Featured

Let Go and Move On 2020

Let me take this opportunity to welcome everyone to the first blog article of 2020.  I must admit the break from blogging has accorded me the opportunity to connect the dots and ponder on what the future holds for me.  But the break has also helped me to appreciate the power of the present. Let’s face it, we don’t live in the past and we don’t live as yet in the future.  We live in the present. It is the present that counts. In that regard, I have dedicated my blog articles for 2020 to be on how we can make our present count for us. Often in our lives we are battling demons from the past that clouds us from enjoying the fruits of the present. Sometimes we worry a lot about the future that we forget that we are alive in the present.

umut-yilman-wRVdulwaNh8-unsplash

Image by Umut Yilman on Unsplash

You will discern the line “let go of the past” throughout most of my articles this year because I truly want everyone I come into contact with to live meaningfully in the present.

Let go of the past like you would let go of your kite.

Live in the present.

Welcome to 2020.

Featured

How gratitude took me out of the abyss. And why it is important to practice.

In March 2103, I visited my doctor for a hypertension checkup. The doctor measured by hypertension (bp), pulse and body temperature.

And then she said.

“From our previous discussion regarding this subject, it appears there is some connection between your high bp and your work situation. What would you prefer most; your health or your work?”

I replied that it was difficult to choose between the two but I certainly will think about the situation over.

I limped out of the doctor’s office and walked to my place of work which was about 350 meters across a four-lane traffic-laden road.

As I waded through traffic, oblivious to the noise made by cars, the doctor’s words came to bother me.

I knew exactly what the doctor meant.

I was scared big time.

For the next few weeks, I continued reflecting on the doctor’s feedback and eventually I made a decision.

The decision was to quit my last job.

I was working as an HR deputy manager for a government ministry. My last job and the one preceding it were like working at Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen.

  • I and my colleagues were putting out fires and in the process igniting new ones.
  • Four or more incoming trays of mail were being delivered to my division and we were expected to clear it within 10 days as per internal rules.
  • Politicians were interfering in our work left, right and centre.
  • I was expected at work very early in the morning and knocking off very late every day contrary to my employment contract.

My work environment was indeed high-stakes hot plate and had contributed a lot to my undesirable medical state.

I quit my job and left for my home village to figure out what to do next.

Well, I thought I had escaped hell and little did I know my decision will send me straight into the abyss.

Immediately afterword had gone out that I had quit my job, I began to observe the first signs that things weren’t going to be easy.

This is what I observed immediately after quitting employment.

  • I began to immediately lose friends and some people who have been closer to me.
  • Some family members began attacking me for leaving employment.
  • The behaviour of some close family members towards me became strange and suspicious.
  • Some of my local friends and relatives “blocked” my calls. The few who answered would say “I am in a meeting, will call later” and never to call again.
  • My childhood friends, some of which I had stayed with their children in the city or done one favour or another greeted me like we have never met before. The greetings were very cold I guess calculated to deter me from building follow up conversation.
  • Some close family members who I knew would never hurt a fly somehow found the nerve to attack me openly for leaving employment without their consent.
  • Other family members’ attitudes towards my fiancée stopped short of full-blown hate. They would complain of minor things such as her accent. Whenever I was around, snipe remarks such as “If a girlfriend is useless, you fire her” would come to pass by the bucketful. Strangely none of them ever spoke of firing their wives or husbands some of whom were clearly useless.
  • I began to get remarks which I had no answers to, one of which I remember was, “These days you are thin, is it because you are not working?”
  • In every social gathering, people would ask me “Why did you leave such a good job and see you don’t look nice?”

Coming from a conservative society that values 9-5 employment more than anything else, their behaviour didn’t surprise me.

But what hurt me the most were the words and the careless remarks levied on me. And I must admit they hit me hardest – like one of the punches Andrew Golota I landed below the waist of Riddick Bowe at their epic boxing bout in 1996.

Before I had never known how powerful the “word” was until I began to get the nasty and toxic remarks. The remarks had more impact on my mind than the fear of possible and sudden death from my medical conditions combined.

I was hurting, shocked, angry and in despair.

I kept asking myself questions I couldn’t answer.

What had I done wrong to deserve such treatment?

Who made leaving employment on account of health a crime?

As these unfortunate incidents happened, I was also battling with health issues that got me to quit my job in the first place and also dealing with a new health scare – my right breast was swelling and getting painful by the day. Thinking it was breast cancer, my anxiety levels shot through the roof.

At that point in my life, I was in a 4-in-1 hardship which I didn’t know how to get out of.

The four hardships were;

  • Hardship: my cardio – the medical condition
  • Social outcast
  • Breast condition
  • The daily grind of life (as we know life is hard these days if you are unemployed)

To me, my 4-in-1 hardship became an abyss I was drowning in and with no obvious plan of getting out.

Until one day as I was browsing through a 2012 women magazine whose theme for the month was celebration, I came across an article on the power of gratitude. In the article, scientific findings and statistics from various psychological journals on the power of – gratitude – were cited.

What won me over completely to – gratitude – were tales of women who had lost a lot in life and yet they were grateful for being alive.

