Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays


As curtains close on 2010, we take time to thank you so much for your company all along.

Thank you for dropping by and joining us on this journey of Insight, Inspiration and Self Discovery.

Your reading, sharing and commenting on posts has kept us going each day, every day.

See you all in 2011.

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Being Ourselves Always

Only when we truly are ourselves, resist undue external influence and challenge convention can we get the most out of life.



“To be nobody but yourself in a world that's doing its best to make you somebody else, is to fight the hardest battle you are ever going to fight. Never stop fighting.”

- E. E. Cummings

Be Yourself


The End of Something. The Beginning of Everything

As our stay in High School came to a close and we prepared for our final examinations, a much different reality was inevitably coming upon us.

After the examinations, all of us parted ways to go and start the next phase of life, where we would meet new people, possibly go to different lands and ultimately become different persons.

Timeless Words

In view of this change, we wrote autographs - small books in which we bid one another farewell with indelible words. These would mainly include a recap of memorable moments together, well wishes in later life and a word of advice or two.

My 'autograph' has since been misplaced, but I do recall most of what some of my friends wrote a dozen years ago.

Our dormitory Captain, Felix Kimani, left me with very deep words from the Bible, from Ecclesiastes 9:11 and Proverbs 30:25-27 and 33.
This was when he was almost done with school in 1996 [he was in Form 4 while I was in Form 2], but I digress.

My good friend and our School Captain Herman Ekea wrote me the following enduring words:
Be Yourself Always.

Challenging Convention

These three words have singularly defined most of the seemingly unconventional and somewhat unpopular things I have done so far. They have really helped me in standing my ground, in sticking to what I believe is right, in my best interest and adds value.

Thinking about these words last weekend, I realized that many of us live lives which are far from ideal, largely because we are striving to make ourselves acceptable to the society, trying to fit into others' expectations, or simply trying to belong owing to pressure from our peers.

Reading an International Herald Tribune's 2010 Highlights article about our search for equilibrium, I cannot help but agree with the writer that the world is [indeed] long on worry and short on happiness.

Happiness, it emerges,
"comes not from the raw pursuit of income but from a judicious equilibrium between gains in material comfort and growth of the mind and spirit in a just and sustainable environment."

Minding only what matters

It is my considered opinion that only what matters most to us is worth our time.

Always be Yourself


By being oursleves always, we leave no room for pretense, play acting, submitting to others' demands, and even worse, living other people's dreams.

That said, now is the time to actually focus on living our authentic lives the best way we should, making the most of every opportunity and becoming our better selves each day, every day.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Need to Play Your Part

Only when we simultaneously play our respective roles do we collectively become a whole that's more than the sum of its parts.

Play Your Role for It begins with you


As I was reading Andrew Brown's piece titled 'Why life without faith is impossible' on the Guardian's Comment is Free yesterday, I was reminded of just how much we depend on one another for our lives to be complete.

We are highly interdependent, we simply cannot get everything done all by ourselves. Functional societies and communities exist when each member proceeds to his own duty with a trust that the other members will simultaneously do theirs.

Giiving it further thought, I asked myself how then, in spite of the roles others play to enhance our lives, we still fail to achieve common purpose.

How the Minority Defeats the Majority

Ironically, the few usually control the many. All over the world, a small minority controls the bulk of the wealth, a small band of thugs can terrorize an entire neighborhood, and most importantly, a very small number of politicians can run down an entire country.

Even when faced with a common danger, one person is still able to manipulate many others as happened in House of 9.

Imagine a hostage situation. A bus carrying over sixty passengers is hijacked by five thugs, armed with crude weapons.
How are these thugs able to control these passengers who outnumber them by a ratio that's greater than 1:12?
According to Andrew Brown, the passengers are easily defeated thanks to the following:
because the highwaymen [thugs] can count on one another, while each passenger fears that if he makes a movement of resistance, he will be shot before any one else backs him up.

The Magic of Teamwork

Teamwork, we all know, works by dividing the effort and multiplying the effect. In other words, when we each do a little more, we all do a lot more.

That said however, there are reasons why we do not fully exploit the spirit of teamwork:

  1. We are mostly self-seeking. With every person for himself, nobody does that which will benefit others. We are not altruistic.

  2. We refuse to stand in harm's way or take the fall, for the sake of others. Very few are unwilling to take one for the team. Nobody is willing to sacrifice anything for others.

  3. Unlike the thugs in the aforementioned example, we lack the assurance that others will watch our backs. There is no motivation to look out for others as well.


Playing Our Roles

The need to play our roles in life cannot be gainsaid. Whereas it may not be very clear to us, what we do invariably has an effect on others. Sometimes, this effect is both far reaching and long lasting.

The onus is therefore upon us to make sure that we do the needful in life, because only then can altruism and sacrifice have true meaning. Go ahead and play your role, no matter how irrelevant and insignificant it may seem. It all starts with you.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Refusing to Stop Believing

Willpower

Back in the day, I strongly believed that determination was inspired by, and predicated on a strong will.

Don't Stop Believing


Willpower, as my High School deputy School Captain often said, was what "enables a bird to fly even with a broken wing. Willpower is what makes an athlete take a rebound shot after failing on the first attempt."

Saying NO

With time however, I have come to realize that determination also depends, sometimes to a larger extent, on an even stronger won't.
This is where the self-discipline component of willpower kicks in.

The ability to unrelentingly say NO to temptations, failure, discouragement, rejection and innumerable other negative reinforcements is an enduring hallmark of a strong character.

Value Systems

Ou actions are mostly informed by our belief and value systems. We often do what we believe is the right thing.

In this regard, we should never stop believing... so long as what we believe is indeed what is right and worthwhile.

Finally, we take time to wind up this post with words from Journey's wildly popular hit song: 'Don't Stop Believing'.
Don't stop believing
Hold on to that feeling

Watch the video below:

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Heightened Awareness and Consciousness

This short post owes its credence in part, to the lifestyle I have lately adopted in a while trying to go green complitly.

The Green life is predicated on ethical utilization and management of natural resources, use of renewable energy, recycling, eating local and healthy foods, sticking to a healthy lifestyle among others.


After effecting far reaching changes in the way I live, I started observing changes that I am very happy about.
Part of these changes is improved response to stimuli, and sharper senses. Since I no longer consume sugar or excessive salt in my food, I noticed that my taste buds greatly improved.
So did my eyesight, hearing, sense of touch and most mportantly, the sense of smell.

Just the other day, I'd gone to visit my parents. While there, I asked my mom if she was cooking arrowroots.
Well, she wqas pleasantly surprised and asked me how I was able to smell a very small piece of arrowroot from a previous meal.
I simply confirmed that my sense of smell, and overall well being has improved significantly of late.

In a somewhat related experience, I remember watching the movie 'Next' starring Nicholas Cage. In the film, Cris Johnson (Nicholas Cage) is able to see into his future, albeit only two minutes ahead.

Well, I am in no way able to see into the future, but I surely acknowledge the new heightened sense of awareness that I now have.

