The Painted Heart

ghost

The further I walked moving away from the candles around the pool and the buttery light spilling from the villa, the darker it became, only flecks of starlight peppered the tarry sheet of sky above me. The high rasp of frogs in the trees replaced the chirp of crickets and the air began to lose its floral scent. Still, I carried on walking, the damp grass tickling my bare feet, drawn by a faint light in the distance. As I approached the light, I saw it was coming from the little wooden house I had explored with my cousin earlier in the week. I had wondered then what might be inside it, but it had been locked tight. I was not easily scared but for a moment my steps slowed as I wondered whether to turn back to the villa, now so far behind me that it was nothing more than a black shape in the distance. Suddenly I caught sight of a dim outline of a figure through the dusty glass of the building. Curious, I edged closer, freezing when I heard a low moan from inside. I was now just below the shed’s dirty window. Holding my breath, I slowly raised my head and peered inside. The glass was so filthy it was like looking through smoke. At first, I was unable to make out what or who was inside. But as I pushed my face closer I let out a gasp- at first in puzzlement and disbelief and then in horror, as I realized what was happening in front of me. Stumbling back, I fell and scraped my arm on a rock. I looked up at the window, then back to the villa. I knew I should leave- run back to my bed as fast as I could- but as if pulled by a force I could not control I looked through the window again, hoping against hope that what I had seen was just my imagination. But no: the vile image was still there. Shaking my head to rid it from my mind, tears streaming down my face, I turned and ran back to the villa, not yet aware what I had just seen would change my life forever.

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Self-Kindness

 

self kindness.jpg

Why do we find it so hard to be kind to ourselves?

What is it we are afraid of?

We deprive ourselves when we make self-kindness the last thing on our agenda. And we deprive the ones we love of the best we have to offer them. Because how we love ourselves is how we love others.

 

What is self-kindness?

Self-kindness is looking in the mirror and finding something we like today rather than hacking ourselves apart.

Self-kindness is taking a break instead of pushing through stress, anxiety and overtime at the office.

Self kindness is allowing ourselves to feel what we feel.

Self-kindness is believing we are worthy of the best life has to offer us and then moving one step closer to it.

Through my childhood, I struggled immensely with self-kindness. Somewhere along the way I had bought into the lie, or many lies, that I wasn’t smart, talented, or really worth much at all.

Many of us buy into that lie. It doesn’t take much—bitter words on the playground, the teacher who puts us down instead of building us up, the parent who downloads their own negative beliefs. Whatever it is, we always find the bad stuff easier to believe.

Make time for self-kindness

Self-kindness isn’t (necessarily) about taking an afternoon trip to the spa. Self-kindness is as much about attitude as it is about time.

You may be a mom with a full-time job who doesn’t have a minute to herself in the day. But being kind when you look in the mirror will change the way you feel. Allowing yourself that chocolate cupcake at the end of the day without beating yourself up will change the way you feel.

We often take care of everyone else’s needs before our own, believing that to take care of ourselves is self-indulgent. But taking a moment to ask yourself, “What do I need today?” isn’t self-indulgent. It’s the first step towards abundant living.

Believe you are worthy

The biggest barrier we have to self-kindness is believing we are worthy of goodness in our lives. We pay more attention to reality shows on T.V. than we do to our own needs, because considering our true desires means facing everything that is wrong with our lives.

It’s so much easier to endure a stressful imbalanced life that offers the comfort of knowing what’s next, than it is to walk through uncertainty and challenges to reach a place where we are living as our authentic selves.

But on the other side of facing the discomfort is a bridge to self-kindness and change.

Respect yourself enough to take as much care of your own needs as you do your children’s. A child needs parents who are kind to themselves—(s)he will look to your lead in how to treat others, how you treat yourself and how you value your time.

Treat yourself as you would treat others

If a friend confided in you that she was having a tough time with a relationship would you tell her to get over herself?

Would you use critical, judgmental words?

Or would you try to empathize and encourage?

Hopefully you would do the latter, because you care about her. Talk to yourself the way you would talk to your best friend.

Have a wonderful week full of self-kindness, won’t you?

When you left

mom

When you left, I was broken and lost. I did not understand when they said you were not coming back. I did not know what they meant. They said you were in a better place now and I told them to send me with you but they wouldn’t. It was going to be a long journey, they said, and I was too young to go with you. I was ready but you didn’t wait. I was very mad at you, how could you?

