What is worse than suffering?

Psst: I’ve moved. Visit me here http://streetsideconvos.com. Maybe the new blog will be for you. Maybe not.

I spent most of my childhood in a city that some people have called ‘particularly aggressive’ haha. Lagos is a very interesting city to be in. It brims with life and this undeniable sense of hustle which I already wrote about here.

Everywhere you go someone is fighting to stay alive. The young girl is hawking groundnuts and walking long distances on foot so she can get by TODAY. A loved one dies, we mourn and then we move on because we must still put food on the table and find a roof over our heads.

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Riding home in the keke napep. I prefer it to motorcycles lol

We don’t make excuses- we improvise instead. One day it was raining and I had to run an errand and I and my brother took a tricycle (keke napep) home. The tricycle rider had this improvised curtain thing that he threw over the sides of the tricycle so that he could still keep his business going even in the rain.

Life is so unpredictable so you have to be prepared- you have wake up earlier just incase there is traffic, it is flooded, or the roads are bad or something.

People are up as early as 4 or 5 to get to work because they want to beat traffic which is crazy in Lagos.

You go to the market, bargain for food, go to the gas station, buy diesel for your generator, turn it on and deal with the noise pollution because there is no power supply. By the time you come to the end of the day you are exhausted and ready to sleep and even then you may have to fight off mosquitoes if you didn’t spray an insect repellent or if you kept your doors open too late.

Get the picture?

Life is a struggle and that struggle is normal- nothing to complain about or blame anyone for.

You feel alive. You feel something and everyday feels new, and pregnant and promising and troublesome but fulfilling.

Then we come to North America or maybe another ‘developed’ country and struggle is not really something that is normal. You go through life pretty okay. Where your Nigerian counterpart would have to save money for months to pay cash for a house or a car, you just get a mortgage. Where someone else might be homeless if they lost their job, you could at least put it on the credit card for a while.

We become zombies. We can’t really say we are thriving but we are okay that’s for sure. Okay is worse than suffering. When you suffer you feel, and you activate that fighter in you. But when you are okay, anything that demands a little more out of you starts to seem like a chore and slowly your warrior instinct starts to die.

The instinct in us all for greatness and for survival is primal. Its raw and its intense and it can overcome anything.

Even in ‘developed countries’ everyone I have met who is truly fulfilled with their lives had a lot of fighting to do. They had to fight all the limiting beliefs and the resistance within, then they had to fight without- and stand up for themselves, stand up for their dreams and discipline themselves to get there.

So you can choose to be fooled by the illusion of comfort and numb down that warrior instinct in you but it is a dangerous place to be.

When you come to the end of your life how will you convince yourself that living a complacent life was the best of use of your time?

There are too many zombies in the world- thinking what others want them to think, living their life how ‘normal’ people live it, letting people talk them out of the future they came into this world to create.

But the instinct for greatness is in all of us and we must resist the complacency in our culture that keeps us too comfortable to act.

Feel the warrior instinct in you- the desire for more, the desperation, the zeal. Stop trying to numb it down, instead feed it. Guard it jealously and instead of discarding it from fear- TRUST that it will find expression. I think that is one of the noblest things to do with our brief lives.

“You get in life what you have the courage to ask for- Oprah Winfrey”

On that note I leave with you the broadway version of Fela’s Zombie 🙂

Happy Monday.

Ps: Join the conversation by leaving a comment. Is your warrior instinct alive and well, dying, or on the way to coming alive again?

How to find peace of mind- Change the locks

Have you ever had a great insight while sleeping? Image

I have. I did a quick youtube video to share an insight that has been on my mind all week.

It is on having peace of mind – something we could all use.

Watch it- especially if you are the creative, intuitive, analytical type- like me- haha

Living takes time.

Isn’t it interesting that every one of us is growing past something, pressing through, striving, making small but mighty progresses every single day of our lives?

Most times our hopes, fears, dreams, failures and successes are so much deeper than the surface and deeper than the expressions on our faces. But everyone of us has a story of growing and overcoming that actually deserves an applause.

Living takes time.

Just like our limiting beliefs don’t come overnight, positive change also doesn’t come overnight. No matter the mighty tree that is hidden in the seed the plant still needs time to be nourished and to grow.

It will take choosing everyday to move forward and also a good amount of time which can be quite frustrating.

Think about how we get caught up in a bad habit.

You start with the mental image, then thanks to your imagination you build a house on your head with it and before you know it, it becomes your own reality.

Same thing with positive change, we think of it, we take little steps everyday that move us consistently toward what is true and healthy and then over time we find that we have actually made a lot of progress.

Sometimes we may choose positive change and are taking the steps toward it but it will still take time for it to work its way out from our habits to our reality. In that in-between it is so easy to wonder- is this worth it? Who do I think I am aiming this high? Do I have what it takes? Am I okay? Am I normal?

Its so tempting to give up when we start doubting our ability to come out on the other end being who we want to be.

Here’s a life changing fact- change takes time; but if we invest everyday in the right habits, we are laying a solid foundation to build something massive in the future.

How much easier would we be on our selves if someone reinforced into us that change takes time though?

Change also takes us learning to dance to the rhythm of mercy.

