Friday, 26 December 2014

Kill Your Enemies; The Right Way

Our journeys through life is always made with people. People who would help us in our lows, people who would stretch forth a hand to pick us up, dirt us off and help us make a new beginning. People who would look us deep in the eye and urge us on to face our fears. We can't do without people however hard we try. 

It hasn't always been bed of roses when it comes to dealing with people. Some wouldn't like you for various reasons. Some would not like you because your skin is fairer than theirs or darker than what they've always wanted for themselves. Some would not like you because you talk to slow and others because you talk too fast. It happens everyday in our lives that a friend would turn against you not particularly because of anything but because you shine where they go dim or because people applaud you and leave them in obscurity. We usually refer to these people as ENEMIES. By our judgement, they hate us and wish us nothing but death. They curse us and would laugh only when we are down on our knees.

The question then arise; what do we do to these people, who don't like us and who curse us everyday and wish our death? Should we kill them first before they reach the towers of our hearts with their daggers or we let them thrive so someday the sands under their feet would be washed off by the ocean's waves?

I believe these people should be killed with the light of love that they lack. We should open our arms to them where they closed it. When the time comes that we have the advantage to pay them in their own coin, we should choose another option. An option that seems to suggest that "though they hate us, we are not also going to hate them back, because We're not built for hatred." In so doing, we pulled them into a kind of light that is more refreshing and redeeming than hatred. 

History has it that before Abraham Lincoln was made the President of the United States, there was this man who never liked him. During Lincoln's time as a lawyer, this man referred to him as an ape. When Abraham Lincoln was running for president, this man wrote a lot of insulting articles against Lincoln's person. He tried within his means to run the the presidential ambition of Lincoln down by degrading the competence of Abraham Lincoln. Then Lincoln won the election. When the time came for Lincoln to appoint someone to become the Secretary of War and part of his cabinet, Abraham Lincoln appointed Edwin M. Stanton. This is the man who has tried running down the ambition of Lincoln. Stanton is the man who at a point in time told Americans "You don't want a tall lanky ignorant man like Lincoln to be the President of the United States." But when the advisors of Lincoln questioned his choice of the man he said "I've read all the derogatory statement he's made about me, I've heard him myself. But after looking across the country, I find that he's the best man for the job."

Lincoln was assassinated few years into his presidency and on his dying bed, guess who was there; Stanton. Edwin Stanton stood by Lincoln until his last breath, and when Lincoln died, the most glowing tribute to his character was written by Stanton. When Lincoln gave up his last breath Stanton stood up and said "now he belongs to the ages." Lincoln killed his enemy before he died. The devil in Stanton that made him hate Lincoln that much was executed the very day Lincoln stretch out his arms to call him into his cabinet. Love was planted in the heart of the enemy and then on Lincoln became a love object in the eye of Stanton. This is the right way to kill the enemy.

When we return hatred for hatred, we become the very losers in this transaction. Hatred clouds our very common sense and direction. Bitterness that happens to be the product of hatred erodes the serenity in our hearts and cause us to be restless in our conspiracies against whom we hate. In our very best, there's still an element of evil within us and in our very worse, there's an element of God within us. No man is totally evil to the extent that he cannot love. For some of us, love is totally buried beneath the rubbles of the destructions of our souls, hence we need a saving hand, that can dig deep into the bottomless pit of our hearts to discover the treasures of the amazing grace buried therein. It's only when that is done, that we can open ourselves to love again. 

I believe someday when we are dead and gone, the question isn't going to be how many we were able to love but rather, how many we were able to lead into the highways of everlasting love. Loving an enemy, loving the curser of your grace, loving the one who despite you isn't an easy task. It is only when we've been able to discover the liberating powers of love that loving your enemies becomes easy. And to be able to discover the liberating powers of love, you might have been someone who has experienced the distorted rhythms from the shackles of hatred. That way, when you return to the ways of love, you would never harbour the desires of returning to the slavery camp of hatred. 


