly as hell wasn’t rubbing his back we drifted apart.
Then Stanchart gave me a new relationship manager called Jasmit Kaur. She’s a star. I don’t even know what I was doing with the other guy. I don’t remember who I was when I was with the other guy. Well, it’s early days with Jasmit but we are happy. Her language of love is gifting in hard cash…rather cash to the bank. Mine is words of affirmation and acts of service. So our conversations go something like this:
Hi Jackson, are you keeping well? I read your article in Msafiri, it was so funny.
Oh thank you! Some people didn’t get it! Bless your funny bones. Did you also read the one I did last month about the next African footballers to watch out for?
Oh, yes. That was also very nice. I enjoyed reading it. I enjoy reading everything you write.
Oh, stop now…Okay, don’t. But are you well, Jasmit?
I am well. By the way, how is the gym coming?
Oh it’s great. It’s just great.
Can you now bench-press 35kgs?
I can do 39kgs now.
You big strong boy, you. Congratulations!
On and on it goes. Words of affirmation!
For acts of service she just calls me to find out if I’m happy with the bank’s services and that I shouldn’t hesitate if I need anything. She also emails me the bank’s local investment services, market updates and things that I hardly ever read because of all the financial jargon. If I need to change currency she is always a phone-call away. For Christmas she sent me an e-card. Whenever she calls she asks me, “How are the children?” Isn’t it nice when people ask you about your children? It makes you feel so grown up and responsible. And on my part, I fulfill her language of love by just working hard and being a good client.
And it works perfectly.
I hope we don’t break up. The worst that can happen is if some bank takes her away and then I will have to be handed another relationship manager whose language of love could be words of affirmation. Then we will have a problem because come on, what will I tell them? “Hey Linda. How’s things? By the way, you mentioned that you have a greenhouse on the side, I see you as the kind of person who is loved by plants. Did you know there are people like that? People who just touch tomatoes and those tomatoes grow into big, healthy, happy tomatoes that bring joy to the world? Just a touch, Linda, like those guys who carry a crying child and they hush immediately only this is the Midas touch of agriculture. Pumpkins love you. Coriander die for you. Let’s not even talk about oranges, they go bananas! Cucumbers…my God, cucumbers hear you are coming and they blush. You seem like that person, the pied piper of vegetables. So Linda, any news on that loan?”
That relationship won’t last. I can tell you

What do you live for?

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”Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
-Mahatma Gandhi

“It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.”
– Roy Disney

If I was to ask you what are your values, would you know what they are? And more importantly, would you know how to utilise them?

When it comes to Happiness, understanding your values is a fundamental building block. Your values influence your behaviours, your choices and your emotions. Your values influence your habits, your lifestyle and your social experiences. Your values are your motivators and give you purpose for getting up in the morning. When asked the above question, most responses I hear are pretty vague, people have to think them through or people just say things that they think are their values or that they want their values to be as they are seen as desirable traits to have. But are the values that you want to have really your values

This is a part series as it’s such a broad topic and I want to ensure it captures all the essential elements. Part one will focus on the explanation of values and the benefits of understanding your personal values. Part two will focus on how to elicit your values and utilize them for goal-setting and decision making.

Values explained
So what are values? Values are such a broad topic and can’t really be summed up in a single sentence, but put simply, your values represent what is important to you. As mentioned above, they are the driving force behind why you get up in the morning, the choices you make and why you behave the way you do. Examples of values are success, honesty, belonging and health. Some people suggest that other activities such as reading, swimming or socialising are values, however these would be symptoms of your values. For example, if you feel reading is a value, it is probably more accurate to assume that your actual value is learning, or relaxing or something of a similar nature. Think about the actual reason as to what it that led you to read? Similar to swimming, is this truly your value or is it that you value health, wellbeing or success? Perhaps you socialise while swimming and your true value is friendship. These are the reasons that made you choose to go swimming. Understanding exactly what it is that you value is the perfect starting point for understanding your self and understanding your motivators.

Benefits of understanding your values
If you want to gain tremendous clarity around your life, your decisions, what matters most to you and ultimately live a happy and successful life, then understanding your values is fundamental. Ultimately, through understanding your values you will be able to prioritise effectively, make consistent decisions and take action in a way that leads you to success and happiness in the areas you pursue.

Why does this matter? For three primary reasons:

1) Time is the most limited resource
2) Our decisions are often inconsistent with our goals
3) You want to achieve awesome Happiness

Firstly, time is a limited resource. The fact that you’re reading this suggests to me that you are wanting to maximize your life, an outcome of maximizing your time. Understanding your values and prioritizing helps you achieve this. Secondly, the decisions you make are far more consistent when you understand your values. When you know what is most important to you, you can prioritise and make consistent decisions to progress you towards your goals. Thirdly, you are on a journey of Starting the Happiness in your own life and in the lives of others. If you want to achieve success and happiness, understanding your values is a sure-fire way of gaining tremendous focus and clarity of your goals, and through clear prioritization and consistent decisions, you will get there, faster.

When you are not in harmony with your values

There is something I left out of the benefits above, simply because I feel it deserves a section all to itself.

Happiness is and ought to be our ultimate end.

When you make choices that are in line with your values, you experience harmony, a feeling that leads to satisfaction and happiness. Re-read that quote above by Mahatma Gandhi, the preeminent leader of India who inspired movements for non-violence, civil rights and freedom across the world. This quote sums up how the heart, mind, body and soul work in unison. The heart is what represents your values, the things that are most important to you. When other parts of our being are not aligned to our values (eg we make a different choice or we take a different path) we experience dis-harmony which can lead to feelings of frustration, confusion, guilt, emptiness or unhappiness.

Lets look at an example. Some readers may value their health. If this is a strong value for you then how do you feel after going to a birthday afternoon tea and instead of opting for the healthier options, you realise that you have stuffed yourself with sweet slices, fluffy cupcakes, sugar-coated lollies and soft-drinks. I’m pretty sure you would be feeling a strong sense of guilt, perhaps angry with yourself about your choice. You immediately get a sense that something is ‘wrong’. You’re experiencing dis-harmony. This feeling would differ depending on how strong you value your health.

Taking another example. Let’s say you value fairness. How would you feel if you had one gift to giveaway between two people who needed it most. It would be an extremely tough choice for you because no matter your decision, one person will miss out. You will experience feelings of uneasiness as this goes against your values.

When you experience dis-harmony between your values and your behaviours, subconciously you will automatically take action to correct the situation and rectify your feelings. The person who ate themselves silly at the birthday afternoon tea might make the decision to hit the gym and sweat even harder during their next session or set themselves up on a new diet. This will realign their decisions and actions with their values. The person who gave the gift to one person may go out of their way to do something for the other person to ensure harmony between their values and actions.

The more clarity you have of your values the more rapidly you can identify why you are experiencing dis-harmony and realign yourself to feelings of happiness. Ultimately, understanding your values helps you make choices to experience congruency, success and happiness.

Do you ever get the feeling of dis-harmony? Do you recognise this feeling when it occurs? What do you do that ensures you actions and behaviours are in line with your values? Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Now that you understand what are values and why they are important, do you actually know what your values are? In part two you will have the opportunity to elicit your values and look into how to best utilize them for goal-setting and decision-making.

In first Part of Understanding Your Values we learned what values are, what benefits you can achieve from gaining clarity of them and also what you experience when you make choices that are not aligned with your values. Now you will go through the exercise of actually eliciting your values. You will gain clarity of what is most important to you in life, and then you will explore how you can take action to make the most from this.

Eliciting Your Values
Ok, so let’s do it! Its time for you to build your values hierarchy. To do this properly, I suggest allowing yourself enough time where you do not have to be anywhere in the next couple of hours and also being in a quiet space with no distractions so you can do some self-reflection. Read over this whole post first so you understand the process and then when you’re ready, find your space and take action. Some people find it hard to do self-reflection and spend time evaluating their lives, but if you’re here and reading this then I think you’re already one-step ahead of the game and you’re taking the right steps! I’ll try make it as simple as possible for you.

Round 1
1) Get some paper, a pen, put yourself in a comfy place away from distractions and get ready for step 2
2) In the middle of your sheet of paper, write ‘What is Important To Me In My Life?’ and circle it…. that’s right, we’re mind-mapping!
3) Answer that question!

Think deep. Think hard. Think of what makes you happy. Think of your life gone by and the experiences you have had. Think of what motivates you to get out of bed in the morning. Think of what inspires you. Write write write absolutely everything that comes to your mind. If you’re thinking of long sentences, try encapsulate them in a single word. For example, if you’re thinking that you want to have a successful career and make it to the top of your Organisation, simply put ‘success’, or ‘career’, or ‘successful career’.

Remember, these are your values, not what everyone else thinks are your values or suggests your values should be. Make sure what you’re writing down makes sense for you and that you truly feel some passion as you are writing them down. Once you start coming to a bit of a halt and you feel you have exhausted all the areas that you feel are important to you, read this comprehensive list of values and see if there are others that light a spark or jump out at you that you can add to your list.

Round 2
You will now have a comprehensive map of values that are true to you. Perhaps you wrote 10, perhaps you wrote 20, perhaps you wrote 100! Now is the harder part. You want to ensure that you elicit the values that are MOST important to you. Your goal is to now get your comprehensive list of values down to a concise list of YOUR TOP 10 VALUES.

Read over your map of values that you have created, one by one going through them. As you read each one, what do you feel or experience? If you’re not experiencing a sense of excitement or passion or you are unsure or a bit hesitant when reading over one, then it is probably lesser of a value to you. For those that you read over and you get a tingling feeling, a buzz, or it makes you feel positive in some way, then these would be your highest values. Ask yourself is this TRULY your value or is it simply a desirable trait? Think through when you have you displayed these values? Did it motivate you? Did it make you feel happy? Do you actually live this value? Write your list on the back of your mind map.

Elicit and decide on your Top 10 values of what is most important to you.

Round 3
Now that you have your concise list of values that resemble what is important in your life, how does this make you feel? When you look at them does it ‘feel right’? Does it inspire and motivate you? Does it resemble you and where you want to go?

We’re taking it one-step further. Now that you have your list of values that are most important to you, you are now going to rank them. You want to understand what it is that matters MOST to you. Once again, take the time and go through the exercise of reading over your list and sensing which ones are the ones that give you the buzz or spark and rank your values 1 through 10. If you are finding it tough to determine which value is more important to you, try create a scenario or situation between the two values. For example, if you are struggling to determine which value is more important between Learning and Fitness, ask yourself the question “on most occasions, what would I rather be doing, reading a book or going to the gym?”.

Complete!
Congratulations! You now have a concisely ranked list of the things that matter most in your life. How does it make you feel when you read over this list? Does it feel right and give you a sense of who you are?

“Show me your list of values and I can tell you who you are. – Brendan Baker“

I don’t know if that above sentence has been quoted before or not, but if not, I’ll coin it! As we have explored in Understanding Your Values – Part 1, your values define who are. Let’s have a look at the below list of values from someone.

Wealth
Career
Learning
Determination
Fitness
Honesty
Individuality
Fun
Friendships
Family

Just from this list you can get a picture for what this kind of person may be like. Their strongest motivators are to have a successful career and enhance their wealth which is where they would spend the majority of their time and energy. When it comes to going to the gym or going out and socialising, this person still values these, however if presented with an opportunity of creating wealth or going out with friends, they may choose the former. This of course isn’t to say that on every single occasion they would choose this, as this is still within the Top 10 most important areas of life for this person, however if they were to ignore their top values on more occasions than not, they would experience dis-harmony which we explored in Part 1.

Lets now take another example. What if we simply flip that list of values on its head? We would end up with the following order of values.

Family
Friendships
Fun
Individuality
Honesty
Fitness
Determination
Learning
Career
Wealth

What does this list of values tell you about this person? They still value the same things… however they value these things differently. This person would absolutely love spending time and having fun with family and friends with open and honest relationships. They still value having wealth and a successful career, however if their career would be at the detriment of relationships, what do you think they would do?

How well are you currently living your values? When you read through them, do you feel you are satisfying what is most important to you? I suggest you to compare your values with your Wheel of Life to see if the things that matter most are currently being satisfied. Understanding your values and combining this with your Wheel of Life gives you a good picture of what is most important to you and whether you feel as those these areas are being completely fulfilled.

Understanding Your Values and Taking Action
Now that you have your list of values, representing what is most important to you in life, let’s explore a little deeper into how you can utilise this.

1) Making decisions
As outlined in Part 1, understanding your values helps you to prioritise your time as well as make consistent decisions. Now that you know what is most important to you in your life, you will be more consciously aware of what it is that makes you happy and where you want to get to. As you are now more consciously aware, your decisions will be more consistent and in-line with your values. What does this mean? Ultimately, you will be able to make decisions on a more regular basis that lead you to being more happy and your consistent decisions will also help you achieve success in the areas that you pursue, and importantly, get you there faster.

2) Achieving Harmony
We explored in Part 1 the concept of harmony and what happens when your actions or behaviours are not in harmony with your values. Now that you are more consciously aware of what is important to you, you can make choices and take action in a way that is aligned to your values. You will understand more clearly now when you have feelings of guilt, frustration, anger, disappointment and what has brought these feelings on. More importantly, you will be more conscious to be able to bring yourself back into a state of harmony and behave in ways that are aligned to your values. Achieving harmony is essential for Happiness and reaching peak performance in life.

3) Planning Your Life
Now that you have a clear understanding of what is most important to you, you can start to explore ideas of where you want to be heading in life. Your values are your driving force for what gets you up in the morning. Everyday when you wake up, you want to be completely motivated and driven and return to your bed at night knowing that you gave the day 110%, don’t you?. Now that your values are clearly defined, start to think through where you are now and where you want to be and how consciously making decisions can get you there. This is something that I will take you through in another post.

Going through this exercise is often a wake-up call for many. One of the most common things I hear when people go through this exercise is that they realise that what they are currently doing is not aligned to their values. For example, a lady who I recently suggested go through this process came to realise that her strongest value was the term challenging. This enveloped many things for her, including her passion for learning, development and giving everything 100%. What she came to realise was that her day-job was so out of line with what was most important to her in life… she had been in her role for three years and with her company for five years and she was not being challenged at all. What did she do? She went in the direction of completely throwing herself in the deep-end, quitting her job and becoming an entrepreneur in her field of specialty. How has she gone? Absolutely fantastic! She thrives on the challenge of running her own business. This is what gets her up in the morning! She can now consciously make decisions that are aligned to the things that are most important to her.

Re-assessing Your Values
Every now and then its important we stop and reassess our values. Ask yourself whether they are still your values? This is an important part of the process to ensure we are continually living with passion and making the decisions needed to get us to where we want to go. Sometimes a life event forces us to reevaluate our values, such as the birth of a son or daughter, or a death in the family or a close friend, or an unexpected event. When these things happen your values may change. Perhaps that successful career that you were enjoying becomes less important once you have a child as you value time with your family as a higher priority. Or perhaps you value friendships more after a close friend passes away. Keep your values close by so you can continually keep front of mind what is important to you. Remember, show me your list of values and I can show you who you are. You are your values.

This list of values is to complement my guide on finding your core values. Your core values are the fundamental building block behind who you are as a person. I suggest only using this list of values once you have exhausted all of your own thoughts to see whether any of the values in this list light a spark or prompt you for further insights into whats important to you.

This is a long list of values but it is certainly not exhaustive. So perhaps there are additional values that you have already thought of or that you are prompted to think of which I encourage you to use!

Abundance
Acceptance
Accessibility
Accomplishment
Accountability
Accuracy
Achievement
Acknowledgement
Activeness
Adaptability
Adoration
Adroitness
Advancement
Adventure
Affection
Affluence
Aggressiveness
Agility
Alertness
Altruism
Amazement
Ambition
Amusement
Anticipation
Appreciation
Approachability
Approval
Art
Articulate
Artistry
Assertiveness
Assurance
Attentiveness
Attractiveness
Audacity
Availability
Awareness
Awe
Balance
Beauty
Being the best
Belonging
Benevolence
Bliss
Boldness
Bravery
Brilliance
Buoyancy
Calmness
Camaraderie
Candor
Capability
Care
Carefulness
Celebrity
Certainty
Challenge
Change
Charity
Charm
Chastity
Cheerfulness
Clarity
Cleanliness
Clear-mindedness
Cleverness
Closeness
Comfort
Commitment
Community
Compassion
Competence
Competition
Completion
Composure
Concentration
Confidence
Conformity
Congruency
Connection
Consciousness
Conservation
Consistency
Contentment
Continuity
Contribution
Control
Conviction
Conviviality
Coolness
Cooperation
Cordiality
Correctness
Country
Courage
Courtesy
Craftiness
Creativity
Credibility
Cunning
Curiosity
Daring
Decisiveness
Decorum
Deference
Delight
Dependability
Depth
Desire
Determination
Devotion
Devoutness
Dexterity
Dignity
Diligence
Direction
Directness
Discipline
Discovery
Discretion
Diversity
Dominance
Dreaming
Drive
Duty
Dynamism
Eagerness
Ease
Economy
Ecstasy
Education
Effectiveness
Efficiency
Elation
Elegance
Empathy
Encouragement
Endurance
Energy
Enjoyment
Entertainment
Enthusiasm
Environmentalism
Ethics
Euphoria
Excellence
Excitement
Exhilaration
Expectancy
Expediency
Experience
Expertise
Exploration
Expressiveness
Extravagance
Extroversion
Exuberance
Fairness
Faith
Fame
Family
Fascination
Fashion
Fearlessness
Ferocity
Fidelity
Fierceness
Financial independence
Firmness
Fitness
Flexibility
Flow
Fluency
Focus
Fortitude
Frankness
Freedom
Friendliness
Friendship
Frugality
Fun
Gallantry
Generosity
Gentility
Giving
Grace
Gratitude
Gregariousness
Growth
Guidance
Happiness
Harmony
Health
Heart
Helpfulness
Heroism
Holiness
Honesty
Honor
Hopefulness
Hospitality
Humility
Humor
Hygiene
Imagination
Impact
Impartiality
Independence
Individuality
Industry
Influence
Ingenuity
Inquisitiveness
Insightfulness
Inspiration
Integrity
Intellect
Intelligence
Intensity
Intimacy
Intrepidness
Introspection
Introversion
Intuition
Intuitiveness
Inventiveness
Investing
Involvement
Joy
Judiciousness
Justice
Keenness
Kindness
Knowledge
Leadership
Learning
Liberation
Liberty
Lightness
Liveliness
Logic
Longevity
Love
Loyalty
Majesty
Making a difference
Marriage
Mastery
Maturity
Meaning
Meekness
Mellowness
Meticulousness
Mindfulness
Modesty
Motivation
Mysteriousness
Nature
Neatness
Nerve
Noncomformity
Obedience
Open-mindedness
Openness
Optimism
Order
Organization
Originality
Outdoors
Outlandishness
Outrageousness
Partnership
Patience
Passion
Peace
Perceptiveness
Perfection
Perkiness
Perseverance
Persistence
Persuasiveness
Philanthropy
Piety
Playfulness
Pleasantness
Pleasure
Poise
Polish
Popularity
Potency
Power
Practicality
Pragmatism
Precision
Preparedness
Presence
Pride
Privacy
Proactivity
Professionalism
Prosperity
Prudence
Punctuality
Purity
Rationality
Realism
Reason
Reasonableness
Recognition
Recreation
Refinement
Reflection
Relaxation
Reliability
Relief
Religiousness
Reputation
Resilience
Resolution
Resolve
Resourcefulness
Respect
Responsibility
Rest
Restraint
Reverence
Richness
Rigor
Sacredness
Sacrifice
Sagacity
Saintliness
Sanguinity
Satisfaction
Science
Security
Self-control
Selflessness
Self-reliance
Self-respect
Sensitivity
Sensuality
Serenity
Service
Sexiness
Sexuality
Sharing
Shrewdness
Significance
Silence
Silliness
Simplicity
Sincerity
Skillfulness
Solidarity
Solitude
Sophistication
Soundness
Speed
Spirit
Spirituality
Spontaneity
Spunk
Stability
Status
Stealth
Stillness
Strength
Structure
Success
Support
Supremacy
Surprise
Sympathy
Synergy
Teaching
Teamwork
Temperance
Thankfulness
Thoroughness
Thoughtfulness
Thrift
Tidiness
Timeliness
Traditionalism
Tranquility
Transcendence
Trust
Trustworthiness
Truth
Understanding
Unflappability
Uniqueness
Unity
Usefulness
Utility
Valor
Variety
Victory
Vigor
Virtue
Vision
Vitality
Vivacity
Volunteering
Warmheartedness
Warmth
Watchfulness
Wealth
Willfulness
Willingness
Winning
Wisdom
Wittiness
Wonder
Worthiness
Zeal

How do you utilise your values? Has understanding your values given you clearer direction in life? How has understanding your values made decision-making and prioritising easier? Would love to hear your thoughts!

It’s time to take back what’s mine

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misty sunrise
The Devil

In one moment, my entire life was ripped away from me. I ignored the warning signs until it was too late. Until I became the victim.

He took my life away from me; my freedom, my courage. I’ve lived my life in debilitating fear since that fateful day.

The Savior.

He was there the day it all went down, and he’s been by my side ever since. He’s been the only thing that’s kept me going.

He’s my best friend, but he wants more. I’m terrified to lose him. I’m terrified he’ll leave.

One tried to kill me.

One brought me back to life.

I’ll never be the same person again–the girl i loved died when the match of her infidelity was dropped. Too much has already been stolen from me.

It’s time to take back what’s mine.

I have been having sleepless nights on all the good things in my life

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rocking chair
I’ve loved sitting in the front yard all my life.
I now want a peek at the back
Where it’s rough and untended and hungry weed grows.
even good girls get sick of roses gifted everyday.

I want to go in the back yard now
And maybe down the alley,
To where the slum children play,
i want to join their game,
I want a good time today.

They do some wonderful things.kids.
They have some wonderful fun.
others sneer at my foolery, but I say it’s fine
How the kids have to go in at quarter to nine.
kids banter is interesting to listen to,
they tell me that Johnnie
Will grow up to be a bad man.
That George’ll be taken to Jail soon or late
On account of stealing my back gate.

But I say it’s fine.i will not hold it against him,
Honest, I do.
And I’d like to be a bad man, too,in their play
And wear the brave hat of my youth,
And strut down the streets with a black smut on my face,
lately, i have been having sleepless nights
contemplating the good days,
in a future that is as innocent,
as that of a child.

Stand firm in the truth of who you are and then experience the sweetness that arises

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, ,


“I’m a big believer in ease. Not Easy. But ease.”

These were words coming from Sophia Da Silva Hopson. She’s a yoga teacher who I’ve known the past couple of years through her very inspirational podcasts. When I heard her say this in her podcast I was curious. They were words that nudged me to learn more about ease and reminded me of another yoga teacher who would always end her class with the phrase “may you be at ease.”

I heard Sophia’s declaration while she was being interviewed on “Quit Happens,” a podcast series that introduces its listeners to people that have experienced significant “quits” in their life. These quits include jobs, bad relationships, habits and much more.

Sophia’s quit? Her wedding.

Choosing Ease Over Easy: Living Life in the Flow
Now before your mind gets too carried away, this is not the kind of drama seen on the “The Bachelor.” At the time of making the decision, she and her fiance, Jason, still adored one another. (Spoiler alert: they still do and are now married).

But three months from saying “I do,” the two of them were completely soured on the idea of a big wedding. The process of hiring vendors, sending invitations, creating seating charts, menus and the growing cost of it all was too much. Especially since they had set out on a path to create a day that was meaningful to them and not a glorified family reunion.

THE ABSENCE OF EASE IS SOMETHING THAT SHOULD BE SCRUTINIZED.

Planning a wedding or other major event is not meant to be easy. Most people will say anything worth achieving is going to be the result of hard work. It’s rarely a process that comes easy. But as I begin to learn more about ease vs. easy, I understand that the absence of ease is something that should be scrutinized for its worth.
What is the difference between “ease” and “easy?” I spoke with Sophia to dig further.

“I believe that easy denotes that there will be no challenges. Whereas ease, refers to the flow of being on an aligned path,” Sophia says. “Ease means there is a balance between the effortful and the effortlessness.”

From venue mishaps, trouble with securing certain vendors and unsettling feelings, Sophia experienced little ease during the two years she planned her wedding. As someone who has been educated in the fundamentals of yoga, she had the foresight to see this and was able to act on it.

“Yoga Sutra 2.46 teaches us the law of balance: steadiness and ease. It engenders that rhythm or balance is essential to life,” she says. “First, we need to stand firm. Then, the word, “sukha” or “sukham” refers to the ease part. The literal meaning is good space.”

Sophia says this sutra originally referred to achieving the pinnacle of the yogic path, samadhi, a state of intense concentration achieved through meditation.

“But today we can translate this off the mat and use it as a tool to live in the flow of life.”

The Hazards of Pushing Through
This has me thinking about the areas of my life that I have found difficult or situations that I have characterized as “hard.” Do I continue to push through on something because of the idea that “nothing comes easy?” Or should I consider a different alternative because there is a lack of flow, an absence of ease in these situations?

While “pushing through” is admirable, many times it’s rooted in our own egos. We won’t quit something simply to save face. But if adversity seems to show up around every corner, perhaps that is a sign to change course.

Living Life in the Flow“The human ego feeds off of suffering and chaos. It seeks the approval of others, it wants to be right, it wants to compete, it wants to win,” Sophia continues. “This is the ultimate paradox of the human condition.”

How can you bring more ease into your life? Sophia suggests (of course) getting onto a yoga mat for a down dog or two. But aside from that, spend quiet and alone time with yourself (i.e., meditation). This will bring you in touch with the process of ease.

Nourishing and awakening your soul can be the great antithesis to ego.

“It can be a searing truth, but it frees you in the most exhilarating way.”

As mentioned earlier, Sophia is married to Jason. So the end of her story would have been the same had she gone through with the big celebration. But the manner in which they ultimately came together as one is the sweet story. Something that would not have happened if they allowed their egos to take over.

“Stand firm in the truth of who you are and then experience the sweetness that arises.”

We can still live our great story

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Everyone I know wants to live a great story. Some want an adventurous life; filled with memorable experiences. Others want a life filled with love and meaningful connections. We want our lives to matter. We want to make an impact with our life. We want to live in a way that our grandkids will tell their grandkids about us.

And yet, if I’m being honest, I rarely consider the story of my life. Some days are totally consumed with work. Others are spent looking forward to a vacation or enjoying time with friends. Most days, I’m just trying to make it through the day.

If we all want to live a great story, why is it that the idea of that kind of life seems more like a fantasy? And more importantly, is there anything we can do to change it?

To Live a Great Story, See Your Life as One
In order to live a great story, we must recognize the story of our life. We must see life as a story rather than a series of random incidents. All of us are on a journey through life. We all face certain challenges and trials. When we recognize our lives as a story, we can start to lean into it more intentionally and embrace every trial through a different lens.

In order to live a great story, we could learn a few things from our favorite stories. Here are a few ways seeing our lives as a story propels us towards living a better story:

We must always be willing to embrace the journey. In great movies or novels, the main character never knows how the story will end. And yet, he or she always moves into the unknown in order to reach the destination. In the same way, viewing our lives as a story pushes us to step into the chaos, embrace it and live the journey well.
live a great storyWe can’t live a great story alone. Every protagonist has a mentor to guide them or a friend to come alongside them at a particular point in time. Like Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars, the mentor always appears when the student is ready and willing to embrace the challenge. Like Samwise Gamgee in The Lord of the Rings, we all need friends who are willing to walk alongside us through the greatest challenges of life. Why would we think our stories would be any different?
We should recognize the difficult moments in life are where the story gets good. We are all on the edge of our seats when Indiana Jones is running for his life in Raiders of the Lost Ark, but do you really think the character was embracing the epic reality at that moment? No. He had no idea what was going to happen next. But what about the difficult moments in our life? What about the seasons when we face unknown situations? Many of us just want to move past it and move on. Recognizing challenges as the moment “our stories get good” helps us step into them with confidence and creativity.
While we might not find the cure for a modern disease or overcome insurmountable odds to accomplish an extraordinary feat, we all have the opportunity to live a great story in our own way. And it starts by learning to embrace everything that happens in our lives as part of it.

All things break

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Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world.

All things break. And all things can be mended.

Not with time, as they say, but with intention.

So go. Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally.

The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you.

~ L.R. Knost

All Things Break
Three words say it all: all things break. If our work and lives seem to be going along well, we forget about the brokenness happening around us. We become surbanized, locked into our neat home with a few friends. A 2010 survey found that about a third of us know none of our neighbors by name, and a third said they never interacted with their neighbors. Compared to a few decades ago, about a third spent time with their neighbors at least twice a week. We live in a broken world or, at least, fragmented.

In some ways, our workplace is becoming equally sterile. We are cubicalized, packed into a cloth-enclosed box and unaware of what is happening in other’s lives. While the cubicle or office walls may have disappeared, noise-canceling headphones have replaced them. Even in open spaces, we can feel alone.

