Thursday, July 20, 2017

Thursday Musings: Miss Hill


In this YouTube clip, a twenty-five year old Lauryn Hill shares a ton of wisdom that's yet to heard from elders and gurus of the day. Enjoy.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Zombie, who's in your head?

"You've got to be observant and aware. FOMO is a bitch. It is subtle, it creeps up on you and if you don't nip it, it takes over, chokes your headspace and traps you in auto-pilot. You don't want to live like that."

Yea, quote me, and pay attention to the content of your inner chatter.

As seen tonight on my Facebook feed
Some of the 30-something year old unmarried women that l know have learnt fear. This is one of the claws of societal constructs that have gradually sunken into our minds, and projected insecurities and pressure on us, and we have succumbed. Subconsciously and over time, we have cultivated "behind the curve" beliefs. Beliefs that because we are not married by a certain age, we are disadvantaged: less competent, less loved, less happy, less fulfilled than our married peers and counterparts. Panic and pity have been programmed into guts as loved ones and media alike repeatedly remind us of our dwindling chances and a closing window of happiness. Or love.


The narrative is distracting, to say the least. As a collective, it misguides us into viewing ourselves and others as saviors and victims. Victims who should pine and long for Captains Save-a-Hoe, Captains Rescue-a-Damsel-from-her-singleness-which-is-the-cause-of-her-distress-and-life's-problems. These drug-like stories lull us into an altered state of consciousness. We all need to unlearn these mental playbacks, and walk free from the games that basic minds play.

Remind me that I can and will choose Love everyday over fear.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Olaoluwatodunmomilarakonitantitilailai

Here for connections that leave souls better, richer, fuller
That Great Love type of friendship that transforms people
We may never get to be 'Rumi and Shams'
And they are not my significant other, will never be
But most importantly, they give in ways that challenge and teach me to be a better human being
And today, I am undoubtedly blessed, wealthy, to have experienced such in my short journey

Thank you :*

Cheers to your long awaited Balanced Monday, Ladun! Let's bring it back baby :)

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Finals and Season Premieres

Hey B,
Mr. I-just-realized-I'm-still-in-love-with-my-ex-after-two-years
This is it
Edakun
Nobody is going to rot away like Jorah the Andal, longing for Dany in the isolation wing*
Nah, B!
Thank you for the memories
We'll take it from here
xo.

Kasa final! - 9ice's voice, or better yet, here's Abba:



*Yup! Game of Thrones is finally back today with Season 7!

For TP

Sending positive vibes to one of my friends who is hurting, and dealing with a loss at this time. Today makes a month since his mum died while fighting cancer for her life. May her soul rest in peace.

Travel Chronicles - Calgary, Alberta, Canada July 2017


Picked up these two books: Coleman Banks' The Essential Rumi, and Thich Nhat Hahn's How To Love last week at the Minneapolis airport, on my way back from Calgary, Alberta after one epic week of celebrated friendship.
Hey! Calgary was so great, I had no idea. The downtown was spacious and modern (I live in New York - I'm easily impressed by almost any other place), impressively cosmopolitan and at the same time managed to offer an old town vibe. Cowtown, as it's popularly called, was hot at this time of the year. The crowd population was youthful, diverse and showed just the right amount of busy (again, I live in New York). Nothing overwhelming, no foul smells. Haha!


Driving some 200 miles west to the Alberta countryside had breathtaking scenic views of the mountain peaks and hiking trails, gorgeous lakes. Banff National Park in the Canadian Rocky Mountains and Lake Louise were two of the spots we visited. Took a gondola ride and did a pseudo hike to the Sanson Peak - Sulphur Mountain summit, which had an observatory building at the top, and overlooked the beautiful town of Banff. Down at the base of the Sulphur mountain was the Banff Upper Hot Springs, which we swam in - and Lala's swimming trunk melted, sort of. Lol!

The weekend marked the beginning of the Calgary Stampede - an annual rodeo, exhibition and festival held every July in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. First of a kind for me, we went dressed as cowgirls and enjoyed the outdoor shows and festival food. A different kind of fun.
Activities aside, the highlight and real fun for me was the bonding time I got with my bestie - the open-hearted conversations, sleepless nights and early morning walks (so worth it) and just being together in-person through milestones. When you live in a different country and continent from your family members and friends, and rely on telecommunications to connect, only then would you know how much you live and yearn and ache for their presence.

Back in New York feeling light-hearted, centered and fulfilled, I caught up on sleep, and then poured the positive energy into a productive work week. Win-win!

Heads or Tails

If all of life is a balance, as Tao, Thầy and the East posit,
- No left or wrong without right, light without dark, fear without love, here without there
What then is the opposite of loneliness? On the other side after you've climbed out of that sunken valley, what's waiting at the top of the hill?
Who?


Until you get to the other end, stay open, soft, naked as you walk the middle
There's a spectrum in-between as the scale tips from yin to yang
Sail through the ands, worry less about the ors
Life doesn't have to be the precise outcome of a coin tossing expedition


In the middle, you will whine
You will battle your ego
You will learn strength, as you let your coverings go
There you will meet with storms will that bring you color
The spells there will give you art
They hold your stretching points where you gather yourself, shed old versions and evolve from student to master
You will ride this one out, and believe me, you will have many more until you are no more. Ha!


Get comfortable with the discomfort
You've been conditioned to fear and retreat from it
Quit wresting, rest with it
Your retreat is waiting there to follow you after you've found it
Selah!

Friday, July 14, 2017

On Coping

Those days when you just need to pull through
Not every day, but one of those low-momentum days like this one
After you've slept at the airport, feeling anxious, disappointed having lost money, and time
You need a hug, and all your friends are family are out of town or country
Tomorrow will be different, but you just need to survive today while you have it
Yoga, sushi, a warm shower and rom-com will close you out beautifully
Choose Love.

