Its been a long time since I wrote, I guess I just needed time to re-process things and hopefully understand the things before me.
Life can be complicated but sometimes it can be blissfully simple. In the period I took to step away I discovered that reflection and meditation on circumstances is no longer a luxury afforded by only the wise but now a necessity of every man.
I have had time to think about family, love, wealth (money), work and religion. The more I searched, the more answers I felt I got yet in those answers new question arose. This made me come to the inevitable conclusion that no matter how much value we place on the things around us a few things come on top as priceless.
Yet, in all I see three main things a person cannot or maybe I should say, should not do without.
1) A Sense of Direction, Ownership and Belonging (D.O.B): Similar to the blessed trinity the most important thing comes in three.
A) A sense of Direction: I used to dream about days when I would wake up and not have a single thing to do or place to go. I don’t know if you were/are like me and dreamt about winning a massive lottery.
It was the best of my dreams and then one day it happened. I had taken a 6 month leave from work (lots of reasons why which I won’t go into details about) I woke up with nowhere to go and to be honest it felt great for the first few days, I stayed home, looked after the kids, did the laundry and dishes, made meals. It was amazing and then the days turned into weeks and then months. I am not saying it was all bad as I had the option to go back to work earlier if I wanted. What I am saying is that a taste of this allowed me a unique learning experience. There is no life without purpose.
I am not saying that your purpose should be work, all I am saying is that at least when I woke up every day I knew exactly what was needed of me and weekend rests felt better because they felt earned. I am convinced that a sense of direction is vital but even more so that it is only a third of a perfect piece.
B) A Sense of Ownership: This is the second piece of the puzzle. When I was home I realised that even when I was at work I did not exactly feel accomplished. I felt like I had failed to some degree. Did I hate my job? Not at all, I loved it. I loved meeting new people every month. I knew almost everyone. I was respected by my colleagues, delegates and superiors.
Yet something was missing. I realised that what was simply missing was that it wasn’t mine. It was a good job, not the best pay but good enough but it wasn’t my company. I felt no responsibility for the job. This allowed me come to the conclusion that responsibility is also a good this and it brings with it ownership.
What am I saying here? I am simply stating the obvious, My family (son, daughter and wife) are my responsibility and because of that simple irrefutable fact I know exactly what they need from me (doesn’t mean I always do it though). There is ownership in the family unity and this allowed me to enjoy the challenges that come with it. I relish the challenges and pray I am up to them but they are no longer negative. A sense of ownership is very important but even with direction and ownership there is still something missing.
C) A Sense of Belonging: I am not sure you even need me to explain why this is even important but I will all the same. Have you ever thought about the tragedy of abandonment and the evils that sometimes come from people that have suffered isolation and abandonment? Or ever thought about radicals or gangs? What makes people give up their lives for a belief? What makes life and family mean so little in comparison? It is a sense of belonging. It is such a powerful motivator than it leads people to abandon everything they see and know and in extreme circumstances to abandon morality. A sense of belonging can also be used in a positive way. An example that comes to mind is missionaries delivering food, help, health aid and charities with international reach. At this point I feel that I would be writing an irresponsible post if I do not interject and state that a sense of belonging does not in any way mean an abandonment of your own desires or who you are.
As a matter of fact I believe that they go hand in hand. A quote that comes to mind that explains it perfectly is by Brene Brown;
“The truth is: Belonging starts with self-acceptance. Your level of belonging, in fact, can never be greater than your level of self-acceptance, because believing that you’re enough is what gives you the courage to be authentic, vulnerable and imperfect.”
She also goes on to echo my discovery when she states “A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don’t function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick”.
For anyone that has never heard of her, she is worth researching. My sense of belonging comes from more than just myself. I belong to my family as much as they belong to me. I belong to my friends and I belong to this world. I am responsible for how I leave this world when my time is up (no matter what day that happens).
You see, in order to fully appreciate a sense of direction you must see it in connection to ownership and belonging and then and only then do you see the full picture of why they are important as individuals yet part of a family.
2) Love: I am glad I discovered this well into the early years of marriage. The love of a wife can be a bedrock. Before I could really understand this I first of all had to understand that I am not perfect in anyway. The fact I have love does not mean I will not abuse it or take it for granted and this only helps to make me take a step back and see how lucky I am. When I talk about love here, I am in no way talking about love from Hollywood movies or from romantic books.