We need our silence and time for self-reflection, but we also need our time to know our community. All things break and, right now, our communities are cracking. We need to re-connect. Some argue that the reason Trump is in office is because of the brokenness in various communities. We need to take this possibility to heart.

All Things Can Be Mended
We seem to live in a patchwork world in which the threads between the patches are frayed or torn. We need to begin to stitch them together again.

At this moment, we are in a season of renewal. Let’s begin. Intention and then action are vital threads to grab ahold of in our thoughts and movement.

Intention relates to attention; we need to notice. More than notice, we need to reach out and understand. Within our new understandings, we find a new spirited desire to change the present into a better future.

Action is doing. Intention without action is directionless inaction. We cannot afford stalemate and ignorance.

Love-Driven Leadership
Chris Lowney, author of Heroic Leadership, sums it up well:

“Love enables any company to welcome every sort of talent, irrespective of religion, race, social position or credentials. Love is the joy of seeing team members succeed.”

Love-driven leadership is knowing that people are generally good, and we need to provide the enlivened feeling that they can use their talents in ways to empower teams and organizations forward.

Lowney also describes how love-driven leadership is not an excuse to let individuals off-the-hook when they are not doing their part. Quite the opposite. Love-driven leadership requires us to have difficult conversations with the underperformers. When individuals are not using their talents and skills, they are failing themselves and our society.

We need to stir the best out of everyone, finding the right role and environment for them to make their work sing in the intended, beautiful way. Our actions need to engage a love-driven leadership way. After all, it is not soft. Love-driven leadership creates better intentions and subsequent actions of change, compassion, and outcome.

Await No Longer
Inspiration is dangerous. We become comfortable in the words and the thoughts but then return to our daily routines. The best inspiration restores our aspirations and converts to actions with a renewed awareness.

Just as inspiration alone can be dangerous so can callousness. We are living in a time in which some leaders use words to divide, disparage, and discourage. We need to understand motives, but then we need to counter with positive actions that produce a better direction.

An Activist Mindset
Await no longer translates into an activist mindset.

ACTIVISM IS KNOWING PEOPLE ARE BETTER WHEN THEY ARE LOVED AND CHALLENGED TO USE THEIR MINDS AND SPIRIT IN POSITIVELY ENGAGING WAYS.

Activist invokes thoughts of a past time of protests and free-living. We need to realize a new reality of activism. Activism is a method to understand the forgotten and then build relationships to craft a better future. Activism is determining what is not working, what control we have, and then developing solutions that matter where we are and where we can. Activism is having the conversation in a civil and inclusive way. Activism is knowing people are better when they are loved and challenged to use their minds and spirit in positively engaging ways.

When we let the words of L.R. Knost settle in, they inspire. More than inspire, they challenge us to convert the inspiration into action. We all need to realize the call-to-action of her words. We can begin by getting to know our neighbors and spending time with them each week. We can begin by knowing the talents and challenges of the people we work with, letting them know they are in a loving culture in which we expect them to use their gifts more often than before.

We need to find our inner activist and bring it to life with productive actions. Our world seems to be tearing at the seams, and we need to do more than sow inspiration. We need to renew by sewing the pieces together while developing better patterns to create better communities and workplaces.

“The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you.” Are you ready to act?

Happiness is always an inside job

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Walking down this old road
again
Talking to my demons when I
can’t find a friend
Thinking I need more to find my
way home
Frightened that I’m empty and just
growing old

It’s taken thousands of years,
trying to chase,
something that’s staring us,
in the face.
It’s not the things you have that
can set you free
The more you want, the more
you fear
That everything you covet has
no meaning here
Don’t you know that
Happiness is an inside job
It’s the lightness of being
From the center of love
Happiness is not ours to control
So take your hopes and your
sorrows
And let them all go, that’s
freedom
I’ve read the scriptures, went
searching for God
Tried to find love in the back of a
car
Looking for something I can
grasp on and hold
Watching the clock ticking, my
spirits grow low
And you say, what in this
moment don’t you understand?
All you need is right here in the
palm of your hand
But it isn’t easy,
leaving cares behind,
pretty soon…
pretty soon you’ll find.

You can have a house,
on top of the hill.
Bank accounts,
worth a couple of mil.
But when you lose your spot,
and your spirits dip,
hang onto,
this little tip.

Life is short, so don’t wait long
Or you’ll wind up imprisoned by
the same sad song.
Don’t you know that
Happiness is an inside job
It’s the lightness of being
From the center of love
Happiness is not ours to control
So take your joys and your
sorrows
And let them all go, that’s
freedom

Underneath this smile Lies
everything
All my hopes, anger, pride and
shame
Make myself a pact, not to shut
doors on the past
Just for today,… I am free
I will not lose my faith
It’s an inside job today
I know this one thing well,…
I used to try and kill love, it was
the highest sin
Breathing insecurity out and in
Searching hope, I’m shown the
way to run straight
Pursuing the greater way for all
human light
How I choose to feel is how I
am
How I choose to feel is how I
am
I will not lose my faith
It’s an inside job today
Holding on, the light of the
night
On my knees to rise and fix my
broken soul
Again.
Let me run into the rain
To be a human light again
Let me run into the rain
To shine a human light today
Oh, life comes from within your
heart and desire
Oh, life comes from within my
heart and desire
Oh, life comes from within your
heart and desire

Millions have lived without love,but none without water

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glass-of-water
I don’t believe in love
I never have, I never will
I always lie in the warmth of my own arms
I don’t believe in love
It’s never worth the pain that
you feel
No more nightmares, I’ve seen
them all
From the day I was born,
they’ve haunted my every move
Every open hand’s there to push
and shove
No time for love it doesn’t
matter
She made a difference
I guess she had a way
Of making every night seem
bright as day
Now I walk in shadows, never
see the light
She must have lied ’cause she
never said goodbye
I don’t believe in love
I never have, I never will
I don’t believe in love
I’ll just pretend she never was
real
I don’t believe in love I need to
forget her face, I see it still
I don’t believe in love
It’s never worth the pain that
you feel
No chance for contact
There’s no raison d’etre
My only hope is one day I’ll
forget
The pain of knowing what can
never be
With or without love it’s all the
same to me
I don’t believe in love
I never have, I never will
I don’t believe in love
I’ll just pretend she never was
real
I don’t believe in love
I need to forget her face, I see it
still
I don’t believe in love
It’s never worth the pain that
you feel;
Millions have lived without love,but none without water

Extinction in real time; when a married bachelor dies

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sudanr

Folks,sad as it sounds, we’ll witness,
in real-time, the death of a species
Sudan, the last male northern white rhino living at the Ol Pejeta Ranch in northern Kenya, got ill last week.
In spite of the very best efforts of in vitro
fertilisation attempts, it looks like our big guy is going to pass on without leaving any viable progeny behind, despite having two “wives.”
Folks, the world is down to three Northern White Rhinos. We are literally going to witness, in real- time, the death of a species. What a time to be alive, eh?
We all know about him because Sudan is a big old mammal and that is endearing compared to the assortment of weirdo creepy crawlies that inhabit the Amazon(Amazon here is not an online store!), or the ocean, most of which are nightmare material.
The sensational film of 2018, Black Panther, featured superb battle rhinos… not battle Kihansi Spray Toads. Or, what could have been a very interesting twist they might have included “Africanised” bee squads… imagine the commentary that would have generated.
And yet extinctions are happening at an alarming rate all over the world. We’re in the middle of a period of mass extinction so severe that biologists and ecologists the world over have sunk into a pessimism that is generally uncommon in scientists.
Unfortunately for us all, the opportunity to do anything about this loss of biodiversity is narrow. But it is a cost of development that we maybe don’t talk about nearly enough in our public dialogues on what the future looks like.
We are lucky, especially in East Africa, to have been able to keep so much of our wildlife. It istrue that the format is very particular — how “natural” are game reserves and national parks, all things considered.
Still, they have worked not only to shelter
animals and the landscape but we have also managed to exploit it rather nicely to generate massive amounts of revenue.
Yet there are in all our countries stories of
conflict between human needs and those of the protected landscape.
Usually they are framed in terms of how humans are encroaching on land they shouldn’t be to farm or to get firewood, make charcoal, hunt and poach.
All the human needs we carefully have to keep out of our tourist brochures to maintain the idea that pristine nature is nature that is devoid of people. And that development is big and hard and generally devoid of nature, a concrete
jungle.
Considering the projections for population
growth on the continent, there is no way that the so-called competition for resources with “nature” is not going to intensify immensely in the next few years.
Every so often someone speaks up and asks if national parks are a good idea and how can we “privilege” animals over human beings.
It is a fair question, if you look at nature as something we need to either exploit or compete against. I find it very hard, however, to imagine that it makes sense: How can we be independent of “nature” when we are simply part of the
biosphere?
The exploitation/competition mindset has led us to where we are — no more Northern White Rhinos. No more lots of creatures, and landscapes, et cetera. To give credit where credit is due, this is absolutely the fault of theoverconsuming “developed” world.
The ecological footprint of the United States alone extends so far beyond its borders that it is hard not to make obesity jokes about it. It makes
the very idea of building a useless wall to keep Mexicans out ironic on so many levels.
Surely we can learn from their mistakes. Surely we can aggressively adopt green technology and integrate nature in our development plans while thinking of a future that decidedly rejects the overly-urbanised western model of what
prosperity looks like.
Its not like we haven’t got a head start- we still have plenty of nature, room to expand, a sense of rural life, countries like Rwanda which are pioneering green techs, Nairobi which literally has a game park right inside it, et cetera. If anywhere in the world was designed to embrace
solar power, it is Africa. Realistically, just to be on the safe side, we should probably consider collecting as much
genetic material from what nature we still have left in case we do make the same mistakes the developed world did.
We might be able to recreate Northern White Rhinos and everything else that we extinguished pursuing this strange future we are trying to build.
Scientists are planning to use a southern white rhino as a surrogate in efforts to save the northern white rhino that is facing extinction.
Sudan, the only surviving male northern white rhino, was declared unable to sire offspring due to his old age.
Now, scientists will harvest ova from two northern white rhinos at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in northern Kenya, which will be fertilised in a laboratory in Italy and then implanted into a southern white rhino.
The two females, Fatu 28, and Najin 17, are thought to be too old to carry a pregnancy.
“Although the northern white rhino females showed signs of ovulation, no confirmed pregnancies occurred,” the conservancy said.
Last December, veterinarians, conservationists and wildlife managers from the Czech Republic, Kenya, the UK and South Africa met to discuss the groundbreaking procedure.
Only 3 northern white rhinos left in the world
Last chance for Sudan the white rhino
Under the supervision of the Kenya Wildlife Service, the ova pick-up is expected to be conducted on Najin and Fatu later this year. If successful, their eggs will be shipped to a laboratory in Italy.
The researchers hope to mature an embryo using northern white rhino sperm currently stored in Berlin. The embryo will then be implanted in the southern white rhino female at Ol Pejeta.
In 2016, scientists began retrieving and storing eggs from southern white rhino females in European zoos, and fertilising them in vitro. They then harvested eggs from Najin and Fatu.
“The surgery required to harvest these eggs carries essential dangers and will have to be conducted in the field. The fate of the northern white rhino subspecies depends on this operation going smoothly,” the conservancy said.
The conservancy’s chief executive officer Richard Vigne told The EastAfrican last week that a male southern white rhino christened Kingi, which had been placed together with five southern white females on the more than 700-acre ranch, was moved to “ensure that all surrogates will be ‘empty’ and ready for receiving the embryos”.
International attention
Sudan, 45, gained international attention in 2016 when a team of scientists were trying to harvest its sperm in order to preserve the species.
Since last December, Sudan has been under medical care from veterinarians from around the world, and had responded well to treatment, but caretakers are concerned about his frail health.
He has now developed an infection on his back right leg that won’t heal completely.
“Sudan has been suffering from bedsores as his mobility decreased, one of which had become infected. We are treating his wounds twice a day to avoid the risk of infection, and they are getting better. The sores are being made worse because he lies down too much,” Ol Pejeta spokeswoman Elodie Sampere said.
“Recently, a secondary and much deeper infection was discovered beneath the initial one. This has been treated, but, disturbingly, the infection is taking long to recover. We are very concerned about him especially given his advanced age,” said the conservancy.

My lifelong affair with animals and all the lessons learnt

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Long ago, when I was 9 or 10, I wrote a
school essay on what I wanted to be when I grew up. I’ll be a vet, and I’ll keep a pet rabbit, I announced confidently, before adding, “as long as the rabbit is happy.”

When I got back my exercise book, my teacher had commented, “But how can you tell if a rabbit is happy?” I boiled with indignation. Surely, I thought, rabbits would be happy if they had a soft
place to sleep, could play, go exploring, make a friend (that would be me).

It never occurred to me that I might not understand the things a rabbit wanted, or understand much of what a rabbit
might be. I thought animals were just like me.
I was an odd, solitary child with an early and all-consuming compulsion to seek out wild creatures. Perhaps this was unfinished business related to losing my mum at birth: a small boy
searching for his missing lifegiver, not knowing what he was looking for. I upended rocks for centipedes and ants, followed butterflies between
flowers, lay facedown in meadows breathing in the perfume of roots and decay, transfixed by the sight of tiny insects the size of punctuation marks making their laborious way up blades of
grass. I pored over field guides trying to learn the names of all these creatures — it seemed polite, like knowing the names of my classmates at school.

Viewed close up, the profusion of life in
a few square feet of vegetation astonished me,radically shifting my sense of scale and widening my world beyond the modest familiarities of classroom and home.

The creatures I met in the fields and woods around my house came to feel like a secret family, though I spent a lot of time chasing and catching them and not thinking much about how that made them feel. I was a child kneeling to
extract a grasshopper from the closed cage of one hand, solemn with the necessity of gentleness, frowning as I took in the details of its netted wings, heraldically marked thorax, abdomen as glossy and engineered as jewelry. I
wasn’t just finding out what animals looked like, but testing my capacity to navigate that perilous space between harm and care that was partly about understanding how much power over
things I might have and partly how much power I had over myself, knowing that I could so easily hurt them.

At home I kept insects and
amphibians in a growing collection of glass aquariums(glass jars) and vivariums arranged on bedroom shelves and windowsills. Later they were joined
by an orphaned crow, an injured squirrel, a honeybadger cub and a nest of baby bullfinches rendered homeless by a neighbor’s hedge-pruning.

Looking after this menagerie taught me
a lot about animal husbandry, but in retrospect my motives were selfish.

Rescuing animals made me feel good about myself; surrounded by
them, I felt less alone.

My guardians were wonderfully accepting of these eccentricities, putting up with seeds scattered on kitchen countertops and bird droppings in the hall with great good grace. But things weren’t so
easy at school. To use a term from
developmental psychology, social cognition wasn’t my forte. One morning I wandered off the court in the middle of a volleyball match to identify some nearby birdcalls and was bewildered by the
rage this induced in my team.

Things like this kept happening. I wasn’t good at teams. Or rules.
Or any of the in-jokes and complicated
allegiances of my peer group.

Unsurprisingly, I was bullied. To salve this growing, biting sense of difference from my peers, I began to use animals to make myself disappear. By concentrating hard enough on insects, or by holding my guardians binoculars up to my eyes to bring wild birds close, I found that I could make myself go away. This method of finding refuge from difficulty was an abiding feature of my childhood.

By the time I was in my 30s, I thought I’d grown out of this habit,but it had just translated into my carreer after graduating from college as a paravet. I had been a broken-wing falconer for many years, which was a surprising education in emotional intelligence. It taught me to think clearly about the consequences of my actions, to
understand the importance of positive
reinforcement and gentleness in negotiating trust.

To know exactly when the hawk had had
enough, when it would rather be alone. And most of all, to understand that the other party in a relationship might see a situation differently or disagree with me for its own good reasons.

These were lessons about respect, agency and other minds that, I am embarrassed to confess, I was rather late in applying to people. I learned
them first from birds. Animals don’t exist in order to teach us things,
but that is what they have always done.

But when I was 37, my guardian died, and all these lessons were suddenly forgotten. I wanted to be
something as fierce and inhuman as a hawk.
So I lived with one. Watching her soar and hunt over hillsides near my home, I identified so closely with the qualities I saw in her that I forgot my grief. But I also forgot how to be a person, and fell into a deep depression. A hawk
turned out to be a terrible model for living a human life. Once again, I had tried to escape emotional difficulty by filling my mind with a living creature. It was a failure, a mistake that revealed in retrospect the deepest lesson that
animals have taught me: how easily and
unconsciously we see other lives as mirrors of our own.

Animals don’t exist in order to teach us things, but that is what they have always done, and most of what they teach us is what we think we know about ourselves. The purpose of animals in medieval bestiaries, for example, was to give us
lessons in how to live. I don’t know anyone who now thinks of pelicans as models of Christian self-sacrifice, or the imagined couplings of vipers and lampreys as an allegorical exhortation
for husbands to put up with unpleasant wives.

But our minds still work like bestiaries. We thrill at the notion that we could be as wild as a hawk or a weasel, possessing the inner ferocity to go after the things we want; we laugh at animal videos that make us yearn to experience life as
joyfully as a bounding lamb. A photograph of the last passenger pigeon makes palpable the grief and fear of our own unimaginable extinction. We use animals as ideas to amplify and enlarge aspects of ourselves, turning them
into simple, safe harbors for things we feel and often cannot express.

None of us see animals clearly. They’re too full of the stories we’ve given them. Encountering them is an encounter with everything you’ve ever learned about them from previous sightings,from books, images, conversations. Even
rigorous scientific studies have asked questions of animals in ways that reflect our human concerns. In the late 1930s, for example, when the Dutch and Austrian ethologists Niko Tinbergen and Konrad Lorenz towed models resembling flying hawks above turkey chicks,
they were trying to prove that these birds hatched with a hard-wired image resembling an airborne bird of prey already in their minds that compelled them to freeze in terror. While later
research has suggested it is very likely that young turkeys actually learn what to fear from other turkeys, the earlier experiment is still valuable, not least for what it says about human fears. To me it seems shaped by the historical anxieties of a Europe threatened for the first time
by large-scale aerial warfare, when
pronouncements were made that “the bomber will always get through,” no matter how tight the national defense.
Simply knowing that fragment of history, and knowing that domesticated turkey chicks freeze when hawks fly overhead, make them more complicated creatures than farmyard poultry or oven-ready carcasses. For the more time spent
researching, watching and interacting with animals, the more the stories they’re made of change, turning into richer stories that can alter not only what you think of the animal but also who you are. It has broadened my notion of
home to think of what that concept might mean to nurse a falcon or a migratory barn swallow; altered my notion of family after I learned of the breeding systems of acorn woodpeckers, in which several males and females together raise a
nest of young. No one I know thinks that humans should spawn like wave-borne grunion or subsist entirely on flies. But the various lives of creatures have led me to feel there might not be only one right way to express care, to feel allegiance, a love for place, a way of moving through the world.

You cannot know what it is like to be a bat by screwing your eyes tight, imagining membranous wings, finding your way through darkness by
talking to it in tones that reply to you with the shape of the world. As the philosopher Thomas Nagel explained, the only way to know what it is like to be a bat is to be a bat. But the imagining?
The attempt? That is a good and important thing. It forces you to think about what you don’t know about the creature: what it eats, where it lives,
how it communicates with others. The effort generates questions not just about how being a bat is different but about how different the world might be for a bat. For what an animal needs or
values in a place is not always what we need, value or even notice. Elands have eaten the undergrowth where nightingales once nested in the forests near my home, and now those birds
have gone. What to my human eye is a place of natural beauty is, for a nightingale, something like a desert. Perhaps this is why I am impatient
with the argument that we should value natural places for their therapeutic benefits. It’s true that time walking in a forest can be beneficial to our mental health. But valuing a forest for that
purpose traduces what forests are. They are not there for us alone.

For some weeks, I’ve been worried about the health of family and friends. Today I’ve stared at a computer screen for hours. My eyes hurt. My heart does, too. Feeling the need for air, I sit on the step of my open back door and see a rook, a
sociable species of African crow, flying low toward my house through gray evening air.

Straightaway I use the trick I learned as a child, and all my difficult emotions lessen as I imagine how the press of cooling air might feel against its wings. But my deepest relief doesn’t come from
imagining I can feel what the crow feels, know what the crow knows — instead, it’s slow delight in recognizing that I cannot.

These days I take emotional solace from understanding that animals are not like me, that their lives are not about us at all. The house it’s flying over has
meaning for both of us. To me, it is home. To a crow? A way point on a journey, a collection of tiles and slopes, useful as a perch or a thing to drop walnuts on in autumn to make them shatter and let it winkle out the flesh inside.

Then there is something else. As it passes overhead, the crow tilts its head to regard me briefly before flying on. And with that glance I feel a prickling in my skin that runs down my spine, and my sense of place shifts. The crow
and I have shared no purpose. For one brief moment we noticed each other, is all. When I looked at the crow and the rook looked at me, I became a feature of its landscape as much as it became a feature of mine. Our separate lives, for
that moment, coincided, and all my anxiety vanished in that one fugitive moment, when a bird in the sky on its way somewhere else pulled me back into the world by sending a glance across the divide.

Elkanah; When someone says “thank you” when in sorrow,they mean it

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I met Elkanah when a close friend passed on.

But this story is about Elkanah.

So I will let my deceased friend rest in piece,and zero-in on Elkanah’s story.

Elkanah grew up in Nakuru where he
was born. In 1999, after high school
he hopped onto a bus and came to
Nairobi for the first time to look for a
job. He worked as a loader in a
warehouse at Kenya Cereals Board
and then worked in a family business
for a bit. Then he got a job as a lab
technician at Aga Khan.
“I didn’t look for this job,” he says. “I
wouldn’t have seen myself working in
a hospital. I hated biology in school,
hated the smell of Lysol, the cleaning
solution. When I started my job as an
assistant I was asked if I was okay to
sometimes help in the morgue with
pathology. I thought it was
interesting, odd, but interesting, I
said I would.” He laughs. “Growing up
I would never come near a body,
especially the body of a woman
because they wore white and the
image would remain in my head for
so long.” He’s eloquent, confident and
comfortable with English.
His typical day starts in the lab where
he prepares solutions and equipment
ready for the technicians. He says
he’s not a typical mortician because
they are not that busy. “We can go a
whole week here without losing a
patient.” Besides it’s expensive to
keep bodies there for long so most
people transfer them to other
morgues. He always makes checks in
the morgue to make sure the freezers
are working fine and for notifications
of any bodies that need picking from
the wards.
“Do you know what the bodies who
come here die of?” I ask.
“It’s not necessary that I know,” he
says. “They die of death.” My laughter
echoes in the room. “I don’t need to
know the cause of death unless it’s
something contagious.” He is
married. He met a girl a years back
and dated her. I ask him how that
went; when did he tell her that he
worked in a morgue?
“First date,” he says. “We had met for
coffee one evening and I mentioned
that I work in the department of
pathology, that we deal with testing
patients when they pass on. That I
take care of them. She was scared.”
He chuckles. “ She asked what does
that mean? I told her we work with
people who are dead, in a morgue.
Some of these things you say them at
the beginning, you don’t wait. So she
knew me from the beginning.”
“Were you scared that she would be
spooked and not see you again?”
“No,” he says. “ I would have been
scared if I saw what I do as less.”
He has five children, the first three
are from a previous relationship, the
two – seven and eight years old –
from his current. He says they know
daddy works in a hospital. They come
to work to see him and wait for him
in this waiting room. With over 15
years experience working in the
morgue he has seen hundreds of
bodies, dealt with more bereaved
families. He has seen how death
changes people and how they live
thereafter, with themselves and with
others.
“Does it become easy?” I ask. “Is
death something you have come to
embrace and has that reduced your
fear of dying?”
“No, it’s never easy.Every death is
unique, and that’s what is fascinating
about it, that no two cases are the
same. But you know something
funny?”
“No,” I say. I know I didn’t have to
answer but I like to answer rhetorical
questions. It’s my way of revolting
against norms.
“There is always hope in death,” he
says

¤¤¤¤¤

One of the greatest books ever
written after the Bible is The
Godfather, by Mario Puzo. If you are
the type who’s too busy to read a
book you will watch the movie that
starts with Amerigo Bonasera – a
mortician – asking Don Corleone, the
Godfather, for a favour on the day his
daughter is getting married because
an Italian will not refuse a favour on
the day his daughter is getting
married. Bonasera wants justice for
his daughter who was physically
molested by some “American boys.”
He went to court but the American
courts refused to give him justice, so
he’s there – hat in hand – to seek
Italian justice from The Don. But first
he has to offer friendship by kissing
the Godfather’s ring.
Don: “Bonasera, Bonasera, what have
I done to make you treat me so
disrespectfully? We’ve known each
other many years, but this is the first
time you ever came to me for help. I
can’t remember the last time you
invited me to your house for a cup of
coffee. Let’s be frank here, you never
wanted my friendship, you were
afraid to be in my debt. You found
paradise in America, you had a good
trade, you made a good living, the
police protected you and there were
courts of law. You didn’t need a
friend like me. But now you come to
me and you say, “Don Corleone, give
me justice.” But you don’t ask with
respect. You don’t offer friendship.
You don’t even call me Godfather.
Instead you come into my house the
day my daughter is to be married and
you ask me to do murder for money.
Bonasera: I ask for justice.
Don: That is not justice. Your
daughter is alive.
The Godfather tells him that he
doesn’t need payment for the justice
he will mete, but that one day he
might or might not call on Bonasera
for his help. Years later, Sonny, his
volatile and impulsive son is gunned
down under a hail of bullets by the
Barzini hitmen paid by the Tattaglia
Family and the Godfather calls on
Bonasera to fix the body of his son, “I
don’t want his mother to see him like
that.”

¤¤¤¤¤

Back to Elkanah’s story…..
It was after his tea break last year
when he was notified that he had to
go to the wards to pick a body. The
gentleman had just died under an
hour ago. He was a young guy, maybe
35, recently married, two children,
the breadwinner. So he goes up to
the ward and in the room he finds
the wife completely hysterical. “She
was crying next to the body of her
husband, screaming saying, ‘no, no,
no, you haven’t gone,’ so I stand in
the corner of the room and wait. It
was almost an emergency case
because she had high blood pressure
and the doctors were worried she
would harm herself. Anyway, she
collapsed and was carried out of the
room.” With the help of the nurse
they heaved the body on a stretcher
and wheeled it to the morgue.
“I constantly thought about her and
how sad that situation was, three
days later she comes to pick the body
with relatives and friends. The body
was in this room here and I stood
outside the room and could hear a lot
of wailing and crying and later she
collapsed again. It was very hard,
such a young woman, now a widow
at barely 32-years of age with
children. I didn’t think she would
make it but a few months later I ran
into her in the corridor and I said
hello and she looked strong and
healthy. I was amazed. Looking at
that woman I realised that there is
hope for everyone even when there
seems no sign of hope. Life continues
even in death.”
“Do people judge you, think of you as
odd, inhuman because you do what
you do?”
“People think we are crazy, that we
are alcoholics and that we are
haunted,” he laughs. “When you meet
me outside the hospital can you tell
what I do? Don’t I support the
football team you support? Don’t I
have children I worry about like you?
And isn’t my money good at any
shop? Look…” he retrieves a thousand
shillings from his wallet. “When I
spend this money, will you know it
came from the guy who works in a
morgue? Does my thousand shilling
note have a stain?”
There is some noise of something
being pulled outside in the corridor,
so I motion for him to stop talking for
a bit because of the recorder. Behind
us, above the line of small windows
above, staff laugh and josh even
when in the next room people lie in
freezers.

¤¤¤¤¤

Elkanah is on Linkedin, as a lab
assistant at AKHUN. There is a
recommendation that reads: Elkanah
is a very bright man, principles and
seasoned when it comes to trade
union matters. He’s also on Twitter.
Joined in November 2013. His profile
reads, “adventist man, workers
crusader and family man.” Yup. Us
SDA people are many in this city. He
has three followers and he follows
three people. Guess who are these
three he follows? You won’t. It’s
Uhuru Kenyatta, Peter Kenneth and
some guy called Sammy Ngaru “Mr
Walker,” who from his profile picture
is a medic at Aga Khan. With these
three followers I doubt Elkanah is
serious about reaching Canaan.
He has tweeted only once since he
joined twitter, most likely the very
same day he joined Twitter and was
wondering how this beast works. He
tweeted @Diokwach; He said,
Hi@Diokwach. Diokwach said
nothing. Diokwach is one of those
guys you tweet and tell hi and they
never say hi back. They are too cool
to say hi back. I bet Diokwach isn’t
SDA otherwise he would have said hi
back. Most SDA people would say hi
back if you hey-ed them on Twitter.
Or on the road. That’s just how we
were raised. Diokwach if you are
reading this be a sport and please say
hi back to @Elkanamwinami.

