Feeling Uurrrg!? Get out and Immerse yourself in Nature, Life is Good!

The Nairobi skyline at sunrise on 16th March 2015.

I want to love the sun. It gives light. Light helps me see the way. I want to love the dark. It allows me to see the stars. I stop to reflect and observe the stars. When it is daytime, I am on my way, always on the move. During the night, I rest and contemplate. Some thoughts I pushed aside during the day may resurface at night. I don’t want to see everything. I don’t want to process it all. I just want to keep moving. I want the sun to be out again.

Recently, my night thoughts are leading me to accept that human beings will let you down- at some point. It was meant to be that way, and I am supposed to take it in well. After all, I will also err and will expect forgiveness. But what if someone hurts you consciously and they just hope that you won’t find out. Why should I commit to share my life with you? Why should I, with the knowledge that you have the capacity to err? All of my life can’t and shouldn’t be tied up in that arrangement.

children in the rain

I wish we would forever remain young; probably what I mean is that I wish all humanity would be childlike. Maybe then, mistakes could be overlooked and forgiven easier and faster. Does a child ever do or say hurtful things? Sure they do. They are usually remorseful sooner. They also move on sooner when an adult wrongs them. We should remain childlike. This thought is very ambitious I know… Adults have to deal with global warming decisions, we have conferences to attend, and we have research to do and presentations to make. We are always on the move, pushing and shoving.

It sometimes takes darkness to make us stop. It will usually be sickness or the loss of a loved one. That dark moment that causes most people to stop and forces them to reflect. There must be a higher power. Some power that is greater than the darkness we so often experience – a great force that allows light and dullness. The kind of authority that puts everything in sync with the order of things, the type that causes everyone to understand their power is limited. You would have to yield, give in and admit inadequacy.

Giraffes in Africa

So today as I walked towards my workplace the thoughts that came to mind made me appreciate moments and not look at all of life in totality. I will just take in the moments. I will enchant my soul with creation. I will allow the universe to give me its best. The birds of the air and the clouds in the sky will teach me to hum my hallelujahs and greet all and sundry. Nothing shall spoil my daytime bliss.

In the evening, I reminisce on the life that I helped to bring into this world. My darling baby, I smile, life is beautiful after all, and her childlike spirit teaches me not to dislike the dark. Morning will come. I am not all wrong. Her life is witness that morning comes. You see, we choose what to feed our souls. Some things are too painful to tuck away. But why not live in the moment? Cherish every breath and take in your lovely surroundings. If nothing suffices, look at the skies, stare at it all you want because it’s as plain as day. It doesn’t lie, always there, giving you hints of rain or shine. Take a moment.

Display of Ignorance

I was watching the television just this evening and wondering what it actually means to call toll free. Then I thought- yes another random thought; I should just write something. I quickly dash for my laptop. I am now seated on my two-seater couch. I should redo these seats. Anyways, open, press power button, a few seconds waiting, caps lock on, five character password. That thing that goes round on the screen signifying the process is on-going. There, I am in. Quickly open WORD document.

pocket-watch-598039__340

Here goes another example. Many people (not sure how many, in this day and age of great information I should know, or at least quote a one in every….) actually think that the word “condone” is a negative word meaning look down upon. The linguists and those who love to read and learn new words are probably rolling their eyes while reading this. I am terribly serious and dare you to do your own survey with a random sample.

education-390765__340

I don’t want to go into validating parking. I usually like to know stuff before life forces me to. I learnt how to drive when I was twelve years old. Thank God for older brothers…daring older brothers. They didn’t teach me how to ride  a bicycle but they sure didn’t allow me a normal girly childhood. I think Jay (not his real name…but those who know my family will surely guess right!) taught me so that I wouldn’t have to keep telling on him to dad. Ted (again…not his real name but those…) gave me my second lesson for the sake of ensuring all the panic of actually driving left my veins. Our chess champion cousin had come over for a visit; nice green car, can’t remember the make. I only remember my foot pressing hard on the accelerator whilst reversing in a panic. What’s that they say about women and reversing?