I am talking about love where you are hurt but still don’t want to leave. The kind you are afraid to lose and it keeps you working on yourself to become better. I am talking about the kind you know and you feel as real as your own hands. I won’t bore you by telling you all the details of how I came to this conclusion all I will say is whoever you have let them know. If you can’t say it , then write it. If you can’t write it then sing it, if you can’t sing it ask someone to help but don’t stay silent. Love breeds love. Can you imagine a faith worse than loving with nobody to love? If you are lucky enough to have someone to love and someone that loves you back then they deserve to know. Love forgives, love cares, love appreciates, love grows, love never dies, love never looks back but love also needs love to burn brightest.
3) Attitude: I guess this might come as a surprise to some, as attitude is very often not discussed as an important part of a purposeful life. Attitude is simply a settled way of thinking or feeling about something.
Why is this important? I guess it is simply because we are all a victim or product of our perceptions. We react to the world based on the way we see the world. Our attitude is governed by it. Yet we very often forget that though we may not have the best of everything or anything. We have a choice on how to behave. My friends please don’t kid yourselves the way I have always done. We have a choice in every situation. We have a choice on how to react when we get fired, when our partner leaves us, when we fail to get what we want, when someone cuts in front of us (we all know how irritating that can sometimes be). We can “chose” to rise above it or chose to dwell on it. Our attitude is our choice and ours alone. We are not even victims of our biological urges as most people like to believe. We own our attitude, we own our choices, we own it and must take responsibility for it.
Now the best part about attitude is that even if you have a poor attitude, this can be fixed. It is not something you were born with. It is something you develop. A very useful strategy to develop is “looking at the bigger picture”.
“Keep your face always toward the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you.”
― Walt Whitman
A few examples might help. When I was 8 years old, I fell “in love” (as much as a child can) for the first time. I was totally crazy for a girl I met in school. I felt that this was the single most important thing in the world to me. I never told anyone about it but to me, she was everything. In that moment at that time I felt like if I did not get her then “life was not worth living”.
I don’t think she ever knew who I was or how I ever felt. Now, over 20 years after and it makes no difference what I felt then. It has no impact on my life and thankfully I am still here. Now before you disregard this and call it “puppy love” please note that this was very real to me. If a person perceives something as real then it will always be in your best interest to treat it as such (regardless of your own personal inclinations). I was just as hurt then as I would be now.
Another example is one that is very personal to me. Almost a decade ago (during my freshman year) I met a lovely lady who turned out to be a very good friend. She made my first year at university that much easier. She was nice and though we never had romantic feelings for each other she was as good a friend as I could ever ask for. About 3 years ago she unfortunately took her own life. It looks for all indications to be as a result of lost love. I was so devastated by this because we had not been in touch for over 2 years and I just wished I could have offered her what she offered me when I needed it. I cannot even begin to imagine the pain her family is going through even till date. She really was a saint yet in a similar situation she just could not see the light at the end of the tunnel. I cannot blame her ex-boyfriend as he has a right to pick who he wants to be with. He has a right to choice.
In the present world of social media it is quite easy to develop a negative attitude, especially when one looks at what “the rest of the world” seems to be doing.
A few realistic steps might help
1) Be careful when developing your attitude and never compare yourself to anyone. What a tragedy it will be if we ever forget the thing that makes us uniquely us. Our experience are uniquely ours and what makes us beautiful and stronger ( A treasure chest of wisdom).
2) Whatever people say is simply their opinion. They are entitled to it but it does not mean you have to take it (obviously I still recommend listening to good counsel). No one can make you feel inferior without your consent so stand firm on who you are.
3) Smile and do what makes you happy as long as it isn’t harmful to yourself or others. We still have a responsibility to others so one unfortunately must reflect on this advice more than all the others. I am in no way asking you to stay with someone you know you do not love at all for fear of breaking their heart. I am simply saying pleasure must be enjoyed with caution.
4) Ignore people who simply tell you that you cannot do it and never offer advice as to how to overcome a problem. What good is it telling someone of a problem if it is not backed with a solution? You need positive people around you especially because there will come a day that you might lose belief in yourself. You will need someone who helps you see it.
5) Enjoy yourself in everything. Enjoy the unexpected or result that were not what you expected. Many people have discovered great things in error. A positive attitude will help you see through it all.
6)Have a positive vision and be happy for other peoples success. I know it might be hard to be happy for your ex when they find someone else they love but try to understand that true love involves being happy for someone else even if they are not with you.
