My path in history

Every action exists in a world of interconnected events. These actions of ours may in one view be as inconsequential as we perceive them but in another carries the ability to cause great repercussions. The butterfly effect as it is called is that phenomenon where a minute effect in a localised but complex system, can cause a very large (and sometimes inconceivable) effect in another part of the system. This usually results in a chain reaction as that system like its members, does not exist in a vacuum. Hence the system affects other systems.

One of the tips of time management is that minute tasks that have not been accommodated in a plan should be neglected till the more important (or scheduled) events have been accomplished. An example is washing those last 2 dishes you just noticed as you were about to iron your shirt right before your appointment. Though such actions take a fraction of a minute, they end up causing a chain of events whose result is summarised as ‘African Time’. Just leave those dishes till you return.

Like the butterfly effect, the ripple effect is the continuing and spreading result of an event or action. A stone in a pond creates a ripple bigger then itself. The ripple hitting the banks causes it to reflect on and on. Our every action has a number of effects that go beyond our comprehension. From a simple smile to well placed handshake, Litter on the floor or in the trash can, getting somewhere on time, driving a little slower or a spilled cup of water. These actions affect things. We may be able to bear the brunt of our actions, but how capable are we to deal with the ripples they create?

We may not see the extent of our actions and neither can we avoid all the unfortunate outcomes they may bring. But a consciousness of what they hold, is a good start for a heart of compassion.

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My freedom

Time had passed. A whole lot of it and the days had grown calmer. The weeks had united into months that teamed up to form years. My life straddled on and I was its slave. A slave at the most but resolute in some issues. Of those issues I conserved my strength to a few. I have learnt to pick my battles. They say you should weigh in your opinion only when most needed. By so doing your strength would not be spent on trivial matters and your words will be as strong as the seasons. And so I lived.

The days had left me waiting. I sat calmly. Pacing my breath and looking ahead. The sensation of sweat on my skin mixed with the steady pulse in my fingers kept the uneasiness at arms length. Far enough to not distract but close enough to keep me alert. The moment was near and I dare not be unready.

I waited. Intently.

That we were once of the same spirit. Bound in heart to the same cause. The world around us perpetually against us and our alliance to each other was the only freedom we ever were to share. But then it ended. AN eternity lived abruptly ended by what was for a moment, a fleeting sight that eventually became an arousal of the soul. An awakening of the heart. The colours I saw changed, the tastes were all new and the sounds mellowed. I could finally see. The essence of life shifted. Only Love that can do that.

How do you tell a man with a veil that his vision of life is blurred? How do I tell my brothers that they are in fact the ones with the obscured vision? They are coming for me. Coming with absolute resolve to get me back. I dread the encounter. I dread their stare. I dread their logic. I dread my response. But I love my sight. I love that I dread them now. Because what was once my freedom is now under the light. And it is nothing but chains.

 

I am my slave, a master to me.

The Ouroboros is an ancient symbol that shows a snake eating its own tail. It is regularly used to refer to self-reflexivity or the eternal return. The former, self-reflexivity, is when a person or statement references itself as part of its meaning, usually forming a loop or conundrum. “This is a sentence” or “I am that I am” or “I think therefore I am” are some examples. The eternal return on the other hand is the overarching principle of karma: what goes around, comes around. It refers to the belief that the universe recreates itself, thereby existing in a circular nature. This in some scientific theory is how time works and therefore is believed that everything that is was and will be again. Welcome to the Matrix.

On a smaller scale, our lives are a mixture of intertwining events created by us that act as determinants for themselves. I dare say that we are slaves to our pasts and our pasts are slaves to us.

Putting this into perspective, My actions today are due to the things I have done in past. All trainings and discipline have equipped me to be able to, in this case, write these words. Therefore the actions of my past have made me a slave to them today. I am the product of my past. But in the same life, I wanted to know how to write and so that dream I had to learn to write years ago made me read more and practice more. My dreams of the future made me a slave to thm. My past ‘is’ therefore a slave to my future but my future is a slave to my past.

I am both my master and my slave.

 

Confusion

And I stood there gazing ahead. The sounds all amounting to a symphony. .  a symphony or chaos. I tried to think. I tried to hold unto one strand of thought.

“what am I doing here?”