¤¤¤¤¤

“What’s the hardest part of your job?”
I ask when the sound dies down.
He sighs and slides further into his
chair. “Babies.” Puffs his cheeks.
“Dealing with a small baby is the
hardest thing for me. It doesn’t
matter how many times I have done
it, when I hear I have to collect a
baby I have to always just prepare
myself for it.” He rubs his stomach
absentmindedly. He has a small
paunch which he seems very proud
of.
“The babies between one and five
years are the hardest because of the
pain they cause to everyone, even
those who didn’t know them. It’s
painful to pick a baby from his
parents and put them in a freezer
and they have to go home without
their baby.” We sit there in brief
silence. “The difference with working
here as opposed to standalone
morgues like the private ones like
Montezuma and the likes is that
sometimes we know these children,
maybe they were born here, or we
have seen them come for treatment
here, we know them, we know their
parents and for us to see them dead
is just very hard to handle.”
“Why do you think God lets children
die?” I blurt out.
“I don’t know,” he stares at me. “ I
don’t know.” More staring. Then he
looks away. “ I don’t know why God
would bring a child to this world,
make them suffer and then let them
die at 4-years of age.”
“Do you think about your own
death?” I ask.
‘I do,” he says. “I know I will die, I
don’t know when but I know I will. It’s
not easier because I work here, you
know.”
“When you think about it what do you
think about?”
“Whether my body will be handled
the same way I have handled the rest
in my career.”
“And how do you want your body
handled?”
“The best way…with respect., will I be
well presented to my loved ones?” he
says. “I mentioned that the people
who lie in the freezer next door are
patients. I treat them with the dignity
of patients because they are special
to someone, they are fathers and
brothers and mothers and sisters and
grandmothers.”
“They have left clothes behind, and
photographs and memories and pets
and they had favorite songs that will
continue playing in their absence…”
“Yes,” he says cutting me off,
thankfully, because I was going to
take off on that thread.

¤¤¤¤¤

The one case that he has never
forgotten was when he was called
from leave. His colleague, a staff at
the hospital had drowned. He had to
come back and prepare the body and
assist the pathologist with a post-
mortem. “I have never forgotten how
it seemed odd that someone I had
seen only days ago was now on our
table, dead. This was someone who
was never sick or anything, someone
I had spoken to just that week.”
“Death seems to still surprise you,” I
say.
“ It does,” he says simply and doesn’t
expound. He starts to say something
but his phone trills and he looks at it
and looks at me, “may I?” I wave him
on and he answers it.
“Do you ever carry work home?” I ask
it as a very dark and inappropriate
joke but thankfully he misses it or
maybe he just ignores me all
together because he answers
something totally different. “I mean
do you have dreams of dead people
sometimes.”
“Never,” he says. “The only time I
think of work when at home is when
I’m planning my day the next day.
Otherwise I have ordinary dreams
which I don’t remember the next
morning.”

¤¤¤¤¤

He tells me of death that is avoidable.
Like drunk driving. He says it’s the
most useless way to die because all it
requires is to make different choices.
He sometimes sees people who
succumb to death from driving drunk
and he looks at them lying on the
cold slab with cuts and bruises and
blood that long clotted in their brains
and heart and he says it’s the most
selfish way to die because you leave
behind people with pain.
“Has someone ever come back to life
in your morgue?” I ask.
He laughs. “Never. I have heard of
people who wake up in public
morgues. I think these are drunks
who are picked and thrown in there
and later wake up. Once we put you
in the freezer you are not waking up,
nobody who gets in that room on
their backs leaves on their feet.”
I ask him if he thinks when people die
they still hang around for a bit, their
spirit remains and if so if he feels
death in the morgue, or the idea of it.
He says he doesn’t feel death in the
morgue. The morgue is mostly quiet.
Nothing moves there apart from him.
There are no spirits hanging around
idly. This is not some movie. People
die and they are finished.
I tell him about lores I have heard
before from my friends. How
sometimes dead folk refuse to abide.
There was one I heard of this guy
who died and when his body was put
in a car ready to be transported back
to shags in a convoy, the car refused
to start. How the driver started the
car severally and the car just wouldn’t
start. A mechanic was called who
checked the car and was puzzled
when he couldn’t see any mechanical
problem with the car. Everybody was
puzzled. Then some old man with a
collapsed hat said that the boy didn’t
want to go to shags, he was unhappy
about something. The mother was
called and she came into the car and
sat near the coffin and talked to him
in a hushed pleading tone.
I wasn’t there but I think she said
something like, Son, don’t do this.
Please. We have a long journey home
and we are ready to leave. The sky is
pregnant and it will start raining
anytime now and we don’t want this
rain to find us here. So please kindly
allow us to leave and not bring
shame to our family. If it’s this
Probox you don’t want to be carried
in we can change cars if we can. We
could transfer you to the Mercedes
but that car has no space, Auntie
Getti decided to carry her utensils
and her wooden coffee table, so
please just bear with us son, allow us
to start this journey, please.
When she finished talking to him the
pastor prayed and the driver was
asked to start the car and the car
started this time and they went to
shags in peace.
Elkanah chuckles when I tell him this
story because I’ve dramatized it a bit.
“I see you have friends from my sides of the country.”
“Well, sort of.”
“Those beliefs are there and
unfortunately I don’t know if they are
true or not.” he says. “What I know is
that every person has a right to faith
in whatever they chose. Let nobody
lie to you that it’s only Africans who
have beliefs. White people and Asians
also have strong beliefs. Some
stronger than us. I have seen white
men who have requested me to leave
this room so that they can stay alone
with their deceased and they stay
here for five hours talking to their
loved one. There are people who
believe they can communicate with
the dead. There are people who visit
the graveyard with flowers and spend
hours there, sitting there talking to
their departed. Why? Beliefs are
complicated and everyone is entitled
to what they believe.”
“Would you prepare the body of your
own child?” I ask.
“Yes.” he says. “I don’t believe anyone
else would prepare it the best way
like I could. I think that would be the
last thing I can do for them. But
there is only one body I can’t handle;
my mother’s body, for the reason
that we are Africans and out of
respect we can’t see our mother’s
nakedness.”
“Is your mom alive?”
“She died.”
“Who handled her body?”
“A colleague called Katana, he no
longer works here. He was the one
who trained me, everything I learned
I learnt from him.” he says. “When
my mother died I was working here.
The hospital extended a courtesy to
me and allowed me to keep her body
here. Her body stayed in the freezer
here for over a week and each
morning I would come to work and
open the freezer and look at her. The
most difficult part was working, going
about my business knowing that my
mother was in the freezer in the
room. It was very difficult. I didn’t cry
the whole time, until the day of the
burial. That was the first time I ever
cried in my adult life and it’s never
happened since.”

¤¤¤¤¤

I ask him what he has learnt working
as a mortician for 15-years.
“No deaths are ever the same. I never
handle anyone’s grief as the same.
There is always a background that
you don’t know of. I have also learnt
never to pretend that I understand
anyone’s pain. I never tell them sorry,
I have learnt to say ‘take heart’. God
always knows why things happen but
you can’t tell that to someone
grieving because some people don’t
believe in God, so you have to be very
careful what you tell them. The best
you can do is give them hope and
sometimes that means you just stand
there respectfully and say nothing.”
“Silence is powerful,” I say. “It
sometimes says more than words.”
“Exactly,” he says.
Elkanah is 43-years now. He doesn’t
want to retire doing what he’s doing
now. As many people in their 40’s do,
he’s asking himself, what next? What
can I do that’s mine? He says it’s
tempting to walk away from
employment and open his own thing
that is in line with what he does now
but he believes that “it would be a
waste of life to have one experience
in life.” He wants to raise his children,
he says and give them a better
education than he had. I ask him
what he wants of them and he says,
“Let kids choose their own paths,
don’t dream for your children. I don’t
want to tell them what to do as long
as they are happy doing whatever
they choose.”
“Has working in this ‘dark’
environment changed how you live
your life?” I ask him.
He thinks about it for a tad. “No. Have
you ever met a chest doctor or
physician who smokes? Or a tailor
who has a tear in his clothes? Of
course they are many. Why would a
doctor smoke and not even exercise
when they know the dangers better
than anyone else? We will all die no
matter how careful we are. You will
eat vegetables and avoid fat but you
will end up here. If your heart loves
meat, eat meat. There is no
guarantee that avoiding meat or
alcohol or bread will prolong your
life. Enjoy life, be happy. Also don’t let
other people dictate the life that you
live, or wait for their approval, you
will live like a slave. If I lived for
others’ approval I wouldn’t be
working here, I would be so scared of
what people think of me.”
He’s active in the trade union circles.
Occasionally he plays football at a
field near City Market. He loves
football, is a great supporter of AFC
Leopards and Arsenal. He isn’t much
of a drinker, but on the occasions
that he drinks with his friends he
drinks a Pilsner. Today, being Friday,
he will conclude his sabbath readings
and participate in sabbath school the
next day, Saturday. He doesn’t work
Saturdays, so please try and not be
his client then.
“What do you fear the most?”
“Death,” he says. “It’s because of how
we are raised as human beings; we
are raised to fear fear death. Death
makes everyone equal. Over the years
I have seen many people in that
freezer, from the very wealthy, the
who’s whos to the unknowns. It
doesn’t matter who you are, there are
times that a powerful person is on
my table, dead, and I think to myself,
this man is helpless now -with all that
power and money he doesn’t even
have a name anymore, he’s called a
body.”
“I’m surprised that doesn’t change
how you live your life…”
“Well, it makes you humble,” he says.
“Makes you know that you are
nothing really. You can go. Nobody
can buy immunity to death. Two
things you can’t win – God and
death.”
The best part of his job is when
someone bereaved tells him “thank
you.” “It’s better than money because
it’s genuine,” he says. “‘Thank you’ is
better than ‘please’, you know why?”
“No.” I want to giggle, answering
rhetorical questions. Surely, I must
annoy him.
“Because ‘please’ is mostly a matter of
courtesy, but if someone is in sorrow
or pain because they have lost
someone and they tell you thank you
with tears in their eyes they mean it.”
His phone rings again and he tells the
other person that he’s on his way. I
guess I have to let him go. I ask him,
“When you die, like we all will, do you
have a preferred freezer here that
you would like to be put into?”
He chuckles. “Oh, yes. So we have two
freezers, each with three
compartments. One of them is newer
than the other. That’s where I would
prefer to be kept. I have a favorite
freezer and even my colleagues know
it. I told them that if I die and
someone is in that freezer they
should be removed to allow me to be
there.”
“Oh, boy,”
“It’s not a big deal. It’s like your
favourite spot in church!” he laughs
as we leave the room. “Don’t you
always go to sit in your favorite place
in church? Same thing!”
Outside, in the corridor, we make
small talk. You know, the weather
and things. I ask him if I can get in
the morgue to look around. He says
no. I say, I will be fast, just a quick
look. He says that’s against policy. Oh
well. I shake his hand in goodbye and
tell him it was a pleasure and
refreshing talking to him. He says, “It
was very nice.” Then I say, “We shall
meet again, I’m sure, hopefully when
I still have a pulse.”
He laughs heartily. I made the
mortician laugh! I’m done. I’m
validated. I don’t care if Daisy,my partner, never
laughs at my jokes.

Westgate; a story of pain,death and victory

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Westgate terrorist attack was an asteroid that hit Kenya in 2013.
it is now forgotten.
But the triumph of human spirit against evil still lives in the memories of Kenyans who had brush with death on that day,
this is a survivors story!
If we are elements moving in a galaxy, I think death is a furious asteroid headed our way. The moment we are born the asteroid that will destroy us starts to move and it continues to build momentum and a rage of mortality as it approaches us. Our course, as its course, doesn’t alter and finally one day it intercepts us and we collide. But sometimes it misses us by a whisker, grazes us a bit, shakes us to our core, we smell the texture of it’s finality, the horror of it all and then – wham! – it’s gone. But then it turns back again and starts on a trajectory towards us. Sometimes you have to wonder; how close is my asteroid?
When Professor Anne Muigai’s son, Jomo, woke her up on a Saturday morning, unbeknownst to her, her asteroid had just entered her orbit. That’s the day they would collide. It was 7:30am. Her plan was to sleep in a bit but the boy said he had a swimming gala in school, a gala she had forgotten about. She showered, dressed in a green top, black skirt and wedges. I know this because there is a picture of her in the New York Times, bleeding. She had Weetabix with milk. Ate hurriedly in the kitchen as the children looked for their shoes and slammed doors. Her husband was asleep in the bedroom. Later, as she left she might have stood over their bed and told his fetal form, “Us we have left, si we will talk later? I’m meeting Beatrice later.” Beatrice is her sister. He might have grunted something, or he might have said sawa, or he might have raised a thumb up and rolled back to sleep. We will never know, but what we know is that she picked up her black purse that contained a lot of money, a full year’s school fees for her daughter Wambui who was in Uni. The plan was to bank it. Who is it who said that when we make plans God laughs?
She piled her two sons – Jomo 9, Mwaniki 7 – into the back of her car, and strapped them in even though their own asteroids were still far away. Later on you will see how Jomo saves his and his brother’s life.
They get to school – Aga Khan Academy – but the gate is closed. The watchman stands at her window and tells her, “Hakuna function hapa leo, Madam, si hiyo ni ya next Saturday?” and she turns in her seat to ask, “Jomo, what was the date of the gala?” He looks goofy and says 28th. “Today is 21st, Jomo!” She sighs, and reverses the car. It’s too early to go bank the fees. It’s too early to meet her sister.
So they go to church, St. Francis Xavier at the corner of Limuru Road. There is a baptism ceremony going on. She stands at the back of the church, her black purse carrying the money pressed under her arm. Jomo goes down the pews to watch the ceremony, while she and Mwaniki sit in a pew. So far the gods haven’t deflected her asteroid, the status quo remains. She prays. Mwaniki is getting bored already. He’s looking around probably thinking, “Okay, this is not how I expected to spend my Saturday morning.” She figures that she can catch the 9-am mass at Consolata Shrine. At Consolata Jomo goes for confession and Mwaniki prays next to her because, well, what’s a man to do now that he’s in church? At 9:45 she really has to go because her sister is a stickler for time. She does quick math; from the church in Westlands, on the roundabout (now closed), past Sarit Center, it will perhaps take 5 minutes to get to their rendezvous point.
They were meeting at Westgate Mall. September 21st 2013.
Her asteroid was about two hours away from colliding with her.
Si they get into the car? (That’s how we Kenyans tell stories; “Si now we arrived at the venue to find ati sijui the guys were doing a drill). Anyway, she guns the car. Just as they are going down Lower Kabete Rd, behind Sarit Center, Jomo says he doesn’t want to go to Westgate, he wants to go home. The mom, not known for her patience, says “Come on Jomo, stop acting up, what do you want to eat, cheeseburger?” Mwaniki starts shouting, “Yes, yes, cheeseburger! Cheeseburger!” Jomo isn’t in the mood for no cheeseburger, he says no, he wants to go home, “You and auntie B talk for too long, take me home!” She’s frustrated so just at the junction of Peponi road she makes a split second decision that saves the lives of those two boys; she takes a left instead of a right towards Westgate. She’s thinking, “Oh crap, my sister will be so pissed off with me for being late.” She calls her sister to tell her she will be late and then calls the house help and tells her that she will be dropping off the children but she won’t get into the house, so she has to come out to pick them up at the gate.
At Loresho she stops, the boys jump out and she is reversing as she tells the boys she will see them later. Sometimes you drop your children off at school or at a birthday party and you rush through the goodbyes because you just assume that you will see them again in a few hours. There is never any way of knowing that’s the last time you are seeing them or they are seeing you. Our final moments are always so painfully unremarkable, so banal, when all the while death might be stealing on us. I don’t know what Jomo remembers of her on that particular day. I’d love to ask him if he remembers something she said, or how she looked, or what he thought. I recall my last conversation with my mother. I was in an ATM box on Limuru Road, withdrawing cash and she was asking me why I sounded like I was in a hole and I joked to her that I was in a police cell. Who would have thought that my last conversation with my mother would be from an ATM box?
Prof drove to Westgate but since she was in a big rush, when she arrived she did something she rarely did, she parked outside and not at the rooftop parking as was her routine. That saved her car. Yayy.
She ran into the mall, past people sitting at the terrace of Art Caffe, a sea of sunglasses and drinking straws and piped music. She pushed her way through the smell of coffee and croissants and lattes and the hubbub of conversation, people squinting in the sun, children swinging their feet from their chairs, a humanity facing an oncoming barrage of asteroids. Westgate was about to become our Titanic. Horror stood by. She walked fast through the floors of the mall, her wedges squeaking on the polished tiled floor. Then she rode up the escalator, staring at her phone, her purse clutched tight. At Java she found her sister, Auntie B, on her second juice. They hugged. Java was busy as it always was on Saturdays. Prof was just back from Turkana where she had been for a month on a project. When you come back from the field your hair is always ghastly so she had gone to the salon a few days before the meeting and the salonist had done a bang up job of it. She was now sporting hideous orange hair. It was like breeding Donald Trump on her hair.
They talked about many things then talked about her hair. Actually they went on and on about her hair.
“What should I do? Should I just cut it off altogether?” she asked Beatrice.
“It’s not that bad, just let it be.”
“Maybe we should go to Nakumatt and get some products.”
“The colour will eventually fade out, maybe you can just get it trimmed a little…”
Then there was a power blackout. Seconds later the generator kicked in. Then another. Then came the gunshots. Loud gunshots; of a big gun. The asteroids had arrived. Then there was an explosion. They had asked for the bill earlier and when a Java security guy came and started herding them out of the cafe they said, “But we haven’t paid!” The guy said “Forget the bill, move this way.”
So if Java is reading this, Professor Anne Muigai owes you for two juices and a cheeseburger. She is a professor at JKUAT if you want to send someone over to collect your cash. There won’t be any struggle, she assures you, that is if you can get past security.
Because y’all can’t stand stories of death, let’s just say that her asteroid missed her that day. But by a whisker. And that’s why we are seated at Java Adams Arcade talking about that day, something she says she has never talked about publicly.
“We thought it was a robbery,” she says. “We thought some thugs were robbing the bank downstairs. But this was Westgate, we were sure it would not last long, the cops would come after the thugs left, or they would meet the cops downstairs and there would be a shootout which we would see in the news later.”
They climbed over a low wall, onto the parking lot area where a cookery event had been going on. People were in clusters. A man was telling everybody to sit against the wall. There were lots of children and women.She crouched against the wall with them and her sister said, “You can’t sit there, are you mad?” and she said, “Why not?” and she said, “Because you are exposed!” and she said, “Exposed to what? Don’t be dramatic, please!” She’s a professor of genetics, so her professional life is built around the question; why?
“Were you scared at this point?” I ask.
“No,” she says, “ at this point we all thought it was just a few thugs shooting in the air to scare people. A gentleman told everybody that should the thugs come up, they should give them their phones and wallets if they demand for them. I had all that money in my purse at this time, don’t forget.”
Then came a massive explosion that threw them off their feet. A grenade had been thrown by the advancing men from the ramp. She remembers opening her eyes and they were teary and stinging. “My first thought when I came to was, I should have listened to my sister, we were exposed!” she says. She struggled to her feet, grabbed her handbag, and looked for her sister, whom she found lying on her back, blood on her face. She frantically called her name and shook her and she opened her eyes and said they had to hide. They crouched under a tent with U-shaped tables with white table cloth over them.
“I parted the table cloth to find many people hidden under there and this man, this very nasty man said, ‘There is no space here, get out!’ and as I tried to register his hostility he started screaming at us, ‘Get out! Get the hell out!”
“Was he white, black, asian, who was he?”
“I won’t tell you,” she laughs. “Anyway, we move to the next group of tables and underneath there are more people and a gentleman, an Asian man, who says ‘Come in, come in.’ There are also two little girls in there and so he puts one top of the other so that we can all fit. Then the shooting really starts, loud shots of what sounds like a really big gun.”
It’s hard to describe the sound of an AK 47. It’s blood curdling. It’s even worse when it’s a few meters away from you. “It’s this loud ugly sound that keeps going and going, tuf tuf tuf tuf…”
The Kalashnikov is the devil’s machine. I once watched some thugs being shot on Thika Road by the men in blue even though these men were in heavy jackets, caps and sahara shoes. The cops must have been trailing them for a bit because it was all peace and quiet driving down Thika road then suddenly there was the sound of gunshots, loud gunshots, and looking on my rearview mirror I saw the cops jumping out of their cars and peppering the thugs’ car with bullets, a loud ratatatataat, the thugs dying under the hail of bullets. I got off at the next exit and drove back to the scene to see the cops with the AK 47s. You might forget the sound of an AK 47 but you can’t forget the damage it does to the human body. But that sound? That’s how the devil must sound like when he coughs.
Anyway, back to Westgate, there were screams. The men with the guns were obviously at the parking lot now and they were shooting indiscriminately. Children were screaming. Men were screaming. Women were screaming. There was no gender or age to the mayhem, death was there and death strips man of all dignity, especially macabre death like that.
“I was terrified!”she says. “It’s what you would describe as horror. You are simply paralysed with it. You can’t believe this is happening. The Asian gentleman had told us to put our phones on silent, so I removed it and called my hubby. I was whispering over the noise of the gunshots and scream of people; I said, “I’m at Westgate.’ He asked, ‘You are at the gate?’ and I said, ‘No, Westgate! West-Gate!’ He thought I was at the gate. By this time the shooting was very loud and very close. I could hear people screaming, saying they were dying, some begging for their lives, you would hear someone begging them not to shoot, saying ‘Please don’t, don’t, then you hear twap! And silence. Then another and another. I was terrified, these guys were actually shooting people in cold blood!”
“I’m a scientist [first female genetician in Kenya, actually] I think logically but this wasn’t something I could comprehend. I whispered to my sister, “What is going on?” and she said, “They are terrorists!” and I asked her, “Terrorists? How do you know?” Where did she know terrorists from? She said, “Can’t you hear what they are saying? They were shouting that what Kenya is doing in Somalia is wrong.”
She tried to text her husband but she was shaking so much she couldn’t type a word, so she gave up. Her sister had sent a message to the family whatsapp group. There was lots of groaning now. Children were crying. Her sister’s boyfriend called. Her brother-in-law called. Her sister called, screaming. She remembers a child crying so much and one of the terrorists telling someone to shut up that child and the guardian not being able to get the child to keep quiet and there was a shot and the child went silent. At this point she was sure that they’d die if these men could shoot a crying child. Plus there wasn’t any sign of rescue coming many hours later. Hope was ebbing. She started praying, everybody was praying to their God now.
“He was letting Muslims go after proving they were Muslims. I remember this man standing up and saying he was Muslim and the man asking if the children were his and he hesitated before saying yes because they weren’t, and I think the terrorist realised he was lying because he told the children,‘I know you are not Muslims but will you become Muslims when you grow up?’ and the children said yes and they were told to go,” she continues. “Encouraged by this gesture one very old Asian lady stood up and said she was old and had bad knees and begged to be let go. She was asked if she was Muslim, she said no, and she was shot.”
It became silent now save for a few moans and groans and whimpers of the dying and whispers of prayers from lips of the dying and the occasional loud gunshot. “I knew this was it so I called my husband and I told him I loved him and he couldn’t accept that I was giving up, he kept saying they were coming to rescue us, he kept putting different security men on the phone to ask me questions about the men and our exact location. I called my daughter who was coming from Uni. I called my sons at home. Jomo said, ‘There are bad men at Westgate are you still there?’ and I said “No, I left, I’m in traffic coming home.” He had just gotten a new watch so he was a bit obsessed with time so he asked me ‘In how long will you be home?’ [Laughs]. I said an hour. I asked him to promise me that he will always be a good boy. ‘Will you always remember me?’ I asked him and he was confused so he said, ‘Well, yeah…’ then I told him ‘Please always remember me.’ Then he put down the phone and I could hear him call out to Mwaniki who came on told me that he was watching Ben 10 and I told him to always pray before he goes to bed and to be good. Then I hung up and we waited.”
A lady at the corner was humming the song ‘The Lord is my Shepherd’. The men were still shooting randomly. A Somali guy stood up and challenged the terrorists, asking them what Islam was this that kills people. “They started arguing in Somali, it got pretty heated until they shot him many times.” I guess that exchange really irritated the terrorists because after shooting the Somali guy all hell broke loose. “You know people use that expression a lot but they don’t know what it really means when hell breaks loose. Initially he had an audience lined up against the wall now he was shooting anything and everything. It was constant firing, his gun going tuftuftuftuf and people are screaming as they are hit by the bullets, the paint on the wall over us was chipping as bullets hit it. In hospital it took a lot of work to get that chipped paint off my hair.”
“Where was your handbag at this time?”
“I had it, I was leaning on it…” she laughs. “I’m a Kikuyu like that to the end.”
A stray bullet then hit a gas cylinder and set the tent on fire. It started melting, flames dropping on the people hiding under the tables. There were screams of “We are dying here!” Everybody who was hiding under the tent was forced to flee from there and the man started shooting them but they were too many so he lobbed a grenade. “I saw a guy standing one minute and when the grenade detonated he was reduced to nothing. His tissue and blood spilled all over us. My God, it was ghastly, like a scene from hell.”
She then felt a sharp pain in her chest. She had been shot twice from behind. She went down in excruciating pain. All around was mayhem, screaming and the heavy sound of gunfire, like someone “clapping two pieces of wood in your head.” There was smoke and the smell of blood, a distinct smell of blood. A pool of blood. You never forget that smell of blood.”
“I started coughing blood, “she says. “ I was in so much pain and at some point I couldn’t breathe. My sister was holding my head asking me not to close my eyes. She was crying and begging me not to close my eyes. I knew things were really bad when I coughed blood full of small air bubbles.”
One of her lungs had collapsed and the good one was filling with blood. She knew she was dying because she could feel herself slip away. She started moving between two worlds; the first world was of the living, full of pain in the chest, difficulty in breathing, evil men with guns, the sound of gunshots, the smell of blood and sounds of the dying, and the other, the land of the dead, was filled with silence and no pain and peace.
“I only realised that I would lose consciousness because as my sister was speaking to me I would lose some words and think, why is she jumping words?” she said. “I would drift in and out. When I closed my eyes it was so peaceful and when I opened them it was so chaotic. It’s amazing how people die, you don’t feel anything, it’s like a deep sleep and you want to just let it take you over but then my sister would slap me awake and talk to me and I would come back to this bad world of pain. I was very worried that I was bleeding over the lady below me who was wearing a bright dress. But when I moved a bit to get the blood off her, to tell her that I’m sorry for ruining her dress I saw that she was already dead.”
Things quickly took a turn. Somehow, a man, must have decided that they were not going to wait to die up there so on his urging they made a break for it. She says it was adrenaline that gave her that final push for survival because was struggling to breathe now as she dragged herself across the floor, through blood, stepping on and over bodies. She recalls going back into a shop or was it Java? She recalls the sound of the gunmen hunting people down and shooting them, and the sound of the gunshots echoing in her broken body. She remembers very vaguely stumbling down corridors, hands grabbing at her, urging her to stay up, the smell of her own blood, the smell of other people’s blood, her body feeling starved of oxygen, stumbling, falling, rising, dragging herself, praying, her sister by her side holding onto her, not letting her go, some man urging them on, follow me, this way, ducking under walls, her chest on fire, breathless and then somehow suddenly, sunlight and she was on a Nakumatt trolley being pushed by some men, a tv cameraman pulling the trolley with one hand and the other holding onto his camera, the wheels of the trolley rattling against the cabro surface and her turning and upon realising that her sister was no longer with her, panicking and gasping “We were two, my sister, where is my sister?” and some officers or good samaritans running back to find the sister collapsed along the corridor. That’s the picture of her on the trolley in the New York Times. Her black handbag is by her side. Okuyu and her money will not be separated even in the final moment of life.
She recalls the writing on the ambulance that picked her up, “Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital” and that there was no space on the bed in there because it had a big box of supplies, so she sat on the paramedic chair and clung onto this big box of supplies as the siren wailed and the roads parted. The causality of M.P Shah was madhouse of the dying and the dead and the bleeding and the crying and she remembers the worried faces and the determined faces of the medics. She remembers seeing a security guard lying very still next to her and realising he was dead. She remembers turning her head and seeing a worse scene, a traumatic scene of someone a bullet had damaged in a way she couldn’t describe. She was lying on her stomach and someone was asking her her name and suddenly her Aunt was there and her sister was there and they were saying, “Honey, you will be fine, we are moving you to Aga Khan.”
Then she was in another wailing ambulance, a worried nurse next to her, pushing her down as she struggled to get up because she was feeling sick and blood was coming out of her mouth. She couldn’t breathe, she started feeling hot and then cold and she felt something choking her and she tried to stand up, holding onto the nurse and croaking at the nurse that she can’t breathe, she’s choking, and the nurse telling her to cough it out and over the wailing siren she could hear the driver shouting, five….four….three…. the revving of the engine, the swerving of the car …two…and she’s thinking, God let the person who opens the door to this ambulance not be a gynecologist because I need to breathe…one….
The door swings open at Aga Khan casualty and standing there is Dr Raj, a cardiologist who later would do a lot of corrective operations. She remembers being loaded onto a cold metal trolley and the sheer pain as she landed on it. She’s now literally gasping for the last breath. She very vaguely recalls a swift argument between two medics about anaesthesia. It wasn’t really an argument but a loud impassioned back and forth about whether to give her local anaesthesia or even morphine. A nurse kept saying loudly, two seconds…three seconds, which was basically the last time she breathed. She was panicking, thinking, I don’t want to be brain dead because lack of oxygen, I have to breathe and when she tried breathing it was impossible, she was choking and fading out. In the distance she could a voice of someone saying angrily, “You get your morphine but I’m not waiting for it….”and then a soft reassuring voice of a nurse whispering in her ear, “Sweetie, you are going to feel some pain but we need to this and we need to do this now…” and her holding her hand frantically like a drowning person and croaking, “I…can’t…breathe…” and a nurse shouting, three seconds…
Suddenly there was a sharp pain in her chest. Dr. Ruturi or Dr. Raj or some angel had just plunged a tube into her chest, a hollow plastic tube placed between your ribs to drain fluids. It was as if someone had just opened her chest wide open and air flooded in. She gasped for it. Beautiful air. Wonderful air. Shall we briefly turn to our Bibles now. In Genesis 2:7, it says, “Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” Yes. This was the Lord, yes, but in the form of plastic tube. Can I hear an amen?
She took lungfuls of it and took it fast, like someone who had been underwater for long. “We take for granted the very process of breathing in and out. Having air in your lungs. We assume it’s natural. It’s not. My goodness, breathing is not assured. To breathe is the most beautiful feeling ever,” she says.
“Where is your handbag all this time you are taking in air?” I ask. [I’m obsessed with this handbag]
She laughs. She said some Asian guy collected everything that was found at the scene and put it in his boot for safe keeping and while she was in hospital her sister tracked her phone to the car and got the bag with all the money.
“I laugh at the person I was before Westgate. I used to run my life and the family like a tight ship; the alarm would go off in the morning and I would be up and running the whole day, everything seemed so urgent. At night I’d go to bed but not even sleep well because you are in bed but you are already living the next day in your head, planning meetings and projects and all these things seem so important right until you face your death and it dawns on you that you will never see your children again or your husband or your family.” She pauses. “I’m definitely a much better person than I was before Westgate, I’m much kinder and more loving. I don’t rush through life anymore. Because where are we rushing to?” she asks.
What did you learn at Westgate, not after Westgate? I ask.
“That we are all mere tips of what we can be,” she says. “You think you are a good writer? You can be a much much more. You think you are a great athlete, you can be much much more. We are all tips of our best versions, all of us are not exploring our fullest potential as human beings. I saw this at Westgate, when human beings were stretched to the limit, it made some people kinder, braver more compassionate. Tragedy revealed us.”
“Do you still have that handbag ama you disposed it?” I ask with a smile.
She cackles with glee. “You know, I saw it the other day underneath a pile of handbags and it brought back those memories.”