7) Finally, always be true to yourself. Not who you think you are or what you would like to be but who you really are (strengths and weaknesses). Never beat yourself down and never compromise or search for dodgy shortcuts. Work smart and not harder but always know who you are what you stand for lest you fall for anything.
Your attitude to success will ultimately be the thing you rely on when things go wrong. When (and not if) problems come along the way. A positive attitude will keep you focussed and goal oriented. It will give you power over your circumstances. No matter what you face in life always look at the bigger picture. Are you worrying about work? Well, If you got fired today, your company will be fine as there are several hundreds to do your job (so take a break and enjoy life). Your life has been lived many times before you by many others before you (so enjoy the ride and love the people around you while you still can). There will always be wealth on earth (so try not to spend your entire life looking for it). In work, in family in life, always give more than you expect to receive in return. These my friends is how we find real purpose in life.
“There is a magnificent, beautiful, wonderful painting in front of you! It is intricate, detailed, a painstaking labor of devotion and love! The colors are like no other, they swim and leap, they trickle and embellish! And yet you choose to fixate your eyes on the small fly which has landed on it! Why do you do such a thing?”
– C. JoyBell C.
If you have any more suggestions or comments, please feel free to leave a comment below. Thanks for reading.
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“No One else will ever know the strength of my love for you.. After all you are the only one that knows what my heart sounds like from the inside”
“Always remember, You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think” ― A.A. Milne
“Life doesn’t come with a manual, it comes with a mother”
My mother brought me up as a single Parent, she has always worked full time, and I never remember going a full day, without seeing her. She never complained when I cried for no reason or when i broke her “favorite ornament” .
My mum always gave me the very best that she could, and without her i wouldn’t be the person who i am today, dont get me wrong we never always got on, we had our moments like every other parent and child, but no matter what happens i know that its just a matter of lifting the phone and dialing her number, she will help me in which ever way she can.
Thanks to my mum i now know how to cope with being a single mummy, she is my inspiration.
I sit back and think how hard my mum had it when it really was just me and her, we had some tough times, but mum always got us out of them with her head held high.
This is a thank you to all mums not just mine who care for their children, unconditionally love them, and will do the very best for them.
I hope my children see me even half as good of a mum than what i think of mine, after all i learnt from the best.
“A mother holds her child’s hand for a short while, But their hearts forever”
“Children must be taught , how to think, not what too think”- Margaret Mead
“You are pregnant,” The words I heard and couldn’t believe at 18.
I couldn’t believe it, I was 18 and going to have my second baby. What would everyone say? How would i cope?
my head was full of emotions, Going home looking at my Calvin, my first baby, I got my head round the idea that
in 8 month’s I’ll be having another..
My first scan was great at 11 weeks 4days gone, no sickness no nothing I felt brillant. As time past and my bump grew all our family knew that there was going to be a new addition to the family, I couldn’t have been happier. Thinking back I wondered why I was so worried at the start.
At week 16 my Back had got really sore, migraines, was being sick and tired constantly, the doctors had put it down to being pregnant and with my first child just being run down a bit, giving me iron tablets, I went home. Something to me still didn’t seem right.
Having my next scan to look forward to i put it to the back of my head. Two days later I was at my midwife. asking how I was, I explained how I was feeling, asking if she could take a few swab tests and urine sample I thought it was just procedure. Then she hit me with the most shocking thought that could have ran through my head. Group B Streptococcus or “Strep B” is a more common name for it.
I had never heard of it so she told me not to worry and read through a few pages of information, Going home ringing my mum and granny explaining to them. They had never heard of it either, so I just carried on, taking things easier.
Then it was finally time for my “big” scan. I was so excited, my mum and partner came with me, as we sat round looking at my baby bouncing about sucking its thumb. Then, “Would you like to no what your having?” looking at my mum and partner sitting at the end of their seats I knew that we all couldnt wait, “A very healthy Baby Girl,” I was so happy My first baby was a boy, we’ll have a “gentleman’s family.”
The minute I got home all other thoughts went out of my head, all I could think of was names. At the end of that week I had 2 names picked. My phone rang, “Hello, its Charleen would you be able to come into the surgery, your results have came back, getting Calvin babysat I went up, my partner was at work, so I just went myself, nothing to worry about, the sonographer said a healthy Baby Girl after all.
