Tag Archives: God

Eat, Pray, Love

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Some time, within the last year or the one before I wanted to write an article inspired by the movie Eat, Pray, Love. I actually started writing but it lacked flow so I abandoned it. Forgive my powers of recall because I cannot say for a fact what happened to that article because I looked for the title in my archives and could not find it. If I could hazard a guess I would say I modified it and posted it in a different form. Turns out sometimes when you throw some things out (read words) they come back to you. I don’t need to tell you that you should be careful what you throw out.  A friend of mine asked if I felt like I had a slow year and I responded it was a restful year. She thought I was being positive but later when I pondered over it, I realized 2013 for me was Eat, Pray, Love. Fortunately, it was different from the Elizabeth Gilbert version.

Pray tell, what do you do when you think you have met the one and he is missing something that you hold sacred? Answer: you pray. I met a man at the tail end of last year and I thought it was gift from God. I know I know who says such things out loud? Me! As I beheld my gift I wondered why God would give me a gift that I couldn’t grab hold of just yet? Well, simply because He is God and He can. I prayed that God would make it clear if He was giving me this gift and a verse came to mind every good and perfect gift comes from above. What was required of me was to trust God. I trusted that God would remove all doubts that the gift was mine and He confirmed it in his own time. Have you been given a gift and you’re not quite sure if it is yours or you’re not sure what to do with it? Pray! God hears you when you do and if it is within His will to give you something don’t fret He will make it happen. I also prayed for some things and I didn’t quite get them. In between feeling frustrated and sorry for myself, I prayed that God would help me to trust Him. One of those things was a big dream I had. I didn’t get my big dream but my eyes opened to the little dreams I had which came true. Some, I thought were too much to wish for but they came true nonetheless. I also had the privilege of praying for friends and seeing their dreams come true; which is a wonderful blessing. As I go into the New Year I am reminded I should dream and whatever dreams I have I should cast them upon God who loves me and knows which dreams are worth bringing forth and at the right time.

I dreamed a little dream that I would have a cooking club and experiment on exotic dishes I could not even dreamed of. It’s no secret I love to eat but only to the extent that I would like to live to eat another day. I shared my dream with a few friends and together we took some culinary journeys to exotic places. To clarify, exotic in this case means outside of your usual fare. What a fantastic thing it is to share your dream with like minded people. We still haven’t called it cooking club but amongst us we have created food memories to last us a while. From the first All Natural Red Velvet Cake which was alongside the Chocolate Fudge Cake that was unrivalled by anything we had ever had before, to the chicken pasta salad with the amazing Italian dressing, the spinach dip which we couldn’t get enough of, the pineapple carrot cake with the frosting that was too runny and yet so rich and delightful and the sweet and sour chicken that smelled glorious. The beauty of it all was though we used recipes created by others we made our own modifications to suit our different situations.  I learnt that creativity breeds creativity. When you take a step to create something new you might be scared especially if you’re not sure of the outcome but go ahead and create anyway because that’s the only way your creativity will grow. Another highlight for me was also sharing the food we cooked with the people I love. Moreover, I got to experience fine dining and cooking with someone I love which was a dream come true. Of course eating has its hazards when it is over done but my advice is as much as possible if you have to eat (not to live) to really live share it with people you love. Calories shared are calories halved.

What can I say of love? It’s a beautiful thing. It is not hard to see God’s penmanship in some love stories. Is God writing your love story or are you writing it yourself? The difference is God can see the end from the beginning while humans can only see so far. Even so when God is writing you have a role to play. What is your role you ask? Your role is to make choices. You choose to communicate in love when things are great and especially when they are not great, to give without expecting in return, to forgive when you have been hurt, to apologize when you’re on the wrong and even when you’re not sure if you were entirely on the wrong just to bring peace, to make sacrifices to preserve the values you hold dear, to accept the other person as they are and to bring a smile to the other person’s face by doing thoughtful things. You also choose to allow God into your relationship, to ask Him to refill your love supply when it is diminishing and to help you to take the high road, to be the bigger person and all those other things that are not pleasant for your ego but have good returns in the long run. In my year of love I have learnt that love is its own reward. I have also learnt love is more than a feeling, it is a commitment.

Finally, after we eat, pray and love let us not forget to laugh because life would be dull otherwise. I know it sounds simplistic but “a life lived without joy (mirth) is a life less well lived”. Feel free to quote me. Happy 2014 to you!