All this is indicative of enhanced wellbeing when one embraces an all round healthy lifestyle. The results are are truly awesome! This has led me to a higher consciousness.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

On Writing. A Memoir of the Craft

During my blogging hiatus, I took time to read a number of books. Ironic as this might sound, one of the books is actually about writing.

Stephen King is a world renown bestselling author, who has written dozens of books in the course of a writing career spanning decades. Many of his novels and short stories have been made into movies and mini TV series.

Stephen King's On Writing. A Memoir of the Craft


On Writing is a book that's essentially Stephen King's take on writing itself. He also tells the reader a bit about his early life, his writing career, culminating in the accident that nearly took his life. It is an invaluable book for anyone who seeks to become a writer.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Essence of Solitude

The conditions of a solitary bird are five:

The first, that it flies to the highest point;

the second, that it does not suffer for company, not even of its own kind;

the third, that it aims its beak to the skies;

the fourth, that it does not have a definite color;

the fifth, that it sings very softly.

- San Juan de la Cruz, Dichos de Luz y Amor (from Carlos Castaneda's Tales of Power)


Get Inspired in Solitude


Solitary Pete?

For a long time, many of my friends have taken issue with my insistence on being alone most of the time.

In my world, the best moments are those that I spend time alone, usually while taking a walk. That is when ideas come flooding into my ready mind, a time when I actually notice whatever it is I see, when I get to listen to whatever I hear.


Solitude vs Loneliness

While it is true that "People get depressed when they are alone too long" [page 11 of this document], I have taken care of this problem through virtual means - by listening to music, talk radio shows, having a network of people I chat with every day and most important, lovingly rearing four pets [two puppies and two kittens].


Back in 2008, Brian Tracy wrote 'The Magic of Solitude.' He opines that in silence and solitude, many have learned how to "still their minds, tap into their super-conscious power... a wonderful technique that improves the quality of one's inner and outer life."


Helter Skelter

Interestingly, many of us have never taken time to be all alone by ourselves. For such persons, every moment is inundated with friends, work and a myriad of other things seeking their immediate attention.


Life gradually becomes one long unending busy moment. This monotonous engagement often leaves one worn out, with no time to relax or rejuvenate. Sleep hours will in most cases be truncated to create time for even more activities.


So how do you actually get to relax?

In his article, Brian Tracy recommends that you do the following:



"sit quietly, perfectly still, back and head erect, eyes open, without cigarettes, candy, writing materials, music or any interruptions whatsoever for at least 30 minutes. An hour is better.

Become completely relaxed, and breathe deeply. Just let your mind flow. Don't deliberately try to think about anything. The harder you "don't try," the more powerfully it works. After 20 or 25 minutes, you'll begin to feel deeply relaxed. You'll begin to experience a flow of energy coming into your mind and body."



Idea Lab

In my experience, ideas flow really well and uninterrupted when we take time to relax and do away with all the clutter. As earlier mentioned, even the best ideas will need a ready mind for them to be implemented to full realization.


In view of the foregoing, take time to relax, to be in step with your inner self, and to harness the amazing power of solitude.

Take time to inspire yourself.

Monday, August 16, 2010

A Long Term Approach in Life

Begin with the End in Mind


The Second Habit

Stephen Covey's Second Habit states:
Begin with the End in Mind

The above short statement underscores the importance of having goals in whatever we engage in. It's interesting that the word goals becomes relevant largely when talking about careers, and other big projects in life. I however want to make the case for having goals, and taking a long term approach in many of our decisions.

Envisioning how things will be years from now is indeed a noble thing.

Relationships and Fellowship

It has been documented that over and above work, it is those who we relate with that end up having a profound impact in our lives. Late last year, I was discussing with a friend, about the importance of actually purposing to become someone's friend.

This may not seem like something worth thinking about. It however becomes increasing clear that we need to be ready and willing to make the friendships work, largely by giving sans expecting payback for our benevolence.

Planting Trees...

Well, it is not Green Kenya stuff I'm getting into here.

A few weeks ago, some friends asked me to prune some trees outside my house and sell them the branches for firewood. I declined. My reasons were rather simple - 1) the trees in question will be needed for other uses several years from now and 2) I do not have replacements right now, whatever trees I have recently planted are too young. One of them reminded me that I may not live long enough to use those trees if I keep on saying such stuff.

All this got me thinking, "Do we only live for the here and now, with no regard for the future?" Furthermore, must our future be assured so that we can do good things that might outlive us?

I was reminded of a favorite wise saying that the essence of a life well lived is planting trees under whose shade we do not intend to sit.

The Challenge

The onus is therefore upon us to do things that will not only benefit us, by taking a long term approach to life.

What say you?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom

"The first Degree of Folly, is to conceit one’s self wise;
the second to profess it;
the third to despise Counsel."

- Benjamin Franklin (Poor Richard's Almanak)


Back in the day


The very thought of finding modern truth in ancient wisdom came alive in my mind after I read Jonathan Haidt's 'Happiness Hypothesis'.
In the book, Mr Haidt examines ten ancient ideas which have been tested and qualified by modern science. He then extracts lessons that still apply in our modern lives.


The author states that the overwhelming availability and abundance of wisdom undermines the quality of our engagement in life.
This book is worth reading, and has been highlighted in The Walkabout in a previous post. The introduction and several chapter summaries are available for free download.

One of my favorite bloggers at Diasporadical recently wrote that the reason we cannot understand tradition is that we invariably look at it through modern eyes.

Whenever I spend an hour or two with senior citizens in my neighborhood, I usually consider that time precious. Their take on life and its attendant issues may seem at first glance a bit out of fashion.
They however have had the advantage of time, having lived through it all and seen times change. They may not have adapted their thinking, but their opinion surely does count.

That said, we may want to look back at the truths that still hold true regardless of how much has changed. Having an attitude that acknowledges and accommodates the notion that change does not necessarily invalidate the past puts us in a position of advantage - living in modern times, with history according us valuable life lessons.

Traditional practices, ancient sayings... even old people may well be representative of a past we feel we no longer need. They however have a place in our lives , giving us insights we can reflect on and wisdom that still holds true.


These are the things that define our heritage, that help us cherish the days gone by,  ancient wisdom that we can invariably rely on in our daily lives.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Good is not Enough. Towards a Great Walkabout

Straight from the Heart, Straight to the Point

Well, this is a quick blog post that carries so much weight, it'll be replicated on the Complit Design as well as Green Kenya.



Beginning July 6, I took time off because I saw the need to take a completely new approach to running things at Complit Communications. Much of this was partly inspired by the knowledge that The End of Something inevitably means the Beginning of Everything... if one takes the necessary steps to make that happen.

Good to Great

A more compelling reason to repurpose and refocus was reading 'Good to Great' by Jim Collins. I haven't read the entire book, but its basic premise is that the curse of competence makes many people settle for just being good. That is essentially why many never become great - they are just content being good.

