Tuesday, August 27, 2013

God and Life Happens with Tenacious

With these good people life and God happen. I under went a ten weeks experience with them and  we become tenacious. Tenacious is the group name we adopted.These pictures were captured on  the 27 July,2013 when we reached out to Wakisa Foundation. Its an organization that takes care of teenagers undergoing crisis pregnancies, its both saddening and kind of a blessing in disguise seeing children carrying babies in their stomachs that came by accident through rape, peer influence, incest, lies, empty promises.... They are so little. Its more of a baby carrying a fellow baby.

Just a Snippet in My Thoughts

I've been lying awake (don't ask, my mind is still on this...) more about that trip, soon... maybe... uhh, one day?) Its a phase WORTH the experience. Single. It's a very huge and heavy word.

'Can you tell I'm nervous writing this? Am I that transparent? Or did I just give myself away?' Arghhh 

For possibly the first time in a very long time, I have really started to embrace this word - single. I feel, though, that there are often different (no, not fifty...) shades of single. There is the single-but-still-emotionally-attached single, where you're single on paper (or, as is the social convenience nowadays, on Facebook) but you're not really over someone, you're still sitting and mulling over some things that were meant to be exorcised a long time ago, perhaps still wishing for a glimpse of those same rays of sunshine again. Then there is the single-but-you're-sleeping-with-someone single. This is surely a fun kind of single - no attachments, companionship (hell, maybe even the sacred F-word... friendship, you fools! Hope you haven't qualified! lol ), and a happy thought that there is still at least one person in the world left who thinks you are still attractive. Following on from this one is the single-but-interested-in-someone single - you're not bound to anyone, but there is a potential. He (or she) makes you grin, so you're going along with it. Testing waters but still free as a bird.

Finally, there is the very right-wing version of single. The shade that I have come to write about.This particular shade is worn my many married,unmarried and the single. The well-and-truly-single-in-the-most-dull-boring-and-true-sense-of-the-word single. The kind where you are single because there is no one you like, no one who likes you (in case you were looking for a bit of an ego-boost - well, 'hahahahahaha' is all that can be said...!), no one who is potentially going to make you grin (or even attempt a weak half-smile for), and there is literally not one spark of excitement in your life. This, folks, is the single, the  single I am talking about. The real single deal.

It feels... interesting. Solitary. 

I could spout y'all some real dung about this new-found joy of being able to discover the real you and having time for yourself and finally being free to explore and clear out the cobwebs in your own mind... but, I am sorry, that is complete and utter dung. Whether in a relationship or not, I have always been the real me, even my fascinating door-stoppers of textbooks cannot stop me from making time for myself (and my sunrises) and there are just too many cobwebs in my mind for me to clear out anyway, single or otherwise. (So guys, if there's one semi-coherent thought you wish to take away from all this, it is this: never stop being the real you, whoever you are sharing your bed space with. Just sayin'.)

When I saw my cousin's family, and how they bloomed and blossomed from friendship to husband and wife to creating a family and a home and a life of their own, it makes me feel so incredibly happy for them. It also makes me realise what a blessing it must truly be, to live life in a world you have created for yourself, revolving around the people you really, I mean really, care for and love. It really reinforces how little, simple things can give you infinite joy and... meaning that no amount of travelling or zero-laden paychecks can hope to come close to.

I am still trying to navigate how this whole meeting-people-and-dating thing works, myself. But, like I said, this is neither a whinge nor a wish. It's just a reflection on how damn heavy and isolating it feels - single.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Don't Fret Over What Others Think Of You

Come pick your check? After donkey's years of waiting, in a twinkle of an eye, I walked into this room and it was a bikini party.It was my first, and so far only, bikini party, and it was the beginning of the end of a  severe self-consciousness. I’d always had a burning fear of the judgments of others. In particular, I couldn’t bear the thought of someone else seeing me as bad or wrong. I just couldn’t let it happen, and unconsciously designed a life that minimized that risk, which means it minimized interactions with other people. This self consciousness declined very slowly  through my late teenager years, and through my small trips it began to fall away in large chunks and now I feel very little self-consciousness. In the big picture, I know that my relatively sudden shedding of self-worry has come from a gradual accumulation of insights. I have learned too much about planet earth  and myself to continue to be so afraid of both.

