The Magic of Loving Yourself

Love Thyself ...as you are!

Love Thyself …as you are!

As I began to love myself I found that anguish and emotional suffering are only warning signs that I was living against my own truth. Today, I know, this is AUTHENTICITY.

As I began to love myself I understood how much it can offend somebody as I try to force my desires on this person, even though I knew the time was not right and the person was not ready for it, and even though this person was me. Today I call it RESPECT.

As I began to love myself I stopped craving for a different life, and I could see that everything that surrounded me was inviting me to grow. Today I call it MATURITY.

As I began to love myself I understood that at any circumstance, I am in the right place at the right time, and everything happens at the exactly right moment, so I could be calm. Today I call it SELF-CONFIDENCE.

As I began to love myself I quit steeling my own time, and I stopped designing huge projects for the future. Today, I only do what brings me joy and happiness, things I love to do and that make my heart cheer, and I do them in my own way and in my own rhythm. Today I call it SIMPLICITY.

As I began to love myself I freed myself of anything that is not good for my health – food, people, things, situations, and everything that drew me down and away from myself. At first I called this attitude a healthy egoism.Today I know it is LOVE OF ONESELF.

As I began to love myself I quit trying to always be right, and ever since I was wrong less of the time. Today I discovered that is MODESTY.

As I began to love myself I refused to go on living in the past and worry about the future. Now, I only live for the moment, where everything is happening. Today I live each day, day by day, and I call it FULFILLMENT.

As I began to love myself I recognized that my mind can disturb me and it can make me sick. But As I connected it to my heart, my mind became a valuable ally. Today I call this connection WISDOM OF THE HEART.

We no longer need to fear arguments, confrontations or any kind of problems with ourselves or others. Even stars collide, and out of their crashing new worlds are born. Today I know THAT IS LIFE!

——————-
This post originally attributed the text to famed comedian Charlie Chaplin. There is, however, no evidence it is indeed Chaplin’s work. Online hoaxbusters attribute it rather to a retranslation of “When I Loved Myself Enough” by Kim McMillen.

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How the Divine Withers

"Corda Strappata" by Idea go. Image courtesy of  / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“Corda Strappata” by Idea go. Image courtesy of / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Without warning it dawns on us one day, this person with whom we once shared something beautiful and heart-warming is now at best lukewarm and at worst doesn’t even register in our consciousness as we plough through our daily grind. A chasm now exists between us and what used to be a great friend, colleague or lover. That chasm is filled with a dark, innocuous poison that has seeped into destroy the relationship, and it will be the grave in which what was once coaxed the embers of our hearts to glow will be buried silently, and not even without the dubious honour of a break-up event.

In a moment of enlightenment, we will ask ourselves, “How did we get to this ugly place?”. It seemed like it were only yesterday that this person meant the world to us, their words, touch, advice, and time shared were gifts we cherished like mythical treasures come to life.

Well, it happened, and we let it happen. Slowly like the morning mist rising amongst the woods, we gave that which is holy to the dogs, we took our dear ones for granted and we stopped …

  • We stopped saying ‘Thank You’ for the sacrifices – big and small they did for us.
  • We stopped re-affirming them for whom they are and for being there.
  • We stopped whispering to them those beautiful words that are the lifeblood of relationships of the heart, the mind and spirit.
  • We stopped remembering and affirming those shared moments that defined us at a single soul living in two bodies.

And so, like every living, without the nourishment of gratitude, reaffirmation, communication, the crop became malnourished, then withered and could bear fruit not more. What is left of the crop is now headed towards a mass grave of silence and neglect …. unless we can give it new blood and life.

It starts with us, picking the phone, calling and telling them: “It’s been a long time, I am guilty of not nourishing this relationship as it deserves. I know now what will happen if we don’t stem this decay and that is a place I don’t want to go to, because I value you too much for you not to be a living, breathing active part of my life …and hopefully me a part of yours. Good morning”

Living … in a Nutshell

Stephanie ...don't doubt it.

LIVE, for without life, nothing matters. That’s why you take good care of your health.

LEARN, for that’s how you gain the knowledge and skills that enable you to exercise the divine within you by creating things. That’s why you feed and take care of your mind.

LOVE, for nothing created without love can be truly divine and life isn’t worth living without love and the divine. That’s why  you remain steadfast through pain and darkness in building relationships and exercising your heart.

DIE, for a sad as it is, it is what makes life precious (it will come, don’t rush for it)

Leave a LEGACY, for that’s the only way to conquer death, and that’s why you listen to your conscience and reach out to the world with LOVE

And DEATH may well be a break between one life well lived (loving, learning and leaving a legacy) and another life of PEACE and GLORY. Even if death is the end, a life of loving, learning and living a legacy is ENOUGH!