The blur around remained indistinctive I was unable to comprehend the shapes around me. I reached out and tried to move. I couldn’t. I didn’t feel restrained but I just couldn’t move. The sounds were all muffled and the blur shifted rapidly. I couldn’t move. Then I noticed the panic. I was not sure if it had been there all along or it just emanated from my inability to move. Either way, my heart raced and my fingers shook. No they aren’t shaking. My fingers couldn’t move. I couldn’t feel my fingers.

“what is going on with me?”

I tried to count. I think I heard you should try counting sheep when you are confused. Or was that for sleep? The panic intensified. I tried to take account of what I know. For starters I know I am Mr. . .

“What is my name?”

John, Ayo, Chidi, Musa, Tom? Tommy? Thomas? I CANT REMEMBER MY NAME! Temi? Tula? Tari? Wait. Why am I calling girls name? Wait. No. Wait. Am I . . .

“Am I a girl?”

My heart raced faster. Oh God please don’t let this be happening. Please no Please.
I can’t remember. I can’t remember. I can’t remember anything.  Oh God please. .
My thoughts . .  I . .  I can’t remember. Help. Oh, God please Help me. .

I can’t even cry.
I don’t know if I am dead or not.
Help me! I may be dead!

At a point like this

At a point like this,
I just want to look down and see what is here now
For this moment. I just want to smile and feel the bliss in my life.
The bliss you bring.

I don’t want to look up
I won’t look upon this world
Filled with everything that tells me you should not be here
This past filled with reasons to not have you

I just want to sit and breath
Deep, heavy, Strong breaths
Filled with the smell of you beside me
Seated close to me

At this point
I just want to hold you
And Not worry about tomorrow
And not see the darkness I hear ahead

I just want the smile you bring
The one my heart sees
The one my eyes linger on
The one that captures my ears

Though I fear the uncertainty
The one that causes a knot in me
Where my soul winds up and chokes my heart
Where my thoughts shake in agony

I just want to enjoy this moment
The one you bring to my life

Thou shalt not judge. Thou shall not judge

Judging someone referrers to the art of attributing a label (mainly negative) to someone. In the King James version of the Christian bible, Jesus warns in Luke chapter six verse thirty-seven “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:”

There is a more devote adherence the the ‘not judging’ part of the passage than the others that follow it. The call to avert prescribing judgement is more frequent than the call for forgiveness of wrongdoing. Why is that so? Is it a defensive mechanism to evoke the restraint on judgment when it favours and a neglect of the command to forgive when we are in the position to? Is Judgement greater than forgiveness?

What does it mean to judge? “To judge refers to passing condemnation on someone or to give a verdict of someone (or something)”. The fundamental act of determining if a person, based on certain rules or standards have fallen short of them is not the act of judging. The Judging or condemnation seems to come form the approach of sentencing the person to a punishment. Putting this in context. If the rule says a person should not steal. A person who breaks this rule is a thief. This “descriptive” term, though unpleasant is not the judgement. The judgement occurs when the thief is condemned to a punishment. Or in better terms, when the Judge sentences the person to prison.

Bringing this to our lives, calling out a wrong (or right) is not judging. The act of judging happens where our understanding of the law leads condemning a person to damnation. That is where restraint should be administered.

Do not judge but please, if you are in the position, call a friend to order when they are going wrong. You are not judging me when you stop me from unconsciously walking into traffic.

 

Redemption

And he bowed low. Fist clasped, close to his chest and eyes tight shut. If they could go any tighter, he would have shut them more. His breath steady and his mind focused. Not on the object of his supplication but ion the gravity of his offence. It was big enough. It is big enough. His eyes hurt as he clenched them tighter but he held them there. His fist tighter and his mind focused. Wishing his fingers could pierce his palm and hurt harder. The desire for penance was the only escape from his guilt. The audacity to work for his redemption.

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He stared into her eyes and wondered what he could do different. Run? Cry? Look more remorseful? Let her go? Stand his ground? Apologies? Declare his love? His mind racing to find it in her eyes. The clue. He knew it was there. He searched harder. In his actions, all he thought about was the moment. How he had wronged her. How he has wronged her. With a seemingly loose action he knew was not the best. He sought in her, Redemption. One of a kind that will bring the peace back in his life. One she held.

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He knew he was right. He knew he was wrong. He knew what mattered. He knew what was needed. He knew what he desired. He knew what they meant to him. And his heart heaved. Heaved from the weight of the idea that in all of his pride and the well established justification he possessed, there was little room for him in the region of redemption. Not by his effort or his grit, not in the remorse he modestly displayed. None of that paved the path for his redemption. His redemption lay solely be fore him. In the one, on whom his love lay.

