The Demons Among Us

Yesterday afternoon in my office at MoD, I was unduly worried about mundane official deadlines and paperwork when the afternoon was shattered with the security announcement of an on-going terrorist attack. Every single building in Whitehall was placed on lockdown as news filtered in slowly of death and carnage on Westminster bridge.

We were in a state of shock at the enormity of the attack, the barbaric atrocities unleashed on innocent tourists and a police officer performing his duty infuriates me. The devilish perpetrator also ploughed into pedestrians on the bridge killing scores of people and wounding almost 29 people.

Today, I am proud to write that London is not on lockdown but sadness still pervades the atmosphere as we slowly came to terms with the callous attack at the heart of our nation. My condolences to the families and friends of PC Keith Palmer, mother of two, Aysha Frade, and an American tourist, Kurt Cochran.

Terrorists are the demons among us, and I pray their evil plans would continually be thwarted. My appreciation to the armed police officers who swiftly put an end to Khalid Masood’s murderous campaign.

I echo these brave words: We Are Not Afraid! London is a city that thrives against all odds, and we shall stand strong in spite of agents of destruction and division.

Much love to you my friends wherever you are in the world, and please, stay safe!

Advertisements

Strange Times Versus Eudaimonia

 

15854727668_6b9c59cbff_o-2

(Photo credit: Flickr)

‘These are strange times. Reason, which once combated faith and seemed to have conquered it, now has to look to faith to save it from dissolution.”

Well, should I write, Happy New Year? I think so because this is my first article for the New Year, yet the world has gone through and is still going through strange times. There was the story of a madman who insisted he must rule for a billion years (former Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh) and now we have a President of the free-world who insisted on building walls, and causing as much division as he wanted.

These are strange times indeed.

However, I’ll rather go along the Hannah Arendt line, which was self-explanatory:

”The ultimate end of human acts is eudaimonia, happiness in the sense of living well, which all men desire; all acts are but different means chosen to arrive at it.”

I guess we might as well pursue that which makes us happy.  2017 is a year I want to pursue a wellness of spirit, soul, and body, and I hope you can all come to a place of wholeness too.

I hope you’ll all have a wonderful weekend.

Much love, always! 🙂 🙂

Walking Through Time

16096262405_74bb7ebf9d_o-2

(Photo Credit: Flickr)

This year had been full of surprises. From Brexit to the election of Trump to the continual gluttonous appetite of the world’s politicians. The world was gripped by the drama that was the US Presidential election, and as a feminist, I was really rooting for Hilary Clinton. But that was not her fate, she lost the race.

On a personal note, I’ve experienced nothing but blessings this year. I’ve also had my share of challenges, don’t we all? I’ve had dreams postponed but not denied, I’ve seen plans stalled but not destroyed. I’ve had manuscripts shelved but not forgotten. I’ve met new friends and learned some vital life lessons.

life-is-like-walking-through-snow-every-step-shows-quote-1-2

The great thing is, if you’re reading this, that means we’re still walking through time, our lights are not snuffed out yet, for that, we should be grateful. No matter what you may have gone through in 2016, as long as you’re still breathing, and walking, there is hope yet. Don’t give up!

On that note, I wish all my friends here in the United Kingdom and elsewhere in the world, may you have a wonderful and prosperous 2017!

Happy New Year!!!

Much love, always. 🙂

 

Somehow… We’re All Connected

 

15414666574_5687a97a86_o-2

(Photo credit: Flickr)

My office is in a prestigious and historic building in Whitehall, and every day on my way to the office, I love saying hello to the cleaners making the place a beautiful sight.

They are as important as the Prime Minister, Theresa May.

Maybe some people might not agree with me, but we’re all important. From the bus driver struggling through the morning traffic to the chef in the restaurant trying to bring sanity to the chaos in the kitchen to the cashier at the grocery store who might endure muffled abuse from disgruntled customers to the care assistant who takes care of  our older relatives or the nursery assistant who has to endure the incessant screams of restless babies and yet, has to smile and reassure parents that all has been well when it hasn’t.

I reckon, we’re all the same.

15905066159_f8e7941d66_o-2

The feeling of ”I’m always right and I know everything all” has the hallmark of a ‘jerk syndrome.’ I respect all the men and women holding two to three jobs, trying to make ends meet while also bringing up their children at the same time. They are superheroes.

