Monday, July 2, 2012

Changing the World. With Words.

Every once in a while, a moment of clarity happens.
It may necessitate a complete turn-around in one's practices, or simply affirm that one has been on the right path all along, in which case all that is needed is focus and more effort.

I have recently experienced a moment of clarity.

The details of such a moment and all that it entails are beyond the scope of this post.
I shall however be remiss in not putting on the record, my stated objective to change the world.
With my words.

There is no doubt that I shall realize my goal. No, it won't be easy. But I'll be unrelenting in my quest. For I refuse to live a limited life.

The above clip is from Steve Jobs: One Last Thing, a documentary that was originally aired on PBS.

That said, all the writing [of books, articles and related publications] will happen across the web. Timely updates will be available both on The Walkabout and on the Pete on Books site.

Join me as we continue to add value through reading and writing.
That will without a doubt change lives.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Wish Lists and Set Targets

It's now less than three weeks to my birthday.

Like every other progressive person, I'll take the time to reward myself on that day as well as do a fearless and searching moral inventory of my life so far. Thankfully, I am grateful to God for the opportunity to take stock of not less than three decades of an eventful life.

Right about now, the two items [for both work and play] in my immediate wish list are a Samsung Galaxy Y Duos smartphone and an ASUS Transformer Pad tablet. Check out the following gorgeous photos:

That said, there is a song I very frequently features on my playlist. Interestingly, it is a Christmas song, most of which are only played in the third quarter of every year.

Amy Grant's original version

Kelly Clarkson's rendition

The song's chorus is such a moving statement of what every person of goodwill should envision and accordingly do to help us all realize. It goes:

No more lives torn apart,
That wars would never start,
And time would heal all hearts.
And everyone would have a friend,
And right would always win,
And love would never end.
This is my grown-up Christmas list.

At a time when the world is heading towards anarchy, it is a good time to evaluate one's individual contribution towards a better life for everyone, as outlined in the above song.

Over and beyond wish lists, I'm looking at my upcoming birthday as a time to re-dedicate myself to the achievement of my set targets. It'll be a good enough time to mark ends and embrace new beginnings. It'll be a time to have another take.

I continue to thank you for your much appreciated company on this walkabout, even as we get ready for The Walkabout on a more elaborate scale.

Cheers :-)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Special Place. Just For You

I have in the past shared the following poem on this blog. With some accompanying commentary of course.

Today, it is all I will post. It is my hope that in reading it, you'll take from it whatever addresses your current concerns.


There is a special place in life that needs your humble skill
a certain job you're meant to do, nobody else can fill
The hours are demanding and the pay is not too good
and yet you wouldn't change it for a moment even if you could.

There is a special place in life, a goal you must attain
a dream that you must follow for you wont be back again
There's a mark that you must leave however small it be
a legacy of love for those who follow after you.

There is a special place in life that only you may share
a little path that bears your name, awaiting you somewhere
There is a hand that you must hold, a word that you must say
a smile that you must give, for there are tears to blot away.

There is a special place in life that you were meant to fill
a sunny spot where flowers grow upon a windy hill
There's always a tomorrow and the best is yet to be
and somewhere in this world I know:
That there's a special place JUST FOR YOU!

Have a great afternoon!

In view of the above poem, what's your place in this world?
Enjoy :-)

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Second Take

This past week, I have been taking yet another look at the life and times of Steve Jobs, whose enduring insights and advise we featured in the 'Living' post on January 01, 2010. What strikes me about Steve is that he, in concert with the Apple team [read Jony Ive] were able to make better versions of whatever existed. The net effect of their innovations and reinventions were a simpler, more personal user experience across all iDevices.

In Steve Jobs's personal life, it is worth noting that he managed to successfully do a most unusual thing in returning to Apple. It was a bold act, having witnessed a decade of decline for a company he had co-founded but whose leadership he had been denied.

Following are documentaries on Steve Jobs from which I have drawn the above insights:

Steve Jobs Documentary [Bloomberg Game Changers]

Steve Jobs: One Last Thing [PBS]


Steve Jobs: Billion Dollar Hippy [BBC 2]

Life sometimes presents us with a second chance. The second take is rare, but almost always presents a chance to improve. To learn from past mistakes. To avoid blunders. To add value. To right wrongs.