There is a certain comfort in pain, sad stories and sad music….

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Some folk think it’s gotten too dark in here on this blog. They say that lately I write only stories of death and suffering and gnashing of teeth. (Okay, that I added. It has been awhile since I used it). They say they don’t want to have to come here and read things that make them have a bad day. They ask, why can’t you just write “happy things” with “good endings?” Which made me seriously consider writing about gardening. Or recipes for smoothies. My Pastor even invited me for prayers to ‘cleanse my soul of evil thoughts’;I was wary. I didn’t go. Not that I don’t like a good prayer from a man of God, I do as much as the next guy. I wasn’t adequately seduced by the words “small” and “family of faithfuls” because it conjured up an image of a small church of about 27 people, perched atop a hill in Embu with a pastor who always wears a colourful wide tie and walks around with a blade of glass sticking from the corner of his mouth. I was enticed by the lunch though, which I was sure would have warus in it. Also there was the element of time.
There has also been the occasional email or comment about the misery that lately abounds on this blog. Stories of people losing loved ones, of people eating human flesh, of children – children! – dying leaving bereft and hollow-eyed parents. It’s not exactly a groundswell, but the concerns have been expressed in some quarters. “Ben’, why so dark? Are you sure you can’t find happy stories that we can enjoy reading?” a reader emailed.
Sigh.
Happy stories? Like of what? Should I interview red-nosed clowns who entertain children in restaurants with bouncy castles? What was your ambition growing up and are you surprised that you are here making children laugh? Or rather, children laughing at you? / What have you learnt about modern parenting through your interaction with these children? / Do you do this job because it’s there or does it appeal to a little child in you? What kind of childhood did you have and when you entertain these fat spoilt rich kids, do you feel sorry about your childhood or are you glad of your own childhood? Do you have children?…I disagree, being 26 years is not an excuse not to have children…I think you are scared of children, Mr Clown…no, let me finish…you hide behind that red nose and make children laugh but in essence you are just repairing your own broken childho…oh come back, the interview is not over…come on….I’m sorry….I was only joki…oh, stop kicking that kid what has he done apart from eat everything?…James, come back….
No, seriously. Should I interview a construction worker? Or a guy who comes around from Kenya Power to disconnect the meter and flirt with house helps while at it? One reader said, “Interview people who have a passion for something.” Who are these people with passion? Auditors? Fashion bloggers? Foodies? Gym instructors? Choir masters? Some say, interview “normal people!”
Well, you might not believe this but “normal people” are boring!
Here is an example of the life of a normal person.
The story will start with how he was born in South C. (That in itself will drive me mad because he will feel compelled to bring up E-Sir at some point. RIP.) He would have grown up in a well adjusted environment. His father would either be a engineer or worked in an Insurance company like Kenindia back in the day and his mother – a “very solid” mother – who, in the 80s, worked in a bank when few mothers were working in banks but as teachers and secretaries. There will be a very happy childhood marked by sausages at breakfast every weekend, being dropped in school by Dad or (gulp) Mom. (Anybody whose mom drove in the 80s led a fairly privileged life). He would be like the same kids we saw in high school; kids who came with two suitcases instead of metallic boxes, never ran out of BlueBand, always had big jars of peanut butter, had seven school shirts and half a dozen pants, and when they got a flu, there was a driver always waiting at the headmaster’s office to pick them up to get a better medical attention that the school dispensary couldn’t provide.
This chap will pass his KCSE exams and then he will fly to the States or join USIU or UoN and then he will graduate and get a job after two months of “tarmacking” which in his case means sitting around the house watching TV as Dad talks to his mates over at the country club about his employment prospects. He will get a job and then move up the ladder because – fortunately – he is smart or because he is lucky or because, I don’t know, but he just moves up.
He will meet a girl who didn’t grow up in South C, but in Kitui or Narok or Machakos or Banana. (By the way, I’ve never met anyone who grew up in Banana, where do they hang out? What kind of people are they? Do you know?) He will meet this girl during a work cocktail function at the ballroom of a hotel. They will date. He will take this Banana chick to Dubai for the first time in her life. They will break up briefly when one of his exes (who grew up in South C) comes back briefly and they have a dalliance of sorts and she will be so mad because he had said there was nothing there but a “childhood hangover.” But once this South C chick goes back she will cool off and they will get together and get married in a garden wedding where all the groomsmen will don Ray Bans and hangovers.
They will have three children who we will all know about because they post it – and everything about their charmed lives – online. He will have his job, his mom and dad will have retired but will still be living in the city, maybe in a gated community along Kiambu road. His mom will be active in church, his father will be consulting whenever he feels like it, driving a Discovery 4 and playing golf whenever. They will have barbeques “over at the folks’” every so often. (You will know this if you are on social media.)
This is the guy who will sit before me as my voice recorder runs and he will tell me with some unmasked pride that his “mother-tongue is not good at all” because “we really didn’t speak it at home.” He will think that’s a cool thing; to be unable to speak your mother tongue.
Now that’s a normal interview I don’t want to do. Because what will we talk about; which restaurant serves the best crepes in town? When I ask him – as I stab wildly in the dark for a yelp from a story – when in his life he felt most insecure and out of his comfort zone he will say “When I broke my leg in two places in a horse-riding accident. My wife and I were celebrating our fourth anniversary and we went to this lodge in Laikipia and this mad horse, which the hotel swore was their best, simply tossed me in the air and at that point – mid-air – I really thought I was going to die. Anyway, when I was in hosi, recuperating, I wondered what would have happened to my kids had this accident been worse.”
I’d ask disappointedly, “Oh, so you only broke your leg?”
I don’t want to interview this guy. Or his Banana wife. Why? Because I don’t think I would want to read his story. It’s too “normal.”
But consider this twist in the tale above.
If one Saturday morning when he was in form 3, he opened their gate to find three gentlemen waiting, a humming lorry behind them. One of the men, a slim guy in a Hawaii shirt asked, “Is your dad home?” And he said, “Uhm yeah,” and the men had walked into the house and his father came out of the bedroom tying his bathrobe, confusion and fear in his eyes, and these auctioneers reversed the lorry and took away everything they owned because of a defaulted loan or whatever, and they had to move from that house to a small house in Makadara from where they eked life until his father sunk into alcoholism and did nothing the whole day but read old newspapers, talked constantly about his big job as an engineer, drunk copiously and quarrelled with anyone with a pulse. And his mother stepped up and fed, clothed, schooled the family and when he graduated from uni and joined a big-ass auditing firm, he bought his mom a house in Lavington. Imagine what this guy will tell you about moving from South C to Makadara and what he will tell you about his father and how his character and the family environment shaped the man he has become. This guy never married a chick from Banana because they are too alike, instead they meet girls who hail from Bomet or Nyamasaria but somehow made their way abroad for education and later came back with one accent and two degrees and now work as an HR officer for a non-profit organisation.
Now that is a story I would want to write about. Because it’s not “normal.”
You know who else would be nice to interview?
A girl who, while growing up, would help her mother brew muratina in Nyeri by night and then go to school by day. A girl whose mother would ask her to go look for her father at sunset and she would set off along the darkening narrow paths of the village trails, looking out for her father’s foot sticking out from the hedges and she would later find him seated on his ass, his pants wet from urine, and she would walk him home with his hands draped around her small shoulder as he sang unintelligible mugithi songs. A girl who later went to Starehe Girls, buried her father just before she sat her 4th form and when she scored A- instead of an A in KCSE she cried for two days and felt like she had failed herself and her mother. Now she and her pal have their own law firm with 27 employees.
I won’t ask her about success because that’s boring. I will take her down that rabbit hole and ask her if she remembers the recipe for muratina, ask her if she sometimes now wakes up to the smell of burning wood used to boil that stuff and how losing her father to alcoholism informed her relationship with alcohol and if that experience also dictated her choice of partner, who it turns out, she married after breaking up with the first South C guy who can’t speak his mother tongue. She won’t tell me that she wasn’t keen to date the kind of man whose drinking almost reminded her of her father’s drinking in some ways. Especially the happy songs after a night at the bar. I will ask her what she remembers fondly about her father and what character trait she inherited from him, apart from his nose. She will be a strong woman but with a ragged past and that’s where the story is, not in her law firm. People prefer not to look at their pasts but we are all built from the bricks of our past.
Now that’s a story with legs.
I love underdogs that triumph. In movies I love the bad guys because they always have more character than the good guys. In The Lone Survivor Mark Wahlberg and his band of American marines are trapped behind Taliban lines up in the unforgiving hills of Afghanistan and they are being butchered and plummeted and shot and they plunge down cliffs and break their skulls and ribs and the Taliban keep coming with bullets, phantoms of the mountains. I rooted for those Talibans. They had character! In Inglourious Basterds, I loved Brad Pitt as a Nazi hunter because he was ruthless with his knife, yes, but I also loved the Nazi general, Hans Landa, especially in the opening scene dialogue where he drinks milk with the Frenchman hiding Jews under his wooden house. His face is Lucifer’s face but he’s a poetic lucifer, measured and wrathful. He says things I want to frame.
In the series Tyrant, I loved Jamal with his bald head, getting blowjobs in roaring Ferraris, married to a manipulative (but very sexy) woman with a fat son who hates him, evil to a fault, erratic like a cornered cat, wild and free and eventually dies like a dog in the high prison of his egoistic excesses. And when he died, I saw no point of watching it further because all that was left was his brother Barry, a character who was handsome and American (obviously) and safe and very virtuous and married to a dutiful blonde who bruised easy, and with two (fairly) all-American childre, and all Barry wanted to do was save the world and be a great guy while doing it. Plus he was a doctor who could shoot an AK 47 with great precision like only an American doctor can. Completely exciting. In Mad Men I loved Don Draper because he had no humour but in its place he had a closet full of ghosts from his past and he struggled as a father and as a man and he was always a complicated lover, ruined and beautiful and cast on a dark doom of creativity.
I love such stories and characters that bleed on the page. I love stories where the protagonists let go of their own fate. Stories of pain and heartbreak and of loss, deep loss, and of how the human spirit fights to gain traction again amidst that emotional carousel. I love when men lose. Then they stand at a window and they wonder if they will ever rise again. Well, we will never know, but what we know is that at least they are standing. I love when shit doesn’t work out for characters even when they try. I particularly love characters who don’t hesitate to walk away from things, from people, from ideas and they walk alone. I’m attracted to characters who are vulnerable; men who cry, women who clutch their strength in their fists as they get knocked about by a barrage of life.
Grit is a boner.
I seek stories that leave me feeling a little scared. That make me think or make me anxious and uncomfortable, stories that challenge me and challenge dogma. I want to learn something new when I hear someone’s story. If I can’t project a story on the storyboard of my own life then it doesn’t pique my interest. I want to see the revelation of a human spirit show me it’s hand, show me how long the shadow it casts is. It’s selfish of me and so you will forgive me if I dislike normal stories of normal men who marry girls from Banana.
I’m bored of smart people who are successful and are married to smart women and have great studious children who always say please and thank you, ma’am, and have pastors over frequently for brunch in their garden and are so normal they look like an ad for a toothpaste. I would like to be in the company of broken people who are fighting to stay up. Daily. People who have been around the block. Or are struggling with going around this block. To be clear, I don’t want to hear just stories of death and suffering, no. I want to see the true heart of man, not the heart they put up on social media.
But what do I know? I’d like to hear what you think, what you like to read about. In fact, for shits and giggles, how about we first interview someone who grew up in Banana? I think that might be revelatory.

Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death

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Living well is not only about affluence, although having your basic needs met can make the good life possible. It is about intention, purpose and love.
It is making the most of what you have and accepting that it is enough to take you to your next level. Even when all you have is just your life and health.
We probably won’t truly understand how brief life is until we go through the proverbial “my whole life flashed before my eyes in seconds” moment. By then it will be too late. For now, elevate living. Make it sacred. Make it worth your while.

When a palliative care nurse who worked with terminally ill patients, Bronnie Ware, wrote a blog titled “The 5 top regrets of the dying”, she had no idea it would resonate across the world and make her an internet sensation.
While she admitted that her article, and subsequent book was based on her eyewitness accounts, conversations with the dying and not scientific research, nonetheless, it was a powerful work that provides readers with a chance to take stock of their lives. The five top regrets as witnessed by Ware are:
“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
“I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.”
“I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.”
“I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.”
“I wish that I had let myself be happier.”
Perhaps what makes it so compelling is that end of life conversations tend to refocus us on what really matters, and how we are making the most of our limited and fast diminishing time. Thing is, life can be so daily, and we can get caught up in it’s grind with little thought about how we want it to end. Consider this: Have you ever wondered where the time, year or decade went? Are some years of your life a blur and all you have to account for them is one line on your resume? Are you so caught up with partying in your 20s, building a career and raising a family in your 30s, paying off your mortgage or buying that plot in your 40s, paying for college and worrying about retirement in your 50s? Do all these activities on living so consume you that you are hardly aware of the quiet passage of time until you get a wake up call through a health scare or the loss of a loved one or friend? After your wake-up call, do you then try to ‘make-up’ on lost time through rash decisions?
We all pray that when we do get to “the end”, and the credits roll on what we did, who we loved, and how we lived, we will have few or no regrets at all. Over the years, I have come to understand that this one precious life we have all been given requires that we actively engage with it. That we jump into the pool of living, loving, serving rather than just dipping our toes. In the Lion Chaser’s Manifesto, Mark Batterson urges us to “quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death.” If you are like me, you want to get to the end of life empty, having poured out everything in you, your dreams, your love and left it in the arena that was your life. You don’t want to be lowered into your grave, still intact with unexplored dreams, forgiveness that was never sought or love that was never expressed.
IT IS YOUR LIFE
In the end, I believe, it boils down to how we lived, not just that we lived. Examine this day. It is your life. You will have moments to work, play, love, laugh, learn and live a legacy. Do not just drift through it. Engage. Be present. Be loving. Be purposeful. James Albert Michener writes, “The masters in the art of living make little distinction between their work and their play, their labour and their leisure, their minds and their bodies, their information, their recreation, their love and their religion. They hardly know which is which, they simply pursue their vision of excellence at whatever they do, leaving others to decide whether they are working or playing.”
It is true that we only live once. But if you do it right, once is enough.

Scandalproof your private life

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When you hear of any scandals concerning you, whether on love affair, relationship or illicit affair allegation, here are things to do to weaken the source of the scandal;

¤Never appear disturbed by the
development: – Slanderers always expect
the impact of their scandalous gossip to hit you by changes in your appearance. Your reaction and disposition at the time of being aware of the scandal shows what the possible outcome could be.

Regrettably, this is what gives your slanderers the impetus to fine-tune their scandals against you and fight on. Therefore looking happier and unruffled will surely disarm and throw them into confusion.

¤Check inwardly and amend your ways,
then move on: – It is said that when your
enemy speaks about you, that is the time to listen more attentively. Fortunately but
unknown to them, your enemies give out
true information about you which they
believe would break you when heard.
Applying wisdom in the face of any scandal demands that you look inward to examine yourself, find areas to amend your ways and then forge ahead without showing any obvious bad feelings.

¤Always put on that smiley face: – Being
cheerful always will always undermine your enemy’s effort to scandalise and destroy you. This portrays you as scandal-proof.

¤Always expect the worst at any time: – The truth remains that so long as you continue minding your business, living your life, carrying on in that love and relationship, scandals will always exist around you. It never ceases so long as you remain a person of interest to people. Therefore always expect the worst. This strengthens you for any unforeseen scandalous eventuality.

¤Consistency in doing what you feel is
right and noble is the key: – it pays to be
consistent. Persistence in doing what you
feel is right and noble will make your
slanderers weak and give up. Your
perseverance is a sign of strength in
character which is an indication of a worthy personality.

It is important to note that when faced with any form of scandal, it is a test to your real character. Those who gossip about you are only submitting to your superiority.

When I’m laid to rest

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Before the end of my days,
Before I’m laid to rest in eternal slumber,
I want to…..
To dream … the impossible dream …
To fight … the unbeatable foe …
To bear … with unbearable sorrow …
To run … where the brave dare not go …
To right … the unrightable wrong …
To love in an innocent way … pure and chaste from afar …
To try again …even when my arms are too weary …
To reach … the unreachable star …
This is my quest, to follow that star …
No matter how hopeless, no matter how
far …
To fight for the right, without question or
pause …
To be willing to march into Hell, for a
Heavenly cause …
And I know if I’ll only be true, to this
glorious quest,
That my heart will lie will lie in peace and
calm,
when I’m laid to my rest …
And the world will be better for this:
That one man, scorned and covered with
scars,
Still strove, with his last ounce of courage,
To reach … the unreachable star …

To all the girls I wrote to in high school who never replied, I hope you are still proud of your heartlessness!

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“I wanna hear your heartbeat,
In the darkness,
Every day of my life;
I wanna heart your heartbeat,
In the darkness(beating),next to mine!”
~Don Williams

I loved music during my High School days; I love music even more now,in my old age.

It is one love that I’ve not outgrown through all these years….

There was a time when seduction played out paper, not on Facebook or WhatsApp; when men wrote letters on stationary perfumed by cheap brands like Yolanda and sent them with a metaphorical kiss.

They were so cool we didn’t call them letters, we called them ‘missives’. We
even purchased stationary with love hearts printed on them, or flowers, that we thought fit for the purpose.

We then spent half our night- time preps writing these letters in black ink. This
kind of writing was arduous and precise because you didn’t have the benefit of the backspace, which means if you erred on the fifth paragraph, you had to start the letter afresh on a fresh piece of stationary. You wrote things like: ‘You make my heart go boom / food tastes like murram when I think about how you sung during that CU outing / your smile is like the full moon, and now it keeps my heart bright during these cold nights studying nomenclature in bio / I can’t wait to see you again because I’m the luckiest man in the world.’

Then you sent the letter with your photo
enclosed – the only photo in which you were wearing a clean school shirt. Letters would take a week to get there and another week to come back, assuming she was so taken by your lyrics that she wrote back immediately. But then you
would wait and wait and at some point you would realise you aren’t the luckiest man in the world and that in place of the full moon smile that shone in your heart, there now lived darkness.

Oh, with the level of heartbreak some
of us endured in high school, it’s a wonder that we even finished that race.

The art of writing letters to women is dead. I mean proper letters in envelopes. I miss licking the sticky side of an envelope. (How safe was that, anyway?) The thrill was not even in writing the letter with the cheesy poetry, it was in
waiting for a reply.

Sometimes you would wait and wait and think that maybe the klutzy form one Letter Boy in charge of distributing the
letters lost your letter in a heap. So you would write another one full of poetry and enclose another picture of yourself in a clean, borrowed shirt and still, she wouldn’t reply! Love was tough in high school. Hell, love is still tough.

Now it comes in the form of an ignored blue tick.

There is very good written song by Don
Williams who just passed on called If
Hollywood Don’t Need You. It’s one of my
favourites. I stole a lot from Don’s lyrics. This song starts with him telling this girl who left him to go to Hollywood that, “While you know I’m not much good at writing letters, so I gave up and decided that I’d call…/ There isn’t much news to tell you, things back here never seemed
to change at all / I hope you made the big time / I hope your dreams come true / But if Hollywood don’t need you, honey I still do / Lately we don’t cut up like we used to (with his mates) / Cause all that I think about is you / I know this is what
you’ve always wanted / but I know now that all I want is you.”

Boy, did I love that jam! I stole it and mutilated it and turned it into mine. And boy, did it fall flat with those girls! I guess I imagined that the girls would read it in Don William’s gentle voice.

They obviously read it in my squeaky voice. Oh well, this was supposed to be a tribute to Don Williams for dominating my pre-teens and now in my old age with great poetry and great lyrics. To all the girls I wrote to in high school who never replied, I hope you are still proud of your heartlessness!

If I had all the world, it should be yours

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I love you with that tenderness of spirit, that purity of truth, that sincerity of heart, that I could sacrifice the nearest friends or interests I have on earth barely to please you.

If I had all the world, it should be yours; for with it I could but be miserable, were you not mine.

In short, you will quickly become to me the greatest blessing or the greatest curse that ever man was doomed to.

Oh, if I could but burn into your spirit the deep –the true meaning which I attach to those three syllables underlined! But, alas! The effort is all in vain and ‘I live and die unheard.

And now, in the most simple words I can
command, let me paint to you the impression made upon me by your personal presence.

As you entered the room, pale, hesitating, and evidently oppressed at heart; as your eyes rested for one
brief moment upon mine, I felt, for the first time in my life, and tremblingly acknowledged, the existence of spiritual influences altogether out of the reach of the reason.

I would comfort you – soothe you – tranquillize you. You would rest from care – from all worldly perturbation.

You would get better and finally well.

And if not Daisy – if you died – then, at
least, I would clasp your dear hands in death, and willingly – oh, joyfully – joyfully go down with you into the night of the grave.

From that hour I have never been able to shake from my soul the belief that my Destiny, for good or for evil, either here or hereafter, is in some measure interwoven with your own.

All thoughts – all passions seem now merged in that one consuming desire – the mere wish to make you comprehend – to make you see that for which there is no human voice – the unutterable fervor of my love for you.

So,say to me those coveted words that would turn Earth into Heaven.

My love has made me selfish. I cannot exist without you. I am forgetful of everything but seeing you again; my Life seems to stop there; I see no further. You have absorbed me. I have a sensation at the present moment as though I was
dissolving: I should be exquisitely miserable without the hope of soon seeing you.

I love you ever and ever and without reserve. The more I have known you the more have I loved. In every way, — even my jealousies have been agonies of Love; in the hottest fit I ever had I would have died for you.

I have been astonished that men could die Martyrs for religion, — I have shuddered at it. I shudder no more; I could be martyred for my Religion, — love is my religion, — I could die for
that. I could die for you.

This union is love – genuine, complete love, such as few men can imagine. It is a love which is a religion, since the object of love is regarded as a divinity, with all the devotion and affection which turn the greatest sacrifices into the sublimest joys.
Such a love you inspire in me, and such a love you will someday feel for me, although to my sorrow you do not feel it now. Your soul is incapable of an angelic love. It may be, therefore, that only an angel can inspire such a love.

Yes, I am your husband, your defender, protector, slave. On the day that I lose that conviction I shall have ceased to live, because my life will have lost its foundation. You are the only person to whom I can confide the desire, hope, and love that is within me – my soul itself.

I am in such haste that I know not what I write, but I do know that I love you more tenderly than ever, that the pain of this separation was necessary to convince me how very dear you are to me, and that I would give at this moment half my existence for the pleasure of embracing you again, and telling you with my own lips how well I love you.

Daisy,I only know that heaven watches over fools like me who spend all their life just being devoted to loving you!

In life, gradually, our desires change…

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Have you ever said to yourself,”this too shall come to pass”?

Did you find it liberating,just saying those words in the midst of a ‘storm in your life’?

When we are young or just naïve,we believe that we can change the
things around us in accordance with our
desires—we believe it because otherwise
we can see no other favourable outcome from our own desire.
We do not think of the outcome which
generally comes to pass and is also
favourable: When we do not succeed in
changing things in accordance with our
desires, gradually our desires
change.

The situation that we hoped to change because it was intolerable becomes unimportant to us.

We have failed to surmount the obstacle, as we were absolutely determined to do, but life has taken us round it, led us beyond it, and then if we turn round to gaze into the distance of the past, we can barely see it, so imperceptible has it become.

And that is what we generally call fate:
Sometimes fate is like a small
sandstorm that keeps changing
directions.
You change direction but the sandstorm chases you.
You turn again, but the storm adjusts. Over and over you play this out, like some ominous dance with death just before dawn.

Why?

Because this storm isn’t something that
blew in from far away, something that
has nothing to do with you.

This storm is you.

Something inside of you.

So all you can do is give in to it, step right inside the storm, closing your eyes and plugging up your ears so the sand
doesn’t get in, and walk through it, step
by step.

There’s no sun there, no moon,no direction, no sense of time.

Just fine white sand swirling up into the sky like pulverized dry bones.

That’s the kind of sandstorm you need to imagine.

And you really will have to make it
through that violent, metaphysical,
symbolic storm.

No matter how metaphysical or symbolic it might be, make no mistake about it: it will cut through flesh like a thousand razor blades.

People will bleed there, and you
will bleed too. Hot, red blood.

You’ll catch that blood in your hands, your own blood and the blood of others.

And once the storm is over you won’t
remember how you made it through,how you managed to survive.

You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain:
When you come out of the storm you
won’t be the same person who walked
in. That’s what this storm of change is all about.

And when you are going through this storm of change in your desires,the most important things are the hardest to say.

They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them — words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they’re brought out.

But it’s more than that, isn’t it?

The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away.

And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you’ve said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it.

That’s the worst, I think.

When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller but for want of an understanding ear.

Even love cannot escape the storm of change.

You think because she doesn’t love you
that you are worthless.

You think that because she doesn’t want you anymore that she is right — that her judgement and opinion of you are correct.

If she throws you out, then you are garbage.

You think she belongs to you because you
want to belong to her.

Don’t.

It’s a bad word, ‘belong.’

Especially when you put it with somebody you love.

Love shouldn’t be like that.

Did you ever see the way the clouds love a mountain?

They circle all around it; sometimes you can’t even see the mountain for the clouds.

But you know what?

You go up top and what do you see? Mountain’s head.

The clouds never cover the head.

The head pokes through, beacuse the clouds let it; they don’t wrap it up.

They let the mountain keep its head
up high, free, with nothing to hide it
or bind it,except when seen from a distance.

You can’t own a human being.

And so You can’t lose what you don’t own.

Suppose you did own her.

Could you really love somebody who was
absolutely nobody without you?

You really want somebody like that?
Somebody who falls apart when you
walk out the door?

You don’t, do you?
And neither does she.

You’re turning over your whole life to her. Your whole life, to a girl.

And if it means so little to you that
you can just give it away, hand it to her,
then why should it mean any more to
her?