3:55am at JFK

Could someone show me the reason why this series of suspicious gragra-centric events led to my 7.45pm flight being delayed, canceled, rescheduled, rerouted, delayed another six hours and then at 1.33am canceled again?

Two police officers are interrogating some random guy who just peed openly in the middle of the waiting area.

I'm stuck at the airport waiting for 6am and sunlight and I'll be on my way home. Yawning, dancing out my sleepless crankiness as Coldplay's Magic plays in the terminal's speakers. Pained, crushed almost and wistful that I don't get to see to my host. God knows I was looking forward to this weekend trip. Heck, I was going bearing gifts. Why did it play out this way? Was I supposed to beat the odds till the end, or retreat like I'm doing?

Will we ever know? You win some, you lose some I guess. The wasted effort is killing me!

Mschew.


Sunday, July 2, 2017

Chill Vibes on Sunday

“If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.”— Lao Tzu

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Sunday vibes

Grateful for resilience
That no two days are the same
That night comes to end one, and dawn to start another

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Today

In the middle of a heart-felt conversation, my office mate asked me my age, and then went on to say, "you're probably 23, 24."
"Nope! I'm 30."
"No way, you look great! ..."

Although sometimes compliments could be suspect, I'll take this one for what it is.





Woke up this morning bursting into songs: Heart like Heaven, and No Higher Calling. Ending the day looking back at life as it was about this time last year - the roads and relationships that have led here. In between, and to this point, here, now, today was a good day.

[Edited]:
I almost missed it!

"You have a life that I'm jealous of... I miss the things I love..."
*Hian! These married people sef, clearly not having and eating cake. On the real tho, shouldn't this level of nostalgia worry us for the new dad?

"Been a while so I thought I'd reach out ... We should catch up one of these days"
*Not keen, and best believe this is all you. Do you, man. Not going out of my way to make the slightest thing happen.

"Just thought about u ... need to call you soon. I'll make sure you don't push me away..."
*The Good Lord put you in the Middle Belt for a reason. Don't be a Yoruba demon now.

"How are you doing Hun? I hope this message finds a smile on your face this beautiful morning"
*What is this? Who is your Hun?



Four! All four of them contacted me within the space of a week, and it hit me that a cycle (more like quadrant) must have completed today after Bamz's message came in. I actually journaled this shit down a few days ago after I got the first two reached out to me a day apart, and I must have felt the energy coming. By the time the third came, I called it Flame Season, and waited for the last character to show up, and lo and behold, it played out in real life. It happened, and I almost missed it. omg. Am I attracting something this period, putting out some kind of vibrations that's going out to them, while I'm just here being the king of my castle, contemplating dreadlocking my hair and moving to NYC? Then I like it. Better yet, I caught it :) More than happy to channel this into some useful places right now, man!




* my inner Lizzy McGuire responses.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Quotes: Rumi

 “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” - Rumi.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Exulansis

There has to be a word in some language for wanting change even though things are good. It's an undeniable feeling I have, and don't know the word that captures it.

Thought Catalog has this list of 40 Words For Emotions You’ve Felt, But Couldn’t Explain and Reader's Digest shares 11 Words That Capture Feelings You Didn’t Even Know You Had.

I'm on to something.
Reading about Midsummer, my heart skipped a beat thinking about winter. There has to be word for that one too!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Tiny pleasure

1:23am and finally done working on this project piece I picked up at 2pm, but didn't really get into till 4-ish. A pack of Chocolate Digestives, two slices of Pastry Garden's Bailey's cake and Death by Chocolate later, my mission is accomplished. Fulfilling! Time for sleep.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Try on all your "knives" like this

Sliding into June like:



Birthday, work anniversary, and dad's gone one year already.

Put some spotlight on the slide 
And whatever comes, comes through clear

Oshe! Summer time banger ;)

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Covfefe

May:
This month came with Cinco de Mayo, May the Fourth, the birth of a colleague's baby, finally getting out of town (the cabin fever was starting to get to me) over long weekends for quality time with family and friends and wedding parties in Atlanta and New Jersey. How lucky :)

I explored the breathtaking Storm King, mostly by tram, and made a favorite place out of it. Still on Storm King and favorites, Aziz Ansari and team did justice to the second season of Master of None. Spotlighting Storm King and parts of Italy added to my wanderlust, and ignited travel fantasies of Venice in me. In the same breath, while I was lusting after cities, an old friend was dreaming about traveling with me, and in real life, a strange woman I met at a bar on Memorial Day would tell me all about her life, her children and her Tanzanian sisters who lived in Italy.

At the job front, started out dealing with frustrations and excruciating boredom, and this past week accepted two new leadership roles. Volunteered some more in my local community and celebrated awards with high school students I mentor. Reached a 100 day streak of meditation, and the following day, ran out of hotel wifi to continue. Said yes to help when a college buddy offered to set my groceries in the fridge, and turned down invitations to participate in high profile events that held no personal value. Finished John Bradshaw's Homecoming (life changing read), wrote a ton of letters by hand and didn't mail a single one. Resolved conflicts lovingly, and turned down a couple stupid advances from confused men.

Oh yea! Can't forget this soul-shifting episode with Dr. Phil Zimbardo on the Tim Ferriss podcast: How to Not Be Evil

Overall, this was a wealthy, healthy month, however I must get back to yoga, and pick up bike riding. As June dusks in the morning, we'll look forward to welcoming variants and seizing opportunities, but tonight we close out May soaking up TED wisdom, Davido, and #Covfefe.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Press Play

Let go of your participation in frequent time travel trips to a past where you could have a chance to redo perfectly. 


