Here In Paradise…

                                                                                    (Photo credit: Flickr)

On Friday, March 10th, 2017, it was precisely 7.25 in the morning as I walked up the steps of Westminster Station en-route my office. I walked briskly, mentally calculating ‘my-to-do-list’ for the day and then like an image out of a disaster movie, I saw two people, a man and a woman. The man was hovering over the woman, his lips quivering, his gait was like a man under the influence of alcohol, he tried to move away from the woman and almost fell. My gaze turned to the woman, her pale face had obviously borne the brunt of living on the street. Her face was lined with weariness, her eyes devoid of happiness.

I stopped in my tracks.

I didn’t know if I should offer money, or simply give a hug. People pushed past me, a man swore under his breath, but it was loud enough for me to hear the words. I fidget with my bag and moved out of the way, my heart broke into a thousand pieces as I watched them.

The man and the woman were oblivious of my presence, and sadly, I turned away.

Here in paradise, (at least that could be the thoughts of millions of people in other parts of the world) we shouldn’t have homeless people. Throughout the day, I couldn’t concentrate on anything. There was something about that couple, they may as well be working in one of the imposing offices in Whitehall, or maybe, as tourists keen to see where most decisions in the UK were made.

Centerpoint is a charity here in the UK helping homeless young people but what about middle age people, old men and women? I have a passion for the homeless, although I’ve read that some do make themselves ‘intentionally homeless,’ but still, I couldn’t expunge their image out of my mind.

I did some further research and realised that there are many homeless charities all around us. Below are some of the charities in London:

There’s also West London YMCA, they  provide the same services as most of the organisations I’ve listed above. I think if we live in paradise, we should be able to do more for people less fortunate than we are (I know, we’re not all millionaires but we could always volunteer at a homeless shelter). I will volunteer at some of these wonderful charities doing such wonderful jobs, changing people’s lives.

If you’re living in other parts of the world, it wouldn’t hurt to give money to a beggar you see on the street or a homeless person. Some of you reading this may think, ‘well, she’s so naïve, most of these folks are drug addicts and rapists… maybe murderers.’

Maybe, some of them are, but some aren’t. Life’s just dealt them a hard hand.

Maybe Phil Collin’s song, ‘Another Day In Paradise’ would be a great way to finish this article.

I hope you’ll all enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Much love to you friends, always!

🙂 🙂

 

 

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Walking Through Time

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(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.

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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. 🙂

 

The Ugly Side…

 

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”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. 🙂

 

Alien

 

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   (Photo Credit: Flickr)

Recently, I had a splinter of wood embedded inside my middle finger. Initially, the pain was excruciating, but after a while, I scarcely noticed the alien inside my finger. I guessed it slowly became a part of me. It was a slow process, it didn’t happen immediately, but soon enough, it ceased to be an alien. I’d accepted that splinter of wood as part of me, it mingled with my flesh, it attached itself to my blood, and if I did nothing to remove it, it would be immovable, static.

It would have found a home.

That’s the same with attitude. I don’t believe that people are naturally born nasty. They cultivated that nastiness over time. That’s why I love children, they are so innocent but incredibly impressionable. It’s an open secret that children who grew up in homes where swear words were spoken repeatedly wouldn’t find anything wrong with it.

 

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Life is complex, and most things happen when we least expected. We can slowly turn into a monster, if we don’t check ourselves and gauge our lives with this mantra, ‘how would I feel if someone did that to me?’

My middle name is Alexandra, which means helper of men or humanity. I love people, naturally, I try to see the good in people, so you can imagine my horror when I found out that I’d hurt someone, although it wasn’t deliberate. I was mortified, and I moved swiftly by apologising. Have I been hurt by others? Countless times! But I wouldn’t for the life of me expect someone to apologise to me because life doesn’t work out that way.

At one point or another in our lives, we may have inadvertently imbibed alien attitudes, the great news is, we can remove that stranger from our lives if we wanted to do that. I travel on the tube to work everyday, and I’ve witnessed horrible behaviours from other commuters; and I’d also been exposed to a huge amount of love.

I’m a humanist, I believe in people. I hope anyone reading this believes in people too, because that’s one of the ways we can make our world a better place to live!

NB:

I have to apologise for not updating my website/blog for a while. I’ve recently accepted a job offer which is incredibly satisfying but utterly time-consuming. I’ve mastered my daily routine now, and I would be visiting more blogs and writing more posts often. I’ve missed all of you, and as time permits, I would be visiting and reading your awesome posts soon.