She can’t value you more than you
value yourself.

I think we are well-advised to keep on
nodding terms with the people we used
to be, whether we find them attractive
company or not. Otherwise they turn up
unannounced and surprise us, come
hammering on the mind’s door at 4 a.m.
of a bad night and demand to know who
deserted them, who betrayed them, who
is going to make amends. We forget all
too soon the things we thought we could
never forget. We forget the loves and the
betrayals alike, forget what we
whispered and what we screamed,
forget who we were.

I once loved a pretty girl,who was far beyond my league.

And tore my heart apart.

I wanted so badly to lie down next to
her on the couch, to wrap my arms
around her and sleep. Not fuck, like in
those movies. Not even have sex. Just
sleep together in the most innocent
sense of the phrase. But I lacked the
courage and she had a boyfriend and I
was gawky and she was gorgeous and I
was hopelessly boring and she was
endlessly fascinating. So I walked back
to my room and collapsed on the bottom
bunk, thinking that if people were rain, I
was drizzle and she was hurricane.

But I tried, didn’t I? Goddamnit, at least
I did that.

But it too came to pass.

And like many other storms in my life, it didn’t kill me.

So if you are going to try anything in this life,If you’re going to try, go all the way.
Otherwise, don’t even start. This could
mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives
and maybe even your mind. It could
mean not eating for three or four days.
It could mean freezing on a park bench.
It could mean jail. It could mean
derision. It could mean mockery–
isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the
others are a test of your endurance, of
how much you really want to do it. And,
you’ll do it, despite rejection and the
worst odds. And it will be better than
anything else you can imagine. If you’re
going to try, go all the way. There is no
other feeling like that. You will be alone
with the gods, and the nights will flame
with fire. You will ride life straight to
perfect laughter. It’s the only good fight
there is.
Like a girl I met who kept saying-..
But I’m going to be very careful if I ever fall in love again;
I will be very careful the next time I fall
in love, she told herself. Also, she had
made a promise to herself that she
intended on keeping. She was never
going to go out with another writer: no
matter how charming, sensitive,
inventive or fun they could be. They
weren’t worth it in the long run. They
were emotionally too expensive and the
upkeep was complicated. They were like
having a vacuum cleaner around the
house that broke all the time and only
Einstein could fix it. She wanted her next
lover to be a broom.

Usually we walk around constantly
believing ourselves. “I’m okay” we say.
“I’m alright”. But sometimes the truth
arrives on you and you can’t get it off.
That’s when you realize that sometimes
it isn’t even an answer–it’s a question.
Even now, I wonder how much of my life
is convinced.

Reality too,actually, changes through the storms of our lifes.

I never believed in Santa Claus. None of
us kids did. Mom and Dad refused to let
us. They couldn’t afford expensive
presents and they didn’t want us to think
we weren’t as good as other kids who, on
Christmas morning, found all sorts of
fancy toys under the tree that were
supposedly left by Santa Claus.
Dad had lost his job at the gypsum, and
when Christmas came that year, we had
no money at all. On Christmas Eve, Dad
took each one of us kids out into the
desert night one by one.
“Pick out your favorite star”, Dad said.
“I like that one!” I said.
Dad grinned, “that’s Venus”, he said. He
explained to me that planets glowed
because reflected light was constant and
stars twinkled because their light
pulsed.
“I like it anyway” I said.
“What the hell,” Dad said. “It’s
Christmas. You can have a planet if you
want.”
And he gave me Venus.
Venus didn’t have any moons or
satellites or even a magnetic field, but it
did have an atmosphere sort of similar
to Earth’s, except it was super hot-about
500 degrees or more. “So,” Dad said,
“when the sun starts to burn out and
Earth turns cold, everyone might want to
move to Venus to get warm. And they’ll
have to get permission from your
descendants first.
We laughed about all the kids who
believed in the Santa myth and got
nothing for Christmas but a bunch of
cheap plastic toys. “Years from now,
when all the junk they got is broken and
long forgotten,” Dad said, “you’ll still
have your stars.

Love is not real; Love is turning away from the reality

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How do you know how to love? Did you sit
wide-eyed in front a large screen as
colourful costumed characters hugged one
another to a saccharine sound-track so this
imbued you with the concept of what love
was? Did those cartoon characters explain
to you what it is to love? Did their
exaggerated voices and crazy antics,
followed by the moral of the story teach you
what love is? Perhaps you read about it in
love, heard it in songs and studied the many
ways in which this ultimate emotion
appears and affects people. Chances are
that you have been affected by those hugely
affecting passages from the great works
dedicated to love. Chances are you have
been captured by haunting lyrics and catchy
jingles which also profess to tell you what
love is. They have all played a part. You may
have learned about love from the version
churned out by the media, of Hollywood
romance, dashing heroes, fair maidens,
tarts with golden hearts, the good man who
rides to the rescue, the wayward soul saved
by love. Love may have been explained to
you from the pulpit as a higher love,
something which transcends all earthly
manifestations, a love so powerful and
complete that it sacrificed its only son in
order to demonstrate its love for
humankind. This godly love is all around
you, it touches each and all and is mighty in
its effects. Love may have been learned
from furtive fumbles down alleyways,
sneaking into bedrooms when so young, the
exploration of warm and urgent body parts
accompanied by those every so sincere
protestations of love. A haphazard journey
through galloping teen years as nothing and
everything makes sense all at once. Then
again, love might have appeared to you in
the form of something small and furry, an
unconditional (so long as it was fed) love
which was loyal, giving and ever so cute. So
many erudite tutors, learned lecturers and
wise proponents of what love is. Love thy
neighbour, love yourself, love is all you
need, woman in love, it must have been
love, crazy little thing called love, to know
him is to love him, we found love, how deep
is your love? Love is all around us, in us,
between us, lifting us up and letting us
down. It is everywhere and you may well
have been taught by many of the above and
more besides as to what love is.
However, love most likely will have been
taught to you by those who created you,
those two people who came together and
through their own pleasure created you.
Two people who decided that they would
shoulder the responsibility of creating life,
nurturing it and bringing a new person into
the world. Those two people accepted
many, many responsibilities from such a
decision and act. Chief among them was
the responsibility of teaching that person
what love is. Through their offices they have
furnished each and every one of us with the
notion of what love is. A deep-seated and
visceral understanding of this is how love
feels, this is what it looks like, this is what it
sounds like. This is love. From those two
people more than anything else we are first
grounded in the concept of what love is.
This grounding lasts a considerable time
and whilst there are other factors to be
considered, as I have mentioned above, it is
this lesson which is learnt invariably first
and the one lesson which resonates beyond
all others. So often we are in their hands
when it comes to being taught about love.
So, what is this taught love? It has so many,
many facets.
Love is being told to never trust anybody.
Love is being made to re-write the entire
essay because of one spelling mistake.
Love is being sent to stand outside on a cold
winter’s day until all three verses of Ode to
Autumn are recited correctly.
Love is knowing nothing is ever good
enough.
Love is understanding that someone else
knows better than you what is best for you.
Love is turning away from the reality.
Love is standing straight against a wall for
several hours for speaking out of turn.
Love is for the weak.
Love is being told that when I am gone
nobody else will look out for you.
Love is succeeding.
Love is building a wall as high as possible.
Love is trying until it hurts and gaining that
final curt nod of approval.
Love is being seen and not heard.
Love is fulfilling your potential and securing
that legacy.
Love is hurting you even though it hurts
me, but someone in this household has to
do it and it won’t be him will it?
Love is reading to yourself than being read
to.
Love is living in the shadows and hoping not
to be noticed.
Love is being the best.
Love is the preserve of the powerful.
Love is being denied a birthday party
because the other children are too stupid.
Love is being undermined in order to
prevent conceit.
Love is a begrudged recognition and the
injunction to try harder, go further, climb
higher, run faster, study longer.
Love is burning your hand but not crying.
Love is don’t tell anybody about our secret.
Love is a righteous beating.
Love is being distant and pretending things
never happened.
Love is being sent away.
Love is not being told.
Love is splendid isolation.
Love was taught this way.
Love is embracing chaos that spring from our primal lust.
Love is after all,only a taught construct in our minds!

We’re each a negligible part of a vast cosmic entity, and there really is something beautiful about that if you choose to see it for what it is

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We all experience the world like we are at the center of reality.

We think and we feel in relation to how our senses absorb information and how this information mingles with our personal memories. The subjective perception created by these interactions provides the illusion of importance.

We forget that this perception only exists in our minds and that everyone near us is walking around under exactly the same psychological mindset.
In truth, we’re just one of billions, and over the course of history, everything about us is insignificant. Even people like Newton and Einstein, who we revere for their contributions to humanity, are only slightly less insignificant.

Our universe contains one septillion stars (a one followed by 24 zeroes) and a lot of these stars contain many, many more modes of dust that we call planets. If any of us ceased to exist tomorrow, little would change beyond the subjective emotional states of the people in our immediate circles.

Earth would continue its orbit, and the laws of physics would remain in tact. We’re nothing more than a fraction of a ripple in an infinite sea of entropy.

The Purpose of Life Is to Be a Nobody
We’re nothing more than a fraction of a ripple in an infinite sea of entropy. Unsplash
Many of us don’t like hearing this. It conflicts with the story our mind tells.

We’re brought up to think that we’re special, and we like believing it. But I don’t say any of this as a cynic or to depress you. In fact, quite the opposite. I say it because distinguishing between our subjective perception and the objective reality is the key to living a meaningful and important life.

Acknowledging unimportance liberates us from the grips of the self-centered voice in our head that’s chiefly responsible for many of life’s difficulties.

It’s the voice that compares us to people that don’t matter, it’s the same voice that convinces us that we’re entitled to a comfortable and easy life, and it’s indeed this voice that has us chasing arbitrary measures of success.

And the result?

We spend our time acquiring things we don’t want or need, we falter at the first sign of hardship and inconvenience, and one day, we wake up to a ticking clock realizing that, all this time, we’ve lived somebody else’s life.

The surest way to be unfilled is to walk around like you hold some sort of a privileged position in the universe. It’s not only a completely false and harmful illusion, but it also overlooks the fringe benefits of being a nobody.

I’d like to walk you through them.

1. Being a nobody allows us to truly experience and appreciate the profoundness of the sublime.

In 1757, Edmund Burke published one of the most influential works in aesthetics. It’s a branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of beauty.

In it, he separated sensory experiences into The Beautiful and The Sublime.

We’re all familiar with The Beautiful. It can be summarized by the standard definition. We see it every day in the things we find stunning and pleasant. The Sublime, however, is different. It’s more than just visually enticing. It’s overwhelming. It makes us feel small, and it has the power to engorge us.

It’s found when we are in awe at the might of nature, it’s experienced in the emotion of love, and it’s discovered when we are compelled by a great work of art. It’s a heightened sense of existence beyond comfort and normalcy.

The Purpose of Life Is to Be a Nobody
Every day we see things we find stunning and pleasant. Unsplash
To fully indulge in The Sublime, we have to give up a part of ourselves. We are forced to accept a degree of inferiority for a connection to something greater. The risk of vulnerability is balanced by the reward of ecstasy.

No one is immune from experiencing this wonder, but an ego and a deep sense of personal importance get in the way. They seek ecstasy without accepting vulnerability, and they then find themselves cornered with fear.

There is nothing desirable about it. It leads to a kind of paralysis that steals the potential of experiencing some of the great joys in life. It may be masked with humor or rationality, but in truth, it’s nothing more than insecurity.

Being a nobody, you don’t have this problem. You accept that you’re already naked, so you may as well put it on display to try and gain something.

More often than not, you do.

2. Being a nobody frees us from the irrational pressures and expectations of an uncertain world.

We live our lives guided by labels and hierarchies. It’s how we make sense of a complex reality. That said, these labels and hierarchies aren’t absolute.

A tree isn’t a tree because a law of nature has defined it as a tree. It’s a tree because our cognitive brains have learned to understand it as such. It’s our way of translating sensory noise into a mode of organization that’s useful.

This is a crucial distinction. Our observation of reality is an approximation confined by the boundaries of language. It’s uncertain and in large part unpredictable. As the late Nobel Laureate Albert Camus noted, we live to reason with an unreasonable world and it often leads to a conflicted life.

When you bind these labels and hierarchies too closely to your identity, you anchor your expectations to things that are fundamentally fragile.

The Purpose of Life Is to Be a Nobody
Our observation of reality is an approximation confined by the boundaries of language. Unsplash
If you gain your worth from being a CEO and the fact that you wield a degree of power in the context of a business, rather than, say, from intrinsic values, then you will eventually find yourself in a position of conflict.

Life isn’t concerned with your artificial sense of importance. At some point, there will be a divergence between the story you tell yourself and the cold, hard reality. Your net worth won’t matter, and the fall will be much steeper.

When you are a nobody, however, you don’t pretend that a label — whether good or bad — is anything more than a figment of our collective imagination. You liberate yourself from many of the petty societal pressures of existence.

You may still assume a certain role with pride, but knowing that it doesn’t make you any more or less important grounds you on a firmer foundation.

It’s a small mental shift that makes a big difference.

3. Being a nobody gives us the humility to realize that it’s our struggles that define us, not our desires.

When we convince ourselves that we’re more special than what the universe dictates, we tend to develop a sense of entitlement about what life owes us.

We choose to believe the surface-level stories about what happiness and success look like, and we are quick to think that they don’t cost a thing.

The harsh truth is that the universe doesn’t owe anyone anything. It’s utterly indifferent to what you or I want. It exists as it does based on the forces that act on it, and to shape an outcome in our favor, it’s on us to pick our battles.

It’s fine and well to want an amazing career, but walking around with the assumption that you deserve one won’t get you there. It’s the price that you are willing to pay that will. It’s that initial unrewarded work and those long, long hours of blood and sweat and tears with no end in sight that will.

The Purpose of Life Is to Be a Nobody
The harsh truth is that the universe doesn’t owe anyone anything. Unsplash
To accept such struggles, it takes humility. It requires you to acknowledge that you’re just like everybody else that wants a great job, a wonderful relationship, and consistent happiness. Your desires aren’t unique.

It means that you accept that the difference isn’t in what you want, but in what you are willing to suffer for. It’s about the trade-offs you’re willing to endure, the beatings you’re willing to take, and it’s about knowing that in spite of all of that, the fruits of your labor may still not amount to anything.

It’s about boldly staring life in the face and having the courage to say,

“I might not be much, and I know I won’t always get what I want, but it sure as hell doesn’t mean that I won’t try.”

And that, ultimately, is the purpose of life. To try and see reality in its true form and then to do what you can to shape it into what you wish it were.

You’re already a nobody, and as am I. We’re not owed anything. The sooner we realize that, the sooner we can focus on the things we can change. And there’s a lot we can change. It’s not easy, but that’s precisely why it’s valuable.

We’re each a negligible part of a vast cosmic entity, and there really is something beautiful about that if you choose to see it for what it is.

The Profile of a Deadbeat Dad

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You don’t become a father unless a woman is kind enough to grant you the honour of siring a child with her(not so in case of rape!).

Then she throws you on a tail spin.
The mother of this child then becomes
difficult to live with.

She makes financial and emotional demands you cannot meet.
You start seeing you have no future as a couple.

You separate.

You demand to spend time with your daughter, to bond with her like
father and daughter but mother would
have none of it.

She demands you pay bride wealth to her parents and take her a wife.

She insists you visit the altar and sign the
dotted lines.

You prevaricate, being in severe financial
straits.

But you send money to her frequently for the child’s upkeep.

You also send money to members of her family to help keep in good stead.

Her demands increase.

You long to see your daughter frequently.

She baulks and becomes increasingly abusive.

She isn’t working so she needs more financial assistance from you.

You begin to think she considers you an ATM; as such, available to her beck and call to be skimmed for cash.

You resists her onslaught.

You get vilified and ostracised.

You are banished from seeing your daughter.

You are a deadbeat dad, a worthless sperm donor, a no-do-gooder creating toxic cellular mayhem in society
at large.

You re-trace your steps, seek
rapprochement with her and her family.

She does not relent in her demands.

You have to provide this, that and the other for the child or else…

You call in Social Services to intervene.

They plead with her to be reasonable.

She curses, cries, gnashes her teeth and insists her demands be met.

They tell her she’s trying the father’s patience.

They wonder how you can manage to have so much patience.

Both mother and father leave
Social Services unresolved.

You call your child to say I love you.

The child,in a rehearsed voice says she despises you and drops the
phone.

What can the mother be feeding
the child, you ask? She’s only four
years old. Where is she learning hatred
from?

You continue to rack your brain to no
avail.

You remain undecided as to how to solve the problem.

Sometimes,the mother allows you to speak with their child. Sometimes
she doesn’t.

Your requests for visits are met
with the same attitude.

The child remains ambivalent towards you, wavering between love and hate.

You fear her young mind is being poisoned.

Your heart breaks over the mental
manipulation.

Perhaps you’d better withdraw completely to spare everyone further heartache.

Sometimes you do not call or visit for months.

You fear you are becoming what you had always dreaded most : a deadbeat dad.

The years drift by.

The mother insists you can’t want the child and not want her too.

This is a serious bone of contention.

You must desire her enough in order to be with yourr child.

She refuses to budge from her demands that you pay ‘damages’,
Bride wealth and sign the dotted lines with her.
You have long since stopped loving her.
She senses this and uses your child as a
pawn.

You feel helpless and resent the
situation.

You eventually cave in to this
helplessness.

You drift away from your
child.

Their child becomes a young woman
full of resentment for you.

You had abandoned her.

You failed to fight for her.

You haven’t been there at the crucial
moments of her life.
Her mind had been filled with bitter tales
about your absence.

Your absence is both a life sentence and an indictment.
Nothing can assuage the pain, the sense
of betrayal and abandonment.

To her, her mother,and the rest of the world, you will always be, and remain a deadbeat dad.

If i ever find love again

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Where can I go, when all the roads I take they never lead me home
Hey yo
I miss you so, but I’m used to seeing people come and go

Yeah, I’ve made mistakes
Next time, I swear I’ll change

When I find love again, when I find love again
I’ll be much better than the man I used to be
When I find love again, when I find love again
I’ll have a better plan for us

Hey yo
I’m not ashamed, ’cause everybody has a heart that’s made to break
Hey yo
Don’t be afraid, ’cause you’re only getting stronger from the pain

Yeah I’ve made mistakes
Next time, I swear I’ll change

When I find love again, when I find love again
I’ll be much better than the man I used to be
When I find love again, when I find love again
I’ll have a better plan for us
Yeah, you and me

Yeah, I’ve made mistakes
Next time, I swear I’ll change

When I find love again, when I find love again
I’ll be much better than the man I used to be
When I find love again, when I find love again
I’ll have a better plan for us
Yeah, you and me

When I find love again, when I find love again
I’ll be much better than the man I used to be
When I find love again, when I find love again
I’ll have a better plan for us

When I find love again, when I find love again
I’ll be much better than the man I used to be
When I find love again, when I find love again
I’ll have a better plan for us

Memories of a Wonderful Christmas; a dance with Lena

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I had no plans for this Christmas day,long ago,back on my college days.

I kept my lonely self busy listening to Christmas carols playing on the radio.

Suddenly,I was disturbed by a soft knock on my door.

I hurried to the door,and when I opened it,a girl who was gradually growing into a beautiful woman,was standing on the threshold: She was my Lena,a half-woman,and a half girl, pouting her seductive lips as an invitation for a silent kiss!

Her black skirt suit fitted her blossoming figure smoothly,gloss cheeks and her sexy eyes poring shyly through my shocked senses.

She was not disconcerted by my embarrassment;my room was in disarray,I was not expecting a visitor.

She looked about her with naïve curiosity that always turned me on,I remembered so well during our first sleep over in my place.

You were not expecting me,Ben,but here I am-she said as she took off her jacket and sat more at ease in her blouse,of some soft,flimsy silk,on my bed.

Her face dimpled into a shy smile,and her hand reached out to tuning dial on my radio,searching,for what I came to realise in a moment,dance music station.

She rose ,and held out her hand for me,a shell shocked figure of a man,being led on,as always,by this beautiful girl.

To dance with Lena on Christmas day,or any other day, was like coming home,riding on the crest of a tame ocean tide.

She moved without exertion,rather lazily,
Her hand often tapped the rhythm of the music playing on my radio, softly on my shoulder.

She only smiled if I spoke to her,but seldom answered.

The music seemed to put her into a soft trance,and her eyes looked sleepily and confidingly at me from her cute lashes.

Whenever she sighed,she always exhaled a fragrant breath of pepper mint that drove me insane,and I only remedied this with a return of a wild kiss.

She danced every dance like a waltz,a waltz of coming home to the best romance that I ever had,of inevitable Christmas rapture.

With Lena,every dance was always a new adventure of subtle seduction,a return to a new place in my heart that has always been reserved for her.

And at the end of every dance,after her fingers stopped tapping the rhythm of music on my shoulders,she ran them through my hair,waiting for the next song that would play on my little transistor radio,and call us again to the dance floor of my small bachelor pad.

I have always dreamed of Lena.

One dream I dream many times over during Christmas,and is always the same dream; I’m lying on grass under a mango tree that grew in my childhood home. Lena is coming across barefoot in a short skirt,with her long dancing legs hoovering over my face.

She squats on her heels beside me with a soft sigh and says; “now,they are all gone Ben,and I can kiss you as much as you want,on this Christmas day!”.

Lena has left something warm and friendly in my heart that runs through all my Christmases.

If there were no girls like Lena in this world,there would be no poetry,and Christmas would always be another dull day me: this revelation seems to me inestimably precious,and I always cling to it every Christmas day as if it might suddenly vanish.

As I sit all by myself this Christmas day,I know that my old dream will come to me again,like a precious memory of that actual experience many years ago,floating like a picture page on some glamorous magazine,with Lena whispering softly on my ears; “”now,they are all gone Ben,and I can kiss you as much as you want,on this Christmas day!”.

Merry Christmas,2015,every one!

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®

So my (Ex)girlfriend kissed a girl!

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,


So my woman passionately kissed a girl on the mouth.

It didn’t break my heart; it broke all the faith I had in women as soul mates.

I didn’t hear about it on the grapevine; I saw it one night as I drove to her place.

As I parked, i noticed them, right there
under the street lamp in the deserted cranny of a peripheral University Campus estate, two women, washed over by a beam of light coming from above them, their shadows
cast far out into the wet road.

I knew it was my (now Ex)girlfriend – I can tell the shape of my woman in any light or darkness– I could tell how her butt juts out like that, as if struggling to divorce itself entirely from the rest of her body.

At first, in alarm, I thought that the other
figure was a guy, and I instinctively slowed the car down to a crawl and as I drew nearer.

I squinted and saw with surprise (and relief) that it was actually a girl.

She was taller (than her, and me).

She was wearing some sort of running tights and a sweater through which large breasts rose triumphantly on her chest.

With one hand she held my woman around the waist and with the other, the back of her head in that firm, half manly, half womanly, fashion.

It seemed tender, yet enslaving in a sinful way at the same time.

That hand on her neck seemed to say, “You are mine. That rogue of a man you call your boyfriend will never love you as passionately as I do now,at this present moment”.

My woman looked all together succumbed and submissive to this tall manly looking slender girl, resigned in a docile way I have never quite seen before in her demeanour.

She seemed completely owned by this
strange woman.

It was unbelievable to me,knowing she was a mother of a toddler from her previous relationship.

Clustered together under that street lamp, they looked like two last humans left behind after a catastrophic apocalypse, desperately clinging
onto what’s left of their humanity.

It didn’t look romantic,like it would look if it were between a man and a woman; it looked ominous, desperate, desolate,a cannibalistic sort of union.

Later she walked into her kitchen to find me fixing a drink (Lord knows I needed
something stiff). “Hey,” she said.

I poured her a glass of her regular tetra pack Sherry that I always brought along for her as she unwound the scarf
around her neck.

She said she had been out to clear her head.

“The long walk always does me a lot of good,I had to have one just waiting for you” she added, taking her wine from my hand and kissing me on the mouth.

Her lips tasted of dirty rainwater.

Have you ever slipped and fell face down into a roadside gutter after the rain tasting the muddy water in the ditch?

That’s how her mouth tasted in my mind.

She took a sip and stared into her glass, as if looking at her reflection, or choosing the right words to say something.

I leaned on the kitchen counter and stared
at her.

Her sharp chin and sparkling eyes and her long hair, now wet, falling around her face, making her look like one of those gypsies I read about in books.

“I didn’t know you like girls as well,” I said.

She sighed, and I could have sworn I felt
the sigh coming before she actually let it out.

That statement hung in her kitchen air like dawn fog; solid and weighty, like it
can anchor a small steamer ship.

She looked up and held my gaze for a while before bringing her glass to her lips.

I patiently rattled my ice cubes in my glass of whisky, intrigued, curious. “I don’t know what to say,” she mumbled, finally. “It’s just one of those things that happen and you can’t explain… you are a guy, you wouldn’t understand. I don’t expect you to… but I’m straight,that’s why you are here with me now. I was just curious, OK?”

Her statement was much more painful than a physical castration on my manhood.

Then she sat her glass on the counter and crossed her arms around her chest, like she was shivering, and looked at me with a question mark on her chin.

“I actually don’t mind,” I said with a wicked smile.

She stared hard at me then emitted a
small choked laugh. “You are sick,” she said.

Any man who has asked his woman if they would kiss another girl has been told, “Yeah, why not?. It’s innocent”.

Like they would actually consider it completely asexual.

A perfectly straight woman will tell you, “That woman has nice breasts,” or “That woman is so hot,” or “That chick has such a sexy body.”

But it always comes out in an asexual way.

But I knew that my woman was having a lesbian affair with her bosom friend.

I snooped into her bedside drawers; there were all manners of lesbian toys.

I slept on a matress on the floor of her bedroom that night,feeling disgusted about my folly.

I drove off the next morning very early before she awoke.

I haven’t seen her since.

I have never tried to find out what she does with the fake facade of her double life.

¤¤¤¤¤

Two weeks ago I went for this pre-wedding lunch meeting for one of my friends and happened to sit next to this chap called Tony who is a soil scientist in my consultancy.

Tony and I rarely discuss anything about our social lives.

But he was tipsy on this night.

He said that women are inherently and unconsciously predisposed to be
attracted to other women, and of course that caused a big debate around the
table.

That’s how the memory of this lesbian ex-girlfriend resurfaced on my mind,after I had all forgotten about it for years now.

Then I bounced the idea off a few women and they seemed not altogether rebuffed by it as long as they “liked that girl.” “You would have no reason to be jelously suspicious about such an asexual gesture,Ben,would you?”.

But does it matter?

Does it matter when you find out that your woman has been getting some
tender loving from another woman?

Would you get mad? Jealous? Like I did?

Would you want to compete with another
woman? How could you? Wouldn’t that be like bringing a cock to a bullfight?

Wait, I shouldn’t have said that here.

That’s not what I meant…you know what, just have yourself a great weekend, will you?

I, on the other hand, will fetch myself a drink,and drown the foul taste of that last kiss on my mouth that I got from my lesbian girlfriend, many,many years ago.

I forget what her name was.

Of savvy kids, and seeking clarity of mind in a world full of mist

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I really can’t tell what’s happening to me these days.

I miss kids like crazy.

I’d wish to really have some kids around me at this point in my life.

Does that happen to you?

When you see a child and you want to adopt them even if they are with their parents?

There is this other kid I wanted to adopt because my life is full of kids I want to adopt.

This one was a boy of about 7.

He was performing at a school concert a few weeks ago at a neighbouring school’s open day that we attended,me and my partner,Daisy.

By some accident of nature,I don’t have my own kids,neither does Daisy,my partner.

They were a whole bunch, dancing up on stage to Eddie Kenzo’s song Sitya Loss. Chubby boy with a gorgeous smile that never left his face and that boy could dance!

He had such a robust spirit, such a vim for life and he was there dancing upfront,
moving his chubby limbs, his large
cheeks strained in that lovely smile and
he was killing it!

I wanted to adopt that one even though I could tell his appetite would get me bankrupt in a week. Boys eat.

A boy eats anything.

If it doesn’t cause him convulsions,he will eat it.

I told some pal of mine this story, the
story about that boy, and he said it was kind of creepy.

He said that he has NEVER looked at someone’s child and thought he should adopt them.

Which made me wonder if I was growing to be a kind of a creepy middle-aged man.

Then another lady friend of mine mentioned that I should try meditation and yoga to- and listen to this – “calm my mind.”

This “craving” for other people’s kids must be coming from a “disturbed mind”,she said.

That I needed “clarity.”

You see a kid who dances in a school concert and suddenly people want you to have clarity!

Yogis are always trying to get the world to seek clarity.

They want you to “centre” yourself. I feel centred enough, thank you very much.

If I didn’t feel centred I would be jay walking.

I saw this other kid once at Kengele’s,ABC place,Waiyaki way, Lavington Curve, speaking on the mobile phone.

She was about 5/6years old,
protectively clutching a doll under her armpit.