What you do when you do this, you ask? 
You panic. Do you not see this? You direct your focus on keeping old events in your current pages. You pursue relevance in retrospect. In stills. You hold on to comfort zones, not wanting to have to do the work all over again. You ignore your present opportunities and gifts. You deny your present blessings. 

Even though there is no comfort here, I need you to come forth. Move on. 
Accept that today, which is the only given, you are no longer involved with each other the way you used to be. You are no longer the object of his affection, and that road has brought you here, to this place, today. 

Take your loss graciously. It takes courage, and courage you have plenty. You will evaluate where you are right now, appreciate it, and with your head held up, you will look forward. Ahead. That energy is all yours, baby. It’s your power, gather it and all of you. Purposefully channel it into your becoming. You are love. Become love. 

Now you know your pain. That soft, vulnerable place, the thought of which frightens you, and makes you unwittingly rush to protect. You are so brave, and I hold you in admiration. This one will not jail you, let it teach you. This time, you will stop fighting and surrender your ego. It's bruised, I know. Put it aside and you will be better for it. Trust me.


Sunday, May 14, 2017

Arbitrary Constant

Rain, sleepless nights from squabbling neighbors, two week long sneezing bout, steady progress with kindle reads, real skin hunger, travel planning and commitments, painful wistfulness, an epic friendship week, game night hosting, Hillsong live (whoosh!), volunteering, video calls from Ghana, designing a life, phone calls from London, a stomach virus, a tiny values victory (Weiner), a fave gym instructor quit and I cancelled my gym class membership (eek!) ...

Through it all, I am the constant.

Song for my mama - Ochie Dike



Ochie Dike (Mama) feat. Onyeka Onwenu - Phyno

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Odinani

Feels like a breadcrumb trail from an eearlier post

Wikipedia: "Chi"
How validating it is when the son of the soil comes into herself. Not only is she one with, but also from an extraordinary wealth of culture, one that is deeply-rooted in spirituality. Igbo Kwenu! Yes, the tribe is a part of me.


Evolver regardless.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Bread and Butter

Thankful that April came this way and brought with it art and advise, introspection and practice, consciousness and truth, laughter and melody, dancing and tears, allergies and homecomings, farewells and airport runs, game nights, picnics, choreography, growth and wounds, happy hours and Sunday school, healing and connection, anxiety and will-power, calmness and strength, sad news and autographed books, hard questions with answers that finally came, mentorships and referrals, help and health, lessons and teachers, contentment and longing, service and contribution, insecurities and acceptance, 5K races, and five year anniversaries.

Thankful for wealth (without a dime) of experiences, for resource of people, for soundness of mind and body, and beauty in the ordinary everyday life.

Namaste, and welcome May!

Heard Them Say

"Wisdom is tolerance of cognitive dissonance" - Robert Thurman

I heard that quote today, while listening to Adam Robinson, Joshua Waitzkin and Ramit Sethi on Tim Ferriss' podcast. The conversations from this episode, Becoming the Best Version of You left my mind exploring fresh perspectives as I listened to these four brilliant men chat in a Q & A session. As with Ferriss type interviews, the questions get personal, deep and easily go 'off-course' and back in a sort of ramble - and that meta-banter, by the way, I find is usually precious. Case in point, one of the times when the discussion would veered off-course, one of the men talked about how authenticity was the most important thing for him, or another time, one talked about timing, and his 30 year-old being ready to finally accept or integrate truths he had stumbled on and ignored in the past. "Things just changed, and by the time I was 30, I was ready for it... I don’t think it's the right time in my life. As I get older, I will become more ..." The sidebars were about business, and spirituality, love, and authenticity, and so much more.


In this phase of my life where the slightest mention of "conscious" pricks up my ears, this episode was in many ways like a cool drink of water for my thirsty soul. Some parts of the conversations resonated with me, many parts I heard for the first time, and at the show's end, I was researching topics for myself. That for me is the beauty and power of questions, and when it's done right, like Ferriss does really well, it's valuable to the questioner, panel/interviewee, and the participant if only an active listener. Everybody wins.

This one plus hour long discussion touched on a number of topics, and I recommend giving it a listen. Some thoughts that stood out for me touched on:

- Competing from the inside out

- Evolving from fighter to nurturer (I love this so much!)

- Some advice you think the happiest version of your 80 year-old self would give you now

- Rumi

- Programmatic nature of humans

- Authenticity

- Being at your best when opponents were at their worst

- Optimizing the basics, as opposed to majoring in the minors of life

Rumi quotes from Google Search


My post-podcast quest for enlightenment got me thinking and trying to define Character for myselfwhich eventually led me to the gem in this Art of Manliness entry: What Is Character? Its 3 True Qualities and How to Develop It. There are certain wavelengths of consciousness that one gets exposed to and is unable to retreat because the impact is indisputable. Like they say, once you know, you know, and there's no going back to blissful ignorance. Or as Alice Hoffman puts it, “once you know some things, you can't unknow them. It's a burden that can never be given away.” Yes indeed, a burden like an inconvenient truth that sets a fire in your stomach, and the workaround really is to light a torch and do right.



Having said all that, remind me to be on the lookout for Sebastian Junger's documentaries.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Quotes: Mark Twain

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear—not absence of fear.” - Mark Twain
And as C. S. Lewis puts it, this "courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.”

User feedback: Amazon

Amazon.com must have rolled out this feature today, because I bought a book yesterday and this definitely wasn't displayed anywhere on the web page. Or was it there and I didn't notice?

Newly added feature prompts users to add items to registry for wedding or baby

Amazon, We the Users say thanks o, for the largeness of heart. Weaving the need to populate a wedding or baby registry into the platform's feature is considerate for some users, maybe even preemptive for others. However, give the control back to users, especially so they have the option of disabling the feature, if it doesn't suit - lifestyle or layout preferences.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Breezy like Sunday evening



With the storms passed, and milestones reached, the release and the gratitude come rolling in. Smiling through the tears, the heart and soul break into song: at your best, you are Love.


