Saturday, December 4, 2010

"Choose the path that leads to Wisdom"

I love Einstein when he says; "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." At a first glance it seems like a very obvious statement, for why would you keep doing the same thing, day in - day out, and expect things to turn out differently? Except of course if you are banking on other factors in the equation to change....

Too many times we expend all our energy complaining about other people's behaviours, the things they do or do not do, the way they disrespect or disregard us, the things they say or do not say. We want to change them, for by our calculations we are bordering on perfection. We are almost 100%!

The Mahatma, Gandhi said; "Be the change you want to see in the world...." How can I change the whole wide world, you wonder, by just changing myself? The answer to this is - just change YOUR world. Change the way YOU do things. Change YOUR actions and reactions.

Unfortunately or fortunately, it depends on how you look at it, change is one of the most difficult things to put into effect, especially for the male of the human species lol! Yet change we must if we are to acheive our dreams, our ideals, our God given talents and aspirations.

I was prvileged to be given the opportunity to speak with a couple recently who were experiencing some personal and emotional challenges. The woman had been bullied into believing that there was a serious need to change her ways if their marriage was to survive. So, what did she do? She read everything she could on Change! She prayed. Fasted. Meditated. Contemplated. And guess what? The more she did these things, the deeper and more reflective she became. She came to the eternal realization that change MUST begin from within, and then and only then will it begin radiate outwardly.

I know you all are figuring that by the time we were having our 'little' talk everything was lovey-dovey with this couple, right? Wrong! Absolutely the opposite. Apparently, things had never been so bad! But why? Because, her partner, who was the initial proponent of the need for her to change, had stayed exactly the same! In fact, he obstinately insisted that he, the god, was going to continue to do things exactly as he had done them before! Remember Einstein's definition of insanity lol!

Was he 'insane' or what? I say maybe! At least a little bit! (though he insisted his wife was the crazy one!) We were however thankfully able to identify the underlying challenge in their relationship (thank God he was a willing partner, and really wanted to make things work!). We traced the root of the problem to his need to control things. He let us know that he had had a stressful childhood, and was never expected to succeed by his family. We discovered that he never believed his wife loved him for himself, but only for what he could provide for her. This guy had some serious issues! But then who of us does not? Believe it or not we managed to sort out a few things! Not as many as we would have liked to make immediate changes, but enough to throw him into a state of self-reflection, which hopefully will lead him to illumination over time.

Control...what is it? And why do many otherwise spirtually endowed people feel the need to control others and situations? Control basically stems from a lack of knowledge of one's true self and nature. Control is closely related to feelings of inferiority and a lack of true confidence. When we identify our selves with our possessions and positions, we live in a state of perpetual fear (though often masked as courage) of what will happen if we lose these things. Thus we feel the need to bring things under our 'command', to be 'in charge', to assert ourselves even when we are in the wrong (or should we say 'the not so right!).

We should and indeed must strive to take control of our lives, but not of the lives of others too. That is cheating. You want to live through not only yourself, but through others too! It is a form of greed.

O Man! What creatures we are! I am sure God 'looks' upon us constantly with a smile.

Deepak Chopra (I'm quoting all my people today!) says; "If you want to reach a state of bliss, then go beyond your ego and the internal dialogue. Make a desicion to relinquish the need to control, the need to be approved, and the need to judge..."

Finally; Be nice. Be considerate. Do to others what you would want done to you. Don't take people's good nature for granted. Don't make people feel bad just for the fun of it. Trust. Believe. Have Faith. Be Loyal. Be True. Be gentle. Be supportive. Love and be loved back in return. And do not play with people's hearts.

There is nothing wrong with most people that a little love will not fix.

Let us "BE the change we want to see in the World."

It's going to be alright. Together we can do this...

I love you.

Salam. Namaste.xx

Monday, November 1, 2010

"One Monkey Can't Stop The Show..."

I am either happy or not so happy, there is no middle ground.

Some people are lucky. They can enjoy blissful, even moments for long periods of time. Not so me...

I am either very excited or almost moribound...

I either believe in you or I don't.

I love or dislike....not a good thing I know, but that's the way it is.

I eat alot of the stuff I like until I get so sick of it that I never want to see it again. The same goes for what I drink...

I give people a lot of credit or none at all...but I get really disillushioned when they 'disappoint' me.

I laugh or I cry. I don't have those average "just feeling satisfied moments", though I wish I did or could?

Remember I couldn't get into this blog....

Then Eureka! The password and all the other 'stuff' just came rushing back into my memory without any effort...

I guess that means it's time to write again...

So what's with "the monkey?", and what "show is it not stopping"

The 'monkey" is/are, all those people that do not or cannot (if they tried)understand you.

"The monkey" is/are, all those who have to listen to what others say, before they/them (or he/she) can make a desicion...

Shame on them!

And guess what "the show" is...

Yep!!!! You got it right...

"The show" is LIFE itself!

So read between (or just read the lines lol!)...

And it goes like this; Do not let ANYBODY, man or woman, and their 'opinions' dictate the way your life should be!

If I was given to more explicit language (publicly lol), I would tell YOU where to tell THEM to go!!!

Good luck guys! You need it!

And remember; YOU can do this!(with or without them!)

You CAN Do This!

To all those who rely on others opinions; Thanks for the inspiration!

Thanks for keeping us motivated!

I love you!xx


Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Little Prayer....

He said he wanted to pray for me, so we all stood up. He said it was a very special prayer, so we shut our eyes tight in anticipation. He was younger than me. His name was Shedrach...