Human Quantum Entanglement

Recently at a shopping mall in Madrid, I took the lift to get to an upper floor, and there was this elegant old lady in already in the lift. I bowed slightly (yeah, my  mum did do her job well) and she greeted me with a smile that just raised the energy of the lift like the golden rays of the morning sun lighting up the underbrush of a forest, and she did that while saying “hola!!!” as if I we had known each other a long time. I responded with a ‘hola’ and another bow and smiled back.

Just then, another woman (about late 30s) comes in with her daughter (three or four). The little girl had those large pretty eyes that are filled with curiosity in the way only a pure and innocent spirit is capable of. The kind of curiosity that is undefiled by the drudgeries of adult worldly cares. In the short time it took for the lift to get to the upper floor, I witnessed a moment so intense it felt like forever.

The little girl looked up at the old lady and with those seeking, trusting and lovely eyes which said “right now, you are the most important thing in the world to me”. And the old lady’s response was a smile even brighter and warmer that the one she gave me. Her smile was so brilliant it would put a thousand suns to shame. As her smile radiated from her mouth, throughout her face, you could feel the entire lift electrified by the strands of a wave of pure, holy connection between those amazing women. One at the dawn of her life, the other at the dusk of hers. Amidst the magic , I could sense a bond link these two and within that bond, I felt elegance, innocence, admiration, hope, faith and lots of other good things of which the human tongue couldn’t bear witness. They must have had a conversation, but they did not use words and I and the little girl’s mother must have ceased to exist. We looked at each other, across the lovefield infront of us and instinctively, we knew that this was a magical moment and we were blessed to be caught in its energy.

After what seemed like 30 minutes (but was really like 30 seconds) the lift doors opened and I held it for the ladies to get out. I got into the lift a guy with ‘stuff’ (gadgets, clothes, books) on his mind and got out of the lift a being touched by the divine within humans and the desire to get other stuff I might not need was totally gone. Those two women gave me renewed faith in this life. Yes it is hard, it is unfair, it sometimes seems futile and even cruel but it is also filled with beauty and magic and when we permit ourselves to rise above the petty demands and wants of our egos and lower selves, we can experience those magical moments. If this is the sign of things to come in the Liberated Life (Heaven, Englightenement etc) then the path that leads there is one worth dying on.

To see an elderly lady look back on youth without regret, with a gleam in her eye was a sign for me to also have hope in a better world. I don’t imagine life had never dealt this lady a bad hand, but she had taken it all in stride and from across the ages, she was holding out a hand to the younger woman: “Come on my dear …it is a beautiful life and you will enjoy it!”. I challenge you today, inspite of your circumstances, find something beautiful and let yourself be consumed by it and the moment. I am sure your own magical moment is waiting at the corner. Please share it with us.

An Old Couple’s Love Lesson

Blue RoseWhenever I am back on the island of Mauritius, saturday mornings are my moments for feeding my body and spirit, so I usually jog round the lush green streets of Ebene, sit and meditate in the spiritual park near Rose Hill then walk back home. It was on one such trip when I met this man pushing a woman in a wheelchair. I exchanged pleasantries with them, the man and I had a little chat, after which bid each other good bye and I went my way. I also found out they were married and I deduced she was wheelchair bound.

The next saturday while at routine, I met them again and we talked, exchanged pleasantries…and went our separate ways. This happened for about six times, and then one day as I came round the corner, I saw the wheelchair backing me, seemingly on its own…and when I got closer, I realised the man was squatting infront of the wheel chair, massaging the woman’s feet. The care with which he did it … as if he were touching something sacred … fragile …priceless, the gentleness with which he spoke to her, as would a mother speaking to her only child, all that struck a cord within my spirit and I stood there mesmerised. When I got closer and greeted them, the man asked me “Are you married?”. I froze at the question (it wouldn’t be the last time), then quickly recovered and told him that I was not. Then I noticed something else…the twinkle in his eye when he asked the question, you would think he were asking me “would you like to join us in heaven?”. Yes, I felt in his eyes love, no regret and … and almost sensed pity for me for what I was missing by being single.

And I thought to myself wow!!! The woman is wheelchair-bound, I doubt they go dancing, or how often they make love … that is if they even get round to doing it at all or … she that she cooks for him. In short, I just didn’t see her giving him all the things our culture has brainwashed us into thinking women must do for their men and yet there in his eyes was all proof I needed that he was in love, … and loving it. He did go on and tell me I must get married but it was what he didn’t say, or more accurately, how he behaved that left and imprint in my spirit to this day.