But insight alone is often not enough. Life has to make its principles clear by demonstrating them to you in real time. An unfamiliar experience must act as a catalyst, illuminating your accumulated insights and leaving you with a new and unfamiliar sense of yourself. When you notice that the feeling of being you is an easier and more natural feeling than it used to be, you know you have grown.

In the case of my graduation from self-consciousness I know that the catalyst for the final untangling began at the this bikini party.."Please stay,what are you gonna do home. We gonna have fan here Ritah." “It’s not a sex party,” my friend explained, “It’s a bikini party, but sexual things may happen.” Nobody has to do anything they don’t want to do, you can leave any time, if you choose to stay past 11. This is not an orgy.Agreeing to go was quite out-of-character for me. I’d always had a policy of declining anything that entailed any risk of awkwardness. It turned out to be the most accepting atmosphere I think I’d ever been in. It felt totally okay to be who I was and act how I acted, and it felt like it had always been that way. The world seemed to get bigger. There were more places I could go. I realized I could talk to anyone, and that this had always been true.

I want other people to experience a drastic loss of self-consciousness too, but I can’t give you a bikini party, not that it’s going to be the right catalyst for everyone. A novel event like that can create such a pivotal change only when certain insights have already been realized. The discussion about how to get over self-consciousness is much larger than a single blog post — even a long one like this one — but I can at least plant what I think are the most vital seeds:

Don't Judge Others

The times in my life I’ve been most self-conscious have been the times I’ve been most judgmental of others. These two qualities seem directly tied to each other, and may even be the same thing. The more agitated I am about the actions and apparent beliefs of other people, the more I feel like they’re all judging me, they’re being unfair.At least most of the time, the feeling of being judged by others is actually caused by your judging yourself. If you think about it, you can’t actually experience the judgments of others. The only judgmental thoughts you can experience directly are your own. If you often “feel” harsh disapproval from others, I would bet you often disapprove of others with similar harshness. The more accepting you are, the more accepted you feel.
Like I said, for most of my life I couldn’t bear the thought of another person regarding me as bad or wrong. The most efficient way to avoid risking that was to interact with people as little as possible. This becomes a habit. I know now that I was so afraid of appearing bad or wrong because of how intensely I judged others for appearing bad or wrong to me.
I am convinced that for most people, learning to minimize habitual judgments of others is all they need to do to alleviate the bulk of self-consciousness and the pain of worrying what others will think of you. If you put any of these tips into practice, make it this one. It will get you most of the way.Nonjudgment is a powerful practice for personal transformation, and this becomes self-evident once you begin to experiment with it.

Value Other people's thoughts as you value yours

Understand that others have every right not to like you, and their reasons are none of your business. Almost everyone recognizes the importance of every individual’s freedom of speech, even if we don’t like what they say. Yet we somehow convince ourselves that it is unacceptable for others to even think badly of us. While there are necessary limitations to freedom of speech, (making threats for example) freedom of thought is inalienable. Others have every right to think whatever they want, and you should respect that to an even greater degree than you do freedom of speech. Nobody owes you explanation or justification for their thoughts. Thoughts do not have to be fair, sensible, or pleasant. Personal thought is utterly private territory.Furthermore, people don’t choose what thoughts they have. Thoughts happen to us like weather happens to us. Modern neuroscience tells us that we don’t actually have freedom of belief. A person cannot make himself believe whatever he wants — to truly believe something, it must feel true given what he already believes. So the beliefs we end up with are essentially predetermined by outside forces, which means you can’t logically blame people for their beliefs. We can hold people accountable for their actions, but not for their beliefs, because they never chose them.So resist the temptation to blame your Catholic grandmother for disapproving of your views on sex and relationships. It is not her fault, and it’s probably useless (and rude) to try to change her just so that you can feel like nobody sees any faults in you.The belief that you ought to worry about (and try to change) what others think requires you to believe that you actually can reliably change the views of another person. In real life this is almost impossible, and so the sooner you recognize that other people’s thoughts are off-limits to you, the sooner you will lose your anxiety about them.