Saturday, April 22, 2017

N.E.R.D

AskMen Interview with Pharrell Williams


Here and now, thoughts of my dad's words, personality, and ideals are actively on my mind. And even though I thought I'd forgotten parts of my childhood, I realized that I've designed my bathroom tiles with coins, just like he had done with his, before I was even five.

No one ever really dies. In essence, personal identity is not bound by one's body alone, but also by their values, ideas, and character even, which go on to outlive the bodies that temporarily "house" them.

Amen.

Questions Come to You

"Is God a separate personality from the human experience?"

When he was alive, pantheist dad would say time and again, "God is man to man."
Or "man is God to man," wasn't it?
This time, theist daughter considers the gravity in these words, because this is true of her experience:
the blurred lines between divinity and humanity.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

"Chemical missbalance"

Is it not amazing how hearing those simple words, "I Miss You" could change your state of mind in an instant, and put the strength of the recovery you claim to test?

Ah! Hormones.

So what was the verdict? Did she progress or is she standing still? Because either way, she is a-okay.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Signal-to-Noise

At some point in life, quotes go from simply having intellectual value - mere wisecracks, quips with a nice ring, to being what you know to be Truth - your truth that echoes your human experience. Just like the fountain of honey oozing out of this here beehive, dripping down the sides of my mouth, my soul, and running down my elbows:

"Whatever is rejected from the self, appears in the world as an event.”  – Carl Gustav Jung.

This Jung quote posits that whatever you can’t resolve must repeat itself. It's a prompting to do work: take the time, hold a candle to your soul, let down your guard, and do that work. Take the tautology for double emphasis. Especially now, with the rise of attention merchants scrambling for headspace, now when "mindshare" is a valuable resource, filter out the unwanted signals and tune in to the frequency of your own higher calling.

Monday Night Soul Food

That I feed the beggar – that I forgive an insult – that I love my enemy in the name of Christ – all these are undoubtedly great virtues. What I do unto the least of my brethren that I do unto Christ. But what if I should discover that the least amongst them all – the poorest of all beggars – the most impudent of all offenders – yea the very fiend himself – that these are within me? And that I myself stand in need of the arms of my own kindness. That I myself am the enemy that must be loved. What then?  

Then, as a rule, the whole truth of Christianity is reversed. There is then no more talk of love and long suffering. We say to the brother within us: "Raca," and condemn and rage against ourselves. We hide him from the world. We deny ever having met this least among the lowly in ourselves. And had it been God himself who drew near to us in this despicable form, we should have denied him a thousand times before a single cock had crowed.
- Carl Jung, in Memories, Dreams, Reflections.

I can confidently call this church. Amen.

Quotes: Alan Watts

"Manure is contributive to the perfume of the rose"  - Alan Watts, on Carl Jung.

#NationalHaikuPoetryDay

Get home from work
Pour self a drink
Pour self back into work

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

mis-hype-ship

Let the newbies know not to believe the hype. Let them know early on that there's no such thing as a perfect life. Neither is there any fanciness about getting work done. Be the one to tell them to curb those parts of their enthusiasm.

Hump Days, Cycles and a New York minute

After a flowery three months of hosting, one must get used to solo living all over again. Or not.

Spring is here, and spring is blazing hot! We've gone from heating to air conditioning, and I ain't complaining.

Last thing I read in the news: New York state governor signed tuition-free college for middle class families into law. And New York state's Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam was found dead today in the Hudson River.

Wait, how often do I touch on New York in my posts? Is this becoming a thing?

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Useless Virtue

Useless virtue
If you follow(ed) Maya Angelou's work, you might recall her use of those words in an interview (linked below) where she said, "... try to live your life in a way that you will not regret, years of useless virtue and inertia and timidity." 

Useless virtue
If this oxymoron conjured an image of a vicious Sisyphean cycle, then you are in good company. One would reckon that the use of these two words in stark juxtaposition must be the point that Maya tries to make. Let's use the resources that we are and have been given to fulfill our [souls'] purpose.

Just Do Right - Dr. Maya Angelou (YouTube)

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Amendments

Last night, I saw the documentary "13th" on Netflix, (thanks to the recommendations embedded with machine learning), and then today I read in the news that New York City will close the Rikers Island jail facility.

Ava DuVernay is doing remarkable, courageous, progressive and important work that humanizes pressing (and maybe even suppressed, repressed) social and economic issues, which might in context be a US issue, however, one comes away with a changed perspective about the human nature. Seeing the documentary will leave the viewer with a strong awakening, a burden, and dozens, if not hundreds, of search engine queries over the next 24 hours. DuVernay's body of work presents a wide array of information - people, policies, history, systems, that some would hear about for the first time. As it shifts mental paradigms, it will color thoughts, texts and conversations, and leave the owner of this newly gained insight with a responsibility to keep wake, stay curious and relentlessly do their own work.

Also timely is the Kalief Browder story currently airing in a docuseries on Spike TV. Finding out that Jay Z is one of the film's executive producers should spark ideas around conscious capitalism, and rekindle the conversation on putting one's money where one's heart is. Where is your heart? Of all social issues that face us, what burdens/bothers you the most? How do you respond?

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Woman Must Wack, Work and Work Out

Cherish the rare days like today, a Tuesday that kept you at the office late. You manage to ditch the craziness briefly, dash to the gym to squeeze in a half hour of cardio, and take the remaining work to your home. You get home to see momma done cooked: freshly made Egusi soup and Pounded Yam! The woman put gizzard, chicken, beef shank inside the soup. Even salmon and shrimp entered the equation. Ha! Protein shake kini? I dived right in and cleaned out the plates. I kuku hit the treadmill before the meal, so that one already absolved my conscience in advance from any possible pricks :)

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Ethnic music: The Playmaker




Ezege!