I walked home … meditating on what I had just seen (did I really witness this? or had my hyperactive mind gone into overdrive again?) and I offered a prayer of thanks to God. In my heart I believe God sent those old lovers to teach me (or more accurately remind me) of a key lesson about what love is …. not first and foremost a feeling (something I know but have a hard time actually getting to grips with), like Stephen Covey will say …it is what you do (a verb). Love the feeling is a fruit of love the verb, it manifests itself in the loving things we do, like care for others, like put their happiness before ours especially when it is not convenient to us. If we could do that even 60% of the time, we just could live our romantic dreams … to love the woman/man in our life, with every breath we take, every day we wake up (I know a bit of how that might feel, I once fell in love with my own girlfriend). Isn’t that amazing?

Now I don’t know how far those two have come to get where they are today, what quarrels, arguments they’d had, but somehow, they never lost sight of what mattered most. That, and the fact that they probably dealt with their mutual challenges in a way that made love blossom in their lives. It might not even have been ‘they’, sometimes it just takes one person to not lose sight of what matters during the thick of things and to sacrifice a bit of their ego … to give love a chance to grow further.

That was the last time I saw that couple; I have gone back to jog on that same path, and I keep hoping to see them and maybe thank him for the lesson he had taught me, but I never saw them again. They serve as a reminder to me, that romantic fairy tales do exist. If you are reading this, I hope their story inspires you and I hope you will join me in praying: “Father, please teach me how to love like that man, selflessly and totally, with devotion worthy of a child of the path of light. Amen”
[Thanks to Stephanie for editing this post]

Alone …But Not Lonely: Taking Home with U

What is home? Where is it? Those are the questions I have had to face for myself lately. I have spent more than a third of my life away from the house in which I was born, away from the people that conceived and raised me (God bless them). If that is what home is …. and I have thought so for a long time, then that part of my life spent away from it has been …. a huge loss.

I once read somewhere that “a home is any house with love in it” and I have experienced it to be true. For I  twice (completely different countries) lived with other woman who neither fed nor clothed me but I knew as well as my own breath that they loved me like any one of their own children. Different women have tended me when I was ill, fed me, chastised me and at those moments, I have felt the same thing I have felt at home in the arms of my mother: the embrace that felt like it could protect me from a bullet, the hug that heals my heart-ache, the eyes that see into my soul and the look of gratitude and pride that says “My son, I am proud of you” without using a single word.  But then because I have had to move often, it(that physical proximity) hasn’t lasted.

Now, I have come to realize, that if you can’t carry your home in your heart, you will always be lonely. It is those thoughts of love, of care, the fond memories, the scars of shared care, of sacrifice that make home. And so I woke up this morning, so far away from my mother she couldn’t hear me if I screamed (a scary thought), four hours difference between us, i felt lonely, but reached into my heart and summoned home. … all of them, all of the ‘homes’ across different physical places I have lived, I carry them within me and I am grateful to God for this revelation. Now, I can go about my business anywhere I am, knowing that even though I am a lone, I am not lonely, for my home is in my heart and Allah watches over me.

Honouring the Women Who Helped Me on my Quest

Written on: Saturday, 10 June 2006 | 4:27:46 PM

Like most people, I have had a lot of influence in my life from those around me, specific people will always remain in my mind for the great role they had in helping me see reality differently and shaping my character. I know somehow, these people were placed around me by providence to do this and so without them, the realisation might have come some other way but I thank God for them being there. Not all of those that have been great influences are admirable or good people (in my opinion); for example there are at least two people that I feel really sorry for (at another time, I would have despised them) – they influenced me by showing me what I don’t want to be. Others have been lighthouses and yardsticks, examples worth following in integrity, humility, joy, equananimity etc. Interestingly, practically all of the most memorable ones are women (- I sure do love women don’t I?) Yes especially these women, I can say above all things that they were my nurturers and each of them wrote their names on my heart to different extents. I know some of these names may fade out with time but if I can help it, it won’t happen, I want these names to remain engraved on my heart for eternity – because they are a sizeable part of my joy and peace, of my dreams and visions and they made life at one time or the other bearable, meaningful, exciting, joyful, educative, holy etc – in their presence, I have been alone without being lonely, spoken without uttering words, beheld without looking and in some moments, I have lived my dreams even if it were for 5 minutes!