Notice the Speck in your own eye

We all would rather have others laugh when we make a joke, and nod when we make a point. It feels good, and we naturally seek good feelings even if they lead us to bad places. If you get hooked on those little moments of approval, then anxiety can grow around the possibility of not getting them. The more you need approval, even in the smallest doses, the more disapproval hurts, and the more you will interpret it as a sign that there is something wrong with you.
When I grew up I quickly became addicted to regular doses of social approval. I felt that the number of these shows of approval from others (compliments, assurances, laughs and looks of admiration) made a good barometer for whether I was moving towards happiness. Disapproval was a sign that there was something wrong with me and that I need to change what I’m doing — or worse, who I am.This might make sense if we were all the same person and all valued the same things, but we’re not. There’s no reason to believe your parents’ religion makes sense for you to practice, or that you shouldn’t make art just because your friends don’t get it.You lose nothing when people don’t laugh at your joke or agree with your point. You stand to lose a lot when when you let your sense of worth depend on it. Habitual approval-seeking behavior is how you become your most awkward, painful self — by bringing visible self-doubt and neediness to every action.
Often the most gratifying achievements in our lives become accessible to us only when we knowingly expose ourselves to the disapproval of others. Still, we all develop a tendency to seek these scraps of approval like breadcrumbs, and if we’re not aware of that tendency, we follow the trail without looking where it’s going. Notice the impulse to reach for these breadcrumbs, and when you do, consciously withdraw your hand. Leave them for the birds.

Self Image is not You

We all have a self-image at any given moment in which we think about ourselves — a mental impression that represents the person you are right now. But this image is nowhere near enough information to represent a whole person, no matter how attractive or ugly it is. Images are thin and devoid of detail or possibility. Human beings are endlessly complex and dynamic. You can’t know a person by examining a momentary impression of them any more than you can know an entire country by looking at a few photos of it — even though we do it all the time, even to ourselves.
So the figure I see in the mirror, and all the peripheral thoughts that it triggers — how I feel about that guy, what I like about him and don’t like about him, what I expect will happen to him, what I wish had happened to him earlier — all that changes. It can be different at any given time. The impression I have of that image today is different to some degree from any one of the other thousands of impressions I’ve gotten from looking at him over the last thirty years. I find a different self-image every time I look for one, and that means none can be trusted.

Your self-image is constantly changing, always overemphasizing certain traits (usually its imperfections) and leaving out other parts entirely, and it always tries to come off as a reliable assessment of who you are. But it can never represent you accurately, because it’s nothing but a comparatively minuscule ball of interchangeable thoughts about your life. If you’re not your self-image, who are you then? You are the present-moment experiencer of those thoughts — and everything else in this world. You experience passing self-images in the same way you experience passing weather, passing bodily sensations, passing trends and passers-by on the sidewalk. They drift into your awareness, their appearances changing the whole while, and then they are gone and can only be remembered.
A self-image will always be unacceptable anyway. Because it’s a churning mess of emotionally-backed thoughts, it will always contain at least one aspect that doesn’t sit right with you, so there’s no way to perfect it. Do something to relieve one insecurity and another one pops up. You can spend your whole life trying to rid your self-image of aspects you don’t like and you’ll never get there. It’s designed to let you down and keep you making changes. It’s a treadmill.
Learn to expect it to be what it is: needy and impossible to satisfy, showing a different face to everyone and to every moment — an altogether inadequate representation of who you are. But expect it to be there.

 Find the like-minded

This is not a prescription to “stick to your own kind”, or to find an echo chamber where you can’t learn anything new. Rather, it means to find the people out there in the world who love what you love. Sharing a passion with another person lends you a stable source of self-esteem along with a sense of solidarity. Music people, for example, love music, and they also love music people, and specifically they love their love of music. Once you find this level of connection and solidarity with even one other person, approval from people who don’t share those values starts to feel irrelevant.Often we’re born into families, social circles, cities or even entire societies where the norms don’t feel right to us. Opposing values can lead to interpersonal friction and alienation. Nonjudgment and open-mindedness can go a long way in allowing you to find a sense of belonging even in places where you’re the eccentric one.But sometimes, if the interpersonal friction is too great, you do need to remove people from your life, or remove yourself from a particular place or social situation. It is entirely possible that no matter how nonjudgmental you become yourself, certain others will always disapprove and say so, and that their company will no longer be worth your time. For example, if your parents are staunch fundamentalists, they may never be able to accept that you are gay or that you don’t believe in God. They may never lose their need to try to make the world conform to their beliefs, and that may mean that it no longer makes sense for you to attend family gatherings any more. These can be hard decisions to make, but it doesn’t make sense to suppress your values to appease others.
Find the people who love what you love. They are out there, no matter how little you have in common with the mainstream. Human beings are built for loving, they just sometimes let certain aspects of their neediness get in the way of their ability to love — self-doubting would-be artists and intolerant parents alike.This can make a huge difference to your quality of life. Moving to another household, neighborhood, city or even country is often a relatively small price to pay for a consistently higher level of self-esteem and fulfillment. People do it all the time, and they wonder how they ever got along before. For all the personal freedoms enjoyed by members of the “first world”, most of us invest too little conscious attention in creating living situations that allow us to be fully who we are, with a real sense of freedom.