You will know the joy of listening to music you don't understand. The Playmaker by Phyno, is one piece of art that reeks of hard work. Twenty tracks in all, the melodies project a diverse culture and the beauty of Ibo language, as it creatively imbibes a hiphop flow, with raw talent spread atop tastefully mastered instrumentals and upbeat vibes. The collaboration with artists like P-Square, TuBaba, Burna Boy makes for good variety. In a remake of her hit song Ochie Dike, Onyeka Onwenu also lends her golden voice to The Playmaker. 

If one gets to skip three out of twenty tracks, then by many standards, that's way above average. It might be too early to label this album a classic, but I sure hope Phyno is around for a long time.
The Playmaker is currently getting heavy rotation and a lot of attention from me. It has me jamming and grooving like a villager every time. 042 kwenu!

In a State of Gragra

My sedan survived a super sticky Storm Stella situation
Seasons change, and snowstorms tone your back muscles, arms and rotator cuffs ... when you shovel your sedan out from underneath a heap of snow, two feet high. Maybe no one told you this, but you unwittingly sign up for meteorology when you live in a city that has seasonal changes. Your trunk is half full of tools - essential snow equipment that you once thought only farmers owned. This week, we the North have ushered in the first days of Spring.

I'm preparing to run a 5K this Spring. It's also what you enjoy and do as a Northeasterner.

I realized some gragra in my life that must be let go of. Resisting, spinning the wheels as lessons wait to be complete(d). Only you can hold you back.

It's the year of Love and Work, and I ask, "In what order?"

Monday, March 20, 2017

Quotes: Pema Chodron

“Nothing you are currently experiencing will ever fully disappear until you learn the lesson it was sent to teach you” – Pema Chodron

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Love Love (like New York New York?)

Be, in love. Stay in love. Do love. Live days, moments in love. Spend self in love. Become love. Be love. Love love. Add love to intentions. Have love.

What it is:

  • Patient
  • Kind

What it does:

  • Keeps no record of wrongs
  • Rejoices with the truth
  • Always protects
  • Always trusts
  • Always hopes
  • Always perseveres

What it doesn't do:

  • Envy
  • Boast
  • Dishonor others
  • Delight in evil

What it is not:

  • Proud
  • Self-seeking
  • Easily angered

"If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing."
1 Cor 13:1-13

Love is my muse this morning. Must be love on the brain.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Between the Hype and the Bucket List

Q: Wait, did I say before that ads were overrated?
A: Yes, then comes the but.

This week has been a most awesome week of my life! I have to say that because it is true.
I realized one of the reasons I was born to this woman that is my mother, and why I live in NY at this time. TIME. My name is Time.
I swear I didn’t choose NY, I only said yes when it asked me. I'll leave out some details for my journal. But overall, I am grateful for Providence that allowed me to fulfill a major milestone for my mum this week.



During this period, I got to spend some time with my older siblings, and the quality was unprecedented. Had conversations, some first time, about childhood memories, careers, goals, philanthropy, politics, life, college life, music, Dad. Together, we went sightseeing, grocery shopping, hospital visiting, flower and card picking. Road tripping to Harlem and taking walks back and forth the boulevards named after MLK, Frederick Douglass, and St. Nicholas back together, making Instagram videos, eating from food trucks , and taking airport selfies. Or "groupies." It was a healthy practice, and I was happy to have them all in my home, even though it meant giving up some comforts, sleeping on the couch, pushing my schedule around to accommodate theirs.



And then the media buzz! My road to Hollywood had to explode this week as well, and I ain't mad! What a heady rush. I’m watching ABC with mum on a cool Thursday evening and I pick the remote to flip the channel, but just before I succeed, who comes up on the screen? ME! It was one of the TV ads I filmed about six weeks ago for the New State government. Heady stuff, I know. There are quite a few of them, and in this one I caught on air, I was at a bar, clapping my hands and heart off in an ovation for the band Failed Startup, who’s jazzing away entertaining the crowd. w00t! There’s no taking the wind out of my sails this week, men. What happened next was: glowing pride, prayers and love from mum, calls from old toasters (imagine), emails from peers and senior colleagues, IMs, newsletters, texts from mentors, Whatsapps, people swinging in my office asking for autographs. "Congratulations!" "You were on CNN this morning!" "I saw you last night on FOX News" "I was watching CNBC and saw your ad ..." "Did I just see you on TV" "Babe, you're famous in Canada!" ... Lol! What a trip. 

This wasn't even on my bucket list. Lol! Since being on national TV was not a goal for me, I can't claim any accomplishment. But it happened, and it was a mind blowing experience that I'm thrilled and thankful for. Bookmarking the Youtube clips (which are different from the versions adapted for TV) with this post.

Bottoms up, to youth while we have it!
Alowo ma jaiye

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Not a leap year

Closing out this eventful 28-day month of February on a pleasant note.
Who wouldn't? Wasn't it this February that I negotiated the two parking tickets on my windshield, from 50 to 13 bucks? lol!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

One Will Take Care Of You

I was at my job place at 11am, feeling grateful for the flexibility to have taken my mum to the hospital and back - during my work hours. Grateful that the responsibilities of my choices to be a daughter and employee did not have to be mutually exclusive, and today they were not.