I digress, I later on, more than ten years later, learnt how to validate parking. I was at a mall and had parked my colleague’s car at the basement. There’s that card I received when gaining access to the parking area. You know that card that pulls out of the machine after you press and the barrier goes up. After buying yoghurt, scouting the mall for a good restaurant (always curious about eating places) and window shopping, I walked to the validating machine. I looked on as another Kenyan put in their card. The screen read something to do with his parking fees. He dropped in coins in a slot, obtained a receipt and moved on. He took a brief look at me; I smiled, my turn now. I only had a fifty shilling note in my hand. There was a horizontal slot with written instructions beneath it explaining how to place a note. I confidently inserted the card. My parking fee was on the screen. I straightened the fifty shilling note and carefully used both hands to insert it in the horizontal slot. By this time, an askari (security officer) was standing near the machine looking on. I smiled at him and muttered something about how I am totally new to this…

I hope my point is home: be curious and learn how to do stuff, before you have to display your ignorance.

An open letter to my younger self…

August 1987, 30 years ago!

At 2 ¼ years old and all the stories I have been told say your smile lit up any room. Dad was teaching you to love books. He would get you to peruse through the National Geographic magazines and look at the pictures. This activity stole you away from the other adults who would constantly call you out because of some random act of mischief. Your older siblings were pre-teens and probably didn’t feel like being around you.

Reflection: Daddy taught you how to love watches and was a great time keeper. He encouraged you be you; to do you. His last words still ring in your eyes whenever you are about to make a life-changing decision.

August 1997, 20 years ago!

You are a brilliant young girl who is excelling academically. The young boys in your class have noticed that you are a bit shy. It’s probably because puberty has set in. You have also noticed some changes in your body. The teachers had some day called all the young girls from Standard 4 to Standard 8 for a “talk”. The boys made fun when you walked back into class with some packages in your hands. A well branded van had earlier been parked on the school compound. The van belonged to the company that had freely supplied some sanitary towels to the school. The teachers taught on hygiene and you girls were scared into “not allowing boys and men to touch you”. You are now capable of getting pregnant!

Reflection: Now, I am proud mother of one daughter. She is four years old and loves school. We negotiate about everything and her big hugs are more comforting than she will ever know. Her father and I are not in good terms and maybe another twenty years from now I will have another story to tell.

August 2007, 10 years ago!

Next month when you go back to campus, it will be the first semester of your last academic year. In a few months there will be elections in your country, Kenya. You couldn’t and wouldn’t imagine the violence that waited. The post election violence happened in several parts of the country. No one knew if you would ever go back to complete your second semester. I do not lie when I say that sometimes I close my eyes and can remember the smoke from the debris on my way back to campus in January of 2018. It had been reported that children were burnt inside a church not very far from you campus. Some of your college-mates who lived out campus said their property was burnt to the ground.

Reflection: Now, it’s been about three weeks after the August 2017 Kenyan elections. There is still some tension although everyone I speak to is saying they have moved on. There’s been a lot of speculation about who should rightfully occupy the presidential seat this time.

 

 

Lost

There is a word that seems to be going around these days in Kenya. No, not elections! It has to do with the business environment. You see, I belong to a business development group which I started. We are still going through some teething issues but what’s clear is that we are generally facing challenges in actualizing opportunities. We are “closing” just enough business. There’s been a general decline in opportunities as compared probably to two years ago.

Those in the field of human resources may tell you that corporates are really re-doing budgets and are advising on cost-cutting measures: the first being to lay-off staff. This is touching on the peoples’ livelihoods; but what to do?

budget

I had a chat with someone who was politely but firmly informed that their job is ending. “The CEO asked to meet with me and my immediate supervisor. I had a bad feeling about this particular meeting that was scheduled for 10.00a.m. on that mid-month Thursday. I was asked to come into the CEO’s office and to shut the door. I tried to stay calm as he asked me questions on my performance, my potential, my goals and areas I felt I could improve on. My supervisor kept stealing glances at me as though to gauge my reactions- my body language.”