It is unfortunate however that some of us deny ourselves the chance to take advantage of a second chance thanks to fear, desperation and hopelessness.
Today in itself is yet another chance to do whatever it is that you often do. It is another take for you to do it better.

Each day is a new beginning.
Another chance to learn more about ourselves, and to care more about others.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Stop Hoping, Start Dying

Hope and death are diametrically opposite. We often hear of undying hope. And steadfast hope is invariably unrelenting, even to the point of death.

In Shawshank Redemption, Andy Dufresne in his letter to Red had the following to say about hope:

Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things. And no good thing ever dies.

It is well known that losing hope heralds the beginning of an end which might otherwise have been averted. We can learn enduring lessons from the animal kingdom. The following videos show the interesting relationship lions and elephants do have.

The following emotional video from Beverly and Derek Joubert's TED Talk  The best takeaway is between 06:45 and 08:48.

Derek says:

Many people in fact that death begins in the eyes, not in the heart, not in the lungs. And that is when people give up hope... when any life-form gives up hope.
But by the same token, you can get your hope back again. So just when you think it's all over, something else happens, some spark gets into you. Some sort of will to fight. That iron-will that we all have... everything has that will to survive, to fight, to push through that mental barrier... and to keep going.

Are you at that point in life where you feel like giving up? Check out the videos above, and always remember that we start dying when we stop hoping.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Still Waiting for You Stroke of Insight?

Shortly after sunset yesterday, I was walking back home from visiting my parents. It is a half-hour walk that involves traversing a vast plain grassland and a steep hike as I near my humble abode that is situated atop a hill.

Needless to say, this walk presents much-needed alone time that I gladly often use to
Just as Enya sang, it is on my way home that I remember all the good things... Oops, I digress.

You see, living alone as I do, I have all the freedom to do whatever I please. Even worse, I have the freedom to NOT do that which I ought. Other than the logical and inevitable consequences or my actions or lack of them, I rarely have anyone to first consult while making most decisions that affect my life.

That said, I was thinking about abandoning something that I had initially purposed to do. There'd really be no much harm in doing so, but I'd feel bad about not working towards a certain goal, for no good reason.
Eventually, I decided to not abandon this project, and I am glad to report that I embarked on the work this morning and have every intention of sticking to it till completion.

In the following TED Talk, Jill Bolte Taylor had a life-threatening misfortune out of which she learnt much and became a totally different and dedicated individual. This was her stroke of insight.

While exploring the right kind of bad, we referenced Jill Bolte Taylor's TED Talk and underscored the essence of what's uncalled for in life. The following words by William James were a pivotal part of that post in February 2011.
Acceptance of what has happened is the first step to overcoming the consequences of any misfortune.

Further to the near-tragic incidence that heralded Jill's full engagement as an active voice for brain recovery, we still fail to accept what has happened and thereby do the needful in effecting change and realizing progress. The following song by the Soul Savers calls for a revival, and it inspired this post about cleaning our hands with dirty water. Check it out!

All in all, there is no need to wait for a life changing moment that will catapult us into making the necessary changes in our lives or living as we ought.
We need to appreciate that which we already have, start small, start now and persist and endure even as we dream BIG and work towards living our dreams.

Cheers to a thrilling Thursday!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Healthy Eating and Longevity

The Walkabout is a journey of insight, inspiration and self discovery.
Part of self discovery revolves around finding ways to better our lives, especially our physical well-being.

That said, a natural consequence of a healthy life is longevity. Everyone wants to live a long, healthy and fulfilling life. But nobody wants to live forever.

It turns out, there is a way, over and beyond genetic predisposition, that one can live for a very long time. In the following TED Talk by Dan Buettner, he explains that certain lifestyles dramatically affect the health, and consequently number of years, that those who live them have on earth.


Dan Buettner on How to Live to be 100+

Watching what We Eat

Another variant to health is diet. We are what we eat. How often we eat, what we eat and whatever we do thereafter heavily bears on how we turn out eventually.

In the following TED Talk, Mark Bittman looks at our unhealthy eating habits and the unhealthy foods we eat, some of which have been found to increase the risk of cancer and other serious ailments.