As I walked into the midwife’s room she brought me down to a room at the end of the hall, walking in my heart sank, ” Hello, I’m a Doctor from Royal Hospital, please take a seat.” “your results have came back, You have Strep B and, we want you to go for a scan”. I explained that I had my scan at the hospital at the start of the week, everything was okay. “For the results that we need you need more of an advanced scan, we can do it now, or you can travel over, and get someone to go with you.”
Knowing that nothing was wrong I got it done there.”Im afraid you have advanced Strep B, in this case 1 in 32,000 people get this, it has been passed on to your unborn baby.”Asking what that meant, and what I had to do I stared to panic. They gave me strong antibiotics to take to try flush it out of my system and had to go back three days later.”please don’t panic about this, your baby needs you to stay relaxed.”
That night I sat and cried, then I decided on a name, “Chloe” meaning, A strong little flower. Going back to the doctors, they explained the antibiotics didn’t work, my other options where limited, “Carry on with your pregnancy and get antibiotic injections every week, but there will be a strong possibility that your baby will be seriously disabled and a lifetime of health problems, also it will be very dangerous for you to have a natural labour, What we suggest is you having a late abortion and although this will be very hard, we think it will be the safest choice for you.”
At that moment my world fell apart I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, then “kick” my baby was trying to tell me something at that time, “I’m carrying on with this pregnancy, Whatever way my baby is i’ll love and care for her as much as I can.
And that was that, I carried on with the injections, praying that my baby will prove them all wrong I took things as easy as I could.
1st June came round and going out to my mums house to leave anniversary cards to my aunty and uncle for the next day I still had over a month to go.
The sun was shinning, at my aunts I was walking about, couldn’t sit still. Later that evening mum asking was I okay, I told her I had cramps. drinking hot water, and lying down, they wouldn’t budge. Going home later, I got in and packed my hospital back, just in case I remember thinking. 6 o’clock in the morning, I woke my partner and told him to ring his mum and get her to mind Calvin, we had to go to the hospital, the baby was on her way.
In the car the contractions where getting stronger. I could hardly walk to get in. straight down to delivery, the baby’s crowned.
Looking at the clock it was 6:16 am on the 2nd of June, getting into delivery I thought back to my first labour. 38hours 43minutes, not this time though 6:30 am I was holding my Healthy Baby Girl. 6lb 13.5oz at a month early she was as healthy as any other baby.
I remember looking at her, “We did it baby, we proved them wrong, she was brought for tests and everything came back fine.
Chloe is now 15months, has been walking for a month and doing what all other baby’s her age should be.
She will always be “Mummy’s little strong flower,”
I came across this quote recently and felt that I must share it with you. It is beautiful and thought provoking. I hope you enjoy it.
“The Paradoxical Commandments
People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.
The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.
People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.
Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.”
― Kent M. Keith, The Silent Revolution: Dynamic Leadership in the Student Council
A POEM To my unborn child.
I am writing this letter to my unborn child
From a fathers heart to a heart straight from my God
Who before its first breath my heart already loves
I love you more than even life can ever hold
My beautiful wife, what precious life you will bring
I love you even more for keeping you till this day.
I know its naive to love someone unknown
Yet in my silliness I feel at peace
For in your eyes yet unseen I know I shall come close to seeing my lord.
My child , My life, what simple words to speak
Counting down the days have been the longest wait of my life
Soon I shall meet you , knowing my life will never be the same
To cuddle, to nurse, to kiss your tears away
To cherish, to keep warm all the days of your life
As every day passes and every fear rises
Wondering and praying that you will be all you can be
Looking to my Lord to keep you safe when I cant
Oh, how hungry I am to show you a wonderful world
To hold your tiny arms till you can walk on your own
And keep you in my strong arms till yours grow stronger than mine
My beautiful child don’t be lonely in heaven
Make friends there my child for no one can harm you there
Remember to say hello to the lord and tell him I am doing all I can
To be ready for his gift.
Tell him not to worry for I will do everything to keep you safe and remind you where you came from
My darling child, kiss his feet and tell him I said I know I am lucky for soon
I will have you in my arms.