“I was not sure what to order,” she was saying,”…yes, but last time I eated chicken wings…I ate chicken wings,…yes,….yes, but will Cynthia take me to see Garvin?…Why mom?”

Then she did something extraordinary, she looked at her phone and said, “ Wait, dad is calling me, wait a moment mom.”

And she pressed a button on her phone and said, “Hi dad… I’m fine…at Big Square, I am talking to mom, can you call me back after five minutes?” then she pressed another button and said, “That was dad, he was aksing where I am,” then at that moment the little spacecraft thing they give you when you order food started vibrating and lighting up on the table and she looked at it and simply told the mom, “Food is ready, I will call you
later,” and then hung up, pap without
any ceremony! Haha.

They always hung up fast when they see food.

I watched her and her nanny go to the counter to pick their order and I was completely mesmerised and in awe.

I sat there and thought, heck, what school does this kid go to?

I particularly loved how she said,
“aksing”, not “asking.”

Dad is aksing where I am.

I didn’t want her to leave. I wanted her
to stay there a little longer with her doll and receive a million calls for me to eavesdrop on.

She had these small podgy fingers with nails painted silver and with some princessy things on them.

Her feet dangled from the edge of the wooden seats.

Pretty as a goddamn picture,till it hurt my eyes,just looking at her.

I watched them leave.

The nanny carrying the food and her hopping and skipping along beside her confidently, with her doll and her
mobile phone that connects her to the
world.

A little girl who knows how to keep you on hold, pick another call and then put you off hold.

I struggle with that stuff, yet she did it one fluid motion and with such class: “Dad, can you call me back in five minutes?”

My God, I bet that kid eats Weetaflakes for breakfast and flosses her teeth twice a week!

She has always stayed on my head, that
kid.

I know this might sound crazy, but
I wanted to adopt her.

I wanted to show up with her in my house and my partner would ask, bending to greet her with a smile, “and who is this?” and I would tell her, this is Winnie-The-Doll and she would say, “OK, I know but who is this other pretty one?” and the little girl would speak up and say with confidence, “My name is Brenda,” Of course she is Brenda,nowadays nobody calls their kids Jane or Milka or Pamela.

That’s like buying an antiquated Motorola phone.

And Brenda and Winnie The Doll would sit and have milk and biscuits with us at the dining table.

Later,Daisy,my partner would summon me to the bedroom and ask, Who is that kid, is that your kid? and
I would say, No, relax, I saw her at Kengele’s food joint and I took her.

And she would look at me like I’d gone mad and ask incredulously, “You took her? Like you would take a free magazine?”

And I would say, “I mean, she didn’t mind, I think she is too cool, I heard her hold and unhold a call and I just had to take her…don’t you like her or her Winnie the Doll?” and she would hold her head in her hand like it’s going to explode and then motherly put one hand on my shoulder and say in a very slow tone, like I’m slightly younger than Brenda, “You can’t take other people’s kids from restaurants because you think they can swap through calls! It’s illegal. Now I
want you to take her back right now, her
parents must be sick of worry!”

Then I would ask if she can at least finish her milk and she will say sure, of course
then watch me leave the room with a
very worried look on her face.

Anyway, Daisy, my partner and my resident shrink on the house,sent me this Russell Simmons book called “Success Through
Stillness” co-authored by Chris Morrow.

It’s about how Russell, a hip-hop mogul,
found his stillness but I really never read
past the third paragraph and every time
she would call and ask me, “Ben, have
you finished the book?” I would say, “I’m
taking my time with it,” until finally she
asked, “You aren’t reading it, are you?”
and I said I wasn’t.

I said I had a clot in leg calf vein and
I have been waiting for it to disintegrate
first because really, I don’t think you can
“centre” yourself when you have a clot in
your leg. So now that the clot is no
more, I just have to read it.

But she also asked me to download this app called Meditation Made Simple by the same Russell Simmons and it promises to reduce stress, anxiety attacks and Insomnia, and to increase happiness.

How about that, an app that will
increase your happiness.

Regretfully , it didn’t mention anything about urges to adopt other people’s kids.

So this morning I started on my Buddhist meditation again.

I woke up at 5am and went to the sitting
room and sat in silence, eyes closed and
I played the app which is essentially
Russell Simmons asking you to breathe
in and out while swami-like music plays
in the background. “…to recognise all
the pauses between our breath in the
second of stillness…” Russell says sagely.

The whole point of the exercise is to
empty your mind of thoughts and find
peace.

But my thoughts refused to leave,I couldn’t focus.

I heard the wall clock tick loudly above, I heard the fridge hum and the water dispenser purr and outside the neighbour’s cock make a racket. (Oh boy,
I can’t even find stillness in a sentence
like that).

It was ironic that I heard more sounds while meditating than when I wasn’t.

It lasted ten minutes of me sitting there shirt less in my sleeping shorts, legs crossed like a swami, breathing in and out and trying not to imagine my partner walking out and finding me there, which wouldn’t surprise her because she already thinks I’m a bit crazy wanting to steal other people’s kids just because they are cute. Hehe.

She almost said that I’ve started “behaving like a woman”.

Which is why I think people should
meditate in a forest, probably Karura forest.

Or Ngong forest.

Talking of forests.

There was this time I was coming from my home town in Kiambu.

Driving back I found myself alone because the person I had gone with decided to stay behind.

So I was in the car alone and some chaps –probably some carjacker were trailing my car.

The previous night, I was out having drinks with my childhood buddies from my village.
I slept at midnight. Stupid. I know.

But have you ever dozed off at the steering wheel?

It’s the scariest thing ever!

An hour before I came to Karura Forest at Ridgeways,I was woken up with a start by the front wheel getting off the road.

My heart was pounding so hard I could feel it in my neck.

I rolled down all the windows, and
killed the heating system.

I called my friend Gitau who had made a short stop over in Kiambu town and said, Boss, I’m nodding off, can we meet up somewhere in Pangani and do a power
nap?

He said, “I was nodding off too, but
where do we stop man, where is this
place?” I didn’t know.

It was dark. And cold.

All I knew was that in the middle of Karura Forest and it didn’t seem like a
bright idea to just stop in that ominous
darkness.

I might wake up and find that some opportunists helped themselves to my car tyres as I slept.

But i said Heck and pulled over at the side of the road in a small clearing and blacked out.

When I woke up at 6.30am there was an
old man tapping on my window.

He had on those grungy hats farmers those sides wear with some a heavy brown jacket with a red collar turned up.

His face was weathered and curved like
something from a slave-movie.

He startled me.

I started the engine and rolled down my window slowly.

Here is the weird thing, In my confusion, I
thought it was an apparition. True story.

I thought I had died at the wheel because
of sleeping while driving and now,a saint
was here with his grungy hat.

He said something in Kikuyu and I thought, aah this is just great, now even a saint has to be a KiKuyu?

I said something in Kiswahili and he
asked me if we were OK and I said I had
slept, I was tired driving.

And he said, Ohh, “poleni kwa safari” (Sorry for a tiring journey and he trudged on, hunched over.

I went over and woke Gitau and the
rest up and went and peed in the bush.

Then I realised that I really needed to
use the bathroom so I went to the little
boma 50-meters away and found the old
man standing near his gate reading
smses on his feature phone and asked him if I could use his bathroom.

He pointed at this drop-toilet and I walked in, past mud-houses, a cattle shed, past a kitchen with musky three-stone smoke coming out of its door and when I got to the drop toilet I realised it had no tissue pape,r so I walked back and embarrassingly asked him if I could get some.

He called out a name, Wanjiku or Wairimu, I can’t recall, they all sound the same, and said something in Kikuyu and Wairimu or Wanjiku, a girl not more than 13, brought back a bunch of old newspapers which was a bit insulting because really, how big did she think my ass was?

When I came out, I found her waiting with a jug of warm water to wash my hands
and she poured the water for me, that
touched my heart out of me.

They warmed water for me! A stranger!

My goodness!

You know, as we drove back I thought to
myself that the old man could have been a saint after all.

You know how Jesus washed the
feet of his disciples? What are the odds?
We fell asleep on the wheel, we stopped
at some random and who knows,
dangerous part of the road and napped
and some old man, with a curved face
and a red collar gave me his toilet and
his daughter handed me old newspapers
and warm water to wash my hands.

What is that guys? Isn’t that the hand of
God? I don’t know what the Bible says
but I think this is how Jesus shows his
hand.

We will wait for burning bushes or tall men with white robes or hymns and
harps but that might not be Jesus.

When Jesus shows up he will show up in a
different form and we will miss it
because we will be looking out for
something that we have been
conditioned to believe.

Then I thought about Brenda and that old man and his red collar when I was trying to “centre” myself through Buddhist meditation in the morning.

I’m sure I saw the face of a saint in that misty dawn.

I don’t think I need any more centering or
meditation or even to buy a yoga mat.

I just need to close my eyes and think of a shy girl,Wairimu pouring me the warm water to wash my hands as the old man
pretended not to watch.

That is my centre.

That is stillness residing in my mind!.

The regrets of the “one that got away”

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“The one that got away” is an ex who has an exalted place among your past loves.

They are the one you focus about.

They are the one who floats to the surface of your thoughts when you are trying to sleep, the one you can still picture a future with — in a parallel universe.

You just aren’t sure whether it’s the universe you’re supposed to exist in or whether you belong right here in
reality.

The one that got away isn’t someone with whom you had a terrible, devastating breakup.

They didn’t cheat on you (or vice
versa).

Things simply didn’t work out because you were young and immature, or one of you had to move, or you just had other things you needed to do before you
found this kind of love.

The point is that things never ran their natural course.

You never really found out that you two could never work out. It just ended, for
circumstances other than falling out of
love.

This ex was a good person, your breakup
didn’t change your opinion about this.

They are someone who deserves love in
their lives, someone another person would be lucky to be with.

They had things they needed to work on, but then again, so did you.

You’re both good people, but maybe
you just weren’t good enough for each
other at the time.

The way to spot “the one that got away” is to think of the ex that makes you hopeful about what your future love life can be like, rather than making you upset or pessimistic about human nature.

You know your ex —this ex — will always be the one that got away because things will always be unresolved.

You still respect them too much to let your breakup tarnish your opinion of
them.

You know the person you end up with is going to have to do better — the one
that got away always raises the bar on what love can really be like.

¤¤¤¤¤¤¤

•One man’s story…..

I catch your scent sometimes.

In crowded places where the air gets thick and people rush past but their clouds hang frozen in the air.

And there you were, in the most
vivid of memories, from that one whiff, I
could feel the soft of your skin, see the
creases of your eyes, hear the heartiness of your laugh.

I used to lie awake while you slept.

I used to delicately touch your face and endless wonder what cosmic alignments brought you into my broken life.

I used to be devoured by my fears of not being enough for someone so charismatic, so vibrant, so endlessly charming that much of my days were spent swimming in dark waters of
anxious insecurities.

I tried to hide the tenderness.

The eternal flame of powerful emotions that ripped through me whenever I thought of you, but they burned ever brighter by the day.

I felt sick when I exposed too much, when my mouth kept talking about how lovely and perfect you were when all I wanted to do was have the self-control to say nothing.

Be cool, be aloof, the one who cares the least holds the power.

But I lost all reason when I met you.

I descended into a place where I couldn’t think, I could only feel, and I wanted to feel you every second.

You saddened and frustrated me.

You spoke of love like it was a tangible thing you could study and know.

I wanted you to get lost in your own heart, to jump into the unknown and unleash your truest, most hidden self
to only me.

But you remained guarded.

I confused your lust and passion for my body as a connection to my mind and soul.

I fell so fast and so deep that other parts of my life ceased to matter.

I was convinced you had more depth than you wanted me to know about, that if I got close enough to the farthest centre of your soul, I could break you open and you would become equally overcome with love for me.

You fell away.

Or maybe I pushed you with my impatience, with my intensity, with my
endless need to be equally enthralled with each other.

I woke up at the bottom of the rabbit hole, more broken than before.

Being with you stopped filling me with excitement and anticipation and instead was replaced with only disappointments, in you and in myself.

Maybe I had misjudged you, that
what you presented to me was always all
there would ever be.

Or maybe it was, simply that, I wasn’t the one for you and you weren’t the one for me and we ran together for as long as we could until life faded us out.

And though I know that I will never be able to explain how quick and furiously I became smitten with you or why you never made the trip to that place for me,

I will always wonder if you remember my perfume.

If the scent of it on another reminds you just as vividly of those moments together, when everything was brilliant and full of possibility.

¤¤¤¤¤¤¤

•One girl’s story….

It’s been a long time.

You knew him right before you moved on
from something important.

You didn’t want to end that stage in your life, but you were graduating or you got a new job and it had to be over.

You had to go.

Your friends were moving on too maybe, but you didn’t think they felt the loss as acutely as you did.

You’re the kind of person who chops your
life into distinct stages in your mind.

It’s lonely being like that.

You’ve always felt like a fragmented person with a million free- floating pieces.

Just a few of them matched anyone else’s.

Until you met him.

He seemed nothing like you at first.

But something about the look on his face –those little expressions he made that he
thought no one else noticed – said he was your person. He asked you to take it easy.

You talked casually.

Neither of you are casual talkers.

One of you would speak and the other would pause to think before saying
the next thing.

Those pauses were loaded and both of you were nervous and it felt like forever had passed between one word and
the next.

But it always turned out to have been just the right thing to say.

You tumbled into bed like you’d fall into a good book or something: so natural that you didn’t even notice the progression.

You talk about the people you see.

You make him laugh.

His thoughts are as catty as yours and it makes you feel great.

Every night he lies on his back in your room and you swing one leg over him, tracing his face with the tip of your finger as he tilts his head to your hand so you can memorize him more.

He has distinctive marks on his body, like a light scar under his eyebrow.

He likes when you play with it.

No one else ever noticed that about me, he says.

He’s patient in bed.

You tell him how to touch you and you can see his brow furrow as he tries to get it just right.

He’s amazing, because he tries so hard.

He confides in you.

He always acts like it isn’t a big deal but
you know it is.

Your days and nights are on two separate planes.

He doesn’t overlap with the rest of your life. But your soul; your gut; your very essence – the two of you are linked.

And it feels like that’s the only thing in the world that matters.

You’re still wondering what happened.

The most important parts of you were closer than anything.

But the most relevant parts weren’t.

He was the right person at the wrong time.

Or maybe, you think, before you push that thought away, the wrong person at the right time.

He came along when you were just about to break and you’d still be feeling that damage now if he hadn’t been around to protect you.

It can’t be fate that makes connections like that happen.

It feels like more of a mathematical
formula.

And in the end it just didn’t add up.

On your last night together you plead with him not to forget you. “You’re not a
forgettable person,” he says, and he kisses you long and hard because he really means it.

He says goodbye the way he knows you
want to remember it before he closes your door.

You sit down, touch your lips, and let
yourself re-feel everything that happened from beginning to end.

We like to think our lives are linear.

That everything you do accumulates into a better decision-making process that will get you the person you’ve really wanted all along.

But what if it isn’t?

What if he’ll always be the person you’ll have had the most piercing feelings for?

What if those few months outweigh the rest of your relationships for the rest of your life?

Maybe what you want the most and what’s best for you really aren’t the same thing. (And if that goes for you, of course, it goes for him as well. You feel smug. You don’t want to be smug though, because you really do want the best for him. Really.)

You tell yourself you lost nothing really.

You two had what you had and it will always be happening on a loop in some corner of the universe.

Or maybe just a corner of your mind.

Maybe you like the feeling of doomed
love.

You relish that bittersweet piece of your past that casts a golden shadow over
the rest of your forward-thinking life.

Or maybe you just see him on Facebook
and wonder what would happen if you ever got to see him again.

¤¤¤¤¤¤

These two stories tell of people who deserved to be in our lives forever,but the pettiness of our value system chose to let them go out of our lives!

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

A time to mend fences…life’s too short

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Last Saturday,I was interrupted by a hammering sound coming from my neighbours house,next door.

I stood up, walked over to the window and noticed my next-door neighbour replacing a small section of his white picketed fence.

The fence had been damaged the previous week.

As I stood there watching him take down the damaged section and replace it with a new fence; I wished the problems
in life could be fixed so easily.

My mind drifted back to the now broken relationship I had with someone I once cherished in my past.

I continued to watch my neighbour as he
methodically replaced the damaged section of fence.

The first thing he did was to recognise that the fence had a problem; it was damaged.

Then he had to remove the damaged portion of the fence.

Next, he nailed the new fence into place, and the last thing he did was paint the fence.

After he had finished the process, you could not tell that the fence had been damaged. It looked brand new.

I turned away from the window, and sat back down on the couch.

It suddenly occurred to me that I had a damaged fence in my own life, and it
was up to me to repair it.

But it was already too late for that; death of this particular person had long closed the door of reconciliation.

And it finally dawned on me: life is just too short-the time to mend all the broken fences in our life is RIGHT NOW!
This is a fence that will never be mend.

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

Avoid strife in your life; never take it personal

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Strife is a very destructive force in your life.

It can creep into relationships by starting small, maybe through a comment or a mean look from someone, and can then escalate into something much bigger.

But when you choose to cease from strife and overlook an offense, you are acting honourably towards yourself and others too .

But how do you avoid strife? Love for yourself gives you confidence from insecurities that contibute to strife in your life.

It means that you give people the benefit of the doubt.

Their mean reactions towards you don’t shake the foundations of security you have already built by loving your life.

You consider what they may be going through instead of focusing on how they reacted to you.

Maybe someone was short with you at the office, but they may have a loved one in the hospital.

Instead of getting upset, walk in the road of universal love—be patient and kind to them.

Look for ways to walk in peace with the people in your life and put an end to strife!

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

Cultivate and nurture gratitude in your life

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Gratitude is strongly and consistently
associated with greater happiness.

In a distressful moment, it’s hard to see positive forces when obstacles are blaring and fears are looming.
But this is also the good time to be grateful for all the other good things going on in your life.

Not grateful for what has distressed us, but appreciating what doesn’t.

Gratitude helps us see our situation in a way that can lessen panic, and could open up our thinking to new solutions.

The main thing is, people aren’t hardwired to be grateful.

And, like any skill worth having,
gratitude requires practice.

There are three stage involved in practising gratitude : recognising what we’re grateful for, acknowledging it, and
appreciating it. Very simple, right?

And the benefits of practising gratitude can be life-altering.

Gratitude puts all situations,both awesome and awkward, into perspective.
When we can see the good as well as the
bad, it becomes more difficult to complain and stay distressed.

Gratitude helps us realize what we have.

This can lessen our need for wanting
more, all the time.

Gratitude strengthens relationships, improves health, reduces stress, and,
in general, makes us happier

Here are some guideline leading questions that will help us to cultivate daily gratitude in our lives:

• What’s one kind or thoughtful thing
someone did for you recently?

• Who is always there for you, and how do you feel about them?

•Who has helped you become the person
you are today, and what’s the top thing
you’d thank them for?

•Who’s that someone who always really listens when you talk, and how does that affect you?

•How have your spiritual beliefs or
practices fulfilled you recently?

•What’s the best thing that happened
today so far?

•What’s something that inspired or
touched you recently?

•Has anyone done anything recently
that made your job easier?

•What’s one thing you enjoyed about
doing your job recently?

•Can you think of any non-physical gifts
you’ve received recently—someone’s time, attention, understanding, or support?

•What about today has been better than
yesterday?

•Who have you enjoyed being around
recently, and why?

•How have you used your talents and
abilities recently, and what have you
enjoyed about doing that?

•What have you learned recently that will help you in the future?

•What made you laugh or smile today?

•What’s the last song you heard that you
enjoyed? How did it make you feel, and
why?

•Have you experienced any blessings in
disguise lately—things that didn’t turn out as you’d hoped and yet turned out for the best?

•What’s the weather like today, and
what’s one good thing about that?

•How has technology enhanced your life
and your connections recently?

•Have you had an opportunity to help
someone recently, and how did you feel
about that?

•What’s one thing you experienced
recently that made you feel a sense of
wonder or awe?

•What’s the best thing about your home,
and have you taken time to enjoy it
recently?

•If you didn’t get what you wanted today,
can you identify something in what you got that’s worth having?

•What’s improved about your life from
this time last year?

•What choices have you made in the last
five years that you’d thank yourself for
making?

•What’s something you did well recently,
and what qualities or skills enabled you to do this?

•Who made a positive difference in your
life recently?

•What’s something you’re looking
forward to in the future?

•What did you learn from the most
difficult part of your day yesterday, and how will this lesson benefit you going forward?

•What’s something you witnessed
recently that reminded you that life is good?

•What’s something you witnessed
recently that reminded you that people are
good?

•How many of your basic needs do you
not need to worry about meeting today?

•What event or interaction made you feel
good about yourself recently?

•How have you made personal or
professional progress lately?

•What simple pleasures did you enjoy—
or can you enjoy—today?

•What modern conveniences (i.e.:
electronics and appliances) do you enjoy
that make your life easier?

•What’s the most beautiful thing you saw
today that made you glad to be alive and to see it?

•What’s something enjoyable you get to
experience every day that you’ve come to take for granted?

•What are three things your arms or legs
allow you to do that you enjoy?

•What’s the kindest thing someone has
done for you lately?

•How do your friends and/or family
members show they care about you?

•What’s the last thing you enjoyed with
your senses—a good meal, a song you love, or aromatherapy—and how amazing is it that you were able to experience that?

•What movie, book, blog, or article
affected your life for the better recently?

•What have you seen in nature recently
that made you feel happy, peaceful, or free?

•How has modern medicine improved
your life, recently or overall?

•How does electricity simplify and
improve your life—and can you imagine
what life would like be like without it?

•What’s your favorite thing about your
bed, and how often does it enable you to
get restful sleep?

•What’s something you have easy access
to that always improves your mood, and
how has it improved your life?

•Who in your life has survived something
difficult, and how do you feel when you
think about the fact that they’re still here?
•Have you recently imagined a worst-
case scenario that didn’t actually happen?

This last one is always crucial for me.

Not only does this help me appreciate things that turned out better than I’d anticipated, but it also reminds me how often this happens—if only I’m willing to act.

Go on and have a grateful day.

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

When no other woman could find anything to love in me…..

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When no other woman,
Could find anything to love,
In a plain faced man like me,
It is me you chose to give your love to.

Whenever I lose my way,
Around the maze that is life,
I know just what to do,
When i can’t seem to think what to say,
I come running right to you;
You always seem ready to lend me a helping hand,
Somehow, you always seem to understand me.

Whenever I lose my way,
You make things a whole lot better,
When I can’t seem to stand on my feet,
I know just where to go,
When i can’t seem to make ends meet,
I know you’ll always know what to do;
You only say the words that need to be said,
You never tell me that I’m out of my head,
When I lose my way.

When I’ve lost all sense of time,
And I can’t seem to make the words make sense of my thoughts,
When I’ve lost all direction,
And I can’t find the answers to the questions in my life,
I know just what to do,
When I can’t seem to think what to say,
I come running right to you;
You always seem to say the things i need to hear,
Somehow you always chase away all of my fears,
And make things a whole lot better.

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

Too many foolish things still remind me of you…

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We almost made it,
I almost called you mine,
And you almost called me yours.
We almost had it all,you and I.
I think we almost loved each other.

But the only thing I’m sure about,
Is that I wasn’t good enough for you,
So,you walked away from my love.

I still haven’t figured how to forget you;
Too many foolish things still remind me of you.

It’s just amazing what you’ll find,
When you aren’t keen searching;
Those things that once mattered,
But you thought that you had lost them forever,
Like that pair of socks that we searched for the whole morning together,
You and I,
The pair of socks that we thought was lost forever,
Has been sitting pretty in one of my drawers,
And it is sad that it has come back,
To remind me of you.

Hearing that song we used to listen to on the radio,
come on unexpectedly in my playlist,
and feeling like I should text you to tell you that it came on,
even though that’s an objectively silly
thing to text someone over.

What about the sound of people laughing together at a joke you’ll never quite hear, when their sense of closeness radiates outward and you feel like you can catch it for just a minute,
Because that simple magic of people laughing,
Reminds me of you..

Or driving alone on the subway at night and seeing the lights of the gas stations and tunnels pass by one after the other, and being rocked to sleep like a car-ride, when you were a little kid.

Or a really good appetiser dish that’s just too big for one person,
the kind that they normally bring out with two spoons,
so that lovers sitting in dark corner table,
Can spoon it to each other’s lips,
As a seal of their delicious love.

Or waking up to my empty bed at night, and seeing the blankets and pillows
all piled around like there was someone there,
and forgetting just for a second,
that you aren’t there curled up,
and just waiting for me to kiss your sleeping lips.

Or seeing something in a shop window that would fit you just right,
that would be just your style,
but that you would never agree to splurge on for yourself,
Though I was always willing to buy it for you,
As my loving gift offered in love.

Or when something really, really funny happens,
and I immediately turn around to look at you with that “Oh my god, what??” face, even when I know you’re not there.

Or walking through a museum and seeing a painting that I’ve seen in one of magazines that you left behind a
thousand times before,
but which becomes so breathtaking the first time you actually see it in person,
But you are not there to see how pleased I am,
By your taste of arts.

Or seeing a couple leaning into their table at the restaurant to say something quietly,
meeting their hands in the middle right next to their wine glasses,
to run their fingers together in a public display of love.

Or wondering what that couple is saying, how long they have been together,
and if they know how lucky they are to have what they have.

Or locking my eyes with a child for a minute or so,
while their mother is ordering at a counter or paying for her groceries,
and wishing you could say hello to them in a way that they would understand,
That we once planned on having our little cute children.

Or walking through a playground at night, and swinging on the swing set alone, which is somehow just as thrilling,
As when I used to push you in those swings,
With your whole body trembling in the thrill of our love.

Or an old man helping his wife cross the street,
letting her lean on him even though you can tell that walking upright is not easy for him, either
And knowing that we used to hold our hands as we crossed the streets,
For there was safety in that simple loving gesture,
That would have held our love secure forever.

Or when someone says your name across the room, and my mind refuses to understand, for just a minute, that anyone else could have the same name as you.

Or that first sip of tea when it’s still a little too hot,
but it feels good against my lips and hands when it’s so cold outside,
And that reminds me how your love used to keep me warm,
When the whole world around me was freezing cold.

Or the sun shards coming in through the window late on a Sunday morning,
with the little dust fairies floating around in the light, and the sound of
people walking around just outside,
Just the way it used to be,
When we would laze in bed the whole of sunday morning,
Cushioned by the warmth of our sweet love,
And the knowledge that we will not have those cherished moment forever,
When our planned children finally arrived.

To many foolish things still remind me of you…and I have now come to realise,
That although love is always lost, it can never be forgotten….

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

Don’t waste your life living in an elusive future

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There is no purpose in getting anywhere if, when you get there, all you do is think about getting to some other future moment.

Life exists in the present, or nowhere at all, and if you cannot grasp that you are simply living a fantasy.

There is nothing like security in this life.

Looking for security,which can also be said to be like “avoiding all risks”, is like jumping off a cliff while holding on to a rock for safety – an absurd illusion.

We must allow ourselves to take all the risks of this life,even though they will always kill a part of us,when we are still living,and allow the killed part to re incarnate into a more useful form for us to move forward in life.

The doctrine of reincarnation can be more accurately thought about as a constant rebirth, of death throughout
life, and the continual coming and going of universal energy, of which we are all part, before and after death.

Destruction is as necessary as creation.

Think about all the rotting and new growth that takes place all the time in a natural forest.

Chaos must exist if we are to know what order is.

Both aspects of reality, in tension with one another, are necessary to keep
the whole game going: the unity of opposites.

Don’t worry about the future,
Or know that worrying is as effective as
trying to solve an algebra equation by
chewing bubble gum.

The real troubles in your life are apt to
be things that never crossed your
worried mind,the kind that blindsides you at 4 p.m. on some idle Saturday afternoon.

But even with all your troubles and victories,don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts.

Don’t put up with people who are
reckless with yours either.

Don’t waste your time on jealousy either.

Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes
you’re behind others in life;the race is long and in the end, it’s only a race against yourself.

Remember compliments you receive,
forget the insults, if you succeed in
doing this, you will tell me how joyful life really turns out to be.

Keep your old love letters,and throw away your old bank statements.

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what
you want to do with your life; many of us don’t either.

The most interesting people I know
didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to
do with their lives!

Some of the most interesting 40-year-
olds I know still don’t.

Get plenty of calcium in a glass of yoghurt.

Be kind to your knees,and don’t always go down on your knees beging for things you can work for.

Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t.

Maybe you’ll have children, maybe you
won’t.

Maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll
dance the ‘Funky Chicken’
On your 75th wedding anniversary.

Whatever you do, don’t congratulate
yourself too much or berate yourself either.

Your choices are half chance, so are
everybody else’s.

Enjoy your body, use it every way you
can to come alive every day.

Don’t be ashamed of it, or what other people think of it;
It’s the greatest treasure and an instrument of all joys you’ll ever
have.

Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it
but your own living room.

Read the directions to your destiny, even if you don’t intend to follow them.
Do not read every beauty magazine you can lay your hands on; it will
only make you feel ugy.

Understand that friends come and go,but a precious few, who should hold on,give them your all!

Work hard to bridge the gaps in
geography and lifestyle,for as the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young

Live in a City sometime, but leave
before it makes you hard.

Live in deep in the countryside sometime, but leave before it makes you soft.

Accept certain inalienable truths;
Prices will rise, politicians will philander,
you, too, will get old,and when you do, you’ll fantasize that when you were young,prices were reasonable, politicians were noble.

Don’t expect anyone else to support you;
maybe you have a trust fund, maybe
you’ll have a wealthy spouse,but you never know when either one
might run out on you.

Don’t mess too much with your hair,or by the time you’re 40 it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy but be
patient with those who supply it.

Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing
it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal pit of time goneby, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts,and recycling it for more than it’s worth.

Above all else,cherish your present,it is the only real time you own,just this moment.

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

Happiness is what babies see when they look in the mirror

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Doesn’t it feel great when people like you?

Each one of us feels that we would be truly happy if everybody loved us.

But do we love ourselves first and foremost?

Everyone wants to be happy, but not many people contemplate whether or not they really are.

Some of us feel too privileged in many other areas of life to not be happy, while others don’t want to face the possibility that we might not be.

In the much acknowledged absence of any straight forward formula of determining what is true happiness, I have pinned down nine truths about happiness to help you think a little more deeply about what it really means to be happy.

• It isn’t a feeling; it’s a relationship to
life.

To be human means that we experience a range of emotions.

If you were to look at a graphical grid illustrating the levels of happiness across life and see a line in the shape of a wave, it would be an accurate representation of the human experience.

We shouldn’t be operating as an even,
straight line.

That’s what I’d call a robot or someone who is numbed out from full experience of life.

Human beings experience emotions in
response to life’s circumstances.

That means sometimes you’re going to feel happy, sad, and all the other emotions in between.

Embrace this holistic experience as the baseline of true happiness.

True happiness is not a continuous state of life; it’s the way we relate to our lives such that, If we’re rooted in unconditional love for ourselves, the world around us transforms into a happy one.

We have the ability to express gratitude for all experiences in life as a total sum that forms the foundation of our true happiness.

This way,we are able to sit with difficult emotions without denying ourselves self-love.

We’re able to relate with ourselves and with the world in a way that shapes our overall perception of our lives to one of love and gratitude.

This is the path to happiness.

• It requires a willingness to know the
truth.

I once felt guilty for not being happy in spite of all good things that happen in my life.

I felt like I had no right not to be happy amidst a life of abundance.

Relatively, I had so much more than so many other people on this planet.

Yet,happiness eluded me most of the time.

And then I woke up the truth that I was, in fact, not happy, and to deny that didn’t change the truth.

I realised that my relationship to myself was the source of my unhappiness.

I lived under the illusion that I loved myself by avoiding contemplating whether or not I truthfully did.

I was able to see that I couldn’t actually be happy until I learned to love myself as I am.

We have to wake up to our own underlying simple truths that keep us one step away from true happiness.

Any lies that you keep telling to yourself
holds you back from true happiness.

• You have to be willing to feel pain.

True happiness isn’t the expression of
happy chemicals floating through our
brains all the time to create a private utopia in our thoughts and surreal perception of life.

True happiness comes from the
willingness to face ourselves for who we trully are.

Only through some of my most painful experiences have I come to live in true happiness.

When I was willing to sit in the despair of
my lost love, when I was willing to face the truth that I had become numb from feeling of self-love, and when I did the difficult work of healing ,I came out the other side that is happiness.

In other words,I had to wallow through the mud of life to cross to the happy side of life without feeling that all was lost in this journey.

Sometimes I felt lighter, but always with a deeper understanding of who I am.

• It has nothing to do with whether or
not people like you.

It’s like the high school experience I always dreamed of,being everybody’s favourite boy,and then I would be happy always.

Of course,that didn’t happen….that’s not what is meant to happen either,in real life.

As I got older and more comfortable with myself, I seemed to attract amazing people into my life more effortlessly.

I loved them and they loved me without the undue pressure of having to impress them.

And then someone nasty slipped through the cracks, and I experienced someone not liking me again. It stings, right?

No one likes not being liked. But it also
wasn’t my problem. It was more of their problem than mine.

As long as you’re good with who you are
deep down and as long as you’re facing
yourself each day, it’s not your problem if
someone else doesn’t like you.

It’s their problem, because more often than not people are reflecting their relationship to themselves.

When someone doesn’t like you, it doesn’t threaten your happiness.

Your happiness is yours.

It is rooted deep within your self-love.

It’s your relationship to yourself and
your own life that matters most.

What another person thinks about you can sting, but it doesn’t have to
change how you feel about yourself.

• It’s not what most people are pretending to be.

Comparing yourself to anyone else is not
only futile but also irrelevant.

Your concern should be to uncover your own truth and live according to that.

When you try to be like someone else, you are trying to live according to what you think it means to be happy like them.
And the unfortunate truth is that most people are pretending to be happy.

They may gloat about their successes or
perceived achievements.

But true happiness is a vibration that is undeniable and needs no proving.

• You can’t look for it anywhere outside
of yourself.

You will never find true happiness if you
take out a flashlight and start searching outside yourself for it.

There is not one single thing outside of
ourselves this will cultivate true happiness.

Nothing.

Not another human being whether it be a partner, parent, or your own child.

The only place true happiness can emerge from is through the self.

We can experience moments of joy and bliss in relationship to other human beings, but true happiness is a result of your connection to your own truth.

Once you’ve awakened to that, all of your
relationships will be more vibrant.

• It’s what babies see when they look in
the mirror.

Years ago, I remember a three year old looking at herself in the mirror.

When I asked her if she thought she was beautiful, her eyes lit up as she looked at herself, and without a doubt, without hesitation, she said yes with a hefty outburst of genuine laughter and happiness.

Children are not yet tainted by the
judgments of our world.

They see that beauty is not physical, that it’s an essence.

They look at themselves without judgment of either themselves,or others.

It’s the same relationship to self we now
have to cultivate.

We have to learn to let go of the judgments of others in order to see
the truth of who we are: that we are, in fact, that same beautiful baby.

•You can’t buy it, drink it, or recycle it.

True happiness is not a book you can read, lipstick or hat you can wear, or an act you can do.

It’s almost ineffable.

It’s most definitely not any of the things our culture has attempted to brainwash us into believing it is.

It’s something you have to discover for
yourself.

It’s something you have to be willing to work hard to uncover.

A good place to start would be to let go of all of the ideas that things and ideas are what will bring you to true happiness.

• True happiness reveals itself through
love.

In our moments of great deliberation, we
have two choices: love or fear.

Love is not often the easy choice.

Love can challenge us.

It can make us feel uneasy and vulnerable.

Love can actually elicit deep pain.

Fear is the easy escape route.

It’s the choice to express anger instead of vulnerability.

It’s the choice to hide instead of face the pain.

It’s the decision to push someone away
instead of embracing them.

True happiness will always be pushed at arm’s lenght when you choose fear.

Choosing love for oneself and others, especially when it’s difficult, is the path to accessing true happiness.

True happiness is an unwavering
connection to your own truth.

It’s is a connection to the soul, to the deepest part of ourselves that screams out for us to listen.

You always have the choice to align yourself with it because your soul is always communicating with you through your conscience.

It’s even happening now as you read this.
Are you listening?

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

This is the way love dances

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In the cool stillness of the evening,
Without sunlight to intrude,
I see the twilight’s spark in her eyes,
As the moon sets up the mood,
Music playing soft and low,
While romance fills the air,
I can’t help but feel the heat that kisses all my senses.

The very moment she comes near me,
With a teasing dance that mimics the embrace of lovers,
While a single candle casts a magical light to highlight her feminine curves,
And the smell of sweet perfume,
Seems to drive my captured soul insane,
I draw close to look into her eyes,
And run my fingers through her electrified hair.

I taste the sweetness of her neck,
As I nibble at her ear,
And wish to whisper words of love,
That remain unsaid,
As she sighs with an unsaid reply,
And in a very sensual way,
Her sweet body comes alive,
To light the heat of my desire.

In a silent ritual,
we slowly come to a state of undress,
As I to lay her down gently,
And she welcomes my caresses,
With her luscious sexy curves,
And my tongue roams into the most sacred territory,
It is a taste I can’t resist.

She gives me so much pleasure,
Ecstasy explodes through the pores of my skin,
From a dance that started with one,
But the other just couldn’t sit still and watch;
This is the way love dances,
To inspire this love that we aspire,
For only love can fill this joy,
That becomes the dance of our desire.

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

Even good people are not meant to be in your life forever; only their memories probably are!

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When people come into your life, it is hard to dissociate from the shared moments and move on.

Oftentimes,and this is the reality of life, we find ourselves forced to leave people whom our lives once revolved around behind.

Your mind will always carry memories of the sights, the sounds and the experiences you shared.

But, sometimes people change; sometimes we move on and oftentimes, we simply grow.

As days turn into months and months into
years, it is still difficult to understand how
to detach yourself from the people of your past and to accept the reality that they will no longer be part of your present.

People who made up such a large part of
your life at one point (ex-boy/girlfriends, teachers, old roommates, friends, etc.) are not always meant to be in your life forever.

Sometimes, those people come into your
life for a brief moment in time — however brief — and then, they are gone.

And in a moment, the people in whom you invested on with your life turn into mere pictures stored somewhere
in the back of your mind.

The moments you shared meant something — and they may still mean something,if only by their memories.

You are subject to an internal battle to understand how the people you once valued are no longer of importance to you in your daily life.

In a way, those people in your past became your bigger family and you probably find yourself struggling to let them go.

They gave you advice when you needed guidance.

They gave you hugs when you felt alone.

They gave you unique experiences that defined a stage of your life.

Most of all, however, these people gave you a sense of comfort in the unfamiliar and unpredictable journey that we call life.

And during those unusual times when you return back to those people and those places, you realise that your connection to that city, to those people and to those memories still holds strong.

While you may have left and may have a new life completely unlike your past, those connections do not dissipate.

Just because you left a place or left people, it does not mean that those memories somehow become void.

And when you return to that place from your past, you are reminded of the friends you made, the people you knew and the moments you shared.

All of these things suddenly become fresh in your mind,sometimes in form of painful or happy memories.

It is in these instances when you’ll realise either their importance, or the evidence of the scars they left behind in your life.

It is still difficult to look back, knowing that your current life does not quite leave room for everyone in your past.

And while you’re not sure it will ever get easier, when you know that people you once considered to be family are continuing to live a life separate from yours, it is comforting to know that at any point, you can stop and remember the experiences you shared together.

As we grow, we realise that all people are
not permanent fixtures in our lives, that
they can be fleeting fixtures of happiness, love,comfort or even pain.

It is a difficult concept to grasp that people we consider to be staples that hold our life together in this present moment may not be here for us
tomorrow.

But, we must learn to accept the
idea that whether it be a lover, a coworker or a friend, his or her place in our lives may not always be meant to last forever.

When we begin to understand that
relationships are not always meant to last, we can also have a deeper appreciation for the experiences we share with people while they are in our lives.

Though it may sadden you to consider the end of a relationship, you can begin to appreciate the people in your life for the sheer reason that they exist in your present.

People come and go, but memories last forever.

The lessons people teach us and the
hardships they help us navigate,or the pain they cause to us, are never forgotten.

These memories become permanent parts of us and continue to shape who we become.

Just because a relationship does not last does not mean that it is insignificant in any way.

It is not the amount of time these relationships last that is important, but instead, it is the ability to remember them.

Once we can accept the realisation that
relationships are fleeting, our lives will be
filled with vast moments of appreciation.

Appreciation for each relationship in its
entirety and the uniqueness of the
moments that you share together —
appreciation for the present.

Leaving people behind is never easy — it
never feels right to move on to the next
chapter.

But, as life continues onward, so do we, and just because we leave people, it does not mean we must forget the times
we shared.

It does not mean that all those things must be lost in some unknown abyss.

All we can ask is to remember and
that those whom we once loved remember us, too.

And those who caused pain to us,no longer have any power over our life anymore.

It is in the character of life to move-on,both from good and bad experiences in our life,such that,we are forever growing into new forms everyday that need not be always tied to our past.

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

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

The mind is a beautiful place to be…

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The mind is a beautiful place
to be,
if you don’t mind some people dying around you all the time,
or maybe,even starving some of the time,
Senseless wars being fought for no good cause,
Hearts being broken for a pennyworth of false love,
Kids being born without fathers they can call their own,
which isn’t half bad if it isn’t you;
Yes,the mind is beautiful place to be,
If you can find peace in the swirling chaos that is this world.

The mind is a beautiful place to be,
A never ending universe,
where beautiful memories create memories within themselves,
With the complexity of it’s function, that makes it even more enticing.

The mind is a beautiful place
to be,
if you don’t mind a touch of hell now and then,
just when you think everything is fine,
because even in paradise they don’t sing jolly songs all the time;
Yes,the mind is a beautiful place to be,
When you don’t lose your sense of wonder.

The mind is a beautiful place to be,
When no matter what they tell you,
You know you don’t have to walk the line,
‘Cause the thing about people who don’t mean what they say,
Is that they think everyone else believes them,
Even when they don’t believe in themselves.

The mind is a beautiful place to be,
Because even when you leave a
beautiful place,
you carry it with you wherever you go.
Yes,the mind is a beautiful place to be,
Because I have the same feeling
when I walk in a very beautiful place, that I am going to own it in my mind for a lifetime.

The mind is a beautiful place to be,
Because people don’t want to go
to the garbage dump and have a picnic, they want to go out to a beautiful place
and enjoy their day,
And so I think that,
in a world full of despair and despondency,
Our beautiful mind is the only place we can go,
And partake a picnic of life in peace and health;
Yes,the mind is a beautiful place to be,
Because it has not been touched by garbage that is our everyday life.

I don’t want to be in some big beautiful place
that nobody wants me,
But I feel loved,safe and secure,
As I roam the beautiful valleys and plains,
That form the magical landscape of my mind
;
And yes-walking through the peaceful countryside of my mind seeking happiness,
I have come across many others running in the opposite direction,
To seek happiness outside their minds,
In this noisy world suffused in total chaos!

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

To my Ex-girlfriend,Toni: I miss your sweet scent in my life again!

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To Toni(Antoniella),

Many years have passed now, since I last saw you-many,many years ago!
My friends,those who were once our mutual friends,tell me about you once in a while when we meet.
But that is not the point I want to dwell in, in this long post.
My dear Toni,I just want to let you know that I have learnt my lesson.

I have tried many women in my life; none compares to what we had,you and I.

Ours was a communion of souls.

Our love was love full of innocence,long before our young bodies were stolen away by bodily lusts!

What came after you left me was just lust.

It was always your heart that I always wanted to win,but with many other girls who came after you,well,it was their bodies that I always wanted!

Toni,my dear,I was a boy then,on those days. But Toni, please, I’m a man now,
and losing you was the worst thing that ever happened to me in my life.

There are things you do that you later learn to regret, that flummox you,
unimaginable things that make you pause and reconsider who you really
are now, and what you were capable
of in those early years of your foolish past.

That’s what I realise now,my dear Toni,unfortunately,many years too late!

I’m an old man now.

I have been in and out of marriage,after you left.

Looking back,I can’t say I have truly fallen in love ever since you left my life,but I have lied to myself that I have loved other women,and I have lied to myself too,that they have loved me…

I learned a lot when I moved away from you.

I learned that I don’t even really like drinking all that much.

I learned that not everyone in the world thinks it’s cool to meet and sleep with random women.

I learned that holding someone you care about is more satisfying than the Ice Bucket Challenge in a hot desert.

I learned that leaving your dishes in the sink with ketchup on them makes doing the dishes a thousand times harder the next day,though you never complained when I used to do exactly that.

I realised how much I missed your sweet scent after you visited me in my house.

That scent… It’s faded from my life–and
it’s starting to fade away from my memory.

I fear for the day it truly does fade away completely from my life!

I learned how to embrace change.

I learned what being a man really is.

I learned. who I am now,and i hate who I have been in the past.

And most of all, I learned that you were always the best girl for me,my first love,the best thing that ever happened to me.

So let me say this; It doesn’t matter if
you’re 16 as you were when I first met you, or 96 now-my love for you is still as fresh as it were,those many years ago!

Don’t run away from my love because you’re afraid of all those mistakes I made,many years ago; I wish I hadn’t.

God, I wish I hadn’t,’cause you would still be here with me as I ride through the sunset of my years,alone.

So, Toni, if you ever read this, I miss you more than you will ever know.

I beg of you to share this message with other people who are in your life now, so that people don’t make the same dumb mistakes I made.

And maybe one day, Toni,you will come
across this post, and decide to say one more word to me,before I lie down for my eternal rest.

Maybe, if enough people read this and
share it to all their friends, maybe, you will be one of their friends,and you will come to see me in
person,just before I die .

Maybe we can go on another date,like the first date we had,you and I, and
I can spend the rest of my life making up for the way I treated you.

And I will have sheer probability to thank ,for bringing you back into my life,one more time.

I’m dying,my dear Toni,but this physical pain that I suffer everyday in my deathbed is not as bad as the pain I suffer,knowing that I won’t see you one more time,before my eyelids close forever in repose of death.

Pain is but a feeling,and this feeling will pass in time,as time passes away forever in my life,but I miss you, Toni.

And that’s a debt I’d like to pay back to you,before the end of my days!

Oooh,and these painful memories that now flood through my restless soul…running like a stuck loop of a tragic movie….!

Tony,you were my girlfriend, but now
we are forever separated.

We had broken up a dozen or more times during our early years together, and I’m finally strong in my spirit to want you back,and this time,dear Toni,it will be forever,because forever now stands at my doorstep,waiting to carry me into eternity.

Dont get me wrong, i still have feelings for you.

But those feelings just aren’t strong enough to sustain a healthy physical relationship.

My body is now almost done with all the burdens of this world,but my spirit wants to carry away a piece of your good soul with me to my new celestial home.

You and me are no more.

Both of us have remained single for all this time-Oh God,why didn’t we stick together for each other!, scares
me in these last days of my life.

But i know it is for the best, i swear it was
for the best.

There may be absolutely no part of you that even vaguely agrees with me, but i know I’m right. I know it is for the
best.

You can make no argument that will
change my mind about that single conviction in my now weak and feeble mind.

So just hear me out.

Read this post over and over again and
understand it.

Live it when I’m gone.

Go back to it every time you are feeling sad.
And know that someone always loved you so much
,that he couldn’t forget you,even on his deathbed!

It’ll help you.

It’ll help me too,to know that I have tried my best to contact you one more time,though my time is fast running out.

God knows we both need this last push of luck to move on,to have a decent closure on our relationship.

Always remember that I’ll still love you no matter what, just not in an intimate way.

You have become like a long lost sister to me.

Your memories help my mind to remain calm and focussed for this last and lonely journey ahead of me in these turbulent moments of my life.

You were ever sweet. Kind. Caring. And hopefully strong enough to handle what you are reading in this post right now.

I hope you are strong enough.

I really do. This relationship has taught me a lot about the ever enduring power of love, and no matter what anyone else says, I’ll always know that to be true,down here on earth,and in the many millions of years that I will live in eternity without end.

I hope it has taught you a lot also.

Someday you will realise what type of a boy was right for you.
But I became that boy long after you had already left my life.
How were you to know,my dear Toni,that every positive change I made in my life,I made it only for you?

I know for a fact that you will not realise what was the best for you anytime soon,not before you read this post.

You are stuck in this mindframe that you’ll never meet anyone else that you like as much as me,after reading this post.

You are wrong,my dear Toni.

Let me repeat that… You’re wrong.

Think about your future, your success, your goals.

You have so much to look forward to in your life.

I swear you do.

And that’s a life I would have liked to share with you,but my life is now time-barred by this terminal illness.

You are so bright.

I know some day, some special man is going to claim you for his own. And
you’ll claim him for your own.

You will love the feeling you have with him.

You will thank me in your mind for letting you go. You will,my dear Toni.

This experience is a good one.

Don’t remember it as a tragedy, which im sure you will,especially if you ever read this post.

Remember it as something that allowed
you to grow in a different direction away from the one I wanted for us both.

Think about it… You are rich now, you have a job, you are a little better at managing your money, you have planned on getting another car soon,… All these
things are so amazing, and they will help
you mature in a different way.

Dont get me wrong, i needed to
mature too. And I did,though you were not there to see these positive changes take place in my life after you left my life.

I owe you an apology for letting this relationship stay afloat for so
long without any proper direction. Too long,my dear Toni.

I knew it wasn’t going to work out for us in the long run, not before I could make any positive change like I have now done in my life, and i selfishly still kept you for myself, even long after you left my life.

I should have
ended it many years ago to set you completely free, and i should
have been serious about it.

Learn from my mistakes in our relationship,and dont dwell on the
negatives.
Take it for what it is, because it is
not going to change,it’s too late in the day for that,no matter how I feel about you in these last days of my life.

This post is not meant
to hurt you, it is meant to inform
you about my never ending love for you,right into the mouth of my grave.

I hope you understand exactly what
I’m saying, and hopefully you can live a
better life with someone who wants to
marry you.

There are plenty of men out
there who are good for you. This is where I now draw the line,my dear Toni.

It is too late to have you back in my life,but I will miss you in this last journey that I must take alone.

I wish you only the best in your life.
Good bye,Toni.

Yours forever,
Bernard.

How old is your soul,my love?

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I have died every day waiting for you
Darling,
don’t be afraid,
for I have loved you for a thousand years,
And I’ll love you for a thousand more
Time stands still
Beauty in all she is
I will be brave
I will not let anything take away
What’s standing in front of me
Every breath
Every hour has come to this
One step closer;
But my love,please tell me,how old is your soul?
‘Cause I have died every day waiting for you!

How can I love when I’m afraid to fall?
But watching you stand alone,
All of my doubt suddenly goes away
somehow,
I can’t stand watching you walk through this life alone.
How old is your soul?
‘Cause I have died every day waiting for you!

Darling, don’t be afraid,
I have loved you for a thousand years,
And I’ll love you for a thousand more,
And all along I believed I would find you;
Time has brought your heart to me,
Along with an old soul that I have sought for a thousand years,
To be my soulmate;
But my love,please tell me,how old is your soul?
‘Cause I have died every day waiting for you!

And now I have you here with me at last,
When I look into your eyes,
It’s like watching the night sky,
Or a beautiful sunrise,
Well, there’s so much they hold,
And just like them old stars,
I see that you’ve come so far,
To be right where you are,
How old is your soul?
‘Cause I have died every day waiting for you!

Well, I will never give up on us,
Even if the skies get rough,
I’m giving you all my love,
I’m still looking up to the sky,
To give thanks for having you in my life,
And when you’re needing your space,
To do some navigating around this wide world,
I’ll be here patiently waiting,
To see what you find,
‘Cause even the stars they burn,
Some even fall to the earth,
We’ve got a lot to learn,
God knows we’re worth it,
And no, I won’t give up,
I don’t wanna be someone who walks away so easily!

I’m here to stay and make the difference
that I can make,
Our differences, they do a lot to teach us,
how to use the tools and gifts we got, yeah, we got a lot at stake,
And in the end, you’re still my friend;
at least we did intend it for us to work, we didn’t break, we didn’t
burn all through the years of waiting,
We had to learn how to bend without the
world caving in,
I had to learn what I’ve got, and what I’m
not, and who I am,
I won’t give up on us,
Even if the skies get rough,
I’m giving you all my love,
And I’m ready to wait for another thousand years,
Till your loving soul comes back to me;
How old is your soul?
‘Cause I have died every day waiting for you!

God knows I’m tough enough,
I am tough,and I am loved,
We’ve got a lot to learn,
That a thousand years is a long wait,
But it is worth the price of our love,
We’re alive, and we are loved,
God knows we’re worth it all,
For another thousand years;
How old is your soul?
‘Cause I have died every day waiting for you!

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

An Oasis for a thirsty soul

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Have you ever walked through the deserts of life,
And then found an oasis of love to quench a lifetime of thirst?
Have you ever drank from its eternal
waters?
Walked through deserts, but found it is the only oasis with a pure drink,
Have you seen its miracles in your soul,
Witness pains disappear to far away places?

Have you ever allowed it to wash away doubts and fears?
Known the forgiveness that comes from its strength,
Seen its gentleness melt like the sun into the surface of the sea,
Or observed its wisdom as close as arm’s
length?
Have you ever drank from this purest
fountain?
A gentle brook from a mountain high above?

Have you ever bathed in its healing waters?
The waters from the fountain of true Love?
Without it, to a colourless life you’re
doomed,
Will you not seek a paradise, there in Love’s Oasis?
Earthly demands, tormenting, there await respite in the Oasis of love,
Envisioning fields of flowers bright in bloom,
In your loneliness, does Heaven truly exist?
Except in the Oasis of love?

For nothing is as complete in loveliness,
As one pure soul with Love for another!

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

Beautiful lessons on love learnt from burning garbage in my compound

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Recently, while burning garbage in my
compound, I found myself thinking about love; the fire of love to be precise.

From starting it, to ensuring that all the accompanying garbage burns, without touching anything else in the compound
that can start an uncontrollable inferno.

From that mundane experience, I learned lessons that I thought would be valuable to our relationships.

•Starting the fire:

I gathered some dry twigs and
some papers, created a small space under them and struck a match.

There was some smoke at first, a small
fire and then huge flames begin to lick at the garbage.

LESSON ONE LEARNT: Lighting a fire is easy if the conditions are good and you do everything right.

The weather conditions were just right—hot and calm with a gentle wind blowing.

If you have been struggling to start a love fire, chances are that something isn’t quite in place.

Mind you, I am not saying that what you feel for your partner should be perfect, or that you should not have self-doubts about your partner.

However, the nature of love is such that once the conditions are conducive; it
quickly ignites and burns away.

•Burning deep:

I had a long pole with which I kept poking at the fire, forcing up to the surface stuff that is buried under layers of garbage.

That is where the fire is, and the idea is to ensure that every bit of garbage in that pit is burned, not just what is on the surface.

LESSON TWO LEARNT: Though starting a fire might be easy, for a relationship to be fulfilling, love must burn deep.

For this to happen, you need to engage the mental gear of love, the one that
over-rides the temptation to bask perpetually in the glory of shallow passion.

Instead, it demands effort in the form of
commitment, responsibility and self-disclosure, as well as exposure.

In this way, love grows to the extent that even when the fire is not visible to
others, we know it is there, burning deep.

•Fire control:

“Fire is a good servant but a bad master”, goes a well-known saying.

That is true because in fact, my energies at the garbage pit were divided almost equally between ensuring the fire burns deep on the one hand and on the other, ensuring it did not burn beyond a certain limit that would set other things in my compound on fire.

LESSON THREE LEARNT: Love is a fire that if left unchecked, can do more harm than good.

You might say that is ridiculous because our responsibility should be to keep love burning, not controlling it.

That might be the case for many, especially after being together for a while and have formed stable relationships.

But think, for example, about the young college students who give up everything: family, friends and studies
once they fall in love.

They are totally consumed with each other for a semester, sometimes a year.

But by the time they come around to reality of life, they discover that in the heat of passion, everything else went up in smoke; their dreams, their health and very, very often, and unfortunately so, their sanity,reputation and life.

I have been there, so I am drawing from facts.

THE ULTIMATE LESSON LEARNT

Be there!

To light a fire, to ensure it burns deep and to control it demands this one thing: your total presence, physically, emotionally and mentally.

Where physical presence is not possible, couples should have a constant,
deliberately planned communication schedule.

Love is not a hit and run affair and cannot be remote controlled.

It is only by being continually present that lovers will know whether there is a fire in their relationship, how deep it is burning, and whether it is burning out of control.

And sometimes,when the fire has burnt itself out to ashes,you just leave it! You can’t start a fire from dead ashes of a broken heart…

At other times,when it threatens to burn out of control,you have to douse the flames with water!

Love is fire that should be warm enough to keep away the cold,not too hot to threaten your very existence.

And if the fire of love ever burns out of control,threatening to burn your car,your house,your designer suits,your very important documents,or your body by dousing it with petrol in the evil crimes of passion, jealousy and revenge from jilted lovers,run for your dear life,my friend!

I have had too many women!

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Driving home this evening,
I could have sworn we had it all worked out,
Then I heard it on the street;
I heard you might have found somebody new,
Well who is he baby?
And tell me what he means to you.

I took it all for granted,
But how was I to know,
That you would be letting go of me so soon?
Now,that cuts like a knife,
But believe me, fresh love still feels so right!

There’s times I’ve been mistaken,
There are times I thought I’d been
misunderstood,
So wait a minute darling,
Can’t you see we did the best we could?
This wouldn’t be the first time,
Things have gone astray,
Now you’ve thrown it all away
Now,that cuts like a knife,
But believe me, fresh love still feels so right!