Mark Bittman asks, What's Wrong with What We Eat?

Cheers to a fulfilling weekend. Now, will you drink to that?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Songs of Hope and Belief

Today, I'll let the following songs deliver whatever message I had in mind.

It's all about hope good people, and all the things that coupled with it, make up a whole much greater than the sum of its parts.

First, some nice words:

Hope is the bridge that connects you to where you want to go,
Faith assures you that the bridge will hold,
Love gives you a reason to cross it.

Now let's enjoy the music and be edified:

Dionne Farris - Hopeless

Faith Evans - Again

Daniel Powter - Bad Day

Twista feat Faith Evans - Hope

Commissioned - Believe

Cheers :)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Towards Greater Love

This has got to be one of the shortest posts I've ever written on The Walkabout. It however is, in my opinion, totally profound. Following is the reason why:

Remain true to yourself, but move ever upward toward greater consciousness and greater love! At the summit you will find yourselves united with all those who, from every direction, have made the same ascent. For everything that rises must converge.

The above quote by French Philosopher Pierre Teilhard De Chardin is from his 'Omega Point'. It inspired Flannery O'Connor's 'Everything That Rises Must Converge'. It is one of the best stories I've ever read. Flannery's similarly titled book, was referenced in The Incident [part 1], an episode in the popular TV Series LOST.

Thanks to copyright restrictions, I cannot post the story online. But here's an analysis of Everything That Rises Must Converge.

All in all, unconditional love is what the world needs.

Have a great day awesome people!

Monday, January 16, 2012

To Remember, and to Let Go

Note: A similar post was published on The Walkabout back in April 2011.

The Afterlife
I've just watched, for the umpteenth time, the Jack and Christian Shephard afterlife church scene in the LOST finale.

Looking inside his father's empty coffin, Jack is surprised when his father, standing nearby, speaks to him.

Well knowing that Christian already died, Jack asks his father how he is there. Christian also asks Jack how he is there as well, and it dawns on Jack that he died too.

When Jack eventually asks where they are, his father tells him that they are in a place that all the losties made together so that they would find one another.

I find what Christian says next to be both a profound and defining revelation in the entire LOST TV series.

The most important part of your life, was the time that you spent with these people. That's why all of you are here. Nobody does it alone Jack. You needed all of them, and they needed you.

To remember, and to let go.

Watch the video below:

Every so often, we find ourselves in a situation where we have to look back at people and things that made us who we are today.
Whether the past is marked by fond memories or bitter ones, moments to cherish, enduring scars, lingering doubts, uncalled for pain or traumatic recollections... whatever it be, there are always lessons to learn and move on.

The biggest attendant risk in such a defining moment is to try clean your hands in dirty water.

I recently had one of these situations where I simply remembered everything about a certain person. Yeah, it was not easy dealings with the ever present feelings of loss when one lets go.

I however was finally able, thanks to a great deal of effort, to cut loose. I closed the door, changed the record, cleaned the house and got rid of the dust. I let go and moved on.
Additionally, I've had to let go of a project I have been excited about since 2010. I realized that in going on with it, I would do more harm than good to my schedule. I may eventually work on it when the timing is right and all attendant factors are favorable. 

It was only then that I stopped being who I was and became who I am.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Willpower in Avoiding Temptations

Matters of willpower and determination frequently feature in The Walkabout.
The most recent post was on how determination is largely made up of a strong WILL and a stronger WON'T.

On Monday, January 9, published an article titled The Willpower Trick. It now turns out that carrying out a strategic allocation of attention is actually what we do in avoiding temptations. The human will is too weak to resist temptation outright.

Following are excerpts:

Human habits, [...]are stubborn things, which helps explain why 88 percent of all resolutions end in failure.

The reason our resolutions end in such dismal fashion returns us to the single most important fact about human willpower — it’s incredibly feeble.

A tired brain, preoccupied with its problems and run down by the world, is going to struggle to resist what it wants, even when what it wants isn’t what we need.

...people with higher levels of self-control had just as many desires, but they were less likely to feel that their desires were dangerous. Their desires also tended to be less intense, and thus required less inner strength to resist.

they are able to intelligently steer clear of situations that trigger problematic desires. They don’t resist temptation — they avoid it entirely.