There is light after the DARKNESS
I woke one morning looking through a dark room
thinking life’s moving too soon
No light to behold
No sign of troubles after
Wanting to fight yet not knowing how
for a second I gave up praying
nothing to believe in
Then I found your book,
A little hook was all it took
Your heart, your soul
every word like freedom here, bringing me back to life like CPR
every promise a reminder that my story cant be over before it begins
No sitting here looking like life ain’t life no more
No point looking outwards for things you gave before I could walk
You taught me lord to walk proud
I had all I could
showed me the path
Walking the roads of champions
Push myself to the limit
Making a mockery of all the wisdom I acquired prior to your word
To those that say you will never make it,
those that used their words to do nothing but break you
we love you all
Those that felt you gave your all
No hard feelings
I thank you for your words
Your words made me who I am
If not for you I would never have fought
I would never have given my all to see those words untrue
Never have put it all in to ensure I dont believe those words
I thank you because I almost believed the words
I thank you because your words brought me to him,
your little reminders lifted me in a way I will never have found
I learnt opinions ain’t facts, you take it and let it be
I learnt to walk in nothing wearing nothing but my heart on my sleeves
And the days courage walked away I learnt to run out and pull it back
Being who you are comes from the heart
Telling you, that you can be all you set out to be means nothing if you don’t see it yourself
And if you cant see it now, look through the eyes of the one that never sees you as less
Look through the eyes of the one that doesn’t tell you one thing and act differently
Walk with me brothers and sisters
Leave all those lies behind
Let me show you the path I found for I know I can never walk alone
The father walks with us all
Reminds you of things long forgotten
For as long as he reigns,
your story hasn’t even started yet.
Motivation comes in short bursts. Always act while you still are, for motivations are only useful till they have been achieved.
I remember my very first job interview in the uk. It was a hot day (unusual for Scotland). I was as nervous as you can imagine. In the middle of the interview, I was asked a question that made me ponder for a while. Little did I know it would be the same question I would be asked in every single interview throughout my life. The question was what keeps you motivated now and what would be your motivation in five year’s? The question is quite simple to answer but I think it is one of the most pointless questions you can ask a person.
My reasons are simply that whatever keeps me motivated to work now and write would most likely not be my reasons for continuing in a few years and I have absolutely no idea what my motivations would be in five years. Or can we see the future? Nevertheless, I understood her point and what she really wanted to know.
When I was 15 years old all I lived for was to find a way to buy a car. I worked to buy a car, woke up with nothing but that thought in my head, even left my home country to go abroad and work a bit so I can afford my dream BMW. It seemed like I could do almost anything for that car. Three cars later as you can imagine I did not care about that anymore. Then there was University and I thought it was all about making good grades and towards the end of my first degree. I felt it was all about self-improvement so I can get a good job. During these period/ stages in my life nothing else was more important. Today it is all about achievements for me. Constantly working to make the lives of people that I care about better and believing I will get to a point where I can help much more than that. Improving my life and learning as much as I can. Teaching with whatever little wisdom I have, how to get on and do great things in life and hopefully transfer my knowledge to someone else who might need it.
Whatever it is you feel motivated to do, go ahead and do it. Do not waste time contemplating on how you would do it, grab the moment.
That little period of motivation could be the defining point of your life and what a tragedy if that day comes and we do nothing about it. If you are artistic use your arts. If you are creative, create something. Be bold and act.
During my masters years I worked as a carer for the elderly. I remember a conversation I had with a man named Steve. Steve was 78yrs old and he had been diagnosed with dementia. He had brief moments of lucidity and when they came he spoke about his life. Steve was a former farmer who later went on to serve in the army. He had spent his whole life on the farm and his parents had died when he was young and shortly after that he enlisted into the army. According to him, he had wanted nothing more than to be a song writer. Steve confided in me and told me that he often had some very beautiful song in his head but often found out that every time they came even when it was just a few lines. He was either knee deep in Animal leavings or in active battle. He felt that he never had a pen to write things out and never managed to complete a single song. This little tragedy had haunted him all his life that his last desire before he dies was to complete just one song. I cared for Steve for almost a year and watched his health deteriorate and watched him never complete a song. The world would never get to know if Steve was right. Maybe Steve was really the greatest song writer that could have been?
I promised myself that it would never be me. I would work when motivated, write when motivated and act when motivated. Life would never pass me by with such regret. What a catastrophe if we miss out on the one thing we are most suited for.
I think the point of this is really clear and simple so I won’t ramble on about it. It is a bit of a cliché to say never give up on your dream but I believe that we should never stop for as long as we are still motivated. Aim with everything you are and work with everything you have, remember that whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing well.
So don’t just be motivated, Work it till you have nothing left to offer.
“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom”. Ecclesiastes 9:10 (The Bible NIV)