Being present and engaged with my mum through her medical exams and doctor's visits - which we've been doing over the last five weeks, left me feeling centered. I relish the not too many simple moments of intimacy in our unique mother-daughterhood. Like yesterday, when we walked to the diagnostics lab, and she thanked me in the middle of a casual conversation for being, in her words, so caring. And today in her mother tongue, when she called me “ebie roba” and reminded me of some conversations she had in the past with my dad. When any of her seven kids was being problematic and stressing her out, she would complain to him and his response would be, “Don’t worry, one will take care of you,” I heard that story for the first time, and I laughed. "I am happy and here to serve you," I told her, "and I will always take care of you." All of us together will take care of her.

Rest of the day rolled out with pockets of good vibes:
- Lala's off to Vegas - and I actually skipped when I saw her airport check-in (wink!).
- I had one of those flow states where I do really productive work at the job, and give my mind and skills towards achieving timely business results.
- And of course, short meetings. w00t! 

Left the office at close of day practically walking on sunshine, as the evening was a gorgeous 68F and warm. As I drove from the office to the gym, I karaoked to The Weeknd with my windows rolled down. I feel it coming babe! Yes! I made my body work hard for an hour, doing cardio and dumbbell reps, and somehow managed to settle in bed by 8pm, with Zadie's White Teeth novel. And yes, I thought I'd squeeze in a post since the day was a tad too young to end at 8pm. It's now two plus hours and a blog post later, and I'm going back to Zadie - who by the way will be holding a book reading in my neck of the woods sometime soon.

I've lived thirty versions of February 23rd, and to the best of my memory (or Swarm check-ins), none of them were as remarkable a day as today.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

sem·per fi·de·lis

semper fi: always faithful

What a powerful phrase.

Quotes: Archilochos

“We don't rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.” ― Archilochos

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Before it makes you hard

It was never about the weather.
The whole time it was about you:
Your becoming.
It was about getting comfortable with being uncomfortable,
Facing and embracing challenges and coming up better.
You're becoming.

This winter saw me shrugging off snow storms with nonchalance, singing cheerily as I headed home from work in the thick of two terribly cold and windy Nor’easters.
I remember last winter. It was my first real one as I had just become a New Yorker then. When the seasons changed and winter fell, it struck both my body and self esteem so hard that it left me sulking for days, losing sleep, joy and motivation, feeling stuck, overanalyzing my life and counting each of the days left till spring. I must have been something of a hybrid between a wet puppy and a deflated peacock.

This time, this second time around, it's way colder than last and even previous years, but I don't fuss. I don't remember to. I'm in the thick of hosting my family members for the first time, creating new memories, and appreciating the moments we have together. I have different priorities and sensibilities. But don't be deceived - a girl, this girl will still fly off to California, in a heartbeat.

If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. Now I know.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Saudade

This was the weirdest and my favorite page
While traveling last week in Portland, OR, I went to Powell's City of Books. It's a local bookstore with a huge supply (four floors?) of books both new and used. Very impressive spot. As some books were already in transit from Amazon to my apartment, finding out that Portland (and the state of Oregon) had no sales tax gingered my whim and I ended up buying three books from the store. Two oldies: The Light and The Dark by C.P. Snow, Kiss As Many Women As You Can by Franki Elliot & Shawn Stucky, and the new one was Zadie Smith's novel White Teeth. As I flew back home, I read Elliot's Kiss As Many Women As You Can and the book was a total delight. The simplicity of the writing style and the genuineness of the content did it for me.

55th and 1st


Of monkeys and coconut heads
In a virtual place somewhere between 55th and 1st, 
Having asked for forgiveness, and the next time for trust 
Then he said, “I was always around ... I will always be here"

He's back here, making her Netflix movie recommendations
Here where? And her?
She says she's braver now, and I believe her
When she said so, I saw this new side of her that I admire
Yea, and as she talked about him, I peeped her heart jumping for joy.

Holstee

If you could come up with your own Holstee manifesto, what would your lines say?
Holstee Manifesto Poster via Holstee.com

Picking Brains over Noses

“Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up, too.” - Isabel Allende.

Bookmarking, reposting the 117 gems from this Brainpickings article by Maria Popova titled, "Timeless Advice on Writing: The Collected Wisdom of Great Writers, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Didion, Sontag, Vonnegut, Bradbury, Orwell, and other literary icons."

Friday, February 10, 2017

Mantra and Practice

"I am very patient and kind, never jealous or envious, never boastful or proud, never haughty or selfish or rude. I do not demand my own way. I am not irritable or touchy. I do not hold grudges and will hardly even notice when others do me wrong. I am never glad about injustice, but I rejoice whenever truth wins out. When I love someone, I will be loyal to him no matter what the cost. I will always believe in him, always expect the best of him, and always stand my ground in defending him.

All the special gifts and powers from God will someday come to an end, but love goes on forever."
Adapted and personalised from The Living Bible, I Corinthians 13.

Today I am not irritable or touchy even when I might get those feelings.
I am Love, and Love is my practice.
All the things that Love is not, I won't become.
Happy Friday!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Meeting: Grady Booch

I met an intelligent man at a conference for women. He had shared a lunch table and a conversation with me, and when he introduced himself, I heard his name but I didn't know who he was beyond that moment. Made good small talk, exchanged contacts and kept in touch one time after the conference ended. And about a year later (and this past weekend), I would find out that the man was a legend: BOOCH himself. The Grady Booch!

Wikipedia describes him as "an American software engineer, best known for developing the Unified Modeling Language (UML) with Ivar Jacobson and James Rumbaugh. He is recognized internationally for his innovative work in software architecture, software engineering, and collaborative development environments."

How about that for a delayed star-"struckedness."

Sunday Reads this Sunday

I am bent on satisfying these two curiosities in my free time time:
  • Learning to play chess. Intrigued by the game and the characters, and simultaneously want to improve simple skills that require decision-making and strategic thinking.
  • Learning to ask questions. I think that questioning when done right is an art, a life skill and a high level form of thinking with a lot of potential to uncover paths that would otherwise not be explored.
But remember, there's no such thing as free.