It was about seven years ago. I had been invited by a friend called Femi O. to co-conduct a training session of some church ( believe it or not!!) volunteers, or at least that's what I recall they were, though they were all professionals in their own right. The training took place at the mainland office of a well known Pastor, who is also an accountant. I can't remember the exact topic, but I think it had to do with Time Management or Organizational Skills. I remember their suprise on finding out that the second of the two trainers was not only a woman, but also not of the faith. And so this shock, which was followed by deep suspicion, and slight resentment, set the pace for the two day training.

I knew from Day 1, that my work was cut out for me, when my first direct challenger, Shedrach, asked how I, a non-Christian, could expect to teach anything to pious 'helpers' such as themselves. But, not being one to scare easily, I charmingly ( or so I thought ), explained that the topics at hand had no religious coloration, and were neutral, and applicable to anybody irrespective of faith.

And so we began. I remember during our first coffee break, Femi winking at me, to reassure me that he figured I was making progress...not on the topic alone, but at breaking down the barriers and reducing the suspicion. They seemed to be particularly impressed by my knowledge of the Bible, which I quoted, when applicable to put them at ease.

By Day 2, I had them where I wanted them, by the special Grace of God. I remember coming in with alot of sweets and chocolates to 'bribe' them into relaxing, as this was my main day with them. This 'habit' of disarming the trainees, is something I learnt in the Junior Chamber, a Worldwide Leadership Training Organization, also called Jaycees, of which I was President of the oldest chapter in Africa, Lagos Metro, at that particular time. And believe me it hardly ever fails!

Anyway, Day 2 was a fantastic day! As my niece Bahijja would say, 'I was in character!' It was flowing, they were with me, Femi was happy, I was happy, and Shedrach, well Shedrach for the most part was....silent? And I must admit, because we were such a small group ( 10 or 12, I think ), I was kind of worried.

I remember, I kept checking on him from the corner of my eye, and kept trying to pull him in, but he remained pretty reserved. So, I just figured " you win some, lose some ", and proceeded to round up the session. When we had finally finished, being Africans first and foremost, Femi suggested we end the training, with a prayer from one of the participants. It was then that Shedrach, before anyone could volunteer, requested to give the closing prayer. Oh oh, I thought, now I was in for it. He was, I was sure going to pray for me to be 'saved', and use the opportunity to express his displeasure at having to spend two days with one such as myself...

So, we all stood up, Femi and I were at the front of the room, and as we were about to close our eyes, he asked if he could come and stand close to me, as he wanted to specifically pray for me....and so we bowed our heads...and Shedrach prayed. Shedrach prayed a prayer, the like of which up till today I haven't heard before...and I don't think I will ever forget the essence of that prayer.

He raised his hands above my head and said...." Dear God, may this woman you sent to us die empty." Everybody opened their eyes and looked up shocked! I didn't know what to say. Then, noticing the effect he had had, he started again, but this time mentioning my name! He said; "Dear God, may Shade Biggar die empty..." there was total silence, then he continued... " may You keep her and us, until we are empty of all the Inspiration, Motivation and Knowledge, You have filled us with, to share with others..." and on and on Shedrach prayed, and prayed and prayed. After the prayer, he gave me a big, big hug, and explained to me the reason for his silence. He said, prior to our two days 'together' he had had such a bias against anyone who was not of the same religious persuasion as himself, and as such he never took the time out to listen to them speak. He said, he was so overwhelmed by the way I was able to interact with them, and them with me, that he was at a loss for words. Shedrach also said that the prayer he prayed for me was a blessing. That insha Allah, the more I shared, the more I would make space for more inspiration, continuosly filling me up, while I continuosly emptied these messages, in essence it was a prayer for a long life, full of giving and recieving. Do I hear an Amen!! After the training, Shedrach called me from time to time to say hello, but I haven't spoken to him for some years! Infact I should google him, finding him shouldn't be too difficult, afterall how many young Nigerian men are called Shedrach!!!

And here lies the lesson in this story...many of us today are walking around 'Full'. Full of Knowledge, full of Wisdom, Full of Inspiration, Full of Talent and more sadly, Full of Love. When are we going to empty it? What are we hoarding it for? What are we waiting for? We need to use these gifts that God has bestowed on us. We need to use them NOW, because the truth is God WILL take us back unto Him whenever He deems it fit, and woe unto us, if we are recalled 'Full'.

The ironic thing is that it is only through giving that we can recieve. The more we bless others, the more we are blessed. Some people utilize their God given talent and more, to such an extent that when they do depart this earth you know that they fulfilled their mission...I don't know why Michael Jackson comes to my mind...We must determine to Mentor, to Share to Love, and Love, and Love again, if need be. Life is so short. We are here today and gone tomorrow.

The transient nature of Life was brought home hard to me on December 8th, when I was told that my father, whom I had spoken with just about 12 hours before, who prayed for me that day, before he boarded a plane from Istanbul to Lagos, on his way home from successfully completing his Hajj, ( just the way Shedrach had prayed for me several years earlier ), had passed on in his sleep, at his home, in Abeokuta...we can only thank God that he ( Dad ), had emptied himself. Emptied himself of all the Wisdom, Experience, Prayer, Dedication and Love that he had in him. May it be the same for all of us.

" When A Dying Man Cries,It Is Not Because Of Where He Is Going, Which He Knows Nothing About, But Of What He Wishes He Had Done In The World He Is Leaving Behind." - Nigerian Proverb

We Can Do This! Really we can! We can maximize our Potentials. Utilize our Talents. And Live, really Live, the life of our dreams!!! I am determined to try! How about YOU...

You CAN Do It!