Benson (not his real name) proceeded to describe how the CEO used his own words to tell him that his abilities would be better applied in another company and that they were grateful for the service he had offered thus far. The CEO offered to remain in touch and mentor him as he grew to maximize his potential. The rest he says was lip movement. He felt as though his insides had turned and there was numbness in his hands and feet.

“So many thoughts were running through my mind all at once. Thoughts like I have standing orders. I have investments. I have school fees to pay. I have utility bills. This cheque amount will not sustain my family for long. Belinda will not take this well. My friends can’t find out. I have to find another job soon. I should have funded the emergency account. I need my father for times like this.”

He went home downcast and this time when he awoke at 2.00 a.m. he reached out to his wife and whispered in her ear- in the most sincere way- he declared his love for her. She turned slowly and intuitively asked what was on his mind. He couldn’t hold back the tears. His hands were trembling. She sat up and held his hands and silently waited for him to open up.

This conversation has happened in many a home in Kenya over the past one year or so. In some households, lifestyle changes followed and budgets revised. In some, self-employment set in. Sadly, some families are struggling to meet their basic needs. Some homes are broken. Some people are depressed. Some have found religion. Some landed better employment opportunities.

win

I wrote this to help someone tell their story. I know you are out there.

Become The Greatest

becoming

It is a bold thought. It is a bold statement; to declare you are the greatest. Robert Kelly sang it. Muhammad Ali showed it. Og Mandino claimed it. Denzel Washington gets it.

“I am the greatest.” I feel it’s about self-belief. It’s a dream. You set your sights on a goal; a big almost unimaginable task. It is a quest to position yourself and to conquer the insurmountable. Nelson Mandela said, “It’s impossible until it gets done.” 27 years was a great price to pay.

You have to say it enough times in front of the mirror. You get out there and begin to live it. You make decisions faster, being slow to look back. Your eyes are set. The path is clear and somehow the universe may conspire to give to you: your goal. Your life begins to change. You know because suddenly everyone around you acknowledges it; sometimes by action and not voice. You arise with motivation every morning. You begin to taste victory in your mouth. Excitement is in your veins. This is getting done.

greatest 1

You are impatient with the course taken by others. You are a changed person. You are headed for greatness. Behind the scenes you have stretched your muscles. You have had sleepless nights. You have cried your tears. You have dealt with your demons. In silence you have been heart-broken, you have looked disappointment in the face and told it off. You have felt the darkness and somehow now it is time for the rays to peer through the darkness. There’s a renewed hope and you are feeling the victory.

It is no longer about the sacrifices or the pain. It was all worth it. It’s now about pulling off the shield and declaring what you want. You are an archer. You have your target. You have taken your spot. You are aware of the wind and of the power in your arms. Your arrow is well crafted. Your feet are steady. You have taken your position. Other people’s voices are silenced. You were created for this and this is your time. Here you go…let go of the arrow, close your eyes, relax your muscles. Here goes…the power of release and knowing you are indeed the greatest. Unwrinkle your brows, open your eyes, yell out, throw the bow. You are unencumbered, live free!

No matter what it is that you do, let it give you identity and declare your unique purpose in the universe. Entertain us. Fight for us. Write with us. Advise us. Listen to us. Lead us. We wait for you to be the greatest!

Turn your Childhood Passion into Entrepreneurship

 

money

Who doesn’t want to be a millionaire? There are some habits that if acquired you could become a millionaire. Of course, there are those who get lucky without breaking a sweat, you know… like winning a lottery. The concern is how sustainable the newly unexpectedly acquired wealth status is. Then there is the school of thought that suggests one would have to go through pain and tears, not to mention some years to finally cross over to the “kingdom of the wealthy.”