Additionally, I have been reminded that greatness is not a function of circumstance but a matter of conscious choice. That said, a great vision without great people is irrelevant. In line with this, I had to take time so as to decide on what needs to be done to realize greatness.

Less is More

According to Nido Qubein, "Nothing can add more power to one's life than concentrating all their energies on a limited set of targets."

For this reason, I've had to drop some projects. I need to concentrate more on that which makes more sense, matters most and I can be passionate about.

Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom

Being in the creative field, I believe that David Ogilvy's advertising mantra pretty sums up what I have in mind:
Research: coming, as he did, from a background in research, he never underestimated its importance in advertising. In fact, in 1952, when he opened his own agency, he billed himself as research director.

Professional discipline: "I prefer the discipline of knowledge to the anarchy of ignorance." He codified knowledge into slide and film presentations he called Magic Lanterns. He also instituted several training programs for young advertising professionals.

Creative brilliance: had a strong emphasis on the "BIG IDEA."

Results for clients: "In the modern world of business, it is useless to be a creative, original thinker unless you can also sell what you create."

Back to Basics

In the realms of greatness, I am keen not to lose sight of the fact that "the only way to remain great is to keep applying the fundamental principles that made me great."

In days to come, we shall have posts that will add more value and which reflect this new purpose.

Thank you for your support, looking forward to your comments, suggestions and sharing.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Gratitude, Generosity and Altruism

Last week, I took time to take a fearless and searching inventory of my life. This was largely necessitated by my birthday [I was born on July 05].


More than my birthday, July usually marks the beginning of a fiscal year. I wanted to align the end of several things with the end of June, and the commencement of several others with the beginning of July.
That said, I realized that the easiest way to do all this was to focus on the past, the present and the future.

The Past

"Let the giving of thanks be your sacrifice to God, and give to the Almighty all that you promised."

- Psalm 50:14

Looking back, I realize that mine is indeed a blessed life. Whereas I deliberately avoid comparing myself with others, I never lose sight of the fact that I am immensely blessed.
Whenever I feel like I am inadequate in some small way, I am quickly reminded that I do have that which I currently possess for a reason.

God has abundantly supplied all my needs, therefore I do not want. He has provided all that I need. As I go about life, I realize that the more content I am, the more I have peace of mind to attain my mandate.


The Present

I firmly believe that we live so that we can positively affect others. These others may refer to other people, our environment, our work place, animals under our care and much more. Many have postulated that the "here" and "now" is called the present because it is indeed a gift.

Gifts are things we get, but do not necessarily deserve. In view of this, the least we can do to pay homage to our creator for the present is to simply see it as an opportunity to add value. In my life, I have come to realize that by being generous in life, you lose nothing. In fact, being generous opens the way to blessings.


The Future

With growth comes change. Having appreciated my past, and living the present in the best way I know how, I now sought a way of living that'll ensure I'm happy, satisfied and more than this, fulfilled in life. Looking through my Bible, I came across Romans 12. In my mind, this chapter basically lays down the way to altruistic living. Following is the entire text in Romans 12.
Rom 12:1  I therefore urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercies, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices that are holy and pleasing to God, for this is the reasonable way for you to worship.
Rom 12:2  Do not be conformed to this world, but continually be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you may be able to determine what God's will is-what is proper, pleasing, and perfect.
Rom 12:3  For by the grace given to me I ask every one of you not to think of yourself more highly than you should think, rather to think of yourself with sober judgment on the measure of faith that God has assigned each of you.
Rom 12:4  For we have many parts in one body, but these parts do not all have the same function.
Rom 12:5  In the same way, even though we are many people, we are one body in Christ and individual parts connected to each other.
Rom 12:6  We have different gifts based on the grace that was given to us. So if your gift is prophecy, use your gift in proportion to your faith.
Rom 12:7  If your gift is serving, devote yourself to serving others. If it is teaching, devote yourself to teaching others.
Rom 12:8  If it is encouraging, devote yourself to encouraging others. If it is sharing, share generously. If it is leading, lead enthusiastically. If it is helping, help cheerfully.
Rom 12:9  Your love must be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.
Rom 12:10  Be devoted to each other with mutual affection. Excel in showing respect for each other.
Rom 12:11  Never be lazy in showing such devotion. Be on fire with the Spirit. Serve the Lord.
Rom 12:12  Be joyful in hope, patient in trouble, and persistent in prayer.
Rom 12:13  Supply the needs of the saints. Extend hospitality to strangers.
Rom 12:14  Bless those who persecute you. Keep on blessing them, and never curse them.
Rom 12:15  Rejoice with those who are rejoicing. Cry with those who are crying.
Rom 12:16  Live in harmony with each other. Do not be arrogant, but associate with humble people. Do not think that you are wiser than you really are.
Rom 12:17  Do not pay anyone back evil for evil, but focus your thoughts on what is right in the sight of all people.
Rom 12:18  If possible, so far as it depends on you, live in peace with all people.
Rom 12:19  Do not take revenge, dear fiends, but leave room for God's wrath. For it is written, "Vengeance belongs to me. I will pay them back, declares the Lord."
Rom 12:20  But "if your enemy is hungry, feed him. For if he is thirsty, give him a drink. If you do this, you will pile burning coals on his head."
Rom 12:21  Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good.


A Life well Lived

In view of the foregoing, it is my hope that I'll live a worthwhile life. I do believe that my best days are ahead of me, so this shouldn't be a problem if I do the needful.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Good to Great by Jim Collins

Learn and Share

Late last year, a very inspiring tweep and fellow blogger handed me a copy of Jim Collin's bestseller Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and others Don't.

Owing to commitments and other hitherto scheduled reads, I gave the book to my dad, who has really liked reading it.

I have however started reading the book, and just flipping through the pages, I realize it has wonderful insights that apply both in business and in life.

Good to Great

Good to Great by Jim Collins


What Others Say

This post isn't exactly a review of the book. You can read editorial reviews at Amazon.

A quick glance at the first chapter [titled Good is the Enemy of Great]:
Good is the enemy of Great.

And that is one of the key reasons why we have so little that becomes great.

We don't have great schools, principally because we have good schools. We don't have great government, principally because we have good government. Few people attain great lives, in large part because it is just so easy to settle for a good life.

The vast majority of companies never become great, precisely because the vast majority become quite good - and that is their main problem.

Worth Reading?

Yes. This is a book that will remind you that just being good isn't enough, and show you the way to being great.

You then get to do the needful to become great!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Nature of Violence, and How We can Reduce it

Premise: Following various reports of heinous crimes being committed in our country, and the recent confession by a former G4S employee of killing 17 people, many Kenyans are shocked at the frequency and intensity of violence.


Violent Times

Many people believe that we live in especially violent times. But is this true? To better understand this, we need to distinguish violence against other people and against things. In fact, the concept of using force [read violence] to realize law and order in civil societies is in many situations inspired by a mood as violent as that which it claims to fight.


Heightened Awareness

All in all, rising crime continues to be much discussed, with statistics frightening many people. Hate and destructiveness are impulses which obscure rational and objective thinking and easily create a polarization, by reinforcing each other.  