I love you all, and please, stay safe!

Love, always! 🙂

A Time To Love

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(Photo credit: Flickr)

‘Christmas is the perfect time to celebrate the love of God and family and to create memories that will last forever. Jesus is God’s perfect, indescribable gift. The amazing thing is that not only are we able to receive this gift, but we are able to share it with others on Christmas and every other day of the year.’

Joel Osteen

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(I love the Lake District!)

‘Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.’

Norman Vincent Peale

The spirit of Christmas is the spirit of love and of generosity and of goodness. It illuminates the picture window of the soul, and we look out upon the world’s busy life and become more interested in people than in things.

Thomas S. Monson

Reading these quotes reminded me of the real meaning of Christmas. It’s a time of love, a time to share, and a time to have fun. Some people aren’t so lucky to be surrounded by loved ones this Christmas but we could help in our own way by donating money, food supplies to charities like the Salvation army and spread the spirit of love wherever we find ourselves.

From my end here, I wish every one of you a merry Christmas and a happy new year! If you don’t celebrate Christmas, happy holidays!

Much love, always. 🙂

Brave Heart

 

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(Photo Credit: Flickr)

”Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” Desmond Tutu

***

John Parker wanted to tell the kind man who’d saved him from death, but the words caught in his throat. He mumbled inaudibly then coughed loudly. He desperately wanted to unburden and bare his soul to Anselm but realised his new friend would probably call him a monster.

Time dragged on, and Parker waited. The silence in the room was as thick as a winter fog. How could he utter such words to a total stranger? How could he tell Anselm that his girlfriend of 12 years had been diced to pieces and kept inside his deep freezer. Why? Anselm may ask. ‘Oh,’ he may simply shrug his skinny shoulders and just give an excuse, maybe, because he caught her cheating and their seven-year old daughter, Amber, wasn’t his after all. How could he tell Anselm that he, Parker, was a psycho, a sociopath, a sadist whose pain went deeper than imagined? How in heaven’s name could he tell his new pal that he’d been in prison; a prison of the mind where walls whispered obscenities and the only respite he got would be to slash himself open. How could he say such words?

‘I don’t think I should be in this room,’ Parker finally said and a sad sigh escaped his trembling lips. ‘I should go now.’

He stood up but Anselm stopped him with a wave of his large hands.

‘Sit down,’ the older man said firmly. Parker obeyed, his eyes staring straight ahead.

‘You’ve done bad things. I see it in your eyes. Even there’s pain in death, killing yourself doesn’t make it all go away. Get yourself treated, ask forgiveness and turn yourself in. There’s still redemption son.’

John Parker stared at Anselm. His English was flawless, he’d dropped the German accent.

‘Who are you?’ Parker asked slowly.

‘I’m your conscience,’ was the apt reply and the room began to spin.

John woke up with a start, his heart beating wildly. He sat up and checked the bedside clock. It was 3 a.m. in the morning. He’d been dreaming, it was a huge relief but the incident in the dream wasn’t far from reality, his eyes sought his wife of 12 years who was sleeping soundly. He’d been hiding the voices in his head well, it was difficult explaining to his GP that he’d been battling severe depression for three years. After the loss of his job and his wife became the breadwinner, he’d slowly sunk deeper into the quagmire of depression.

There’s only one brave thing left to do, he tapped his wife gently on the shoulder, it’s better safe than sorry, he thought.

***

NP: Guys, I’m sorry I couldn’t post this story yesterday, I tried but life just got in the way. I totally had a different plot to this story but then, it occurred to me that men hide their frailty. They go through life as brave hearts, pillars, unmovable and then they crumple! If you’re a man reading this, please, don’t bottle things up if you’re not well. Life is in phases. Talk to your spouse, close friend or even your doctor. Depression affects a lot of people in our society today and some needless deaths could easily have been avoided if things hadn’t gotten out of hand.

The first part of this story is here if you want to catch up: https://seyisandradavid.org/2015/08/11/dreaming-when-awake/

I hope you’ll all have a wonderful weekend!

Much love, always!! 🙂

The Hope Journey

 

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Hope has no age barrier!

(Photo Credit: Flicker)

For the past two weeks, I’d thought of a girl I met several years ago, a girl who taught me about hope, she once told me that, ‘hope is an endless journey, it never stops because if it does, it ceases to be hope.’

