Finding Purpose In Life (by Dami O-Aliu)

Finding Purpose In Life (by Dami O-Aliu)

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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A letter to a broken family (By Annonymous)

A letter to a broken family (By Annonymous)

Good evening Family,

 

As a new month comes into play and old things go into the past, it is with a heavy heart I am writing this letter. I have decided to no longer just keep silent and watch as things destroy and are irrevocably lost but to speak up. I think it is time.

 

In the unexplainable web of family rivalry, bitterness, mixed truths, sadness, despair, depression, tears, hatred and conflict.  I want to start by saying that just because I have taken the decision to speak up please never let it be said that I have taken the moral high ground or I have somehow put myself as “holier than thou, riding on the proverbial high horse”. I only speak because even though it is seen as an old fashion concept I still believe in “Family”.

 

Writing this is actually bringing tears to my eyes and I am not speaking figuratively.  I cry out to God over my family and the life of every one of us. I write this from my heart and I hope that somehow just before the new month starts it gets to each and every one of you just in time.

 

A few years ago on a holiday trip to England. I attended New Wine Church in London and amongst everything the pastor said. I have held one thing closest to my heart. He said “just as God has given us free will and an ability to do just as we please, so also will he not deny us the consequences of our choices”.

 

In other words “We are where we are because of what roads we choose”. There is always more than one way to re-act to every situation.

 

You see the thing is, In the error of youth I believed that just as long as a human being is not mentally incapacitated or emotionally blunt his/her attribution of self-inflicted hardship has no excuses. What I am trying to say in simpler words is that “If a man has 2 eyes, 2 legs, 2 hands and 2 ears then whatever situation you find yourself financially is your fault and yours alone. I soon found out this was not an absolute truth. Getting out of a situation when you have put your all into it has as much to do with hard-work as it has to do with timing. I had spent countless frustrated hours feeling emotionally drained and physically exhausted because I believed that I failed because I kept making only “bad” choices and so focused so much on the perceived failure that I missed the opportunities that was present in every situation.

 

One thing you sad Dad that I would always remember is that “If you were born poor it is not your fault but if you remain poor it’s your fault”. For decades I have watched as individuals blamed their surroundings for the circumstances in which they found themselves, they have blamed God, their children, their wives, their husbands, their government, their family and even their children but have always managed to be too blind to see their own inadequacies.

 

Do I speak of one person when I write this? No I do not. I am not excluded. If anything I might even be the biggest culprit of it all.

 

I believe that every human being is beautifully and wonderfully created, but most importantly that they are armed through life with the ability to make rational choices (not easy choices but rational choices).

 

 

There are a few ways in which I could address all the ongoing issues. I could start by taking the road of pointing out who is telling the truth. This road of pointing out inadequacies and faults is one we have always taken but have never gotten any result. We could go on and say “Mr this” should never have said or done whatever to “Mr and Mrs that” but I think our catalogue of faults as a family are more than I am willing to write or go into. It is honestly a miracle that no one has killed someone else. We have all been hurt “very deeply”  by each other and the scar from wounds of years ago still show up every day.

 

We could also go one to take the approach of saying to everyone that they should all just apologise and move on but what good is a half apology or one in which we do not know or accept we did anything wrong. In other to learn from our mistakes one must first of all acknowledge that they have made mistakes. Do we accept that we have all made mistakes? I guess this is a question that only you can answer.

 

I would like to start by saying that I know I have and I am sorry to anyone I have hurt in the process especially in my youth.

 

The final option is taken from a biblical principle taught by Jesus over 2000 years ago when a woman was about to be stoned to death for being a prostitute by a crowd of people. Jesus calls out and looks to the congregation and says “Let him without sin cast the first stone”. So I say this to my family, let him without sin cast the first stone.

 

Let the person that knows they are innocent of all sin be the judge of all. If you have sinned against your family in whatever way either as sons, daughters, mothers or fathers then I beg you not to throw stones in glass houses.  I know how hurt everyone is but the problem is that EVERYONE IS HURT AND NOT JUST ONE PERSON.

 

It is time for peace and a turnaround but this must first come from a heartfelt acceptance when we cannot ignore the hurts we have caused others. I know there were times I disappointed the whole family but only self pride will keep me from knowing that everyone was affected but my decisions and not just myself.

 

Everyone one of us starts every argument (Please have no delusions about this, everyone does this and does it very deeply also) or disagreement by talking about ourselves, How it affects us, how we feel, what we wanted to do, what we did and how we do not want something.  In the role play of our individual lives we are all victims of life.

 

It is time to stop thinking about how things affect us but how it affects others. I know it is easier said than done and I don’t think it will be easy but I promise you all it is worth changing or fighting for. Life is more than just how we feel or what we want or even our own happiness.