Monday, 24 November 2014

Be The User, Not the Used

Our lives changed the very day smart phones were placed in our hands. People who marketed the gadget to us did a very wonderful job. They made us believe it is the only thing we needed to live a smart life. We hopped to it, thinking and believing how dumb our lives have been. Since then, everything in our homes have been made smart and now we seem to be enjoying the smart life. Not a single moment passes without us capturing it with our cameras, our friends are now closer to us than before, even strangers living in a million miles away know what we are up to with our lives. Isn't that beautiful? Now you can read this because you have a beautiful smart thing in your hand called a smartphone. As a friend of mine puts it; "yours is a beautiful generation, it seems life's problems have been made simpler." I couldn't agree more with him. Now most solutions to our problems are just but a touch away.

Technology has brought us this far and we've been enslaved by these things that technology made possible. We are not using our senses enough because we have surrendered to this new kind of slavery that only technology could make possible. We hardly look to the person next to us because we are busy chatting with friends that live in our phones. We prefer a poke on Facebook to a real touch of the person next to us. What have we become?

My phone got spoilt a little about four months ago. That day when I was going home, I realized I didn't  even know my way home. Everything looked different; the road, colors of buildings, names of shops, even the waakye seller next to the street looked very beautiful. I was able to see those things because for the first time I was ready not to just look but watch and assess. Glance by glance, I stare at every little thing by the roadside which I would have ignored if I had my phone in my hands. When the car got stuck in traffic, this time I had the chance to watch. I took time to read the inscriptions in front of the shops, had time to interact with other passengers in little conversation and enjoy the wind that splashed on my face as the car moved. Life is beautiful when we surrender our time to the happenings around us. What matters is what's in front of you, what actually matters is the person breathing next to you. 

These smart things were created for our usage but the way I see it, we are rather being used. We would only sleep when we think Facebook is boring. We prefer opening Facebook to opening a textbook. We run from the rain not because we would get wet but because the phone in our pockets will get socked and spoilt. There's grace in nature, our environment is trying to communicate with us each passing moment, but we are so involved with our gadgets that we fail to heed. Let's give the one next to us a chance to make a difference.

Pick a day to take a break from your little screens. Put the world on your phone on hold for a day so you could activate the world on the outside. Say hello to the guy you just walked by and he will bless you with a smile, a real smile not a smiley from a phone. It doesn't hurt not to reply a message instantly, after all man has been able to survive the periods when replies to letters took months to reach. Spend real time with family, look into their eyes and appreciate what they've been through during the day. Share your stories with the one next to you, they only can empathize with you and offer an opened arms to run into. Life is meant to be enjoyed this way, the smart way. 

What Dady Said About Happiness

My father always wanted to teach me something new each passing day as I was growing up into a young man. He usually will tell me about things I needed to know to live a fulfilled life. This day, on the 27th September, 1999, Daddy spoke to me about happiness;

My son, if there's anything you have to be in this world before you die, it should be nothing but happy. Don't be scared to let the world know how happy you are about the little things life throws into your nest. Actually, you don't need much to be happy. People waste their lives in slavery just to acquire so many things, yet have no time to enjoy what they have acquired through their sweat. Son, I tell you today, take note...happiness doesn't rest on any material belongings. 

Let me use my life as an example. When I completed law school, there was nothing on my mind than a beautiful career that would bring me wealth and a pool of sunshine. In my little heart of imagination, I thought that was where happiness could be found. I dreamt of beautiful mansions, exotic cars, travelling all over the world and imagined having a beautiful family, yes, I thought of you kids too. 

Then I started working. In my office, all my colleagues had cars except me. I was always struggling to move around. Most often I had to beg a friend to take me around. Then I developed a taste for a car. In my mind, that was the only thing I needed to be happy. I spent days un-end dreaming of what life would be like if I had a car. Anytime I saw someone driving around I associated them with happiness. I only believed one thing to make me happy; having a car! 

I worked hard, saved a lot of money and got my first car. You could imagine my state of mind when the car arrived. I was thrilled and couldn't even get my hands off it. Now my happiness is achieved, hurray! I will usually drive around town to visit all family and friends just to let them know I'm a proud owner of a car. 

Days went by and seasons changed. I got used to having a car and I wasn't thrilled anymore. I began having dreams of another sources of happiness. Things I didn't have were  most beautiful in my eyes. At a point I even fantasized about owning a piece of the world just so I could be happy. That was when I began to understand what happiness truly means. 