Then they took me away to some place I had never been before. I heard them say that it would be better there but it didn’t feel any better. I still wanted you to come back. Everyday I would call your name and expect to see you. My sister said I was stupid and it didn’t work like that. But I wasn’t to give up that easily. It wasn’t easy without you.

It’s been long now. Now I perfectly understand how it works. I know I was being stupid. I’m old and turning 21 now. I write to you everyday. By the way, do you like poems? I always write poems about you. I’ll keep them till the day we will meet. I know you will love them.  I love them too!

Years after you left, I always found myself in trouble trying to understand life. I made a terrible mess and learned several lessons. Sometimes I wished you were here to see me through the mistakes I made. But don’t worry, I know that’s too much for you and it’s impossible to come back. I met someone who said will always be with me. He told me to bring all my troubles to Him to carry them for me. I did that and  He carried them for me as He had promised. I hope that you are with Him because He promised to take me to His home someday. You probably know Him, His name is Jesus. I always send Him greetings for you.

I also met a girl who stole my heart. I fell in love with her because she’s smart, intelligent and attractive. She is all that I need in my life and I tell her everyday. I’m sure you would like her too. I intend to keep her for life. She understands me and is always there for me so I don’t want to lose her. I hope that one day I’ll have a daughter and I’ll name her after you. Wouldn’t you like that?

Now I got to go. I have a lot to write you but I have some business to attend to. See you next time.

 

 

Listen

Listen

Just sit down and listen. Listen to what you hear. It costs nothing but a portion of your time to listen. Whether it is to yourself, your friend or anyone else, it means a lot to listen.

We live in a world so busy that we lack time for our own selves. We are so preoccupied that we fail to listen when we should. We have basically reduced to machines that work day in day out without having time to nurture our feelings and emotions. A lot of things happen each passing day and we lack time to process them at the instance because we are so preoccupied with our duties and responsibilities. At the end of the day, we are so tired that we ignore whatever happened the entire day. It becomes a regular habit and soon we feel so depressed and tired.

Humans have emotions and feelings, unlike the machines which work continuously and need no time to process what goes on within them. We need listen to the subtle signs that our bodies send us. Most of the times we ignore these signs and the system keeps piling them up to the point it can’t anymore. At the end it eats us up.

Take time to listen to yourself. What is it that is bothering you? Deal with it now. Do not procrastinate, tomorrow will not be a better day to deal with what affects you today. Pay attention to those around you. Let them talk. Speak less and listen more. There is a common African proverb that says that God gave us two ears and one mouth so that we can listen more than we speak.

Sometimes you need to just listen and not focus on fixing the problems. It means a lot to someone when you listen to them. Just be there for them, and let then take you through their problem. Don’t necessarily focus on solving their problem.

Do not just hear but listen!

It’s okay to be different!

It’s okay to be different!

 

__Fabo__s_Parrot___by_WitcherIt’s okay to be different. Have you ever wondered why you are so different from the rest? Have you ever felt so out of this world and that no one would ever understand you however much you want them to? Well, worry no more because common sense dictates that it’s okay to be different from the rest.

Our lives are scripts rolled out by the most high. And just like all scripts, the chapters and scenes are different. Think of life as a big huge book. Collectively, we are all different books. Often, we hear advice along the line of not comparing our lives to other people’s. Well, that’s not only true but factual. You cannot keep comparing the chapter you are right now in your book to another one who just completed his. It never works like that.

It’s okay to struggle. Show me a successful person and I will show you the scars from his struggles. You can never achieve anything for free. Free things are not valuable and valuable things are not free. It works like that.

So, you know, maybe this was the message you needed to hear today. Never let your struggles blind you from your goals! Never compare yourself to someone else. You are a unique copy of you.

<I’m making changes to my articles. I will be writing a few paragraphs for you to read to the end. Stick around for more! Thanks for visiting my site!>

Sometimes we need a break

Sometimes we just need to step back out of our normal routine and stop to catch a breath. We live in a funny world where everything has been narrowed down to competition; everything we do has to have been done by someone for us to compare ourselves. In writing this, I have been a victim of the circumstance. I know I have done things that I have seen people do without asking myself if that is what I wanted to do.

What do I want? I want to succeed, share, communicate, contribute and inspire. I want to be open and courageous enough to give voice to what I want to be accepted and appreciated. I want to love and be loved. I want to be free from fear.

This attitude of not hiding or shying away from life is what I call ‘warriorship’. For me, warriorship is also about my battle with my fears and insecurities. Remembering that we will be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because everything- all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure- these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. Steve Jobs said this.