For me, it is now about my family’s happiness. I live for my family and know life has no real meaning until we live for others. Take a look at Nelson Mandela, we do not celebrate him because he was the best man in the world but because he lived for others, same with Jesus.

 

My family we are not victimsWe are the causes of our own hurts and there is only one solution.

 

Love is the only choice we have, Love can build a bridge between our hearts. Love can overcome all the sorrow, the pain, the countless days of tears, the days you wished life would depart and the depressions we felt.  Love will be our bridge and don’t you all think it’s time?

 

When we stand together it is our finest hour. We can do anything. I write in tears because I still believe that in between all these there is still love somewhere. Please do not prove me wrong or just a dreamer.

 

In the presence of darkness only light can overcome it and when light comes darkness cannot comprehend it but must give way to a stronger being at the expense of itself. Let love be the light the fixes all darkness.

 

1 Corinthians 13 (New International Version): If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

 

I think it is time. I put myself on the line to say let our last name be more than just letters but something that unites us. It is time to let go not because you were not hurt, not because you are not right to be hurt but because it is time to let go.

 

We have lost almost a whole decade as a family. Who can remember the last time we all smiled as a family? I have only a fading recollection of this.  Time lost can never be gained so let’s not lose anymore. Let it be now.

I know we must all follow our paths but the best way to do that is to know what path we are presently walking on. My family we have gone astray and a lot is lost but not all is lost.

 

I do not write this to chastise or for self regret. I only say we made mistake because it’s about the road that gets you to a place where you finally see yourself for what and who you are and lose all sense of false self grandeur. The day you weep your eyes out because for the first time you really see your flaws and you realise that just knowing what they are means nothing if you continue to do nothing about it. That day “our” world takes a new shape. That day friends and family that have stood by you mean even more; “everything becomes an opportunity”, a second chance to get things right. That day maturity grabs you by the throat and becomes your best friend. You finally dissect yourself accurately and on that day self-pity leaves your side and self-action takes its place. Blame departs along with loneliness and new life takes its place.

 

That day you realise that even though your life and options aren’t what you want you learn to take the highroad (not your way), maybe you do this because you learn to look at everything as a lesson, or because you don’t want to walk around angry anymore hoping to rationalise life, or maybe it is because you finally understand the cards that are laid before you.

 

In life there are things we don’t want to happen, but have to accept. There are people we can’t live without, but have to let go and that there are things we don’t want to know or face (often about ourselves), but have to learn.

 

Doing something about what we already know is our fault is the real difference.

 

I have learnt that failing to see one’s own inadequacies is one of the biggest handicaps a person can have and to not see that ensures the real cause of a problem is never addressed.

 

It sometimes makes me sad that in a lot of peoples situations they need to go through sadness to appreciate happiness, they need to cry to know the value of a laugh and they need to lose a loved one to appreciate the beauty of life. They need to search for love to know never to take it for granted. This to me is one of the greatest tragedies of the human condition but ultimately it is what makes us human and not divine.

 

I present love as choice and just as I mentioned earlier it is one in which if we chose not to accept God will not deny us of the consequences just as any other choice in life we make.

 

Yes! We all made mistakes but falling down when trying is not failure it is just a learning curve and should be seen as one. It can be difficult and frustrating to fall but this is also a good thing as the deeper the pain the more you want it. This pain is good and I can honestly say take heart, it gets better. This fall should never be allowed to be the reason to give up. This is just part of life. Life will throw you curve balls and we do not always get to pick what happens in life but we do get to pick how we deal with what is thrown our way

My family what values do we place on each other? The time for talk is long gone. It is time for actions.

 

I do not want to end this on a low as a new month shall shortly begin so I would like to say this in the form of two quotes.

 

When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”
― Paulo CoelhoThe Alchemist

 

And

“There is neither happiness nor misery in the world; there is only the comparison of one state with another, nothing more. He who has felt the deepest grief is best able to experience supreme happiness. We must of felt what it is to die, Morrel, that we may appreciate the enjoyments of life.
” Live, then, and be happy, beloved children of my heart, and never forget, that until the day God will deign to reveal the future to man, all human wisdom is contained in these two words, ‘Wait and Hope.”
― Alexandre Dumas

 

Best Regards

 

Annonymous

 

IF (Then you will be a Man)

IF (Then you will be a Man)

If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,

And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

 

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;

If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;

If you can meet with triumph and disaster

And treat those two imposters just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,

And stoop and build ’em up with wornout tools;

 

If you can make one heap of all your winnings

And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

And never breath a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

To serve your turn long after they are gone,

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;

 

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch;

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;

If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run –

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

And – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son!

 

 

by Rudyard Kipling

TO MY UNBORN CHILD. (THE APPLE OF DADDY’S EYE) By Dami O-Aliu

TO MY UNBORN CHILD. (THE APPLE OF DADDY’S EYE) By Dami O-Aliu

A POEM To my unborn child.

daddys apple

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.