Is Violence Inherent?

1) An affirmative answer has been maintained from Hobbes to Freud to Lorenz. Those who subscribe to this school of thought maintain that aggression and destructiveness are innate, directed toward self or toward others.

 2) A counterview asserts that man is good by nature, and only destructive because social circumstances corrupt him. Others assert that aggressiveness is learned. This was the thinking that was popularized by psychological experts during the age of enlightenment.

3) A third view, originally presented by John Dollard, maintains that aggression is always occasioned by frustration. Despite all the above however, some individuals and societies have either very high or very low levels of violence.  


The case with Humans

The theory that violence is hereditary and has been passed down generations is found wanting, upon the observation that other mammals, especially primates are less aggressive and destructive than man. Human destructiveness is consistently more frequent and intense. It can therefore only be explained as a result of specific conditions on our existence, not animal hereditary or as a neurophysical necessity.

Types of Human Aggressiveness

  • Reactive or defensive aggressiveness - when vital interests are threatened.

  • Lustful aggressiveness - sadism, and cruel desire to exercise absolute control over others

  • Necrophilia - a cold, unalive attraction to death, decay, sickness and the mechanical

Controlling Destructiveness  

Main causes of Violence

  • Feeling of anxiety

  • mechanization of life, where thinking and reasoning are much separated

  • powerlessness of individuals

  • contradiction between values professed and what is acted

Control Measures

  • individuals should cease to feel powerless

  • compulsive consumption should be reduced

  • humanization of our technological society

  • society must serve human ends - growth and development of humans

  • emotions and reason should be brought together

In a nutshell

Reduction of violence will be achieved not through an increased control of aggression and violence, but reduction of destructiveness and violence. This is best done by making individual and social life more meaningful and human. Note: This post has been condensed from the article "The Nature of Violence" by Eric Fromm

Thursday, June 3, 2010

It is Written: The Human Condition since Time Immemorial

From Time Immemorial



Towards the end of March this year, I watched the 10th episode of the final season [6] of the wildly popular TV Series LOST. Titled Ab Aeterno, which is a Latin phrase that means "from an infinitely remote time in the past", the episode tells Richard Alpert's back story.

Having accidentally killed his physician in 1867, Richard [then known as Ricardo] is sentenced to hang. While in jail, Ricardo reads his Bible. Minutes before his execution, a priest visits him. At this point, Ricardo is reading from the book of Luke, chapter 4.

It is Written

This entire chapter is an account of  Jesus' activities shortly after he returned from his 40-day fast in the wilderness.

Following are personal deductions from various verses in the chapter, with respect to how relevant they are to our every day life situations:

  • v2-3 Not just God, but the devil too will often meet you at your point of need.

  • v13 Overcoming temptations is not an end in itself. The devil usually leaves for just a while, only to return when you are no longer steadfast or keen to resist temptation.

  • v23 Human beings just love to compare themselves with others.

  • v25 Some things are meant for only some people. That is why only the widow in Zarephath was fed in the days of Elijah, inasmuch as the entire land was experiencing famine.

  • v27 Likewise, only Naaman the Syrian was healed of leprosy in the days of Elisha

  • v28-29 People cannot handle the truth, they will all too often get very angry and irrationally kill the messenger...

  • v31, 32, 36,37 Thankfully, the people of Capernaum had a different reaction. They welcomed the message of God. They went ahead and shared the good news with others, thereby spreading the word everywhere

  • v40 Jesus did perform miracles and heal the sick

  • v42 These people were so interested in Jesus' message, that they sought him and requested him to stay on with them


The Human Condition

In view of the above, I found it very striking that people can react so differently to the exact same message. Additionally, people will invariably compare themselves with others.

Unique, just like every person else

The widow who was fed in Zarephath and Naaman the syrian who was healed of leprosy, both underscore the importance of understanding that some things are only meant for some people, no matter how much we feel we deserve similar treatment.

Additionally, not every good thing comes from the right place or person, or is offered with noble intentions. We therefore need to be discerning whenever seemingly good things come our way.

Standing by our word

The devil departed from Jesus Christ only for a while.

This basically means that winning the battle doesn't necessarily mean that the war has been won. We therefore need to be steadfast in seeking good and overcoming evil.

The Written Word

The more I read this and many other chapters in the Bible, the more I realize that there are many ways of looking at everything that happens to us.

In the same vein, the more I marvel at the genius of the writers of LOST.

What do you think?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Searching for and Finding Meaning and Hope even in Life's Struggles

"The will to meaning is the basic motivation for human life." -


Viktor Frankl (Holocaust survivor)


A Better Understanding

Seeking meaning and purpose is perhaps the singular reason that human beings progress. This is what makes life worth living, as we seek a deeper understanding of ourselves and life, despite its attendant complexities.

Even in the face of suffering, humanity is still defined by a will that is largely predicated on this very search for wisdom, purpose and direction.

Cries from the Heart

Cries from the Heart: Strories of Struggle and Hope


As we encounter many things in life, we still keep believing that there are answers to many of life's questions. At times, we get drained and want more while on this search. But we still continue to believe.

While some seek understanding in the sciences, technology and varied belief systems, others search within. Still, others seek answers from the supernatural or from a higher power. All these are Cries from the Heart which have continued since time began.

Stories of Struggle and Hope

Human struggle is as ubiquitous as the air we breath. It is indeed true that life is not a bed of roses. And even when we insist on looking and focusing on the roses amongst thorns, we cannot wish away the thorns which keep pricking our sides, we still have to attend to various pertinent issues in our lives.

Cries from the Heart is a book written by Johanne Christoph Arnold. He is a counsellor and pastor who has served over twenty five years. He has written several other books, many of which you can get on his website.

Book Contents
CONTENTS

to the reader 7

foreword 9

1. searching – God finds an atheist 11

2. finding – is someone really there? 18

3. believing – even when children die? 24

4. universality – call it what you will 31

5. god’s messengers – angels at work 38

6. emotional suffering – when you can’t pray 45

7. illness – where the doctor leaves off 54

8. despair – talking to a wall 69

9. attitude – thank God I’m not like that! 83

10. reverence – meet your maker 95

11. letting go – my will be done 105

12. remorse – when you’ve messed up 114

13. protection – alive to tell it 126

14. selflessness – someone needs you 134

15. service – words are not enough 140

16. contemplation – be quiet and listen 149

17. worship – giving thanks in a death camp 160

18. unity – divided we fall 166

19. marriage – unlocking horns 171

20. unanswered prayer – isn’t “no” an answer? 179

21. miracles – what do you expect? 186

22. prayer in daily life – keeping the faith 199

23. faithfulness – one thing never changes 207

Get the FREE eBook

Let me know if you'd like me to Email you this eBook. You can however download it directly at ChristophArnold.com.

I hope you'll like it and find it worth your while. Be sure to share with others too.

Happy reading!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Are We merely there WITH, or FOR One Another?