When I compared my situation to theirs, I realized I was in a relatively better situation. If they can be in what I considered relatively worse situations and still be grateful, why I shouldn’t I be grateful?

Then again I asked myself; what should I be grateful for?

This article and others in the magazine sparked an internal conversation in me.

Those internal conversations led me to perform some crude personal SWOT analysis.

I looked at my possessions, abilities and mere fact I was alive and I concluded all was not lost. I became grateful for what I had and for who I was.

Perhaps I should share with you findings from my crude SWOT analysis.

  • I was still alive.
  • I still had my health-imperfect as it was.
  • I had my close family (daughter and fiancée).
  • I still had two close friends left.
  • I had former colleagues who occasionally would call to check me.
  • I still had some caring extended family members.
  • I was a trained mathematics teacher
  • I was a trained school counsellor
  • If I wanted a 9-5 job, I could still find one
  • I had the intellectual ability to create stuff and make a living from it.
  • I had zero debt.
  • I had contacts I could leverage on.

As I appreciated what I had, I could feel some change in me- I was becoming more and more “lighter”.

Yes, negative thoughts were still trying to dissuade me from my new view of things.  Somehow this time around I seemed to do well against them to an extent of bursting out in laughter at a negative thought that had entered my mind.

I must admit and testify that ever since I have been grateful for what I am and what I have; I have experienced significant health improvements.

Even when things are turbulent, I am at peace.

The anger and feeling of animosity towards people I felt were abusing me have all disappeared. I can now deal effectively with any naysayer without getting angry. It’s no longer about me but for them.

I am at great peace of mind thanks to the spirit of gratitude.

What is even more profound is, I now practice gratitude regularly.

Most of the mornings around 7 A.M., I make a gratitude prayer thanking the Almighty for keeping me alive.

I recommend to anyone to practise gratitude and be grateful for who they are and what they have. And they will begin to experience positive changes in their lives.

An article titled on Forbes.com also reveals 7 Scientifically Proven Benefits of gratitude. 

The Happier Human blog also has an article on 31 benefits of gratitude.

Even Holy Scriptures show how important gratitude is in a believer’s life.

I recently listened to Jocko Podcast, Episode 64, in which Jocko Willink interviews Colonel (Rtr) William Bill Reeder over his captivity in Vietnam during the Vietnam War and about his book “Through The Valley: My Captivity in Vietnam”.

This is a great interview and I recommend that you find the time and listen to it.

Actually, the interview buttressed in me the importance of gratitude.

freshh-connection-Y3OrAn230bs-unsplash

Photo by Freshh Connection on Unsplash

This year 2019 on Saturday, September 7, 2:00PM, I received an email from Richard as I am subscribed to his blog www.RichardYadon.com. He begins the email with the words from the famous Zig Ziglar.

“Today is a great day. If you don’t think so, just try missing one!”

Still in the email and he then goes on to show how important being grateful is to him.

I particularly like these words of wisdom from him.

Sometimes I fall into the trap of only thinking about what I don’t have or what I need to fix.  The urgency, inconsistency, and challenges of life can seem bigger than my meaningful priorities. If you woke up this morning you can be thankful.  If you aren’t hungry today, you can be thankful.  An ‘attitude of gratitude’ is essential to living on purpose. Start by looking at all the things you take for granted and be thankful they aren’t a constant worry”

Words of wisdom indeed.

Thank you for reading.

I am grateful for your taking your time to read or like this article or follow the blog.

 

Featured

20 GREAT QUOTES ON PROCRASTINATION

  1. Just Do It – Nike Slogan
  2. Indecision becomes decision with time – Unknown Author
  3. All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty – Proverbs 14:23 Holy Bible
  4. It is easier to resist at the beginning than at the end – Leonardo da Vinci (Italian Artist & Scientist)
  5. Delay not to seize the hour – Aeschylus (Greek Tragedian)
  6. God  has  promised  forgiveness to your repentance, but He has not  promised  tomorrow  to your procrastination  –  St. Augustine of Hippo (North  African  Roman  Bishop  & Philosopher)

 

 

nicole-honeywill-1221924-unsplash.jpgPhoto by Nicole Honeywill on Unsplash

  1. Procrastination is opportunity’s natural assassin – Victor Kermit Kiam II (American entrepreneur)
  2. He who begun has half done. Dare to be wise; begin Quintus Horatius Flaccus (Roman Poet)
  3. The two rules of procrastination: 1) Do it today. 2) Tomorrow will be today tomorrow Unknown Author
  4. Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him – Charles Dickens (English Writer)
  5. Unhappy he who does this work adjourn, And to tomorrow would the search delay: His lazy morrow will be like today. But is one day of ease too much to borrow? Yes, sure: for yesterday was once tomorrow- Perseus (Greek Hero)
  6. The best way to get something done is to begin – Unknown Author
  7. 13. What deserves to be put off are procrastination and excuses – Holbrook Jackson (British Journalist, Writer & Publisher)
  8. Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle – Abraham Lincoln (American Statesman 16th President of the United States of America)
  9. How soon not now, becomes never Martin Luther (German Theologian & Religious Reformer)
  10. Take time to deliberate; but when the time for action arrives, stop thinking and go in – Napoleon Bonaparte (French Statesman)
  11. Never put off till tomorrow what may be done day after tomorrow just as well – Mark Twain (American Writer)
  12. We all sorely complain of the shortness of time, and yet have much more than we know what to do with. Our lives are either spent in doing nothing at all, or in doing nothing to the purpose, or in doing nothing that we ought to do. We are always complaining that our days are few, and acting as though there would be no end of them – Lucius Annaeus Seneca (Roman Philosopher & Statesman)
  13. You may delay, but time will not, and lost time is never found again – Benjamin Franklin (American Statesman & Printer)
  14. If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done- Bruce Lee (Martial Arts Actor)