While (wo)men sleep, some are awake and onto something. Jessica Yellin's op-ed in the New York Times from this weekend quotes Ted Turner to have said about the CNN he no longer owned, ““quarterly earnings obsessed” corporate owners would not have the same priorities because “the emphasis instantly shifts from taking risks to taking profits.”All this was about one thing, and it’s not better journalism. It’s bigger profits. Insiders have reported that CNN made more than $1 billion gross profit in 2016, at least $100 million more than the company projected. While CNN made its numbers, it missed the story.””
Full article: How to Save CNN From Itself, Yellin J., (2017, Jan 26), The Opinion Pages, New York Times.

Meanwhile, in some parts of northern Nigeria, some women die daily. Some of these women - children, forced out of their childhood, are giving birth to children, abducted, raped, rendered orphans, and experience unfathomable levels of torment in the hands of insurgents. In today's Sunday Review for the New York Times, Stephanie Sinclair, photojournalist and humanitarian, puts faces, sounds and videos to the human stories and experiences.
Full article: Child, Bride, Mother: Nigeria Sinclair S., (2017, Jan 29), Sunday Review, New York Times.

Discovering: Douglas Rushkoff

"Program or Be Programmed"

Lori said that in conversation today at the local tech meetup where we were volunteering, welcoming guests. Resonating immediately with recent ruminations I've had, I asked, "Where's that from?"

Douglas Rushkoff.

In the six hours that Lori and I worked together, I learnt a great deal. Not only did she march on Washington this time last week with the other hundreds of thousands of women, but she was immensely resourceful, quick witted and had a strong personality that I would not easily forget. I'd later run a quick search on Rushkoff's work and connect with his material (list of books) . Aha! Another bright mind to tribe with. It's been ten hours since I picked the first material and I'm still reeling way past Sunday midnight.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Program and Pun

Definitions from Google
TV Programs, Computer Programs, Radio Programs, Government Programs.

Program (verb): to provide (a computer or other machine) with coded instructions for the automatic performance of a particular task.
Program (noun) - a series of coded software instructions to control the operation of a computer or other machine.

Who is programming us?
Program us.
Programmus.
Programmers.
And who programs the programmer?

Program me.
Programmy.

Suscription.
Subscriber.
Subscribe.
Scriber.
Scribe.


Know where you are you in the grand scheme sequence?


P.S. One of the posts left unedited in my drafts for about a month, until today when I found a tribesman with similar thoughts. Details going up in the next post.

First Week, First Days

Barely a week in, the spanking new P0TUS is doing a lot of hell raising and wielding his executive orders like a grim reaper's scythe.
From Muslim Ban to Women's Wars, one wonders where the country is headed.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Boy Talk

Over turkey brie paninis and potato wedges and omelettes, I lunched with the guys at work today, casually talking about about everything from algorithms to recent stock market payouts - who lost on payday and who won big. I learnt that my friends weren't watching stock from a particular industry, and when I asked why, one of the three said, "I don't like how they make their money ... "
In summary, the rest of the conversation left me feeling impressed with "them boys" and validated about my recent thinking and position.

Let your "weird" out, you're never alone.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

On Social Business

You're a young professional hoping to live out your dreams. You've worked hard for your money, and you've had the good sense and discipline to save it. At some point, you think about financial growth. What are some of your options where return on investment is guaranteed?

You don't need to stretch your mind that far. As bonds, stock options in publicly traded companies come to mind, you consider for the first time what you're asking your resources to do, and what goals or missions you're choosing to facilitate, by way of extending your money and investing in these companies. What would it look like if socially minded businesses were also thriving in the ranks of Fortune 500s? What would it look like to invest in the public corporations whose work you believed in, and yet still get the social and financial rewards?

Sometimes quality matters as much as quantity, if not more. With normative investment, financial gain is the motive. Take public amenities for example, and compare by demographics. A simple search to see what types of business establishments dominate low income communities, and the quality of services offered, is an exercise that's guaranteed to change one's perspective. If unable to make real-life observations, maybe start from here. As you question the rationale behind some of these investments, you can't help but ask: would markets be profitable if more businesses would invest and cater to (meeting) higher needs? While certainly not downplaying the role of commerce in economic development, could there also be incentives to invest in the lasting social development?

In whose interest?
In an era where the emphasis is on maximizing shareholders' interests at the expense of the people whose interests these companies claimed to serve/service, what if the shift, and funds moved? Like from erecting obesity-laden food establishments in "underserved" communities to ones that really promoted the well being of the served? That just made me think deeply of the term underserved. Installing public amenities that foster systems to program success through peer development. How would the game change if that were the norm? Where mainstream investment companies, brokers, and media promoted IPOs of companies who wanted to pitch and launch conscious ideas to investors. Where these organizations were not relegated to 501(c)(3)'s as per usual but were really set up to thrive financially.

"Patient capital" will fuel and enable that kind of work, the kind that does not demand immediate financial reward. The kind of work that seeks to improve the quality of people's lives and facilitate their states of consciousness. A realist knows that money is not evil. Not only do you need money to get by, but there's also much good to do with it. Sounds so idealistic now, even though it really should not. After all, isn't it all programming?

Two Words

"Conscious Capitalism" should not be an oxymoron ...

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Hanlon's Razor

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity."

Trigger

How do you miss a human being this f*cking much?
Where am I on the bell curve for getting over them?
Am I not there yet?
Why did a single picture change my state and make my heart skip a thousand beats?
Wasn't I recovering already?
Why are all the landmarks in my neck of woods now coming off as mementos?
What, do I have to move away to really move on?
Argh! This is hard.

Sunday Tenet



"Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect." - Mark Twain.