We all live in constant fear that what we do will not be approved by our friends, parents or the society. We have let their expectations of us shape our way of thinking. This has never been nor will ever be a good thing. For the last couple of weeks, I have learnt a lot in this life. I have learnt that the only decisions that will change the way you act are your decisions. In as much as everyone expects me to behave or talk or walk or dress in a certain way, the only person who can make that happen is me. I have also learnt that most of the people around us want us to live a life similar to theirs, if they are kind enough, or below theirs for their comfort to be within the levels they withstand. People will always want to be above you, some people will go to the extent of making sure that you remain below their standards. You have to define your own standards and live to it. You cannot let anyone’s slightest comments ruin you.

It is perfectly normal for humans to want to be superior to another, no one wants to be seen lacking. We have conformed to the notion of trying to fit even where we do not belong. I was going through my meme gallery (my daily dose of bliss) a while ago and this one simple meme caught my attention. I spent the entire meme session thinking about the picture that spoke a thousand words to me. It was a slice of an onion sandwiched between orange slices. However much alike and fitting the onion seemed to be with the orange, it wasn’t where it was supposed to be; its rightful place. In fact, that is what most of us do not realize. I admit that I had never given a thought about where I belong in this life. I have always let situations and circumstances shape what I want to be and how I want to act.

Sometimes, all you need to do is step back and observe the path our life has taken. Is that where you want to go? Is that really what you want to do? Is that what your heart wants you to do? You need to ask yourself questions of this kind if you really want to live a fruitful life. We cannot all be apples; some of us are oranges, some of us are mangoes. Of course not literally. We cannot all be of the same kind. There is a lot more to life than we tend to live. Why die pretending to be a lemon while your stem is a plum? Why kill yourself so quick when all you can do is be you. That is all that takes. No less, no more. And the only permission you need to have is from you. Why deny yourself the pleasure of living your life at the expense of the friends. Why try to fit where you do not belong? This doesn’t mean you should not associate with anyone different from us. Our lives cannot be complete without friends or people close to us, that is why we have spaces between our fingers; so as to fit onto another’s and perfectly complement one another.

This life will always amaze me, I learn everything new each day.

 

 

Duck-a-chum chuck-a-chum

 

 

It’s dark; I begin to notice the shadows forming from the faint light in the room. Dark shaky silhouettes spread across wall to wall. My throat feels dry but I force a long dry painful lump down my stomach. I’m aware I have never been here before. I don’t know what this place is but sure as hell I know it can never be a good place. It reeks; a sharp acrid smell of old rusted metal fills the room. From a distance I can hear strange voices, nay whispers.  More like moans. No, not those but the kind you hear in a horror film. Deep guttural cries, wild shrieks, a mixture of whispers.

I bet this woman is from this place, she doesn’t seem bothered by the voices. Could I be the only one hearing these voices? Is it just my imaginations? Well, there is only one way to know.

“Can you hear that?” I asked her but clearly she isn’t so friendly like I thought.

“Can you just shut up for a minute?” she hisses in a calm friendly voice. It reminds me of my older sister Joy. She always does that when she feels like she has to. But there is something different with this woman. Where the h— are your arms? Holy Jeeezus! My head feels heavy on my shoulders, I feel drowsy. The long ugly projections from where her arms are supposed to be jerk out and keep me upright just S I am about to pass out. A sharp screeching pain pierces the back of my head to my temples.

My inhaler! I need it now more than before. I feel choked, my throat very dry as I sigh heavy dry lumps. I have just enough time to notice other silhouettes appear one after another in one frantic gyration. I have never been here before but I can bet on my life that it is one big hell of a celebration. One grizzly creature emerges from the center of the now formed circle. It must be their leader or something more judging from the way the shrieks stops by her wave of its twig-like arms. The gyrating subdues and a loud silence ensues. It marches forward to where we stood and spreads out its arms.

Aliens? I can’t suppress the building fiery desire to laugh at the thought. God what is wrong with me? It reminds me of the jokes that Joy and I had about the aliens? What if the UFO that killed all the dinosaurs was true and we are the aliens? These creatures looked different. Ghosts? No they can’t be. I struggle to focus but my thought won’t let me. The leader creature turns to the lady that brought me here and in a slow movement does something close to a node and dismisses it away. It comes closer to me and pulls me closer. This creature reeks. The smell makes me nauseated. I can’t keep things going. The ground begins to shift, my vision gets blurred and my head pounds. I slump into my feet and hope this makes these creatures go away.