"Develop interest in life as you see it; in people, things, literature, music - the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget yourself."

- Henry Miller (1891 - 1980)

Six Degrees

The Six Degrees of Separation or "Human Web" concept has been explored in various literally works and the creative arts for many years all over the world.

Essentially, it asserts that all human beings are largely interconnected.

Since the 1990 play and the 1993 film of the same name, the Six Degrees of Separation concept has been prominently deployed in the immensely popular TV Show LOST. It has also inspired films such as Crash and Babel.

Babel Movie Poster


Babel

This is a movie that stars an ensemble cast. It focuses on four interrelated sets of situations and characters - in Morocco, Japan, United States and Mexico.

Basically, a high-powered rifle originally owned by a Japanese hunter is used by two boys in Morocco to critically injure an American tourist [Susan].

At home in the USA, the Mexican nanny in charge of Richard and Susan's twin children is involved in border trespass after attending her son's wedding in Tijuana, Mexico.

Noteworthy themes

Throughout the movie, misunderstandings abound:

> The immediate classification of the American tourist's shooting as a terrorist act, Amelia's [Mexican nanny]treatment by the border police and the treatment of local Arabs by the American tourists. All this has obvious racial undertones.

> Suspicion and misplaced priorities - the tourists in the bus are quick to leave to avoid the desert heat as well as forestall "further attacks" by the locals.

> Political issues between governments significantly hinder quick help for Susan.

Despite the above, and what I found most inspiring, is the willingness of strangers [the local veterinarian and the bus tour guide] to be of help. In fact, the tour guide declined financial compensation from Richard [Susan's husband] as Susan was being carried away in a helicopter.

Somebody for Someone

In their song Somebody for Someone, The Corrs capture the very essence of being there for other people:
"Look at me, see me' 'look at me, save me'

'Free me, find me 'cos if there's

Somebody for someone, yeah look at me"

Somebody for someone

Bridges

A while back, I blogged on the Walkabout about the need to communicate, create human bridges and be united in purpose.

The human bridge is nurtured by introduction, familiarity and co-operation. With a common purpose, everything becomes possible.

We therefore need to be there for one another, even without the presence of a crisis. We have to go beyond merely being there with one another.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Sex and Love Addiction Quagmire

NOTE:
This is the final post in my 3-part Valentines Day series. Read the First part and the Second part here.


I used to laugh whenever I read or heard that a certain celebutard had checked himself into a Sex Rehab facility. Tiger Woods, Eric Benét, Charlie Sheen... and the list goes on.

As I grew up and read more, I became more enlightened and open-minded. While in campus, a random book quickly turned into a gem that has so far liberated me emotionally, and helped me take charge of my love life. A love life which I must say, is quite simple but most uncommon.

That said, I bet I can now safely assume that you the reader, are now more open minded in regard to this very unconventional and searching perspective on our sex and love lives.



What is Love and Sex Addiction?

In his book Sex & Love: Addiction, Treatment and Recovery, Eric Griffin-Shelley notes that many of us are very hesitant to label someone an addict, owing to the stereotypes we have of addicts. We instead prefer to refer to these defects of character as "bad habits", something we find more palatable and socially acceptable.

The word addict has a Latin root, ad dictum, which means "to the dictator." When people were captured and sent into slavery, they were sent ad dictum. The idea of addiction as enslavement is something to which most addicts would readily agree. When you are addicted, you feel that you have no choice and are powerless to stop. Addicts are out of balance and out of control.

An addiction is an enslavement to an activity, person, or thing that is characterized by imbalance, lack of control, loss of power, distortion of values, inflexible centralness to the person's life, unhealthiness, pathology, chronicity, progression, and potential fatality. More simply put, an addict is a person who cannot say "no."

A sex and love addict cannot say "no" to his or her impulses to have sex or get into a love relationship. An addict is a person whose thoughts and behaviors are causing problems but who cannot stop them. In addition to these definitions, a sex and love addiction involves a high, tolerance, craving, dependence, withdrawal, obsession, compulsion, secrecy, and a personality change.

A Fearless Moral Inventory

"The unexamined life is not worth living."
- Socrates

Many of us have for a long time mistaken their sex and love addictions as a normal human need to love and be loved, to have company and to be in a meaningful relationship.

The biggest hindrance to tackling the sex and love addictions that many people are in, is the fact that sex and love matters are rarely discussed. Far too many people prefer to handle their own matters of the heart, which unfortunately is to their peril.

The 4th Step in most addicts anonymous recovery programs is a searching and fearless moral inventory of one's life. This then becomes a habitual thing, as espoused in step 10 where one continues to take personal inventory, and promptly admits when they find out they are wrong.

Following are the 12 Characteristics of Sex and Love addicts:
1 Having few healthy boundaries, we become sexually involved with and/or emotionally attached to people without knowing them.
2 Fearing abandonment and loneliness, we stay in and return to painful, destructive relationships, concealing our dependency needs from ourselves and others, growing more isolated and alienated from friends and loved ones, ourselves, and God.
3 Fearing emotional and/or sexual deprivation, we compulsively pursue and involve ourselves in one relationship after another, sometimes having more than one sexual or emotional liaison at a time.
4 We confuse love with neediness, physical and sexual attraction, pity and/or the need to rescue or be rescued.
5 We feel empty and incomplete when we are alone. Even though we fear intimacy and commitment, we continually search for relationships and sexual contacts.
6 We sexualize stress, guilt, loneliness, anger, shame, fear and envy. We use sex or emotional dependence as substitutes for nurturing, care, and support.
7 We use sex and emotional involvement to manipulate and control others.
8 We become immobilized or seriously distracted by romantic or sexual obsessions or fantasies.
9 We avoid responsibility for ourselves by attaching ourselves to people who are emotionally unavailable.
10 We stay enslaved to emotional dependency, romantic intrigue, or compulsive sexual activities.
11 To avoid feeling vulnerable, we may retreat from all intimate involvement, mistaking sexual and emotional anorexia for recovery.
12 We assign magical qualities to others. We idealize and pursue them, then blame them for not fulfilling our fantasies and expectations.

If you still have lingering doubts whether or not you are an addict, you may want to ask yourself the more searching 40 Questions for Self Diagnosis.
Don't be surprised when you realize most of your answers are YES.

A Willingness to Change

"Now willing to listen and take suggestions, I have found that the process of discovering who I really am begins with knowing who I really don't want to be.
I have grown emotionally and intellectually. It has give me my sanity and an all-around sense of balance."

- Safe Haven (Personal Stories in the A.A. Big Book)

If you have gotten this far in this note, you may be wondering why all the details.
The reason is simple: It's not fitting to try to address a problem that is not well defined. As of now, you have found out exactly where you lie [no pun intended] in this sex and love addiction business.

Given what we now know, many would only want to change for better.
Additionally, you'll walk into Valentines well-knowing exactly what your affection for the other part(y)ies is. Is it genuine, healthy love, or a destructive sex and love addiction?