No matter how much of the truth we know, being human we have the wonderful habit of self inflicting. Today I choose life. Tomorrow I choose every possible thought and thing that has nothing to do with life. There has to be a way we can come back and start afresh. Mercy gives us limitless opportunities. It is only through mercy, not through what we could do or what we cannot do that we could actually choose life forever. Mercy has found you and chosen you.

So everyday you attempt to live life courageously, don’t question yourself and wonder if you do deserve those dreams of yours. We couldn’t deserve anything we have. We couldn’t wish ourselves to life. Everything we could ever be and have is a gift. Mercy has given us life, new beginnings and infinite opportunities to make something of so we can give them away to others as well.

Here’s a challenge for us- to choose life no matter how many times we fail at it, to keep choosing those habits that bring us the most life, to take more generous helpings of grace and mercy and to know that we have it in us to live the life we have imagined.

Living takes time.

Don’t forget to leave me a comment, subscribe and come on over to twitter to continue the conversation 😉

Transition

With their cheesy lines and naive glee

those big screen stories made no room

for this, this mourning of something lost

this crossbreed of terror and passion surfacing

where those actresses would be only smiles

She stared at the stranger at home on her left hand

it blinked back even in the candle’s ambient glow

A part of her wished to be the night’s centre piece

the other wished to be the ambience, existing

only to set the mood for the main event

She felt too weak to embrace all this

It overwhelmed her, the prospect of changing

her story, his story, her people’s story

What would all she now carried evolve into?

What would she lose? What would become strange?

What was she forgetting? Who was she betraying?

‘Diamonds’, he whispered like she didn’t know

into the pregnant wide-eyed silence

Tears.

Where was the logical sense in grieving

as a rite of passage into something beautiful?

It didn’t stop them from falling

Each one a salty mish mash of longing and missing

of primal desire and her instinct for flight

‘Yes’ she said, after the fact

She kept saying many ‘yes’es; ‘yes’ upon ‘yes’

‘Yes’ to silence the unwarranted no

from the creature of comfort called her ego

She loved this man, and deep in a place

you could find only after much digging

She knew how precious it was,

this understated thing that only they shared

so she cried because the risk of losing him

was so much more than this weakening fear

of embracing her impending evolution.

– To Pelumi

 

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Growing pains

Have you ever made a strong resolve to do something only to realize shortly after that –

Blossoming

Blossoming

shoot, I missed my goal flat out? You set this massive target. I am going to work out more, read more, be a better friend, work harder, or whatever it is. Then a few days after some intense focus and consistency you fall flat on your face and even wonder what gave you the audacity to imagine that you could do such great things with yourself.

That is the huge risk that comes with having goals. You know that you know that you just fell short. That’s one of the most humbling and probably shameful things in the world.

One of my biggest goals this year was to be more resolute because I realized that was the only thing standing between me and my amazing future. My words for the new year were generativity and mindfulness and basically the heart of that was to fuel me to be a more resolute person- who enjoys every moment and expects the best out of life and just GOs.

In between all of that I had and still have to keep letting go of so much baggage- all the fear, self-doubt, comparison, letting people make you second guess yourself, letting little nuisances spoil your day/steal your joy, over-analysis paralysis etc haha. I started to believe that the future is bright regardless of any fear or doubt or worry or failure.

I learnt that we are actually all those great things we want to be. We are strong, we are beautiful, we are bold. Our task is not to be these things, but to drop all the extra ‘stuff’ so that who we already are can be more obvious. It is basically a journey of becoming who you already are.

Sometimes we forget our own stories of overcoming. A few days ago I was thinking about the past few years of my life- from surviving the scariest natural disaster I have experienced in my life, to moving to new countries on my own, to being sick, to lots of failure in so many shapes and forms, to working through numerous loose ends and knots, and the list is endless.

Sometimes we forget how much we have grown and changed and we don’t give ourselves enough grace. We place so much expectations on ourselves, we compare ourselves to others,  and don’t even allow ourselves time to grow into a more beautiful version of who we currently are.

Instead of telling ourselves our stories of overcoming we dwell on all the reasons why we are not enough. I have found that as I have loved myself even despite the things I am not yet, I come closer to being all the things I want to be. On the other hand, when I put myself down, all I do is drag myself down.

Have you tried talking to yourself and being a good friend to yourself? Most times we bully ourselves- pulling ourselves down for every little thing, even though we are nice to other people. So now when I over think things or something annoying happens to me, I stand up for myself and tell myself that the future is bright and everything is ok, and its not that bad and I am strong and I am beautiful.

As I look back, I realize that even though I feel like hiding in a cave when I fall on my face, over time I see that I actually am growing.

So now I have faith in the process- that if I keep putting some work into cultivating my life, my attitude, my dreams, I will look back again and see I have come far.

What’s your latest goal that you are sucking at and falling flat on your face about? Its all growing pains, but the point is, you are growing and you are moving forward.

Never give up on yourself. You can expect the best. You can take your dreams a notch higher and work hard for them because no one was created to be mediocre.

Just keep cultivating that garden that is your life, keep pulling at the weeds, keep feeding it, and give it some time. You’ll see something beautiful.

Don’t forget to leave me a comment, subscribe and come on over to twitter to continue the conversation 😉