Whatever we have is a solution to some problems of our lives but not all problems of our lives. I learnt the hard way. I realized eventually that owning a car was just a solution to the transportation problems of my life. I had a car not so I could be happy but so I can move from one location to another with ease. Later I realized I had problems that are bigger than transportation and those problems equally made me sad. Interestingly, the car that was suppose to be my happiness even caused me a lot of unhappiness sometimes. I had to fuel it whether I have money or not, I had to service it, pay insurance and even spend hours un-end in traffic. That caused me a lot of unhappiness too. 

 Happiness is something we can only pursue. It's not a destination where you can pitch camp and say; this is it, I've reached my point of happiness. Each day of our lives we have to pursue it. We have to do things that make our spirits smile, however small. Whatever dream your mind perceives, pursue it with all your heart and soul. It's through that your souls happiness and fulfillment is attained. 

Don't live the dreams of others, not even mine, just so you can fit or be accepted. Dare to be different. Dare to let your heart dream you a dream. Dare to pursue every inch of your hearts desire, dare to live right now. It is only right now that happiness makes sense. Tomorrow we might have another dream to follow. Our heart might find us another dream to follow so we can be happy. Don't postpone happiness. Right now, right here, right at this moment, enjoy the happiness you've attained for yourself. 

What Becomes of our Internet Properties When We Are Gone?

At 4:00am today, I went through my Facebook account as I usually do each dawn when I wake up to write or study. As I kept scrolling through my timeline, I saw a face of a friend under The People You May Know section. This is a friend who's personally known to me. A very beautiful lady who has a heart of gold. You'll never see her without her signature smile that flashes dimples in her cheeks. I've worked with her during my internship program in a company at Kumasi. She died just a year after my internship program. She had succumbed to a heart disease that has plagued her for some years. 

But this dawn, there she lies on Facebook, flashing her usual smile at me as if she never left. As if she's alright and living around several meters away from my house. "Should I request for her friendship or just poke her?" I asked myself. "How long is she gonna be here on Facebook though she'd died?" "How does her family feels anytime they see her post and pictures on Facebook?" Do they smile about her memories or they cry about the fact that she would never be seen again?" This and so much more questions kept raging my mind. She's dead and gone but she will forever have her Facebook, Instagram and Twitter account going.

Everyone reading this post will one day have this same will die and you'll be survived by your various internet account. How would you like your family to treat all those digital pictures and videos you left behind? Would you be bold enough to leave your passwords somewhere for your relatives so they can shut your internet accounts down? Don't prolong the pain of your family. Those videos of you on Instagram and Facebook won't go away unless you closed them

Today, I've decided to leave my passwords behind as part of my Will. Family will finally have a sneak peak through the real life of me. Two days after I'm buried, family should shut down all my internet possessions. 

Are you bold enough to leave your passwords behind?

Sunday, 11 May 2014

The Gift of a Mother

When we are born, we come with a clean slate of mind. Everything our eyes see, the things our hearts perceive, the knowledge planted on our minds all came to us from a source we had little knowledge of. As new day approaches and add times to our little lives, we begin to see a light. Actually, this light has been with us all through. This is the light that threw its beams on us so we have life, so we can give out our first cry in the new world we find ourselves in. Mothers, the first beauty of  light we all began our journey of life with.

A mother's role in our lives is not scripted neither is it enshrined in the fabrics of womanhood. Every mother chooses the role they want to play in the lives of their little ones and surprisingly, they do it amazingly well. My mum gave me the first hint of who a great man is. She isn't a man herself but she could pick and mould a great man with her eyes closed. She said, "if someday, people will look up to you, if people will believe in the kind of person you are, don't you ever lie. Great men didn't make lies their stronger point." Well, I didn't understand then but I do now. I'm not that older but honesty has brought me farther than a lie could fly me to. 

The greatest thing I've ever felt in my soul is the power of imagination, the ability to see what is not there. That too I got it from a mum. Usually she will tell me stories of real life situations and ask me "Do you see what I'm talking about?" Well I cant see what you're saying mum, I can only hear. Then she will say "crazy boy, put yourself in that situation and feel what it is. There's no need to think all the time, feel it too.let it get to you and you'll understand it better." There and then, another episode of human enlightenment was opened to me. I began learning and judging from other people's experiences. 