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Inspirational Love

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This past week there has been a lot of talk about love because of Valentine’s Day. This is how you know how hallowed the day is when I tried to type it in with a small “d” the computer gave me the green grammatical error line, oops sorry Microsoft word. Historically Valentine’s Day has been termed a day of lovers but it is a day of business people too. Next to Christmas nothing puts a smile on business people’s faces quite like Valentine’s. Heck you don’t even need to be a business person; you just need to be enterprising. Since last Tuesday the number of flower and gift vendors has reduced like the liquid in 24 hour lamb. The good thing is the vendors who are left are in it for real love. These are the guys who make life tasty like the liquid left after 24 hour lamb; it is a delightful sauce that makes waiting 24 hours for a meal worth it (I’m not sure many people would agree with this but well…). The point I was trying to make (using all my thousands of words that I need to use in a day) is love should be an everyday thing. It should be expressed as often as there are breaths. A random gift or bouquet of roses or a single stem, a sweet card and a kind word does not require occasion.

The subject of love is fodder for books, music, cinema, TV, conversation in bars, coffee shops, salons and living rooms. I don’t know about you but mi thinks most of these conversations are based on trying to understand what this thing called love is. I cannot say I understand it either but I have a little insight on the kind of love I would like: the inspirational kind. Oh so many years ago there was a movie called The Best Man. The sound track of the movie was called “Best man”. It was sung by Ginuwine, Tyrese, R.L and Case. I must admit I couldn’t remember who sang the song until I googled it but when the song was fresh I would have been weak in the knees if I ever ran into any of these guys (thank God for time and distance). In the song the persona talks of this girl who changes his life for the better. That he was a boy when he met her and he has grown to become a men because of her influence and she has helped him be the best man he can be. I thought the song was golden I mean it’s really sweet that she influenced him for the better. I realized that love should be at the least inspiring many years ago and now I am more convinced of it.

A few weeks ago there was a discussion amongst my youth fellowship on sex and love was invited into the conversation. One guy said the most awe inspiring thing that love means adding value. It means you take a person who was ok when you met them and you love them into a higher level. Sounds good doesn’t it? Who doesn’t want to be in love right about now? Have you thought about the people you have ever related with are they so much the better because they encountered you? Let’s start small let’s go to your family. Can your family members say that your good qualities have rubbed off on them? Or did they pick up most of their bad habits from you? Are you adding value to their lives or are you taking them down a notch or ten? So many questions right. Let me let all of us off the hook and stop asking.

Relationships are a two way street. Whatever goes down between two people who are in any kind of relationship is the responsibility of each of the party involved. I would like to hope that you are inspiring the people you relate with but they also have to decide to be inspired. A few months ago I was hanging around this guy who was really interesting and I liked him. I realised that we had something in common a passion for food. Around that time I kept telling myself I was waiting for some perfect opportunity to experiment in the kitchen. When we had a conversation about food and he mentioned he likes to experiment in the kitchen and he actually does, I thought to myself why not me? I haven’t seen the guy in ages but the desire to experiment in the kitchen has stayed with me. I have since cooked for a few friends and family and it was amazing! I want to do this for the rest of my life. People may walk in and out of your life but what you keep with you from these encounters is entirely up to you. Sometimes we get hurt but even when we have been hurt there was some good in that relationship. What was it? Can you figure it out and take it and run with it. The truth is if you choose to hold on to the hurt and the pain then you lost and when you lose so many times you are in danger of feeling like a loser. On the other hand if you can take something that will benefit you in a future relationship then you are so much the better. What can you take you ask? Where do I begin? How about you take those characteristics you found admirable in the person and practice them. Like your ex was a good time keeper you can learn to keep time. I know it sounds silly but maybe your new ability to keep timing will elevate your status and you never know who is watching. Maybe your dad was a lousy husband to your mother but he taught you to be philanthropic, take it and run with it. Your ex was a go getter, borrow a leaf or better yet get that leaf! This person has a great relationship with God, start asking God what you can do to have an awesome relationship like that with Him if not better.  At the end of the day, if you are in any relationship and you choose to inspire the other person and be inspired by the other person then no matter what happens everybody is a winner. Last I checked winning is cool!

Embrace Discomfort

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Sometime last year my friend was driving us to a place close enough to the CBD. See we live in a country where traffic in the central business district is a complete nightmare so drivers avoid it like most people avoid pumpkin in a meal. For those of you who are confused right about now, pumpkin must have bribed its way into becoming a pet name if you ask me or other pumpkin averse people. So as he was driving us we passed some gorgeous houses on Dennis Pritt Road and State House Road and these houses are the stuff of dreams. Then he said the most interesting thing: he said he likes to drive around the “better” neighborhoods because it makes him uncomfortable with his current status quo. I found that very interesting and yet it made sense.