Finding your Zen Now and in 2020

In layman’s understanding Zen simply means “peace of mind”. And that is the understanding we shall run with. The phrase “peace of mind” is synonymous with the words; calmness, coolness, serenity, quietness to name a few.

simon-rae-IGOBsR93I7Y-unsplash

Photo by Simon Rae on Unsplash

Let’s face in these days’ lives it is difficult to find one’s peace of mind. We are bombarded by all sorts of distracting stimuli. Eventually, we run around until we tire out without achieving any meaningful results.

When we don’t achieve what we want we get disappointed.

As we all know, when disappointments pile up or are not managed properly that can create a plethora of emotional problems (stress, anxiety, mood swings, etc.) which may also manifest into physiological problems.

Peace of mind one can navigate through all the noise, the disappointments, and the distracting stimuli without going crazy.

And finding your peace of mind doesn’t need to cost you a limb. It can be achieved freely without the need to buy it.

If for some reason, you can’t cope on your own; seeking the services of a competent and licensed professional is a necessity.

The suggestions I am about to share with you helped me at no cost when I was broke and going through the emotional turmoil – I called the “abyss” a couple of years back. I still use them to cope.

And I believe they will be of help to you as well. The suggestions are not conclusive, not meant to be prescriptive and you don’t need to adopt all of them to find the peace of mind.

Let’s now have a look at the Zen freebies.

  1. Breathe in and breathe out (about 4 or 5 times) when feeling overwhelmed. Cost: $0
  2. Be grateful that you are alive and still have your family and everything you hold dear. Cost: $0
  3. Consult your God. How you consult your God is up to you but do consult your God. You may pray, fast or meditate; it is all up to you. Cost: $0
  4. Cry if you have to. Crying reduces distress with the higher levels of stress hormones contained in tears and has a soothing effect.
  5. Engage in a light exercise for a few minutes every day. Cost: $0
  6. Draft an action plan to tackle issues that may be leaving you overwhelmed. The plan must-have list of manageable to-do mini actions. Cost: $0
  7. Have adequate sleep to wake up refreshed (7-8 hours average). If for some reason, you can’t find the recommended 8 hours, swing in a nap or two during the course of the day. Cost: $0
  8. If you have to talk about the issue stealing your peace of mind immediately, call or visit a trusted relative or even friend and talk to them. If you need help let them know you need such. Cost: Range from free to few $ depending on where and how you would contact the trusted relative or friend.
  9. Eat right and Hydrate adequately. When one is going through tough times, often the temptation is to resist doing the right self-care habits. And it doesn’t help the situation one is in the long run. Cost: May range from $0 to a few $ that may accrue from diet adjustment. Under normal circumstances the food we already have in our pantries is sufficient – only the devil is in the cooking.
  10. If you have to “release” or “debrief” through writing, do it. A piece of a book in the house will you serve you well. Who knows; the notes may become your best-selling book in the future. Cost: $0 (but if you have to but a journal, it may cost a few $).

Thank you for reading.

This list is merely self-care suggestions I am offering and they are not in any way a substitute for professional advice from licensed health and nutrition professionals.

Caution: affiliate link ahead.

If you are in need of a Zen professional program in 2020, I recommend you try out the folks at Zen 12.

I recommend this book, Zen Habits by Leo Babauta. It will certainly be of help as well.

Thank you for reading this blog post.

*Boiki Keaitaya is a non-practicing trained school counselor.

WORLD COMMONSENSE DAY – 4th NOVEMBER

Today, the 4th November is WORLD COMMONSENSE DAY. And that got me thinking;

“What is this thing called commonsense by the way?

I decided to visit Wikipedia’s for wisdom.

This is what I got.

“Common sense is sound practical judgment concerning everyday matters, or a basic ability to perceive, understand, and judge that is shared by (“common to”) nearly all people. The first type of common sense, good sense, can be described as “the knack for seeing things as they are, and doing things as they ought to be done”. The second type is sometimes described as folk wisdom, “signifying unreflective knowledge not reliant on specialized training or deliberative thought”. The two types are intertwined, as the person who has common sense is in touch with common-sense ideas, which emerge from the lived experiences of those commonsensical enough to perceive them”. Continue reading “WORLD COMMONSENSE DAY – 4th NOVEMBER”