 

His redemption was a gift he could never earn.

The African project

I love seeing African themed designs and works. I just saw the Lagos based photographer, D’Mayo’s video about his African project. I have enjoyed watching, learning from his works and other Africa related projects. But here is where I am increasingly getting dissatisfied. What Africa are they painting?

Now, it is a good thing that contemporary or general African art is moving from the picture of depravity we have previously painted. This era has moved into one of acceptance and appreciation of our style, cultures and traditions. It though is confusing what cultures we are showing. Because a number of Africa related projects show a culture I am strongly not familiar with. From the excessive face paint to the abundant use of cowries.

Most of these I must admit do exist in some other parts of Africa. But there is that narrative that can still be found in many African themed works. This narrative which has existed for a long time is either very true and unchanging or has been adopted from the western interpretation of Africa and has not been reinvestigated. This narrative shows a predominantly earthy feel to Africa. One that is crude and tamed. This narrative of Africa is one that is expected. It flows through the spine of art spread across the continent with little deviation from it.

The contemporary narrative though, now shines more light on nudity and a countercultural lean towards the discourse on sexuality. This new and emerging story still rooted in the cowered narrative of Africa only reflects the contemporary discourse of western societal positioning which again is sexuality and gender definitions.

Art I say, is a reflection of development. And looking at that image of African art, the reflective surface seems distorted by an external discourse. There is need for a questioning of the intrinsic narrative (which we may not know exists or choose not to give credit). Only by this can the stories, we paint with our pens, brushes, dramas and cameras describe the Africa we live in.

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Please check out Ayodimeji Chukwuma Olugbewesa D’mayo work on his Tumblr page iamdmayo.tumblr.com

Rest

Being able to come back home, drop everything, from keys to bags, clothes, worries and concerns and just lie on the couch, bed, floor, hammock or whatever feels comfortable enough is a gift we all have. Being able to rest.  Such a simple and almost unconscious activity that all things; from human to computers need.

Rest is said to be the cessation of movement in order to relax, sleep or recover strength. Some people are good at this while other are terribly terrible at it. Most times, upon completion of a task, we give ourselves the privilege of rest. Alternatively, when the task is not complete, we punish ourselves by the denial of oneself from rest. The problem in those instances in how far from logic that seems. You see, rest is how we regain not just physical or mental strength, but also composure, emotional balance, reduction of anxiety and a boost in creativity. Therefore, in instances of high pressure, where ‘rest is for the weak’ we considerably reduce our productivity.

Rest has been relegated to being an activity that is born of chance. A mere allocation of our spare time. When rather, rest needs to be a primary action, possibly the first in our schedule. Our attitude towards rest determines how efficiently we function. If we picture our lives in terms of a rechargeable battery and rest is. . . . You see my point there. Rest should be. . . must be a conscious action.

Try planning your rest before any other thing on your schedule and see how the new week turns out. Do not let anything take away your charger . . I mean your rest. No matter how important your laptop. . . I mean body is, without charge it is useless.

Rest! Lie Supine, play some music and let your mind wonder away from work.

Rest!

In the face of adversity

In the face of adversity,
you don’t search for courage.
It springs forth like a lion,
Ripping through its prey
Ferocious in its ravenous rage
Leaving a trail of chaos in it wake

I dare you to tell me it is not possible
I dare you to say that again
I dare you to awaken the blood thirst
I dare you to awaken the monster within
I dare you

In the face of adversity
When all seems lost and I am cornered
Without love, hope or pride
It rips through the ashes and burns through the flesh
With pressure from within and a pull from without
Awakened like a beast and never to be quieted

I dare you to say it is impossible
I dare you to awaken this chaos
I dare you to chastise this wounded beast
I dare you to take its life
I dare you to put it down

In the face of adversity
The righteous, is at his end
but his righteousness at its dawn
Taking the reins of the mount
His heart in one hand and justification in the other
The end is his to deem

I dare you to say it is impossible
I dare you to challenge this story
I dare you to fight my salvation
I dare you to resist my justification
I dare you

In the face of adversity
Courage surges fort from the wells of deep
Beyond the chests of memory and the corridors of thought
Beyond the crevices of conviction and the banks of knowledge
It bursts out of the walls and the membrane
It erupts from the man as the man is courage

I dare you to say it is impossible
I dare you!