Looking back to when I was young and
free,
And I owned my life,
and no one owned me,
Someone asked if I could give her a
my heart,
When I said, “Yes,” I made my first
mistake,
Yes, she got her love at last, and so did I,
Then, she broke my heart for another guy,
Oh, I had dreams, you see and I had
plans,
But I traded them for some romance!
Now,that cuts like a knife,
But believe me, fresh love still feels so right!

Look at what I’m facing now,
Another heartbreak is on the way,
just because of chasing
Too many women
Now,that cuts like a knife,
But believe me, fresh love still feels so right!

When I see the mess that I’m now drowning in,
I know why I’m here after what I have
been through;
Chasing too many women!
If the truth be told, I would have to say,
It was still worth the price,
that I had to pay,
Though they break your heart and make
you cry,
I can’t hardly wait ’til the next comes by
For another try, and i don’t know why;
Now,that cuts like a knife,
But believe me, fresh love still feels so right!

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

A man who has nothing else left in this world, may still know bliss that is love

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I now understood how a man who has nothing left in this world,
may still know bliss that is love,
be it only for a brief moment,
in the contemplation of his beloved.

In a position of utter desolation,
when a man cannot express himself in
positive action,
when his only achievement,
may consist in enduring his sufferings in the right way–
an honourable way–in such a
position man can,
through loving contemplation of the image he carries of his beloved,
achieve fulfilment so deeply rooted in his soul.

For the first time in my life,
I am able to understand the words,
“The angels are lost in perpetual contemplation of an infinite glory of love.

As you know, my heart is now full,
With all the love you give to me,
But did you know?,
That long ago,
my heart was filled with emptiness,
When It felt so sad
And pain burnt my soul,
It seared that precious part;
My heart was charred,
A blackened mess.

I cursed myself, I couldn’t think,
My mind was chewed right through,
How had I made a mess of things?
A quandary, yes, but true;
How can my life turn round?
I had no clue, not one idea,
On how I’d change my world,
But then I found you,
My shining light,
My beacon in the dark,
The only one who loved me,
Despite my flaws.

You helped me through each dark day,
Until I saw the dawn of my new life,
The darkness faded;
You help me still,
And keep me sane.
Stopping me going mad with loneliness of the heart,
But my love I must admit;

My heart is now so full,
Spilling over the brim;
You changed my dark to light,
My love,
My Muse,
My heart’s liberator.

These words are yours tonight,
My love, you are so wonderful,
To me, no one compares to you,
The things you do and say to me,
They drive me wild,
Through and through.

Take last night,for instance,
You smiled so sweet,
Took my hand,
Kissed me softly,
Guided me,
Gripped me,
Whispered to me,
Such sweet words to my ear,
In your arms,
We moved as one,
My body welded to yours,
Beneath cool white sheets,
My heart, it pounds like a war drum,
My chest wall aches.
In an anticipation of a rapture.

You say the words so soft and sweet,
Only meant for my ears,
And then we fall.
Bodies locked tight,
Lips are locked,
In a passionate kiss,
That can only be drawn by lovers.

And in your arms,
I lay so still,
Until the dawn,
My sweetest thrill…
My mind wanders with sweet delight,
To valleys full of joy,
And a stream that only flows for me,within the lush fluffs,
That crown the source of untold joy and pleasure;
My dreams filled of only you.
Your fingers dip beneath the elastic of my
shorts,
And a mountain rises in a valley,
That was flat just a while ago!

…Telling me how and when to touch,
Commanding me to release the pressure,
Smiling wickedly and telling you to grip
harder,
My breathing shallows,
A deep urge builds,
Not quite yet, you say to me.
To help prolong the thrill.

Can’t hold back,
What now truly belongs to you,my love,
It’s all yours to take!,
Yes, you say,
The time had come;
A shudder washes over me,
And knowing that you’re there,
Watching,
Smiling,
As I slowly let out,
A moan so deep,
it hurts my throat,
Ploughing throw a field,
That is only meant to satiate my need,
My hunger is no longer a pain,
My need is quenched again.

My eyes closed tight,
My breathing slows,
I know not what my body does,
Bursting with streams of thick joy,
as I drift into paradise.
My eyes they slowly trace the line,
Upward, skywards, so divine,
Fingers skip along your leg,
To that place between,
Where the warmth does lie,
Pulses race across your flesh,
Breath it quickens,
Gathering pace,
Teasing with my soul and flesh,
A thousand shocks race against my finger tips….

What’s that, my sweetie?
Speak it loud,
Scream and shout,
Purr for me,
As my fingers dance,
But it seems,
That’s not enough,
Fingers grip your fluffy curls,
Dragging my head to where the fountain of joy sits.
On this stairway,
That leads to paradise,
As your body begs for a dance,
That’s only meant for two!
It is in this bliss of love,
That I finally drift into peaceful sleep,
Still locked in the warm embrace of your loving hands….

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

A red rose for my sleeping beauty

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I have put a red rose beside your pillow,
And scattered rose red petals among our bed sheets,
so that in the gentle hours of the night,
we will share dreams,
That are only inspired by our love.

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

Cultivating true happiness:Some practical thoughts to build on

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Thinking you can avoid suffering is kind
of like thinking you control the ocean
tide.

Just in case you were wondering,
you can’t.

Suffering by definition: the state of
undergoing pain, distress, or hardship.

As humans we typically strive for what we perceive the opposite of suffering,
happiness: the state of being happy.

Of course why wouldn’t you?

Nobody wants to suffer.

But,sometimes in order to appreciate
happiness we have to experience
unhappiness.

We can’t say we are living if we are only choosing to allow in experiences and feelings that feel safe for us.

I once viewed myself as a very unhappy and reactive person.

I worked very hard to be an unreactive happy person.

You know those people who go to yoga
every day and glide though life with a calm flow, but then you are driving with them one day and someone cuts them off and they lose their mind, waving their fist and swearing? That was me.

I had even started to refer to myself as 80 percent Buddhist and the other 20 percent of the time was reserved for “other.”

Maybe part of happiness is not avoiding
suffering?

Maybe to experience happiness
we actually have to experience everything else, including suffering.

There is a place in the middle that
respects our entire being,in other words,our middle ground.

It is a place where we can be everything and anything.

It is place where we are gentle with
ourselves and brave.

It is a place where we can embrace it all,
with the understanding that each thread is important in weaving our story.

Rather than chasing happiness or running
from suffering there is another place we
can go, an action we can take.

I almost feel foolish for missing it for so long, as it is simple.

It is called being yourself.

It is a humble place, a sometimes scary place, a gentle place, and a place full of wonder, love, and opportunity.

All you have to do is simply be yourself.

And like everyone else,embrace the life’s middle ground.

And both suffering and happiness will serve to give you a higher experience as an all round human being.

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

A wheel chair,and a female doctor with dimples-what a good luck!

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Men only go see a doctor if they have a
bleeding hole in their head. Mostly from being shot by silly carjackers,or having a beer bottle splitting their brains into two halves in a beer brawl.

And men hate it if and when, they have to be wheeled around the hospital in a wheel chair!

So,when I drove myself to hospital to have some persistent pain and swelling on my right leg around the calf muscle checked at the hospital,I was not expecting to be wheeled in a wheechair to the emergency room!

Didn’t the case screening clinical officer know that I had just driven myself here,and I expected to be attended to and then proceed to a weekend outing with friends,on this Friday afternoon?

But you can ask for a wheelchair the next
time you visit the hospital, even if you
just have a flu and you are on piritons
and you are a wus of a man.

They won’t have the heart to say no.

Plus, it’s not like they have to worry about fuelling the damn thing.

Or, as in my case,they might force you into a wheelchair!

The only problem being wheeled around is that people sort of stare at you and wonder what you could be suffering from.
They wonder if you have some sort of enzyme deficiency that has been responsible for reducing your testosterone levels to that of a frigid woman ; if the bad enzymes had finally caught up with you,then you have to bear this disgrace with fortitude..

He called for a wheelchair but I told him
that I was cool, I could walk it. He said
he would be more comfortable if I was
wheeled instead and I wondered, heck!
Am I actually dying and this guy isn’t telling me?

This orderly pushed me around, without saying a word. Chaps who push you on a
wheelchair aren’t used to conversation
because the people they usually push
are normally too busy listening to their
own pain.

But I’m always curious at what
people do and I can’t shut up in the
morning, so I asked him, “Who is the
one patient you pushed on a wheelchair
that you remember the most,and did he die in the end?”

He didn’t say a word for a while, and when I sort of turned to see if someone was still pushing me or I was on cruise control, he sort of mumbled, “eeh, hiyo lazima nifikirie.”( “Give me time to think about this one”). I believe he’s still thinking about his answer.

I was wheeled into emergency room,to my horror! So I’m actually dying?

A rushed and hustled petite lady with
short hair was my radiologist. She asked
me to change into this blue garb of a dress that they tell you to wear during examination at the hospital,completely naked underneath it, and lie
on my back.

She said “We are going to have a look at your right leg, is this your right leg, Bernard?” I said indeed it was
my right leg. It felt like a court
proceeding:

I know its procedure: they want to know if you are still conscious,or you are so messed up by whatever you are suffering from to be logical and coherent, but she kept asking
me if that was my right leg.

Even doctors don’t believe in complete mastering of mental faculties of a man who has to be wheeled around in a wheel chair.

She asked so many times I started suspecting it wasn’t my right leg.

She pressed some cold gooey stuff down my strong hard muscular thighs (just let me have that one) then ran her handheld gadget on it as she stared at her screen intently, taking pictures of my veins.

After 15mins she announced nonchalantly: “You have a clot in your vein.”

A what??

I don’t know if you know this,my dear reader, but people die from clots in their veins.

Clots ride up to your heart and just when you are ordering a much needed drink on a Friday afternoon after a long hard week, you will fall off your stool and die with the words, “…Gilbey’s Gin on the
rocks, pleas…” on your lips. Or die on
your steering wheel just as the lights
change green.

Or in your sleep.

Clots are sneaky bastards who don’t warn you.

Now that explained the wheelchair!

In a very steady voice, I asked a leading
question like the ones chicks always ask
us. The ones that have no right answer.

Like when your lovely chick who has been adding more weight ever since you started dating asks you if she is ok in that blue tight fitting dress that she last wore during her high school days when she weighed fifty kilos less than today!

Anyway, back to the radiologist. I asked
her: “Is this clot thing a good thing or a
bad thing?”

And I half expected her to say, “I dunno, Bernard, why don’t you
Google that? We have free wifi here in the hospital.” Hehe.

She said, “It’s not a good thing and it’s
not a bad thing, but you know it’s below
your knees where the vessels are smaller
and far from the heart, now that we
have seen it on time, the doctor will
decide the course of treatment…” I
drifted off as she spoke. I will be honest,
I panicked. I don’t want to die. There is
so much to do.

Because of the pain the doctor put me
on a drip. The IV rig was set up by a chirpy male nurse who explained that I might feel nauseous.

He hooked me up and before closing the curtains to my cubicle, he said, Press this red button here in case you need help.

Two minutes later, I wanted to test if the red thing actually works and how long they take to get to my bed,just in case I will be dying suddenly.

I wanted to test if he can move faster than my clot that was now moving to my dear heart, so I pressed it.

He was there in a flash. “Yes, Bernard
everything OK?”

I swear if it was a female nurse I would have told her with a dramatic whisper, “Please stay with me, I’m scared, hold my hand, don’t go. I’m scared of this bloody clot, here, let me put my head on your chest…” Hehe. Then see what she will do.

But it was the damn male nurse again, so I said, “how do I recline this bed, boss?”

And he reclined it. Then moved the red button so far away from me with that look that seemed to say, “This, Bernard, is not a toy.”

When you are told something like you
have a clot, everything quiets down in your life.

Literally.

Just some whirling thoughts of your soon to be funeral keep running like a stuck movie loop in your mind.

The hospital ruckus behind the curtain quieted.

I lay there, staring at the white ceiling thinking, heck, this is how people die. No warning.

The first call I made was to the only “mother” I have left – Daisy, my partner.

Sickness makes a child out of all of us.

And Daisy is the only “mother” I can cry to in this distress.

She was more panicked than me after that call,and she literally flew to my bedside in a rain of tears. Poor Daisy! She may have to look for another guy to lean on after I’m gone. She deserves another shoulder to cry on…

Maybe it was the drug, but by this time I
was so calm. She listened to my calm sober story in total disbelief.

We normally go to bed at night already planning about the next day because we assume that the next day is assured.

We forget to live because there is always
something we have to do.

Someone who we have to see. A goal we have to achieve. Money we have to make. People we have to compare ourselves to. The daily rat race of life catches up with us and it makes us forget life.

We forget to smell the flowers, figuratively of course.

All this while, a clot forms in your vein.

Or a cancerous cell builds in your
stomach.

That clot made me take a step back and
say, “wait, slow down.”

As I lay there, Dave, my marketing collegue at the office called. I had completely forgotten
the interview with a local TV station, an
interview that we have been talking
about for ages. It was scheduled for
11am in Thika. It was 10am and I was
hooked up to a drip in Parklands.

It amazed me how quickly life changes and how when it changes certain things lose their urgency.

“Dave, not today, please.” I
told Dave that I was in hospital and
that I would call when done to
reschedule. He didn’t sound like he
believed me.

I looked at my phone calendar.

I had things to do. Tons of things. Things I was going to have to cancel. Money I was
going to lose.

As I lay there,literally dying for two days in a hospital bed,I remembered a different case that involved a collegue who had been bitten by a tick,and his case had been misdiagnosed.

So I rang the red button again,and when the grumpy male nurse came shuffling in without hurry, I told him that I would like to have a second opinion on my diagnosis.

The hospital authorities consented to my request.

A specialist lady doctor from another hospital was going to give the second opinion.

I explained to her that I have been working at Maasai Mara game reserve on a waste water treatment project for game lodges and tented camps,and could I have been bitten by a tick in the course of my duties?

She was the most beautiful lady doctor I have ever met with hypotonising eyes and a dimpled smile.

She did tests, an MRI, studied my
ultrasound results. She stuck a cold
stethoscope on my chest.
She listened to my lungs and my heart, and asked a ton of questions. She studied my calf.

All tests came out great. My heart was perfect. So were my lungs. She said that she wasn’t convinced that the black dot in my vein was actually a clot. And in case it was too small to cause any significant damage.

But she said she wants to err on the side
of caution and asked me to continue
taking the drugs for another week just
to be sure.

And when she finally presented the final results on a cold Monday morning,my world literally lit up on her accompanying dimpled smile; it was a tick bite infection afterall! With just a few painful injections on my butt,I was going to be fine,and possibly good to go for another hundred years!

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®

PART TWO: Chastity,my daughter,how can I ever tell you that you are a stranger in my life?

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PART TWO

The shrieks of monkeys by our house in the KWS staff quarters was not exactly what Chastity expected for her morning greetings.
She came from her bedroom walking noiselessly on the wood tile floor,tip-toeing to sit on my lap.
I stroked her head to calm her down.
She was silent throughout this ordeal.
It was like watching a pantomime play.
She looked scared.
The house, for one thing was strange to her.
She had slept through the journey late into the night,and was still asleep on our arrival.
She slept on the lorry’s cabin as we offloaded our belongings.
I only unpacked the essential items that we could use through the night,and then put her to bed to continue with her slumber.
From her surprised looks,I could tell that the morning had come too soon for her.
Not to mention the strange animal noises in our new compound.
I knew she was not ready to take her breakfast,not before she ascertained what kind of racket was going on outside our door.
“Daddy,what is making those noises?”
“Some monkeys,baby girl(a pet name that I used on her),would you like to see them?”
“Yes. Draw the curtains daddy. Can I see them through the window?”
A tactful girl.
She wanted this show to come in small bits.
I carried her to the window.
Monkeys were doing their thing,swinging by tree branches and gracing their sport with numerous shrill shrieks.
Chastity held me tightly wrapping her small arms round my neck.
“They won’t bite you,but don’t try to throw any food at them,or carry your food outside the door”.
I took the opportunity to impress on her some necessary precautions she must now start adopting in our new home.
Some monkeys were atop the roof of a parked Landcruiser.
She watched these ones with both fascination and dread.
In her young beautiful mind,she could see that the clear cut bondaries between animals and humans were erased in this environment. She held me more tightly as she watched them,but relaxed her grip when she spotted a baby monkey clinging to her mother as she dashed across the compound.
There is something about babies that mellows the hearts of all of us.

¤¤¤¤¤¤

Our reception at the Officer-in-Charge of the station was quite eventful for all parties.
Chastity was wary about the many monkeys that graced the compound as we walked to the office block.
She only managed to take a few steps before pleading with me to carry the rest of the way to the office block.
“I’m scared,Daddy”.
“Ok,but you will have to get used to them,baby girl. See,other children are walking all by themselves across the compound”.
“Will they be my friends?”
“The monkeys?”.
“No. The children. Will I play with them?”
“Yes,off course,after you get to know them. Make them your friends!”

¤¤¤¤¤¤

The officer in charge had not expected me to bring along a toddler.
I had clearly indicated during my last interview that I was single.
That was only eight months ago.

“Welcome. Is she your daughter?”
“Well,yes. It is a long story,but I will explain it to you when I’m settled here”
“No problem. How was your journey? Did you enjoy the night here? It is rather noisy with all these monkeys around,but you will get used to it”.
He was a man with things to do and he did not waste his time on niceties.
He was not expected answers to his questions because he buzzed an intercom and a lady in her thirties was also ushered into the office.
“Meet Dr. Kimathi. She heads our veterinary department. She will take over from where I’ve left and show you around. Good day,and enjoy yourselves!”

He was already done in two minutes.
None of had said a word.
We were soon dismissed and ushered out of his office.
Dr. Kimathi held Chastity’s hand as we walked along an open walled corridor to her office.

¤¤¤¤¤¤

“I’d like to apologise for Dr. Richmond’s abrupt demeanour,but that’s how is towards everyone around here,and not just you in particular”,Dr. Kimathi said as she invited us to her corner office.

“He must, however,have been taken off guard by your daughter’s presence,how old is she?”

“She’s three and six months old now. I’m sorry I didn’t declare her presence during my interviews for this position”.

“You should have done it…that declaration would have helped us to assign you a house in our married quarters,but you need not worry,I will correct that oversight and assign you the right house in the due course of time”.

Chastity who had been silent since our reception at O-i-Charge’s office looked more relaxed and was swinging her legs over her seat.

“Do you want us to move to another house,baby girl?”,I asked Chastity to deflect this uncomfortable discourse.
“No,Daddy. I like our new house,and the baby monkey!”
Dr. Kimathi burst into pearls of good natured laughter at Chastity’s comment.
I admit that her comment took me by surprise too.

“There it is,Dr. Kimathi. My daughter prefers the house that you have already assigned to us”.

“But her mother might prefer a bigger house…..”

“I don’t think so…..I mean,her mother is dead…it is a long story…”

“Oh-im sorry to hear that…what’s your daughter’s name by the way? Is it baby girl?”

“Chastity”.

“What a cute name!,come here Chastity”.

Dr. Kimathi held Chastity as she took me through the job description and responsibilities of my new position.

There was something motherly about the way she held my baby girl.

She finally ended her talk by saying that I was to embark on a six month induction course at Montana National Park in the U.S.A.

She cryptically added that she was going to be one of the courses facilitators,and both of us will fly out in three weeks time.

This information dampened my enthusiasm for my new position.

Having to fly out of the country would complicate matters for Chastity.

I could not figure out how Chastity would fit in on these new arrangements.

My mind had taken leave from the present,and Dr. Kimathi’s lovely voice jolted me back to the present moment.

“I’m sorry to bring this up too soon,but what arrangements do you have for Chastity? She can join our baby care unit,or join the pre-unit class”.

“Well,that would be very much ok for now,it is the six month’s induction course that I’m really worried about; I can’t afford to leave her behind too soon….”

“Mmmh…that’s right…I had not foreseen it from that angle,but please leave that to me. I will see what we can do,probably in the way of some local arrangements”.

“Thank you…but I wouldn’t want to leave her behind..”

“Worry not,I’ll see what can be done along those lines”,she said firmly

“By the way,I also live next to your house on the Singles Quarters,three houses along the row from yours. Chastity can pay me a visit whenever she likes,isn’t that so Chastity? Would you like to come to my house?”

Chastity started sucking at her thumb.
That’s what she does whenever she is facing difficult situations,or questions that she has no answers to. It is a game she played very well with the children’s welfare officer during her visits.

¤¤¤¤¤¤

Dr. Kimathi introduced us to quite a number of other administrative officers as we paid them courtesy calls in their offices within the Admin block.

She also took us to the staff canteen during the lunchtime break where we met Range officers.

She is a very self-effacing lady without any pretentious mien. She was at home with her juniors as well as her seniors.

Late in the afternoon,she drove us for short game drive within the park.

We saw quite a number of animal,and one injured monkey that had been caught in hunting traps outside the park.

She darted it with anaesthesia gun from her land cruiser,and we took the opportunity to redress its wounds.

Chastity was fascinated by this game drive where she saw numerous number of wildlife animals.

She had sat at the front cabin with Dr. Kimathi who acted as her tour guide,pointing out and telling her the name of all different animals.

I was very happy for my baby girl who was quite happy and excited on this game drive.

I,however,was slightly apprehensive about the way she was taken in by Dr. Kimathi’s charm.

I was not ready to lose my baby girl to anyone too soon.

¤¤¤¤¤¤

The afternoon drive ended right outside Dr. Kimathi’s house.
Chastity and I were invited for a cup of tea and biscuits before retiring to our residence.
Our host changed from a no nonsense professional to a motherly host who was eager to help us feel at home.
Her sitting room was graced with stuffed animals and Chastity had a rough time trying to figure out whether they were the real thing or what.
She clung to me,until our host demonstrated and explained to her that the stuffed animals were harmless.
The fish aquarium stole her interest.
She couldn’t get enough of the ornamental live fish swimming in the aquarium.
She happily asked a lot of questions to Dr.Kimathi about these beutiful creatures and she humbly obliged.
Dr. Kimathi had a lovely National Geographic DVD that she played for Chastity on Marine life.
Chastity was quite taken in by all this.
In the end,we took a lovely supper of green peas sauce and delicious chapatis and Dr. Kimathi’s before retiring to our residence.
It had been my most lovely evening since Chantelle left me.

¤¤¤¤¤¤

After putting Chastity to bed,I had a train of thoughts swirling in my mind about my future,Chastity’s young life that was now under my care and guardianship.
I also thought and deeply missed Chantelle.
But I had not quite forgiven her for haughty attitude towards Chastity.
Why couldn’t she believe me?
Was it worth it,throwing away all the life we had shared together for this silly misunderstanding?
Why couldn’t she find it in her heart to treat Chastity the way Dr. Kimathi had treated her,after only knowing her for a few hours?
Will Chastity ever enjoy the love of mother in her life again.
What’s a man like me supposed to do….how can I raise up Chastity alone?
Will I leave her behind during my six month induction course?
Can I convince the office to allow me to take her along with me?
My sleepy mind was overwhelmed by these torturous thoughts.
By I had a brilliant insight about formalising my adoption of Chastity.
I will call the Mombasa Children’s welfare officer the first thing in the morning and request her to help me in obtaining an official birth certificate for Chastity under my Surname.
Chantelle,you left me when I needed you most….
Sleep came to me easily after this resolution.

¤¤¤¤¤¤

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

My Wordless Story

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My story is one without words.
All of these lines that cross my face,
Tell you the story of who I am,
So many stories of where I’ve been,
And how I got to where I am.

My laugh lines tell you of the joys I’ve had,
The many things that my heart rejoices in,
The treasured memories of places and people,
Who have made my life an enjoyable enterprise.

My calloused hands tell you a story of the things I’ve worked for in my life,
Many hot days under the sun toiling for my daily bread.
My hands are not soft,
My life has not always been soft,
But my bruised hands tell you that I’ve not taken the challenges of this life lying down.

My stooping shoulders tell you a story of burdens I’ve had to carry in my life,
The many friends too who have had a shoulder to lean on,
And the many lean times that have literally weighed down on my shoulders.
My shoulders tell your a word less story about my life.

My greying hair tell you a story of the many blessed years God has given me on this earth,
To live my life and see all the changes,
From my childhood to the prime of my life.
My greying hair tells you a story spread across time,
till this present moment.

My scars tell you a story about the many fights I’ve had in life,
And the fact that the scars have healed,
Means that i triumphed over all of
my battles,
and emerged as a persistent victor,
and a fighter who never walks away,
from a fight done for a worthy cause.

Yes.

If you look closely,you will know the story of my life,
Though i’m not gifted in telling my story through words,
My persona tells you my word less story,
In the best way that a poet can tell a story,
About me,and my life!

But these stories don’t mean anything,
When you’ve got no way to tell them,
When you have no words to tell them,
But i’m glad that my story is already told,
Without words,
And without an audience to hear them.

This is my story,
This is my life,
Though I’ve no specific person to share it with,
It has been told,
That which was very difficult to do,
Is already done,
Without saying a single word!

Of men,toilet and thumb finger

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You might not know this but this past Monday was International Men’s Day.
Of course it was low key because who wants to celebrate men? Who cares? Men are overrated. Men like guns and start wars but they can’t even find their socks. Men have terrible bathroom manners, leaving the toilet seat up. They don’t spread their beds. They whine and act up when they have a mere flu. They don’t even like cats.
Men are destructive; they like blowing things up. They drink beer. And they belch. Loudly. So who really cares for International Men’s Day? Not the world, for sure. The world is too busy with other pertinent things affecting the future of the planet.
TOILET DAY
Talking of which; do you know what men were competing with on that same day they were to be celebrated? World Toilet Day. Yes, there is actually something like that. The only reason I know of World Toilet Day is because the UN chose to celebrate it over Men’s Day and people on social media were going nuts about it.
I hope you are not having breakfast but apparently, 892 million people practice open defecation. I’m all for sanitation and a clean environment but I couldn’t help but to solemnly note that on the day we were to be celebrated, the world was talking shit.

Toilet Day was founded by a Singaporean philanthropist called Jack Sim (that’s a man, in case you are wondering) back in 2001. Maybe he did or maybe he didn’t check what else people were celebrating that day but whatever the case, he chose the one day out of 365 of them – which happens to be the one day that we celebrate men – for his toilets. Anyway, we are men. We don’t moan. Besides, it’s no use crying over spilt milk. We are big enough to share a day with a toilet.

I once did some consultancy work this man who didn’t have a thumb. I will have you know that it’s very difficult to conduct an hour’s consultancy with someone with a missing thumb without getting increasing curious. (Or maybe it was just me.) That missing thumb became the elephant in the room.
I was curious to know what happened to it but at the same time, I thought it would be very uncouth to ask someone why they were missing a thumb. My high school literature teacher, Mr Simba was Nyika called it a Catch 22 situation.
Anyway, at some point I thought, oh sod it, I will ask, what’s the worst that will happen? I can always apologise profusely if he takes offense. Thankfully, he didn’t take offense. In fact, he deviated into hilarious anecdotes on how important he didn’t realise his thumb was until it was gone. For instance, he can’t do a thumbs up.
MORAL
There is no other finger that can execute that. He can’t adequately do an open palm push up. He can’t use chopsticks. He can’t throw a rock – or a punch – without a thumb. Without a thumb, you can’t pinch your child if they are being naughty, which means they might grow up to be delinquents who steal and pilfer. You can’t button a shirt or pick up a coin in the streets. Turns out you also can’t stroke a woman’s cheek lovingly if you don’t have a thumb. Moral: it takes losing a thumb to know how vital it is.
Men are like the thumbs. The world thinks it doesn’t need to celebrate us because the world can now change its own tyre, fix a leaking sink, figure out what’s wrong with the iron box, make babies with frozen sperms, figure out how the complex TV remotes work, use electric blankets when it’s cold and even go to the moon, etc. And it’s fine. But one day this same world that celebrates toilets over us will wake up and we will be gone and I assure you, the world might have happy trees and fresh air but it will be a sad and dreadful place without us.
But why lament? Why should we beg the world to celebrate us? We should celebrate ourselves. And so this is for you – the fathers who are not absent. This is for the men who stand for something, the men who never turn their back on their responsibility, the men who constantly show up and pull their weight, men who mentor other men. This is for the lawyers who work pro-bono for the needy; men who never forsake their parents or deny their children; men who earn an honest day’s work, men trying to better themselves. Men who are proud of who they are and where they are from; men holding other men’s hands through adversity. Men of honour, men of good deed and men of God.
This is also for all the broken men – the alcoholics fighting in rehab, the jobless salvaging their egos, the men who have lost everything and are starting afresh. The diseased and the deceased men; the lost widowers. The unnoticed men at the back of the room doing important things. Hold your heads up, dear brothers. Hold those heads up even through the stink of the toilets.