How a mum gives dreams to a child is magical to say the least. It's like some sort of prestidigitation perfected from the beginning of time. Who we are, and what we will become is already moulded by the hands and kind words of mum. What is left is for us to be cast so we take the shape of Mama's mould. Sometimes I ask myself "how do they do that?" No mum is proud of a stupid child so from the onset, they take the Steers of our lives and drive us to where we will be applauded. My mum will usually say "I didn't waste my time to give birth to you so you become a handsome fool, you better buckle up and live like a man." Even the anger on her face while saying that is beautiful.

I remember one dawn, a distinct sound woke me up. It was mum talking to someone. I looked around the room but there was no one there. I kept wondering, "who's this "witch" talking to?" She kept murmuring and talking then I heard my name in her talking, I woke up and walk to her, she put her hand around my neck and kept on talking. Then after she had stopped talking she turned to me and said "Don't sneak on me while I'm praying, you get me distracted." That was my first knowledge of prayers and that was my first time of knowing there's a man hiding somewhere who will listen to us when we go to him with our worries. I took it up from there.

Today, I see a soldier when I look at my mum. That woman has fought so many battles and won. Few times she lost but she never coiled into her shells. She will always come back and win like the fighter she is.  I believe many mothers out, who have also done their part to see a new better generation of humankind. A day to celebrate a mother will never be enough, everyday, every step of the way, we should hold them in our hearts with prayers. These are the ultimate soldiers who raise little warriors for battle. 

Thursday, 8 May 2014

To Be Happy, Learn These Five Lessons

Every day when I wake up from bed to start a new day, I tell myself; “I don’t want to be anything today but happy.” I want to go through the day with some sort of exuberance that will not be easy to extinguish. Very often I fail. Few times I experience happiness in patches. In the night when I’m about to sleep, I go through the day’s life all over again in my head. I usually end up saying; “I could have been happier today than I actually was.”

To be happy, there are lessons most of us have been taught never to forget. Most of this lessons we forget them because we are too busy thinking of the next step. Today, I present what most of us already know about happiness but have forgotten or refused to put in practice. Below are just five of those lessons:

1.      Forgive, don’t wait for an apology before you do.
We are yet to feel the full effect of forgiveness as individuals. There’s nothing refreshing than letting go of the grudges you hold with people in your heart. Holding grudges is like allowing unwanted people live rent free in your heart. Life becomes very light and less cumbersome when we accept all the apologies we never got in the first place.

At a lecture in school one day, the lecturer before she began lecturing warned the class to put all phones off or on silent. Because if she should hear any phone rings during the lectures, she will send the culprit out of the lecture hall. Just about thirty minutes into the lectures, a phone loudly rang! Everybody was steady waiting to hear what the lecturer would say. Then the lecturer said, “Don’t worry, let’s move on. I know the one whose phone rang is sorry and I accept his apology.” Instant forgiveness, that’s what it is.

Forgiveness doesn’t come cheap, but if we are able to, it sets our souls free like a kite in the air. When we forgive others, we give them a promise. We promise them that we are never going to hold what they did to us in the past against them. We are setting them free cos we also want a freedom of heart. On the other hand we appreciate the kind of lesson they’ve taught us.

2.      What you have or don’t have do not define who you are
Things are just things and that is where it ends. We don’t need everything that we think we need to live a fulfilled life. We should be able to create our own culture.  We shouldn’t go about copying everything we see on TV, or consume every fashion we see from the magazines, and we don’t have to take in too much of the cosmetic empowerment these media seems to be promising each day.

We should rather find the strength to fill our time with meaningful experiences that have connections to our lives.  The space and time we are occupying at this very moment is LIFE, and if we’re worrying about getting the hips of Joselyn Dumas or the skin colour of Yvonne Nelson before we can be happy, then we are dis-empowered.  We’re giving our lives away to marketing and media trickery, which is created by big companies to ultimately motivate you to want to dress a certain way, look a certain way, and be a certain way.  This is tragic, this kind of thinking.  It’s all just advertisement brainwashing.  What is real is YOU and your friends and your family, your loves, your highs, your hopes, your plans, your fears, etc.