It’s hard to describe the feeling of shedding self-consciousness, but it is a physical feeling with physical habit changes. It feels like there is much less that’s off-limits to you. You find yourself less attracted to the edges of rooms. You accept more invitations. You fidget less. You stop waiting for others to do the talking. You ask for things you want. You do less hoping that others will behave a certain way. You do less hoping altogether. It no longer seems necessary.

This is one lengthy post .

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Memoirs of a Young Woman

Life is made of moments. The  moments that come and pass make life what it is. And the future is today. Today may write tomorrow's story.  This amorphous dress of mine has such beautiful colors one of the reasons as to why I bought it. I got an idea this evening,envisioning myself taking picture shots amidst a road. Fortunately as I was perusing through my albums, I landed on one of the shots.

Always a pleasure having a person like you checking out my posts.One of the ways I spend away my free 10 minutes in the course of the day.

Monday, August 19, 2013

My Multi-Tasking Top

I love color and this top just suites all those flashy colors in my wardrobe. I love it more on my red and blue pants.

Its always a pleasure having you here.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Fuller Ritah

Stripes are very photogenic with my fat polka doted free top. This is what I wore to work on Friday -9th August-2013. Enjoy 

Its always a pleasure reading from you. Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

My Braids Look

My luscious braids. Me loving my new hair do. Hair plays big good tricks on  my face.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Personal Legend

A recurring dream troubles Santiago, a young and adventurous Andalusian shepherd. He has the dream every time he sleeps under a sycamore tree that grows out of the ruins of a church. During the dream, a child tells him to seek treasure at the foot of the Egyptian pyramids. Santiago consults a gypsy woman to interpret the dream, and to his surprise she tells him to go to Egypt. A strange, magical old man named Melchizedek, who claims to be the King of Salem, echoes the gypsy’s advice and tells Santiago that it is his Personal Legend to journey to the pyramids. Melchizedek convinces Santiago to sell his flock and set off to Tangier.

When Santiago arrives in Tangier, a thief robs him, forcing him to find work with a local crystal merchant. The conservative and kindly merchant teaches Santiago several lessons, and Santiago encourages the merchant to take risks with his business. The risks pay off, and Santiago becomes a rich man in just a year.

Santiago decides to cash in his earnings and continue pursuing his Personal Legend: to find treasure at the pyramids. He joins a caravan crossing the Sahara desert toward Egypt and meets an Englishman who is studying to become an alchemist. He learns a lot from the Englishman during the journey. For one, he learns that the secret of alchemy is written on a stone called the Emerald Tablet. The ultimate creation of alchemy is the Master Work, which consists of a solid called the Philosophers Stone that can turn lead to gold, and a liquid called the Elixir of Life that can cure all ills. Santiago learns the Englishman is traveling with the caravan to the Saharan oasis of Al-Fayoum, where a powerful, 200-year-old alchemist resides. The Englishman plans to ask the alchemist the secret of his trade.

As it turns out, the caravan must make an extended stop in Al-Fayoum in order to avoid increasingly violent tribal wars taking place in the desert. There, Santiago falls in love with Fatima, who lives at the oasis. During a walk in the desert, Santiago witnesses an omen that portends an attack on the historically neutral oasis. He warns the tribal chieftains of the attack, and as a result, Al-Fayoum successfully defends itself against the assault. The alchemist gets word of Santiago’s vision and invites Santiago on a trip into the desert, during which he teaches Santiago about the importance of listening to his heart and pursuing his Personal Legend. He convinces Santiago to leave Fatima and the caravan for the time to finish his journey to the pyramids, and he offers to accompany Santiago on the next leg of his trip.