Perpetua TAMON
The foundation for the person that I am is Perpetua TAMON, my mother. She is a strong woman that is the foundation for our entire family. I know that without her, our family’s economic and moral standing would be very low. I disliked my mum growing up as a child – because she didn’t spare the rod and was a tough disciplinarian. Amazingly as I became older, we became friends and shared so much love and joy that I now understand that she has/had always loved me … and always will. Without this woman, I would surely have started out as a lazy, disrespectful, and totally spoilt child. If God gave me the privilege of choosing my own mother, I can’t do better than Perpetua and I would choose her again and again! – Till that reality in which we don’t need mothers come. My perfect woman has her strength of character and purpose, her discipline and talented hands.

Susan Okpapi
‘Pretty geek’ that I met in university in Nigeria. For some reason that I still can’t fathom in its entirety till now, I liked her from the first day I set my eyes on her (sometimes, I think she looks a little like my mum). We became friends two years after we met and it was she that started me off the path of ME – me as the centre of the world. She taught me that it was selfish to keep to myself the way I did, that life could be more fun and easier if I wasn’t so aggressively introverted all the time (and also taught me the right way to place spaghetti in the water so it doesn’t bundle together when it cooks!). The amazing thing is she helped me change without ever saying ‘Tamon don’t do this, do this instead’ – she kept my huge ego (I remember actually having one then) intact and perhaps helped me peel off the first layers of that ego. She was the only classmate I had with whom I could talk – deeply, meaningfully about extracurricular things and life in general. I only have one regret – I wish, I had known her earlier and become her friend earlier – that is what I wish but maybe (as Susan would say), earlier wasn’t the time – maybe all the time we saw each other from afar was necessary for the quality of the friendship we later had. I agree with you on that Suzie, but I still wish I had known and become your friend earlier! My perfect woman has her spontaneity.

Helen Tanjong
Can you imagine falling in love with your own ‘lover’? Yes, that happened with Nelly – perhaps the most silent nurturer I ever had. How did she do it – teach me, nurture me I mean? – By loving me selflessly until something deeper than my ego saw it and responded with a kind of passion I never knew I had or was capable of. She modelled for me selflessness, care, trustworthiness and practically ‘spoilt’ me by it. My perfect woman has a heart like Helen’s.

Amina Ogrima
My conscience outside of me, the alter of the truth about myself – and yes, my shrink!! Amina is another geek (I won’t be surprised if she knows the circumference of earth at a latitude two thirds the way between the equator and the poles to 5 decimal places or for that matter the pH of river Nile on a Tuesday afternoon in summer!) I met her a little too late! (Suzie don’t kill me, maybe it wasn’t the time yet like you keep telling me) She continued the work started by Susan and till now, as my unofficial shrink, I can’t remember having so many deep and meaningful conversations with anyone – about anything! I think more than anyone else, she gave me ultra confidence in myself and on aggregate, has been my biggest fan and supporter in re-engineering myself. Apart from being my shrink when I need one, offering her laps for me to lay my head on when I feel low, she is also the editor for all pieces I write (my articles, some presentations and this blog). My perfect woman has a mind like Amina’s.

Bukky Babalola
I can remember that on at least two occasions, my interactions with this nymph made me feel something like Moses must have felt when he saw the bush that was burning but wasn’t consumed by the flames. In my case, I have felt I am the bush and she the flame. I once worked in what Stephen Covey calls a low trust organisation, one with a predominantly negative environment and it was she that brightened my day and gave me a peek at what the quality called equananimity is. She fuelled my dreams and sometimes offered the proverbial breast for me to lay my head on when I needed to cry out the filth of corporate bureaucracy and the pettiness of megalomaniacs. She also made many a horrible lunch delicious by offering me something apart from the bad food to focus on. My perfect woman has a spirit like Bukky’s.

These people are the most memorable milestones on my young journey of self mastery. Since I met them, not many thoughts pass through my mind that don’t include them. And every time on my journey that I am going through a valley and the shadows are so thick that my heart becomes heavy, I have but to close my eyes, stay still and recall:

  • Perpetua at more than 40 years old running like a little girl to come and hug me.
  • The long walks under the beautiful trees of ABU Zaria with Susan’s hand in mine.
  • Nelly putting a cold compress to ease my migraine and practically begging me to eat.
  • Putting my head in Amina’s laps and in silence, excavating and facing my demons, refining my dream, vision and reality.
  • Sitting to lunch with Bukky and feeling the fire from her eyes as she tells me a million things without uttering a word, or her hug in which I can melt.
I think of these and am filled with so much gratitude that the sun rises in me, spreads its warmth through my heart and makes it resonate with the theirs, clears my mind so I can see my path more clearly, lighten my spirit so I can rise above my circumstances and so the darkness of the valley and its shadows cease to be, because the inner peace, joy and blessings from these beauties make my eyes glow – for I know then that though my path goes through the valley of the shadow of chaos, I may be alone but never lonely!