Very often we are told we are not good enough until we get a degree, get a job, get a car, get a house, and keep on getting.  And it’s sad, because someday you’ll wake up and realize you’ve been tricked. True life is what you create for yourself because you enjoy living it.

3.      It’s not anybody’s job to love you
It’s your job to love the person that you are. Often times we give lots of love to others whiles we starve ourselves of it. Yeah, it’s good to show love to some individuals but the ultimate love should be given to yourself. No one ever accomplished anything without giving themselves the love they need.

Stop looking at yourself from the spectacles of those who have little value of you. Look into the mirror and talk to the person you see in there. Today let someone also love you for who you are, for all your weakness and for all your blemishes. Let someone see value in yourself and let that person be you. It’s your job and no one else’s to love you.

4.      Failures will come, don’t let it turn you into a quitter
At a point in our lives, failure will show itself in the things we do. However best we sometimes prepare, failure will still find a way to encroach our space. We should not let failures of today turn us into quitters. 

Whenever we fail, we are presented with two choices; either to give up totally or rise up and try all over again. We should always let the latter be our choice. Successful people usually say that success comes at the step just beyond the point where we nearly gave up.

Most mistakes happen because we had no means of avoiding them. We should learn to forgive ourselves when those mistake comes.  It’s not a problem to make them.  It’s only a problem if we never learn from them. The difference between a master and a beginner is that the master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried.  Behind every great piece of art is a thousand failed attempts to make it, but these attempts are simply never shown to us. Look beyond your failures, light comes after darkness so does success shines after our failures.

5.      Death will come when it will come, no need to be afraid
We usually make jokes with the phrase “Life is too short to…” but the fear of death rains supreme on the mind of the average man. Shakespeare made a very sincere observation in his Julius Caesar play. He said; of all the wonders that I yet have heard, It seems to me most strange that men should fear; seeing that death, a necessary end, Will come when it will come.”

We have no control over the time and space when we will meet our necessary end so why need to fear? We know deep down that life is short, and that death will happen to all of us eventually, and yet we are infinitely surprised when it happens to someone we know. Death is not the greatest loss in life.  The greatest loss is what dies inside of us while we’re still alive. While we could have done something with the life we still have. 

LIVE your life TODAY!  Don’t ignore death, but don’t be afraid of it either.  Be afraid of a life you never lived because you were too afraid to take action.  Be bold.  Be courageous.  Be scared to die, and then take the next step anyway.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

All Life Could Be....

Life! A simple word that causes a lot of confusion in the minds of many. Many people have tried to define life in so many ways that are different from each other yet makes sense in their differences. Ages ago, wise people will spend hours un-end pondering on all issues of life that bring a simple meaning to our existence. Every definition of life leads to another definition which eventual leads to a maze of questions that have never been answered. So today, I put it to you; what is LIFE?

Once upon a time, there was a girl who could do anything in the world she wanted.  All she had to do was choose something and focus.  So one day she sat down in front of a blank canvas and began to paint.  Every stroke was more perfect than the next, slowly and gracefully converging to build a flawless masterpiece.  And when she eventually finished painting, she stared proudly at her work and smiled.