Discomfort is not something anyone enjoys (I mean its discomfort). It doesn’t get any more enjoyable than that but yet there is a point to it. I dare say we should embrace discomfort. Look around you at most of the successful people you know or have heard of. What do they have in common? They all grew up in discomfort and that is putting it mildly for some. They had to contend with less than the prescribed three meals a day. They did not have the best clothes. They may have had to walk long distances to school and luxuries that some of us consider so basic were just fantasies for them. Discomfort has a way of reinforcing our desire to change the status quo and it does more than that it causes us take action. Just think if you were wearing an ill-fitting pair of shoes and it was the only pair of shoes you owned, would you not want to work harder so you can afford another pair of shoes that fit better?

A few weeks ago I read an article and it made me uncomfortable. It was about rich Kenyans under 40. There are people on that list who are 27 years old. I am going to be 27 in the not too distant future (God willing) and after reading the article and pondering I need a miracle. But that is beside the point; what can we do to reduce our discomfort about things? Well, one of the things I have learnt over the years is that hard work is a huge factor in getting to the place you want to go. Besides working hard you need to work smart. Working smart is the best option because sadly because some hard jobs don’t get people pay that is anything to write home about. Instead people would rather toss the letter in the dust bin rather than send it home. To get out of discomfort you might have to get your hands dirty (and I don’t mean soiling your hands with shady business). Quite a number of people on that list started in agri-business. Allow me to digress a little. For the longest time my dad has decried the decline of agriculture in the rural areas. The young people in rural areas have been made to believe farming is a dirty job (literally) and they would have better luck coming to the big city. As a result farmers have a difficult time finding farm hands.  Yet what I find amazing, is that there is an emerging wave of graduate farmers who are taking it upon themselves to feed the nation.  I have to confess all the times my dad mentions Jembe and I in the same sentence I chuckle but I kid you not I’m so proud of graduate farmers everywhere I will soon join them: watch this space.  Another thing I learnt is you need guts. I went to a meeting last weekend and guts was defined as Getting Used To Sneers. You might choose to do something that people will not think too highly of and that is too put it mildly. We have innumerable stories of people who did very unglamorous work in the beginning but years later became the subject of envy. Whatever you are doing don’t let anyone despise you. The truth is you need to start somewhere. It was said at the meeting if you get used to sneers you will get used to success. It still spells G.U.T.S.

I have gravitated a lot towards enterprise and money but it does not stop there. I don’t care what people say there is more to life than money and quantifiable success. Are you uncomfortable with your relationships with family or friends or significant others? It’s ok. What are you going to do about it? The natural response by us mortal ones is to complain about the other person not doing this or that, not understanding where I’m coming from etc. This is selfish! Yeah I said it. Please don’t think I’m writing from some lofty horse. I am guilty of being selfish too. When it comes to our relationships, time for self-reflection is an underrated necessity. When you self-reflect you will see that you have been selfish in one way or other unless you don’t have a pulse. Feel the discomfort of your selfishness and work on it. Once I read a quote that I will paraphrase that said “everyone thinks of changing the world but no one thinks of changing themselves”. I know it has been said so many times it’s a cliché (people please find another line but) “change begins with you”. Think about it one it only took one person to decide eating meat was bad and now 1% of the French population is vegetarian. <Random fact of the day> The French love their meat so much that a vegetarian association had to lobby the government to get a more diverse meal plan for their schools. Would you like other people to be kinder, be kind that’s one kinder person in the world; a couple billion to go but still minus one mean person.

I think we are still in the season of making resolutions and one that makes the top ten lists is “I want to go to church more often”. Mi thinks people make this resolution because they are uncomfortable about their spirituality. I challenge anyone who has made this resolution to do one better. Resolve to know God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit). Going to church is great but knowing God even better. I was watching a spy series and the male agent never liked to read the manuals of electric machines because he preferred to figure it out on his own. The result was the percolator caused the coffee beans to come out in an explosion. Don’t be that guy. God gave us a manual called the bible. You don’t have to figure stuff out all on your own. I find that when you read the manual you might even discover how to use the extra features on the machine. Who knows what else you percolator can do.