While the alchemist and Santiago continue through the desert, the alchemist shares much of his wisdom about the Soul of the World. They are mere days away from the pyramids when a tribe of Arab soldiers captures them. In exchange for his life and the life of Santiago, the alchemist hands over to the tribe all of Santiago’s money and tells the soldiers that Santiago is a powerful alchemist who will turn into wind within three days. Santiago feels alarmed because he has no idea how to turn into the wind, and over the next three days he contemplates the desert. On the third day, he communicates with the wind and the sun and coaxes them to help him create a tremendous sandstorm. He prays to the Hand That Wrote All, and at the height of the storm he disappears. He reappears on the other side of the camp, and the tribesmen, awed by the power of the storm and by Santiago’s ability, let him and the alchemist go free.

The alchemist continues to travel with Santiago as far as a Coptic monastery several hours from the pyramids. There, he demonstrates to Santiago his ability to turn lead into gold using the Philosopher’s Stone. He gives Santiago gold and sends him off. Santiago begins digging for the treasure at the foot of the pyramids, but two men accost him and beat him. When Santiago speaks to them about his dream vision, they decide he must have no money and let him live. Before leaving, one of the men tries to illustrate the worthlessness of dreams by telling Santiago about his own dream. It concerns a treasure buried in an abandoned church in Spain where a sycamore tree grows. The church is the same one in which Santiago had his original dream, and he finally understands where his treasure is. He returns to Spain to find a chest of jewels and gold buried under the tree, and plans to return with it to Al-Fayoum, where he will reunite with Fatima, who awaits him.

 The alchemist states: "Those who don't understand their personal legends will fail to comprehend its teachings". It also states that treasure is more worthy than gold.

Simple and Effortless Good Read!!!

State of Absence

I think it’s really helpful to forget you exist, and often.
It sounds impossible, but it can be done.
Here’s an exercise I do sometimes to achieve that perspective:
Wherever I am, whatever location I am in, I picture the situation exactly as it would be if I wasn’t there. I just watch it like it’s a movie, and the people still in the scene are the actors. Or maybe there’s nobody around at all, it’s just an empty corner of the world sharing a moment with itself. Whatever the scene, it feels like I’m watching it remotely from some far-off theater. It’s all still happening, but I’m not there.
I absorb myself in the details of how it looks and sounds. The characters’ tones of voice, their gestures, the room around them, the background noise. I can let it be whatever it is without any apprehension, because I’m not there, so I have no means — or reason — to stop it or control it, or to wish it was different.
And something amazing happens: all of my concerns and interests just disappear. I watch the moment unfold however it pleases. No part of me is invested in the moment, it just becomes whatever it wills to be, and it doesn’t matter what happens. The effect is exhilarating and liberating. It seems to be quite a miracle that there is even something happening at all. And it’s always, always beautiful.Think of it as dying on purpose.

Imagine you just died, right now. All of your responsibilities, relationships, plans and worries would vanish like they were never even real, and the world would go on perfectly fine without your input, just like it did before you existed. It’s nothing personal, just the plain truth.
Your hopes and worries never mattered anyway. They only appeared to be so critical because while you were alive you had the insidious (but normal) human habit of seeing things only insofar as they relate to you and your interests. 

Really, try this. Imagine you’ve died but you can still watch what happens. You can even wander around the house or the neighborhood like that. Suddenly, the spectacle of what happens is all that’s important, and how it might affect you has nothing to do with it whatsoever, because there is no you.If you can achieve that mindset of being utterly absent — and it’s not difficult — you will experience no self-consciousness, no worries, no angst, no fear. Just stuff happening. Interesting stuff. Poetic and absurd and compelling all at the same time.The sensation of “not being there” is one of utter clarity. It will feel as if you’ve dropped a weight you never knew you were carrying.

Once you get a feel for that state, you will realize how much of your everyday thoughts are not about what actually happens, but about what’s in it for you or not in it for you. Those thoughts are the source of all self-consciousness, fear, longing and existential pain.
There is no sufferer, so there is no suffering. Curiously, beauty survives.
You will find that what happens around you is always beautiful and painless if you can watch it without evaluating it against your personal interests. And that’s easy to do when you’re not there.

So die, often.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Scenes from my Weekend

I've interrupted my scheduled post to bring you some photos I took on the weekend. A few friends and I get to do these random outings. It was a day of gluttony in both meaty foods and drinks surrounded by a handful of incredible people.