The good news is that you are not alone. Many others are seeking the same answers in their efforts to find meaning in their lives.

It is my believe that once enlightened, many people display an amazing ability to make decisions that lead to choices that greatly improve their lives.
This note shares that information, in the firm belief that you'll then go ahead and make good use of that information.

Now is the time to do the needful, even as we learn and share on matters that shape our lives.

Summary

In the first post, we learnt from David Richo what practical steps there are to help us become human, so that we can gain self respect and build healthy and compassionate relationships.

In the second post, we have sought to be open minded so as to better open our minds to scrutiny, self diagnosis and experience.

In this third and final post, we learn what sex and love addiction is, and further seek to find out if we are addicts or not. We can then use the knowledge so far gained to better define our relationships from now on.

RESOURCES

Sex and Love: Addiction, Treatment and Recovery by Eric Griffin-Shelley

40 Questions for Self Diagnosis

Porn Again Christian [free eBook Download]

Characteristics of Sex and Love Addiction

Monday, February 8, 2010

Exiting the Moral Matrix: Ideology and Openness to Experience

NOTE:
This post is the second in my 3-part Valentines Day series, that seeks to take a different approach to Love and Valentines. The first one was Human Becoming: Practical Steps to Self Respect and Compassionate Relationships.


"There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance - that principle is contempt prior to investigation."
- Herbert Spencer





Late last year, I watched Jonathan Haidt's TED Talk about Objectivity and the Moral Matrix.
His talk inspired this post on The Walkabout.

Nudity or Art?

Weeks later, I uploaded the following photo on Facebook, and a "good friend" whom I've known for years promptly reprimanded me by way of a phone call and a comment on Facebook. Ben's words [not ad verbum] were as follows:

"Pete you can surely do better. I am very ashamed to say the least..."



Well, I had no words for this guy. The fact that he was deeply offended by artwork, and chose to see nudity instead of art, makes me wonder what he'd say if he saw Michelangelo's David [above].

Talking about Sex

"The books the world calls immoral
are the books that show the world its shame."
- C S Lewis

Apparently, the human condition is such that we prefer to look at only one side of the coin. We usually choose to see what is bad, salacious or compromising.

Thing is, sometimes we are so deeply corrupted that we cannot tell that we are compromised in the first instance, let alone reckon to what extent.

When I was in Campus, my friend Fridah was shocked to see me reading Eric Griffin-Shelley's book 'Sex and Love: Addiction, Treatment and Recovery'. She loudly wondered why I would be reading such a book if I wasn't a recovering addict. She however changed her mind after she read several pages of the book.



You can in fact read this book at Questia.

Being Open-Minded

This post should prepare you for what we shall be looking at on Wednesday: Sex and Love Addiction.

Many of us would rather not even think about their sex lives and relationships, always reaching for the private, personal and similar cards whenever these topics are raised.

As Valentines Day approaches we need to be open minded and see ourselves for what we really are. Now is the time to sit ourselves down and take a more searching and serious look at our relationships.

You're be surprised at how much you've been wallowing in a miasma of deceit and self righteousness. Now is the time to get out of this quagmire.

Next, we take a look at The Sex and Love Addiction Quagmire - A Cautionary Tale

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Human Becoming - Practical Steps to Self-Respect and CompassionateRelationships [Get the FREE eBook]

“Once awareness is free,
intent will redirect it into a new evolutionary path.”

- Carlos Castaneda



Human Becoming by David Richo

Well, I have always believed in Learning and Sharing. Because only then can we individually and collectively become better persons, by positively affecting the lives of those we interact with.

That said, I recently downloaded a very profound eBook by one Dr. David Richo [no relations].

The book is titled "Human Becoming. Practical Steps to Self-Respect and Compassionate Relationships" It is in fact a collection of excerpts from his many books and manuscripts.

Dr Richo introduces the book this way:

"We are put on earth a little space,
That we may learn to bear the beams of love."

– William Blake

It is my considered opinion that you'll find this book worthwhile.
After reading the Introduction, I am so looking forward to reading the rest of the book.

Following is an excerpt of the Introduction:
FIRST THINGS FIRST

"There is a grace-full force in us and in the universe. It is a lively energy that is always at work so that we will become fully human. To be fully human is to be as loving as we can be, as free of ego fear and clinging, and as generous as we can be with our innate gifts and talents. This takes psychological work on ourselves and a spiritual practice. When we are committed to such a program, we feel joy and self-respect because we are fulfilling our deepest purpose in life."

PRACTICAL STEPS

"Practical steps are about doing things in new ways. But doing is not the whole picture. We are also receiving graces that assist us. We become fully human not by our efforts alone but also by the assistance of a higher power than our ego that complements our psychological work and our spiritual practice. Abundant grace is surrounding us right now and can be trusted to help us cross our next bridge or threshold."

The chapters are as follows:

Who we really are
Our personal purpose and calling
In the house of the healthy psyche
Dialoguing with the inner critic
Building self-respect and lovingkindness
The givens of life: the things we cannot change
The f.a.c.e. of ego
Befriending our shadow
How to s.e.e.
The cradling technique
Freedom from fears: an inventory and affirmations
Working with abandonment and engulfment fears
Handling our loneliness
Standing alone at the edge of the void
A checklist on boundaries in relationship
Conflict vs. drama
Anger or abuse?
No more punishing or placating
Releasing guilt and forgiveness
When our feelings are hurt
Love and control
Pausing to find our space
Mindfulness
Love as a practice
Lovingkindness
Egoless love
Fate or destiny?
Wholeness within
Unconditional love
Conclusion: What makes us human

Get the eBook

If you'd like a free copy of this eBook, download it from David Richo's web site.
It's in PDF format [684KB], 98 pages.

I bet many of you will find this is a most valuable book, now that Valentines Day is just around the corner.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Everything Happens for a Reason - Inspired by LOST

"We were brought here for a purpose, for a reason
All of us, each one of us was brought here for a reason
...It may be hard for the others to accept
But everything happens for a reason."

- John Locke (LOST s05e07 - The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham)

Note:
All this week, posts on The Walkabout focus on life lessons that have been directly inspired by LOST. Read previous LOST-inspired posts here and here.

The Walkabout



On 2nd February 2010, the sixth season of LOST will begin airing. This compelling TV show is my personal favorite, and plays a central role in this blog.
'The Walkabout' was accordingly named after the Lost season 1 episode 4 (Walkabout) in which flashbacks of John Locke's life detailed his plans to go on an original aboriginal walkabout in Australia.

Despite being a paraplegic, Locke was determined to go on his walkabout, and insisted that he could do it, a belief he repeatedly and loudly emphasized with the words:
Don't tell me what I can't do.

Destiny

The word destiny has a dual meaning, one that is either predicated on fate or purpose.

Fate: Destiny may refer to somebody's preordained future, a series of predetermined and inevitable events that happen to somebody.

Purpose: Destiny may also refer to the inner purpose of life that can be discovered and realized.

Those who resign their lives to fate eventually find their destiny. Apparently, things just happen and eventually, they often find themselves in situations they'd rather not be in.