Too often, we assume that willpower is about having strong moral fiber or gritting our teeth and staring down the treat. But that’s wrong — willpower is really about properly directing the spotlight of attention...

Should you occasionally stumble and fall short, just know that all is not lost, that you are still in repair and on the way there. And never give up. Ever!

All the best in overcoming temptations!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Almost is near always very far from Done.

Many things have been said and written about the dangers of assumption. It has a positive component to it, but assuming also involves negligence. It is essentially a failure to ask "What if?"

Back in October 2008, something totally unexpected changed my life. The whole incident greatly irked me, but taught me an enduring lesson that I dare not forget, at a time when life actually offers no guarantees.

This morning, someone reminded me of an old Kikuyu saying/proverb:

"Ni iguaga i kanua."

Basically, it means that a piece of meat can fall to the ground if when you already have it in your mouth and are busy chewing it.

Eating meat was such a valued thing to the Kikuyu community back in the day. I bet it still is.
This saying does point to the fact that things can actually change even at a time when one least expects it. An equivalent English proverb is

There is many a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip.

That said, things can take a totally unexpected turn at the worst possible time. After all, why is it that an Internet connection seemingly always drops when your download is 99% complete?

Have a great week!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Discovering Who We Really Are

We're almost done with the first week of 2012. After this, the year won't be that new after all...

In the previous post, I mentioned a STOP DOING LIST that Jim Collins considers the best new year resolution one can ever have. Well, today's post further explores similar thinking, all in the spirit of effecting enduring change in our lives.

Yeah, change. You see, we do not change who we are. What changes is aspects of our lives. I can change much of what I say, do or think. I however remain Pete R Njenga. A recent update on Twitter by @Amasy got me thinking...

For many of us, we have many things we need to stop doing. In fact, most of these things are addictions and bad habits that have taken control of our lives. It should be noted that in this context, an addiction is anything one is compelled to continually do, even if it feels good [but ain't right], at a time for and using energies that should be directed towards other things.

Reading Safe Haven [PDF] which is part of the personal stories in the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book, the featured alcoholic who lost nearly all continues to say:

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've realized that I cannot go back and make a brand-new start. But I can start now and make a brand-new end.

Bob [foreground] and Amy [background]

In other news, one of my dogs died yesterday evening. He has been quite unwell since late last year and had lost significant weight. But he stayed strong till the end...
Despite medication, I bet that transition, much as I'd rather he didn't die, was for the best. Remember Steve Jobs saying the death is life's change agent?

I laid Bob to rest soon after his death just after sunset. I took time to recall all the good times we've had since I adopted him and his twin sister Amy in September 2010.

Bob, Amy & Fifi in Sep 2010

That was just a month after Locke died.

Locke and Fifi in August 2010

I then recited the following poem by Mary Elizabeth Frye, as I did when I buried my favorite cat Miau miau on a Tuesday morning, following his demise minutes before midnight on Monday, October 03, 2011.

 Miau miau [black] and Fifi [grey] 

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft starlight at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.
Amy and Fifi are still around to keep me company and hopefully produce more offspring [they're both female].

Alright good people. Have a lovely Thursday!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Believe and Persist in 2012

Howdy good people. It's 2012 already!

Well, we all know that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny. And that definitely happens assuming you are one of those who believe that your destiny is largely a function of purpose, not just fate.

That said, we are in a new year and this presents an opportune time for many beginnings. It is a time when people make resolutions, outline [often lofty] goals and generally seek to correct character defects.
When it comes to resolutions, we all have different ways of handling it. For those who have already started working on theirs, I urge you to be consistent even if you occasionally stumble.

My take on resolutions is somewhat in line with Jim Collins's. He writes that is is much better and more effective to tackle a to STOP DOING LIST.

Beyond resolutions, you'll need to transition form point A to B either within this year or get to achieve your stated goals before the year ends.
Else, it'll be necessary to make significant headway should yours be long-term goals.

That is where the power of your attitude and belief comes in. Check out the following video by Commissioned:

Yeah, there may be times when the entire world considers you a fool for believing the unbelievable and dreaming the impossible. Against all odds however, your dreams will become a reality.

But you gotta believe.

Best wishes in your endeavors in 2012. Major blessings!


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