I finish with asking you to watch the movie Rio. Blue was a blue macaw (go figure) that was found by an American girl after he was smuggled from a forest in Rio de Janeiro. Being found was great because he got to live a cushy life in a house in America. His cushy life contributed to his not learning how to fly. The story went on and he went to Rio because it was thrust upon him to save his species by joining with a female macaw, something he did not want to do. A lot of times they were in danger and mostly because he couldn’t fly and he kept bringing the female macaw down. To cut a long story short, Blue had to save his female macaw friend from the hands of the smugglers and since she had hurt her wing he had to carry her and fly. The moral of the story is when we are too comfortable we don’t invest in skills (among other things) which we really need. However life throws discomfort in our way so that we can use our wings and fly.

Be in love always…

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I have a confession to make- I have sat in a shrink’s chair and been shrunk. At this point I would like to apologize to the inventors of the English language for the blatant abuse of language. I cannot promise I will not do it again. Anyway what I’m saying is I went to a therapist and received therapy. Now all ye who thought I was crazy; your suspicions have been confirmed. I don’t mind though, the best quote I have read in two months said, “What other people think of you is none of your business”. At some point during therapy we delved into relationships. I was (can you believe it) telling the therapist I need a boyfriend, lol! Then she asked why? To which I replied “I think it will add some excitement to my life”. Do believe I am smiling as I write this because I was so young and foolish back then, (this hasn’t changed I am stillJ). Then she went on to teach me a valuable lesson. She taught me that the right attitude is not, “I need some excitement, let me find someone who will bring it my way” or “I need love let me find someone to love me”. She said if your life is not exciting enough when you’re single, it will not become more exciting when you are coupled. If you lack enough love when you are by yourself, no one will give you the love you need. The right attitude therefore is my life is exciting let me share the excitement with someone and I have love, let me share it with someone who has love too.

The idea is wholeness begets wholeness. In any relationship the ideal situation is a whole person joining another whole person. When two whole people get together, they raise each other up in the same way iron sharpens iron.  When a whole person gets together with someone who is half-empty (for lack of a better expression), the whole person will be drained and the other person will be worse off than when they began and it will be disaster all around. Do you remember the movie “Jerry Maguire”? If your memory hasn’t been affected by the pressures of 21st century living you might remember it. If not, take heart you are not entirely to blame. The most famous scene was where (in no particular order) Tom Cruise’s character passionately and emphatically tells Renee Zellweger’s character; “You complete me”. Renee Zellweger’s character says, “You had me at hello”.  The line I have a problem with is “you complete me”. There is no human being who can complete another. Expecting someone to complete you is totally unfair because it is asking the impossible. If ever there was someone who can complete anyone it is God the creator because He knows all about your empty bits best and if you let him he will fill them up.

The other question is how you become someone who has love to share rather than someone in need of love. A simple answer is practice. I recently read the longest article and it talked about women no longer desiring marriage as before. There was a lot to sift through but I found something very useful from it. The writer said we spend so much time worrying about being single we forget that being single does not shut us out from all avenues of expressing love. This got me thinking that indeed we do esteem the romantic relationship too highly that we forget there are other relationships to be had. It is not uncommon to see someone get into a relationship and then months down the line you start to wonder what their face looked like because you really haven’t seen them in months. On the flip side those who are single feel like having a significant other will totally elevate their social life.

What I’m trying to say is if you’re single there is no better time to practice love like the present. Look around you, there are sisters, brothers, cousins, nephews and nieces, and not forgetting friends who could all use you special brand of loving. If it had not occurred to you, I’m telling you now; no one can love another person the way you can. Loving, no doubt require some sacrifice especially in terms of time and resources but whoever said the best things are free, lied. The better than best things or exceptional if you will require sacrifice. The time and energy spent loving other people will translate into a becoming more loveable with a more attractive personality to boot. This is because love begets love. When you love people, people will love you in return and when others see that you’re loveable they will be intrigued if nothing elseJ.

I will finish with a quote from Oscar Wilde. He said, “One should be in love always that is why one should never marry”. The first time I read this quote I only found the first half and I thought “interesting”. Later on I found the whole quote and I thought I disagree with the second part of it. Be that as it may, I think Oscar was on to something. My understanding of this quote is there are no excuses for walking around feeling woiye (read, woe is me) because you are not in a romantic relationship. Instead we should be filled with love for God, ourselves and the people who have been fortunate enough to cross our paths. As the prayer of St Francis of Assissi goes, seek not so much to be understood but to understand and seek not so much to be loved but to love (special emphasis on the love part).