On the other hand, those who actively seek to live their lives by making the most of every opportunity also realize their purpose. They meet their objectives, realize their goals and certainly get to willfully shape their destiny.

Human Nature

Human nature is such that we err, and often fall short of our expectations. In fact, our "great" expectations have a way of selling us short. Usually, the unexpected does change our lives. As espoused in the premiere episode of LOST season 5, the character of people is such that...
...they come, they fight, they destroy, they corrupt
it always ends the same.

The Way Ahead

Despite all this, we do have the free will to change our destiny... for the simple reason that we think, we reason and can make choices.

Perhaps then, we can begin to see that we can challenge ourselves and discover the reason for our being. That done, we can then learn from the past, make the most of the here and now, and consequently face the future with confidence to realize our purpose.

What if we find ourselves being held back by what has happened in the past? What if the consequences of our past actions have already messed a significant part of our lives?

Well, this is a timely question, even as we look back at the resolutions and fleeting promises many of us made early this year but have not yet lived up to.

Thankfully, LOST is not devoid of answers for such questions:
...it only ends once
Anything that happens before that, is progress

Now is the time to move ahead, with the full knowledge that everything happens for a reason. Whatever has happened before is just a part of a bigger whole, of progress. We are in repair - not together, but getting there.

We can therefore go right ahead.

This February, may we exercise our free will and realize our inner purpose of life.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Defining Your Success. Make Your Own Kind of Music - Inspired by LOST

"You've gotta make your own kind of music
Sing your own special song
Make your own kind of music
Even if nobody else sings along."

- Mama Cass Elliot


Inspiration from LOST

All this week, we are featuring posts that are inspired by the TV Show LOST. The final Season of LOST premieres on February 2nd.

Make Your Own Kind of Music

Today, we examine how one can define their own success and thereby make their own kind of music.




[caption id="attachment_531" align="aligncenter" width="248" caption="Make Your Own Kind of Music by Mama Cass Elliot"]Make Your Own Kind of Music by Mama Cass Elliot[/caption]

Mama Cass Elliot's Make Your Own Kind of Music has been featured on several episodes of LOST, mainly in Season 2. Read more about this song on Lostpedia.

Following are the song lyrics:
Nobody can tell ya
There's only one song worth singing
They may try and sell ya
Cause it hangs them up to see someone like you

But you've gotta make your own kind of music
Sing your own special song
Make your own kind of music
Even if nobody else sings along

You're gonna be nowhere
The loneliest kind of lonely
It may be rough going
Just to do your thing's the hardest thing to do

But you've gotta make your own kind of music
Sing your own special song
Make your own kind of music
Even if nobody else sings along

So if you cannot take my hand
And if you must be going
I will understand

You've gotta make your own kind of music
Sing your own special song
Make your own kind of music
Even if nobody else sings along

You've gotta make your own kind of music
Sing your own special song
Make your own kind of music

The above lyrics and artist names are copyrighted to Mama Cass Elliot. They appear  here for educational and personal use only.

Defining Your Sucess - a kinder, gentler philosophy

Alain de Botton gave a very insightful talk at TED:

http://video.ted.com/assets/player/swf/EmbedPlayer.swf

Watch this talk, download the video and read viewer/reader reactions on the TED web site.

He examines our ideas of success and failure... and questions the assumptions underlying these two judgments. Is success always earned? Is failure?

Alain eventually makes an eloquent, witty case to move beyond snobbery to find true pleasure in our work. This too was outlined by Steve Jobs during his Stanford commencement address.

Ready to Shape Your OWN Destiny?

In a world that is increasingly shaped by popular opinion, many find themselves living other people's dreams and constantly succumb to what is acceptable by many.

When they don't measure up to what society defines as success, a lot of people get frustrated.

This should not be the case, if only we would become more decisive and seek to live purpose-driven, fulfilling lives.

So, go out and do whatever you love doing passionately, be very successful in it. Be all that you can be. It depends on you after all.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Focus on Variables, not Constants, to Shape an Uncertain Destiny - Inspired by LOST

"...can't change the past. Can't do it. Whatever happened, happened.
We're the variables. People. We think. We reason. We make choices. We have free will. We can change our destiny."

- Daniel Faraday (LOST s05ep14, The Variable)

LOST

I begin today's post by proudly confessing that I'm a Lostie (an ardent fan of the TV Series LOST). In fact, this entire blog was inspired by LOST. Specifically, Matthew Abaddon's challenge that John Locke go on a walkabout - a journey of self discovery. All this happened in Season 4 episode 11 [Cabin Fever]. Read The Walkabout's first post here.

LOST is a very compelling drama which has won awards and kept fans all over the world watching, thinking and discussing the show's rich content. Depending on how you look at it, there is quite a lot to learn from LOST.

This week on The Walkabout, we shall feature posts directly inspired by LOST, as we await the highly anticipated LOST Season 6 premier on February 2, 2009.

The Variable

Our lead quote is from the LOST season 5 episode 14 episode, The Variable. This episode focuses on Daniel Faraday's quest to avert a catastrophic event on the Island. Knowing that a release of massive energy at the Swan Station would trigger the events that would ultimately lead to the disappearance of Flight 815, Daniel decides to prevent this from happening by detonating a hydrogen bomb.



Minutes before Faraday died, he tells Jack Shepherd the following:
Daniel Faraday: But... we can change that. I studied relativistic physics my entire life. One thing emerged over and over ...can't change the past. Can't do it. Whatever happened, happened. All right? But then I finally realized... I had been spending so much time focused on the constants, I forgot about the variables. Do you know what the variables in these equations are, Jack?
Jack Shepherd: No.
Faraday: Us. We're the variables. People. We think. We reason. We make choices. We have free will. We can change our destiny.

The above dialogue is in the following video:







It should be noted that before going to the island, Daniel Faraday suffered severe psychological problems. In fact, he had lost his mental acuity and lived with a caretaker.

Shaping an Uncertain Destiny

Admittedly, we cannot alter the past. What is in the past has already happened, and therefore cannot change.

Just like Daniel Faraday, we spend too much time in our lives focusing on and trying to change "constants" - things that are bound to remain the same.

It is instructive that we change that which we can and ought to, only then can we realize our objectives and realize our goals.

We do have the free will to make decisions that will ultimately shape our destiny. Now is the time to do the needful.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Perils of Indifference


Elie Wiesel

First off, the Perils of Indifference is a speech Elie Wiesel gave on 12 April 1999, in Washington, D.C.

Elie Wiesel survived the Holocaust at Auschwitz. For this very reason, he is an undisputed authority on what humanity, or better still - the lack of it, really is. He experienced untold crimes against humanity first-hand at the hands of the Nazis. His account is every bit as moving as the writings of Viktor Frankl, Anne Frank and other Holocaust victims.

That said, his speech excerpts are in no way new to the well read. They however, are invariably relevant.