Now don’t get me wrong, life isn’t a straight line, but it would augur well to appreciate people who appear to be doing menial jobs. I once got into an argument with a former boss who refused to allow his driver in the same lift with him, I didn’t mince my words when I told him in no uncertain terms that he was wrong. You can imagine what happened after that, I got fired? Hell no (forgive my language), he apologised to his driver and increased his pay. Although I later realised that the truth is a bitter pill to swallow.

We’re all connected.

Imagine the scenario where we’re all rich, every single soul on this planet is wealthy. Where would you find the shopkeepers, drivers, butchers, child-minders, just to mention a few? So, why not give that sweaty waitress a sincere smile and the cleaner at your HQ an appreciative grin? Maybe I’m wrong, let me know what you think.

Have a wonderful weekend friends, and may the coming week bring you peace!

Much love, always. 🙂

 

The Ugly Side…

 

15957922066_bfec0d796c_o (2)

”The most beautiful as well as the most ugly inclinations of man are not part of a fixed biologically given human nature, but result from the social process which creates man.” Erich Fromm

Recent events in the world are enough to sum up the fact that humanity’s ugly side appears to be dominant. We are very quick to tear apart than build, we hate anything that remotely differs from our way of thinking. We want to love but find that so difficult, rather it’s easy to be suspicious, have zero empathy and yes, we find a safe haven in hatred.

James Carroll got it right when he wrote, ”we cloak ourselves in cold indifference to the unnecessary suffering of others, even when we caused it.”

Hatred brings out our ugly side when we hide behind our knowledge of what’s right and wrong. We believe our lives are somehow a priority compared to others and when we’re not having things going our way, we’re quick to complain, bemoaning our fallen state.

We’re also beautiful creatures, that is when we want to be. Imagine doctors risking lives and limbs to save Ebola-stricken victims in a remote village in Africa or people pooling resources together to save Syrian refugees from the freezing sea. That, is the beauty of human nature just to mention a few.

However, we all have ugly sides, if not, why do we have laws trying to curtail our nastiness from spiralling out of control?

I penned this article shortly after the Nice truck massacre, somehow I couldn’t publish it but it’s still relevant today. Most of the time,  it’s very difficult to comprehend when such tragedies occur, like the killings of African-Americans by rogue white police officers or the killings of thousands by the so called Isis’s mad soldiers or the time when Lord Gen Jeffery Amherst, British Commander-in-Chief of America wrote to Col. H. Bouquet to use Biological weapons (small pox laden blankets) in July 1763 against Native American Indians. He wrote, “You will do well to try to inoculate the Indians by means of blankets, as well as to try every other method that can serve to extirpate this execrable race.” Hitler wanted to wipe out the Jews and subject the world to his madness. In the end, I think our lives shouldn’t be mapped out based on such events no matter how sad.

Humanity is renowned for fortitude in the face of extreme violence. Hitler was keen to turn the world into a huge wasteland, but he failed, even though, in the process, millions lost their lives. The incredible thing I’ve realised is this, our ugliness and monstrosity would not prevail over the beauty and love inherent in us (this is where free-will comes in). That’s contradictory but it’s the truth. As Daniel Goleman wrote, ”societies can be sunk by the weight of ugliness.”

There’s real hatred in the world, just check social media where some segment of humanity compares others as inferior to them. It’s heartbreaking but over the millennia, it’s been part of the history of mankind, the pervading hatred, the palpable feeling of helplessness experienced by slaves which brought the brutal book, ‘The Heart Of Darkness ,’ written by Joseph Conrad to mind. More than ten million people had died in the Congo in the 19th and early 20th century under the rule of the notorious Belgian King, Leopold II. The Congo had been plundered and its inhabitants killed with ruthless efficiency. It’s one of the greatest acts of mass murder in human history. That’s humanity’s ugliness at its height. According to a review on Amazon, ”Conrad makes it painfully clear that the heart of darkness can reside within us all,” how sad!

Unfortunately, the killings in Congo is still ongoing, according to an article written by Owen Jones in the Guardian Newspaper on 6 March 2015, he lamented, ” African lives did not matter enough: a death toll of up to 6 million would surely not have been tolerated elsewhere. For the West, it is a country of little strategic importance.”

Overall, I still believe that our ugly sides can be tamed, maybe I’m wrong?

This article is open to debate, let me know what you think.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend wherever you are in the world!

Much love, always. 🙂

 

A Day In January…

 

22925604895_56c66d7a70_o (2)

                                                                       This is how I feel right now

 (Photo credit: Flickr)

I dug my teeth into my frozen lips as the winter air attacked me with gusto; my veins bulged out in protest. I hunched and huffed, hugging myself in a bid to thwart the desperate cold but it was to no avail.