Let’s go back to some old childhood habits that will land you a couple of millions rich. Now, I don’t want finance gurus telling me all the investment, enterprising things. Let’s keep it simple. One of the habits of an eventual millionaire is drum rolls … Doing one thing daily that you loved to do as a child. I contemplated this just this past weekend. So what did you love to do as a child? Was is jumping into pools of water with our gumboots during the rainy season, or splashing water at our siblings? Some of us loved to hide then startle our classmates. I remember some old long-lost friends who would make funny sounds in class, like farting and accuse our seatmates! Not cool, but we found it funny though.

laugh

I hope you have smiled and laughed and remembered fondly all those things you did that made childhood so much fun. I guess life was carefree. We didn’t worry if there was detergent to wash off the dirt. We didn’t worry that something that splashed on our little clothes would later stink, and neither did we think of the long list of consequences for misbehaving. We just lived for every fun moment we could have. We expressed happiness and laughed loudly. We consoled genuinely and quickly moved on to the next best thing. We cried after a fall and wiped away the tears fast because we couldn’t wait to climb the tree again!

On the other hand,some of us would save up some cash to buy something mummy said she couldn’t buy. Some of us collected stamps as a favorite hobby, while some made deals during school hours to get cash from previously placed bets. Some kids went as far as selling their snacks during break time to earn extra pocket money for the weekend. Some of us used up the money that mummy gave us to make an offering to Sunday school, but we bought snacks instead, after the Sunday school.This was the most obnoxious idea!But hey, we were kids and didn’t know any better.

Million

So now I challenge you to turn your childhood loves into a money making entrepreneurship just like you did as a child. Find which markets favor your selling skills, your negotiating skills, your creativity and your wit. These are the habits that when cultivated, eventually create massive wealth. Because you’ll do it from the heart, and not have to endure long boring hours at your 8-5 job with a boring job description and a small desk from where you groan every waking minute of your life. Get out of your comfort zone and thrive in you hidden talent.You never know, you could be the next millionaire!Best of luck as you take the bold step.

 

She’s in White

She has been preparing for months

It is her special day

Family and friends have gathered

The ceremony will be intimate

She will be joined to her love

She will promise her all

It is her wedding day….a white dress

She has been preparing for years

It is her special place at work

Colleagues have gathered

The promotion is well earned

She will now have a corner office

She will call shots

It is her career path…..a white blouse

She is two months old

It is her dedication day

Family and friends have gathered

The ceremony will be intimate

She will have a new name

She is not yet aware

There’s so much in store

between now and the WHITE dress

between now and the WHITE blouse

Maybe she will have to choose, as many have

WHITE dress or WHITE blouse

Decongesting Nairobi

I am a Kenyan. I know alot. We all do. Let me take this opportunity to give my two cents on above titled subject. May I indulge you?

It’s quite simple actually, we have recently hosted POTUS, Pope Francis, and WTO. The Nairobi CBD was impenetrable during the visits. My take? Shift some major headquarters to the outskirts of Nairobi. If at all ICT systems are in place, take all Ministry headquarters to sit in relevant towns. Let even the house of Parliament be in, say, Machakos? What’s the harm? When banks sporadically opened branches across the country, population shifted. Families moved and settled accordingly.

I am not sure my ideas are well articulated, but I think we get the gyst. Hey employers! Let’s talk. How about empowering your staff to work from home and/or other venues of convinience. Better yet, how about flexi hours and shifts?

Posted from WordPress for Android

Next Year

I don’t want to use the phrase, “That’s not in my budget. ” I want to be able to buy things I like. Things that I feel define me. My favorite music, a multicolored cushion set, an out of the world gas cooker, a classy phone cover, designer kids clothes…… the list is kinda endless. There’s obviously more important stuff like increasing my nanny’s salary and getting my mum’s health cover.

It’s been a defining 2015. I relearnt how to love me and speak to me about me. I took some huge steps trying to reestablish myself.

Well, enough for a first blog. Glad I finally got around to it.

Posted from WordPress for Android