Intolerance and Flawed Reasoning

The reason I write this post is the riots that occurred in downtown Nairobi on Friday, January 15 2010, protests that have been extensively reported in the media.

The main reason for the protests was to demand the unconditional release of Jamaican Muslim cleric Sheikh Abdullah al-Faisal. Some radical Muslims organized the "peaceful protests".

The protests however turned ugly and brought business to a standstill in the Nairobi Business District. Five people lost their lives, many were injured and one policeman was shot by a protester.

The Perils of Indifference


Following are excerpts are Elie Wiesel's The Perils of Indifference speech.
We are on the threshold of a new century, a new millennium. What will the legacy of this vanishing century be? How will it be remembered in the new millennium? Surely it will be judged, and judged severely, in both moral and metaphysical terms... So much violence; so much indifference.

Of course, indifference can be tempting -- more than that, seductive... for the person who is indifferent, his or her neighbor are of no consequence. And, therefore, their lives are meaningless. Their hidden or even visible anguish is of no interest. Indifference reduces the Other to an abstraction.

Indifference, after all, is more dangerous than anger and hatred. Indifference, then, is not only a sin, it is a punishment.

In the place that I come from, society was composed of three simple categories: the killers, the victims, and the bystanders.

Read the entire speech, download PDF or Flash copies, or listen to an audio recording at the American Rhetoric web site.

Do we Ever Learn?

When I wrote Beyond Politics in January 2007, I quoted the following words by Thomas Blatt, another Holocaust survivor:
Ignorance leads to hate.
There is a need to tell the truth and document the sad facts for posterity.
Revenge or executing the murderers is not the most important thing.
All this won't bring back the victims.
What matters is to get the testimony, for the testimony is for the generations.

The Way Ahead
It was indeed very sad to see biased and irrational exchanges online regarding these riots. The KTN and NTV facebook pages were riddled with such unfortunate commentary that eventually necessitated the deletion of several posts. Online forums such as Wazua also had several posts moderated or otherwise deleted when topical discussions degenerated into personal attacks and anti-religious sentiments.

God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny. We need each other to survive.

I end this post with questions Elie Wiesel asked in his speech. Think about the following:
Does it mean that we have learned from the past? Does it mean that society has changed? Has the human being become less indifferent and more human? Have we really learned from our experiences? Are we less insensitive to the plight of victims of ethnic cleansing and other forms of injustices in places near and far?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

No more Missed Opportunities in 2010. Seize the Day!

The Years Gone By

Looking back in 2009, we all learnt a lot in life. Hopefully, we became better persons and are now looking forward to a richly rewarding year.

The walk into the future will not be without challenges and hiccups. There are new things to be done, new people to meet, new days to be lived. Informed by what we experienced in the last year, we can use that as a foundation for the accomplishments we endeavor to realize, as stepping stones into new horizons.

Seize the Day

The new year presents us with opportunities to make the most of every moment.

Seize the Day


Otherwise, we may die regretting the time we lost when we already had the chance.

Carolyn Arends

From the Prince of Peace compilation gospel album, Carolyn Arends sings Seize the Day, a deep song that encourages us to make the most of the days we've been given, even as we seek God's guidance and favor.

Carolyn Arends: Seize the Day


Following are the song lyrics:
I know a girl who was schooled in Manhattan
She reads dusty books and learns phrases in Latin
She is an author, or maybe a poet
A genius but it's just this world doesn't know it
She works on her novel most every day
If you laugh she will say

Chorus:
Seize the day, seize whatever you can
'Cause life slips away just like hourglass sand
Seize the day, pray for grace from God's hand
Then nothing will stand in your way
Seize the day

Well I know a doctor, a fine young physician
Left his six-figure job for a mission position
He's healing the sick in an African clinic
He works in the dirt and writes home to the cynics
He says "We work through the night so most every day
As we watch the sun rise we can say

Chorus

Well I know a man who's been doing some thinking
He's as bitter and cold as the whiskey he's drinking
He's talking 'bout fear, about chances not taken
If you listen to him you can hear his heart breaking
He says "One day you're a boy and the next day you're dead
I wish way back when someone had said

Chorus

Well one thing I've noticed, wherever I wander
Everyone's got a dream he can follow or squander
You can do what you will with the days you are given
I'm trying to spend mine on the business of living
So I'm singing my songs off of any old stage
You can laugh if you want, I'll still say

Chorus

The above lyrics and artist names are copyrighted to Carolyn Arends. They appear  here for educational and personal use only.

The Challenge

For those of us who subscribe to the writings in the good book:
Let the giving of thanks be your sacrifice to God, and give the Almighty all that you promised.

- Psalm 50:14 (Good News Bible)

Now is the time to make the most of every opportunity. Remember all those new year resolutions you made last week? 2010 is now here with us.

Seize the day... the clock is ticking...

Friday, January 1, 2010

Living in 2010

"I'll tell you something,
It's not hard to die when you know you have lived, and I did.
Oh, how I lived."

- Edie Britt (Desperate Housewives s05e19)


The Year 2010


The Lessons We Must Learn


Only yesterday, I was watching season 5 of Desperate Housewives. The 100th episode (s05e13) is titled "The Best Thing That Ever Could Have Happened". Here, residents of Wysteria Lane remember how the neighborhood handyman Eli Scruggs deeply affected their lives.


Later on in episode 19, the housewives took time to remember Edie Britts, who really lived her life - a life that was one of a kind.


Steve Jobs on How to Live Before You Die


In 2005, Steve Jobs, the legendary Apple Inc. CEO gave a commencement address at Stanford University.


Following is his address:








In his talk, Steve Jobs outlined three life stories that in his opinion, characterize a life well lived:

  1. Connecting the DotsYou can't connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards.So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.

    You have to trust in something... because believing that the dots will connect down the road, will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.

  2. Love and LossSometimes life's gonna hit you on the head with a brick. Dont lose faith.You've got to find what you love, and that is as true  for work as it is for your lovers.

    Your work is gonna fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.

    If you haven't found it yet, keep looking, and don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you you find it. And like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking, don't settle.

  3. Death"If you live each day as if it's your last, someday you'll most certainly be right."Remembering that you are going to die, is the best way to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked, there is no reason not to follow your heart.

    Death is the destination we all share. It's life's change agent, it clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now, the new is you. But someday not too long from now, you'll gradually become the old, and be cleared away.

    Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others opinions drown out your own inner voice.

    Most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.


In Other News...

Today is the first day of the year 2010. Amid all the fanfare and gratitude of making it through 2009 to see yet another year, do we have it within ourselves to let 2009 be the end of something, and 2010 the beginning of everything?

Like Abba said in their 1980 hit song Happy New Year (from the album Super Trouper):
Happy New Year... May we all have a vision now and then,
Of a world where every neighbor is a friend,
May we all have our hopes, our will to try,
If we don't we might as well lay down and die... You and I.

Following is the video to this song:







We at The Walkabout and the greater Complit Communications family do wish you all the best in your life, your work, your studies and your dreams.

Cheers, and Say Hello to 2010!

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