It was obvious to the clouds and the stars, who were always watching over her, that she had a gift.  She was an artist.  And she knew it too.  She felt it in every fibre of her being.  But a few moments after she finished painting, she got anxious and quickly stood up.  Because she realized that while she had the ability to do anything in the world she wanted to do, she was simply spending her time moving paint around on a piece of canvas.
She felt like there was so much more in the world to see and do – so many options.  And if she ultimately decided to do something else with her life, then all the time she spent painting would be a waste.  So she glanced at her masterpiece one last time, and walked out the door into the moonlight.  And as she walked, she thought, and then she walked some more.
While she was walking, she didn't notice the clouds and the stars in the sky who were trying to signal her, because she was preoccupied with an important decision she had to make.  She had to choose one thing to do out of all the possibilities in the world.  Should she practice medicine?  Or design buildings?  Or teach children?  She was utterly stumped.
Twenty-five years later, the girl began to cry.  Because she realized she had been walking for so long, and that over the years she had become so enamoured by everything that she could do – the endless array of possibilities – that she hadn't done anything meaningful at all.  And she learned, at last, that life isn't about possibility – anything is possible.  Life is about making a decision – deciding to do something that moves you.
So the girl, who was no longer a girl, purchased some canvas and paint from a local craft store, drove to a nearby park, and began to paint.  One stroke gracefully led into the next just as it had so many moons ago.  And as she smiled, she continued painting through the day and into the night.  Because she had finally made a decision.  And there was still some time left to revel in the magic that life is all about.
Don’t waste time thinking of what could be or what could have been, that isn't all life could be. Don’t waste time living in pains of what yesterday was. That isn't all life could be. Don’t waste your time in the anxiety of what tomorrow will bring. That too, isn't all life could be. As far as you live, there’s a decision to make and that decision should lead you to a better tomorrow, a better life and a fulfilled mission. Forget about other possibilities. Use the possibilities of this moment and revel in the possibility of a better tomorrow.  The sun will shine tomorrow, the moon will lit a trail in our darkest moments. The stars will overlook on us giving us signals of a better happiness. Choose to live and make it worthwhile.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

We are the Jugglers of Our Own Destiny

A man was involved in an accident whiles on his way to see her newly born child for the first time. He regained his consciousness on a hospital bed, there he realised that he’d lost his sight. He screamed and punched in agony for the fact that he would not see again, especially not being able to see his newly born child again. He never slept for days. Thoughts of living in darkness for the rest of his life got him scared and restless. He couldn’t just imaging the worthiness of life without his sight. 

One morning he called the doctor and had a very passionate conversation with him. He promised heavens and earth if only the doctor could help restore his sight. The answer was no as it has always been. Then he whispered to the doctor; “Help me end it. I can’t stand the shame of being held by the hand anytime I have to take a step. This life can’t work anymore. Let’s end it and try again. I hope I get relief in the next life.” All the doctor could do was to shake his head in disbelief and leave his bedside.

The next morning, as he sat crying, a ward-mate, who had recently been crippled went to his bed side and handed him an orange. “Do you know what this is?” the ward-mate asked. “I have no eyes, how could I know?” he answered. “Smell it,” the ward-mate said. He did, realising what it is, he turned to the ward-mate and said “it’s an orange.” “Of course it’s an orange, but how did you know?” the ward-mate queried. “It SMELLS like one” came the answer. The bed-mate then said “life is designed to still work even when we’ve lost something within us. Eyes alone can’t make your whole life better, therefore, losing it doesn’t make life worthless. There’s always a way to live without eyes, let your heart illuminate your world and you can go wherever your feet can carry you. Tears won’t solve it, young soul, they just will find an escape through your eye, that’s all.” The story has it that, this man lived another forty seven years, fulfilled and accomplished.

We are wonderfully crafted to live a happy and fulfilled life however our circumstances. It is not given to a very few but each and every one of us. We have a chance at life but we usually let our chances slip. As humans, we turned to look too hard and too long at the close doors whiles many open doors remain unattended to. If there’s a door that is standing wide open for you and another that you’re trying to get through by knocking it down, sometimes it’s best to take the door that’s already open for you. 

 Buddha once said: “It is your resistance to what is that causes your suffering.” We are not made for suffering but rather give way to suffering when we try to resist how things are. However hard we try, there are some things we can’t change. It is what it is. It is when we try to go against the current that we open ourselves up for suffering. There are things we can change, yes! But there are quite a lot of few that we cannot. Where we can, let’s put in our strength and make the change we desire. If we can’t change it, we have to accept it as it is and let go of the negativity. That is when we find true value in letting go.

“This too shall pass” has been my favourite quote anytime I find myself in an uncomfortable situation. Nothing lasts forever; our sorrows, our heartbreaks, our guilt and shame can’t hover over us forever. They too shall pass. All, we need is a willing heart that can stand the test of time, be strong and be ready to make a change.

Get out of your own way. Give yourself the chance to be happy. If anyone deserves a better life and a happy ending, it is you.