16787824927_ec47b0f3c2_o (2)

                                                           You can guess how cold it is!

I was returning from a conference where a renowned expert, whose soft-spoken voice intoned deeply into my bored mind talked about the benefits of controlling our thoughts in order to be more productive. Granted that I did gained some insight into how to train and control my thoughts, nevertheless, I wasn’t sure that my thoughts could control me and not the other way round. Uncannily, my winter-ravaged brain had stylishly blotted the speaker’s name from my mind. I didn’t think controlling my thoughts could be hard, so I decided to put it to the test.

Strangely, I found my thoughts running haywire from the mundane to the downright funny, then to the sober and finally back to the speaker.

I got zero point.

My environment, things I see and feel could control my thoughts. It was winter, and I would be a fool to think that it was summer. So what happens to us naturally has great impact on our thought processes. Despite that, we could still control our thoughts through discipline although that’s open to debate.

16656177535_169acf5889_o (2)

                                                                          This is where I want to be!

The chilly January air continued its assault on my hapless face as I trudged home and the words of the speaker returned subtly. The man was right and I determined to have firm control on what goes through my mind.

When I got home, I switched the heater on, dove under the duvet and brought out my worn out diary, which reminded me of Yiyun Li’s ‘A Sheltered Woman.’ My tired eyes scanned through my schedule for Friday and as my eyes rested on the date, I was shocked, my amazement wasn’t feigned, it was genuine. Today is the 15th, the year is flying faster than my 5-year-old son’s kite.

The year had strolled in like an old lover, sniffing around with familiarity, extending his love, yet restraining back. Days had flown into two weeks and before we know it, shops would be brimming with Valentines cards. It’s unbelievable.

I had twenty minutes of solitude before jumping back into the fray, a tired sigh escaped my lips, then my thoughts strayed to the news of Alan Rickman’s passing and my heart sank. He was a beloved actor, I loved his role as the ‘Sheriff Of Nottingham in Robin Hood. I closed my eyes, my aim was absolute peace, no thoughts but it was a futile effort.

My mind drifted again, back to the speaker who believed that tiredness, anxieties, worry, fear all stem from our minds, eating deep into our days as we lose track of our jobs, he believes it affects our productivity and in a way, our lives.

However, how do we control our thoughts?

I have few theories on that but would love to read what you think.

This is my first post of the year. I don’t have a new year resolution. However, I’m determined to do things better than I did last year, which is recognising the things I could change while taking positive actions and ignoring things that could eat into my time. Like Reinhold Niebuhr would say, ”God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

I hope you’ll all have a fabulous weekend!

Much love, always!

🙂

The Happy Isles

7897251_orig

(Photo credit: Flickr)

It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:

It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,

And though We are not now that strength which in old days

Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;

One equal temper of heroic hearts,

Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will

To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

Ulysses by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

 

‘Thinking about that poem a lot lately and I think what it says is that while it’s tempting to play it safe, the more we’re willing to risk, the more alive we are. At the end what we regret most are chances we never took.’

Dr Frasier Crane.

Trying to sum up this year has left me floundering for the perfect words to write, but then, Ulysses by Alfred, Lord Tennyson came to mind. I realised that the reason we’re sometimes miserable in life is neglecting the things that are dear to our hearts.

‘It’s easier said than done, a dear friend once quipped wryly, fate is a cruel lover.’ I disagreed with her. Most times, we leave our lives in the hands of fate when we can dictate how we want things to turn. Don’t get me wrong, there are many things we can’t control, yet in the same vein, there are things within OUR control.

The end of a year signals something final and irreversible. Likewise, it also foretold adventures not yet taken, dreams not yet realised and battles not yet fought nor won.  It could however, prove an unsettling experience if we believe our lives aren’t what we want it to be by doing nothing to make it what it ought to be.

There’s a way out though, why not envision what you want and take ample steps towards it? By doing so, you would be able to satisfy your innermost desires knowing that you tried and succeeded or maybe not but at least, you took action.

The new year is almost here, and I want to use this opportunity to appreciate my friends all over the world, for their continued support and friendship. I hope 2016 would be a better year and that peace and love would be a visible part of our lives in the new year!

I hope we would touch our ‘Happy Isles’ in 2016, we just need to believe so.

Much love friends, and happy New Year!
🙂