Virtues and Vices

Art wins, always.
Art never fails.
It's obscure and pointless parables, until you know.
And when you know, boom!
You know.



Saturday, January 21, 2017

Poetry: “I Am Not I”

I am not I.
              I am this one
walking beside me whom I do not see,
whom at times I manage to visit,
and whom at other times I forget;
the one who remains silent while I talk,
the one who forgives, sweet, when I hate,
the one who takes a walk when I am indoors,
the one who will remain standing when I die.

by Juan Ramón Jiménez, “‘I Am Not I’” 
Source: All Poetry

The GoodHead

Two heads are better than one,
Maybe.
But one is good,
Surely better than none.

A Stand and A March

Remarkable day overall, (well) spent in the emergency room with the mother, talking between CAT scans and ultrasounds, about love and (re)marriage, health and history, food and politics. Amazed and proud of the collective that gathered today across the US and the world, taking a stand in solidarity with marching women. This was a movement, in it's literal sense. Again, history happening in my time, in my day!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Conversations with the mother

Not a single day has passed since my mum came visiting me without us having at least one conversation about politics. Spent the evening of yesterday talking about the civil war in Syria - about how it had gone on for so long - six years this March, and how innocent lives were affected, families displaced, lost, killed and all the tragedy that had become people's realities. For my mum, the impact had really hit home when she saw Alan Kurdi, the the young Syrian boy who was pictured washed up on a Turkish beach. It's insane and a shame, to say the least, to realize that in 2017 with all the global level progress and achievements of this modern day, this level of unrest is still happening. Not the war stories from my parents or historians, this is happening right now, today, in my day! A strange feeling washed over me and I realized what a privilege, often and easily overlooked, it was to know peace and safety, security and political stability every waking moment. Can you even begin to imagine what it would be like for you, you who once tasted and knew 'freedom', moved up the Maslow pyramid, and then have it all snatched away leaving you hanging on for dear life? Sigh.

As I enjoy these blessings, remind me that it's not given for my benefit only or to foster complacency. Remind me to put myself out there and serve. That I have the capacity, and I am enough to serve and work for the greater good. I was reminded of this today, while I attended a breakfast event that's held annually in the states across the US, in honor of Dr Martin Luther King Jr. The event honored an inclusive initiative which was a football pitch created for handicapped kids to enjoy safe recreation. Two local high school students who displayed excellence in academics and service were also honored with MLK awards, and with scholarships to support their dreams. Being in attendance woke me up to a service orientation, that you've got to serve from who you are and with what you've got. And that you've always got something: a voice or a position - silence, sitting, standing. Being in attendance illuminated me with MLK's work and his legacy, and it struck me how people would come together to keep the fire alive. To keep lighting and waking others up.

"I was arrogant, narcissistic, caught up in the culture of winning."

Society, to a great extent is structured (or constructed) in a way that incites and incentivizes vices, when it has the option to denigrate and curtail even. It would rather reward avarice and continue to breed vicious cycles that ultimately "profit" no one. At this MLK breakfast, an introductory clip of the guest speaker Bill Whitaker played back an interview with Marty Stroud a US prosecutor, and Whitaker. Stroud would admit on air to profiling and sentencing an innocent man Glenn Ford to death row. The quote in the preceding paragraph was his explanation of the rationale, behind his conviction that a conviction would boost his career. Stroud went on to a successful legal career, and Ford would become one of the country's longest-serving, death row inmates. Even though Ford was exonerated after 30 years on death row, he was diagnosed with lung cancer shortly after his release, and lived for a few months. Deeply moving narrative (link for video and transcript). While one man was damaged physically - health, career, economically and ultimately disadvantaged, the other lives with the guilt, "a hole" he was heard saying, and the burden till he dies. If we all lived true to our calling, we'd all be better for it. Better collectively.

Hours after the breakfast had nourished my body, and the melodies from the local jazz band had soothed my soul, I sat back for a while and just soaked up all that light. And then at 12.03pm, [mum and I sat in the living room, watching and listening to the YouTube livestream as] Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States. ...

[Updated]

Monday, January 16, 2017

Spotlight: The Equality of Opportunity Project

The Equality of Opportunity Project is a research by Profs. Chetty, Hendren, and Katz, whom by these studies make the case that living in good neighborhoods contributes to upward mobility later in life. The project uses big data to identify new pathways to upward mobility.
  
Below are non-technical summaries of Papers. Full details at equality-of-opportunity.org
  • The Fading American Dream: Trends in Absolute Income Mobility Since 1940: PDF
  • The Effects of Neighborhoods on Intergenerational Mobility I and II: Childhood Exposure Effects and County-Level Estimates: PDF
  • Childhood Environment and Gender Gaps in Adulthood: PDF
  • The Effects of Exposure to Better Neighborhoods on Children: New Evidence from the Moving to Opportunity Experiment: PDF
  • Is the United States Still a Land of Opportunity? Recent Trends in Intergenerational Mobility: PDF
  • Where is the Land of Opportunity? The Geography of Intergenerational Mobility in the United States: PDF 



Challenge Up

Years ago, a writing peer from college suggested taking my personal views out when I wrote an article. Now that I think about it, I realize that means real work. Real journalism work - objective, grueling, meticulous, gradual, and in the end fully baked. Well, I blog, which for me serves the exact opposite of all those adjectives. Blogging for me is somewhere on a scale between safe and half-assed, where one slides into a leisurely comfort zone with little expectations or effort. No emphasis on hunting, discovery and refinement, just borderline lazy - and I'm having too much 'fun' with this. As writer Ta-Nehisi Coates put it, "The baker can't simply live for the look of amazement on the faces of those who behold his latest creation. There has to be some joy in actually baking the cake." Discovery, Coates writes, should be a process, not simply an end goal.

Do I really need want to up my game? *Groans*