Strange Times Versus Eudaimonia

 

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(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! 🙂 🙂

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Treasured Links

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(Now this little girl’s what I call a treasured Link. Photo credit: Flickr)

”The truth is that we can learn to condition our minds, bodies, and emotions to link pain or pleasure to whatever we choose. By changing what we link pain and pleasure to, we will instantly change our behaviours.”

Tony Robbins

Our pursuit of wealth (or survival as my dad called it) in life is ridiculously overshadowed by things that ought to be more valuable to us like family, friends, and scheduled times to reflect and truly enjoy life. We work all day, some of us are doing two jobs to make ends meet and that doesn’t really mean we would have enough. The only thing certain in life is time, and at a point, that would also end.

Time is certainly cruel. It flies by quickly and before we know it, the tangible things left are links. But some of us destroy those links, how, you may ask? By what we choose to link our minds and memories to.

If a poor man chooses to link his memories to struggles, he may find it difficult to actually overcome poverty. And if a rich guy links his mind to his wealth, he would lose himself in the pool of his assets, and everything else would pale into insignificance. Basically, everything still boils down to our choice and perception in life.

So friends, link wisely! 🙂

Grasmere lake with autumn colours and reflections, Lake District, Cumbria, England

          Grasmere lake with autumn colours and reflections, Lake District, Cumbria, England

I haven’t been able to write an article for a while because of certain projects I’ve been involved in, which would be wrapped up soon in the first quarter of next year, God willing. I know I’ve missed a lot of awesome posts. I’ve begun the pleasurable journey of visiting as many blogs as time would allow, I can’t wait to read to my heart’s content.

I hope you’ll all have a Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year. Hopefully, I would write one or two articles before the end of this year. Live free and enjoy every bit of your moment on this part of heaven.

Much love to you all! 🙂

 

 

 

 

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 Day In January…

 

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                                                                       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.

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                                                           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.

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                                                                          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!

🙂

On Humanity And Idiosyncrasies

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(My ideal place to be now!)

“Man surprised me most about humanity. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money.
Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.” Dalai Lama

If we continually observe the world, it’s really filled with sad news, war, war, and war! Yet in the midst of the seemingly absurd, grotesque, insane, and obscene, we have to carry on living.

My husband and I were having one of our ‘philosophical chats’ when he quoted Dalai Lama, it hit me like a sledgehammer; am I working too hard?

However, after a brief soul-searching I came to this verdict: I love life, I really enjoy living even when I’m working hard and juggling multiple responsibilities with kids screaming for my attention, countless office deadlines and uncooperative plots ( my novels and several other manuscripts I’m working on).

I am absolutely certain that I enjoy my idiosyncratic attitude to living because life has no part two, there are no dress rehearsals or a delete button. We take what we have, use it wisely and hope for the best, and I think we ought to strive to find joy in life in any way we can.

December is a month of frenzy cum feverish spending, planning, office parties. Why not pause for a while, enjoy the snow-capped mountains, (if there’s one in your vicinity), the fake reindeer, and annoying Christmas jingles that normally grated on your nerves.

I intend to, I hope you’ll all enjoy everyday living.

Have a fantastic weekend friends!

Much love, always. 🙂

The Palm Tree Theory

 

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”All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.”

J.R.R Tolkien (1892-1973)

Palm trees are known to withstand severe storms. After a thorough bashing, you could still see palm trees standing, often times bent, but still in the race with a shot. I’ll relate this to us. Undoubtedly, we face storms in our lives and I think there’s no living soul on this planet who doesn’t have one teeny-weeny thing troubling them. Some could be as sublime as breathing, financial woes, all sorts. I’ve seen friends who are so ill, they couldn’t sleep without an oxygen tank close to their bed. However within a month, they’re back to work. Life continues.

Resilience, courage, and determination helps us ride the storm and that’s the theory of palm trees. They don’t give up, they simply adapt to their circumstances, maybe beaten sore but still around. And I think we could borrow a leaf from their philosophy too, storms may come but we can do what we do best, ride through it!

To the people of Mexico, who could soon be battling Hurricane Patricia, I wish everyone would be safe. I sincerely hope everyone would ride through this unscathed!

Now to sunnier news: October is my bestest (pardon my pun) month. I turned 40 on the 14th. Thankfully, I don’t feel or look it yet. I hope to stay that way but who am I kidding? 🙂

I hope everyone’s been good. I’ve visited as many blogs as I could and would continue to do so. To many of us sliding slowly into the cold ( I resisted the urge to write ‘fray’ ), stay warm. To those in sunnier parts of the world, enjoy the sun.

Have a wonderful weekend my friends and I’ll leave you with this song:

 Much love, always! 🙂