This is a true story:

Roughly around thirty years ago, as I was pushing towards my tenth birthday, my dad moved us into an exclusive neighbourhood, it was an eight bedroom duplex with what we called boys-quarters at the back. It was massive with house-helps and guards posted to the front gate and all sorts of people tending the garden. The house fitted us perfectly, we were a large family of eleven. My mom had nine kids, but even at that, I desperately missed my friends.

I preferred our former house, it was a bungalow in a quiet leafy street where kids could play outside. Our new home was different, everyone I met tried to speak with a posh accent. I was wild at heart at that age, I loved adventures, running around, stealing past guards and walking through the woodlands behind our  home, giving my poor parents such grief.

Then one evening in September, the African sun was slowly receding into the clouds, I sniffed the air in contentment as I strolled along the road which led to our home with one of my brothers. A girl my age walked past and waved, she wore a white dress and green sandals, I waved back, stealing one more look. She had the kindest eyes, and a lovely smile. I liked her at once, maybe I’d found a friend at last. Within two weeks we met properly. She lived on the next street, and her dad was in one of those boring clubs my dad frequented, where middle age men drink and exchange business ideas.

Ayo and I became fast friends, if she wasn’t in my house I was in hers. She was extremely beautiful, I nicknamed her ‘china porcelain,’ because my mom had a set of china plates and heaven helped whosoever dared touched the plates, I think I broke one or two though! 🙂

She was very fragile, her pale, pallor skin often gave her an ethereal glow, more like a ghost at times but we still played hard. Sometimes I’d noticed the worried expression on her dad’s face but I ignored it, if I didn’t, I wouldn’t understand why he always seemed so pensive. She was my best friend and I loved her to bits, I didn’t for once think anything could be wrong with her. Then one day I visited her house and saw her sweating on the couch, she looked very ill. I touched her forehead and it was so hot. Her dad came into the living room and walked her to the door. They left for the hospital and I couldn’t sleep well that night.

Ayo stayed in the hospital for two weeks, I was dying to hear news but my parents just told me she would fine. I knew something wasn’t right. It was like that for almost six months, Ayo would be fine for one week, then she would be sick for four. One day in March, we were almost a year in our new home when she came in for a visit. Her eyes were bright and she looked healthy, I sensed she wanted to tell me something and when she did, I was clueless. My best friend had ‘Sickle-Cell Anaemia,’ a terrible disease of the blood. When she left, I went into my dad’s library and rummaging through his vast array of encyclopaedias (there’s nothing like Google then) found information on the disease. What I read was too advanced for my age, but at best, I understood her condition.

Three weeks later, on a hot Friday afternoon, I went to her house and saw her on the bare floor, writhing in pain. This time around, it was serious, she was crying and I held her head in my hands. Her mouth was dry and her eyes were yellow.

‘I’m so sorry.’ I kept muttering under my breath. I think my voice did a little trick and she stopped crying. She managed to sit up and gave me a weak smile.

‘Seyi, don’t ever give up on hope, it’s what kept me going all these years.’ She said and I laughed.

‘You’re just weeks older than me.’ I said, still smiling, I wanted to wish away her illness and pain.

‘If I didn’t have hope, I would have gone, but I stayed for my dad…’ there was silence, ‘and you.’ She added with a twinkle in her eyes. We hugged tightly and I felt a tremor passed through her body.

‘It’s time,’ her dad muttered looking down at us. I felt lost and my heart was beating very fast.

I helped her to her feet and into her dad’s car. Her elder sister stood in the doorway, her ashen face portend sad tidings. I stood beside the car, I wanted to follow her but was too scared. My parents walked in through their gate and spoke tenderly to Ayo’s dad.

That night, my eyes stayed open. The next morning, I dashed to Ayo’s house but the gates were locked. A week later, Ayo was gone. In a way, I was relieved she was no longer in pain, for my ten-year old brain, an ordinary fever is hell compared to the endless pain Ayo endured for her short stay on earth. However, I won’t really remember her for that debilitating illness, I would remember her warmth, faith and hope. She was a girl who believed in hope, and for someone like that, why can’t we have hope?

Although she passed, but I believe she did when she wanted to, she was way older than her years. If she were to be here today, I knew she would still be spreading her message of hope. Thank God for science, people with Sickle cell lived longer and less painful lives now.

Thanks for reading my long story, I try to keep my posts short but I’ve not posted for almost six weeks and I sincerely hope I haven’t bore you. I apologise for my absence, It wasn’t deliberate. I would visit your blogs as much as time permits. I love you guys and I hope you’ll all enjoy the rest of this week.

Much love, always! 🙂