She tilted her head slightly towards me, then blurted, ” I really need to set up something, I should be doing more.”
“What do you want to do?” I probed.
She hesitated, then said,” I don’t know.”
I could see the pain in her eyes, and the strength that she struggled to prelude. I could also see that, not knowing what to do tormented her.
I knew that she could be exceptional at one thing, her thing but would never find what that one thing is, if she didn’t know who she was. She asked if I could help her figure it out.
I told her I couldn’t even if I wanted to and in fact, no one could. It is one of those things that no one can give to you, you find it. It would be a journey, your journey. It always comes to you, but hardly in the way you think it should.
But, I’ll tell you what has brought me this far.
Not one time has my tears failed me. I have cried my way to who I am and every time I cry, I change.
Freshly baked from an oven, I know what fire can do, I know pain.
I know deep, crawling heartaches that torture the soul and sends the mind into captivity.
I know physical pain, sun-scorching, earth battering pain; the kind that leaves you bleeding.
I know cold pain, that which gropes your skin when no one is watching and leaves you shivering in misery. Pain truly knows how to unveil a person.
It took more buckets of tears to realize every teardrop is a teacher. I’ve been on my knees wrapped in agony, I’ve cursed God in my prayers and then beg to take it back. I’ve turned my back on love because it felt too safe, and then break down in tears from loneliness. I’ve felt things that had no meaning. I’ve had urges, raw demented urges that I can never speak of.
The whole time, no one person was ever present except for me. But, for every new sensation that showed up, a part of me was revealed.
I have seen what bottled up emotions can do to a person. I’ve seen how hurt from an event can totally transform a person. I’ve seen a mother forget how to love her kids because of the pain of losing them.
Talk like you’re human when you’re talking to another human. Talk to the person right next to you, there’s always pain lingering in the room. Listen to the words they don’t say. Stare at their gaze with compassion, watch the movement of their hands and feet. Notice their tone, the shaky notes at the end of each word; listen to people. They need your silence and your presence. Then, when they are done talking, wrap them in your arms. That’s all! Advise them later.
I always wanted to talk, I badly wanted to talk and I still want to talk. I’m just scared no one would listen and that’s how I found myself.
In the solitude of my darkness, I found words. The journey began with one little book, As a Man Thinketh by James Allen.
It turned up the light bulb and lit my dark mind and suddenly all of my monsters turned into shadows, shrinking themselves into a corner.
I, the chief architect of my fate wallowed in discontentment, waiting for my miracle, waiting for a saviour.
I was waiting for a messiah; someone to love me just the way I was, someone to change it all, take it all and make it go away. But no one could, no one can and so, I cried mercilessly for hours at the difficulty of life. In truth, I disliked the world. I didn’t understand myself and I hated what I thought I lost.
Then, I realized, just as I had conveniently thought my way into the darkness, I could as well think my way out of it.
No! It’s not just a snap-of-the-finger process, it takes time. However, my decision to change was instant.
One book grew to two, three, and four… Every day became a day to unlearn one wrong orientation.
I have found making big life decisions like; choosing a career path, what businesses to invest in, who to marry, all come from an extensive knowledge of
- Who you are
- What you stand for
- What you can do
- Who you become under pressure
- What values you live by
Without these factors, most decisions would be hinged on ‘what’s hot and what’s not’. But if it’s intended to be built to last, then the foundation is got to be solid.
Every single virtue; peace, patience, generosity, love, joy, happiness comes at different turns. Every experience, every struggle seeks to teach and if you look closely you’d see the lesson. Life will throw curve balls at you until you learn why it rolled your way in the first place. No struggle is by chance, it’s all one big plan.
The first place to start from is always the mind. All things start with the mind.
It took me pictures to learn gratitude. My old album showed me the difference from where I came from to where I am today.
But there’s something about gratitude that’s grossly misrepresented. Gratitude demands contentment but never lack of ambition
“Lord Grant that I desire more than I can acquire.” Michael Angelo
I aspire to be more, I’m reaching for the stars, and I want a fabulous life. Ambition is good, don’t let it drown in “gratitude’. This is how I’ve found gratitude to work for me.
Gratitude gives me assurance, gratitude feels my heart with a peace and an understanding that everything would be fine. Gratitude reminds me of how significant my life is and who I am in God’s eyes. Gratitude refuses that I take anything for granted.
So, I keep two pictures; one to remind me of where I came from and one to represent where I’m going to.
At the moment, I’m thankfully expectant and working graciously towards becoming whole. The more whole you become, the bigger your aspirations and the smaller your fears.
I choose mastery over success.
According to my mom, success is owning a car, a house, getting married and living abroad. Living abroad is a huge part of her success equation.
She once told me, “don’t you see how your cousins are worshipped when they come back home for holidays? Don’t you want to be like that?”
Sadly, I understood her, the bias was never hidden. Culture is a hard thing to eradicate, it’s deeply ingrained in our identity. Where I come from, poverty is avoided like a plague, there’s a fight to get rich at all cost. This should make sense except that’s the trap; we run from poverty and end up worshipping money and what it can do.
Success soon becomes all that money can buy and the worth of a person is measured by what they own. Whatever success means to you, make sure that it comes from your truth.
To me, success is freedom; freedom to dream, and dare to become all that I can become.
Success is love; loving so deeply and freely and never losing the ability to be vulnerable.
Success is exploring; travelling and meeting people from all over the world. Success is making sure, there’s no child around me sleeps on an empty belly.
Success is happiness; seeing firsthand the joy other people have and making sure I’m part of the reason they are happy.
Success is running in the morning and noticing the dark starry sky suddenly turn into light blue in minutes, its mechanics inspire me every time. It reminds me how quickly anything can change.
Success is accomplishing my set goals for the day. It isn’t an event or an acquisition, it is a process, and it is mastering the art of living right. When you choose what being successful means to you, make sure it’s yours.
Success has a wild way of falling among cursed thorns. But when it’s yours, It gets better every day.
The goal is to get better every day.
The focus is to block everything and everyone out and dive in, into what being alive means to you.
I have come a long way, but I have so much more to learn. Every day, I take one step closer to become and do all that I am created to do.
“Dive in,” I told her
“I’m sure you’d find it, I’m sure you’d build something.”