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The Time Value…

as the year is coming to an end i feel so compelled to once more reevaluate the question of time.

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I watched some movies in recent times that really got my mind spinning and I liked the vagueness and hollow it created in my mind such movies raised my thoughts into some transcendental dimensions that seem to be confusing my understanding of all things I thought were normal. These movies; Interstellar, Coherence, Alice through the looking glass, Arrival and Passengers have created in me a very strange relationship with time that I am unable to put into words now- it’s more of a feeling. With a renewed interest in this dimension of reality I took up a little reading and I came across an article on time from the Encarta encyclopedia and a portion of it read that “Physicists agree that time is one of the most difficult properties of our universe to understand.  Although scientists are able to describe the past and the future and demarcations such as seconds and minutes, they cannot define exactly what time is”. Since I want to equally spur your mind into the thought process that has engaged me of recent I will suggest that you check out these movies and articles on time especially from the works of Galileo, Newton, Einstein and to get introduced into the various measurements and determination which include: solar time, standard time, sidereal time, dynamical time and atomic time. Whichever fascinates you, I think time, in all of its facets fundamentally borders on duration and expanse of events, span of existence and period of relative value. Around these we develop our linear understanding of past, present and future, we interpret, analyze, and predict, we classify civilizations into different eras, we differentiate legendary from history and on and on time constantly acts as a deciding factor in human language, transactions, schedules and interpretation of happenings in the universe. Conventional parlance has so much to say about time such as time heals, time waits for no one, time is money, time is a friend to no one, and a lot more.

I am yet to lay my hands on a very promising 1988 book of Stephen Hawkings titled A Brief History of Time and its 1992 documentary film directed by Errol Morris. Access to these materials would have opened me up into fresh perspectives and maybe even shape my expressions much better and so that I can communicate more sensibly what is really going through my mind.

The summary of all I have learned so far is that time is not a physical constant because there have been proves of time dilation and contraction. In lay man terms it simply means that time can be fast in some regions of realities and slow in some other regions due to earth’s rotation, motion and gravity. For example someone can travel into the outer space and because of strong gravity, will then travel very much faster in time just to return to earth many many years into the future whereby his granddaughter has become a great grandmother while he is still the same age as he left probably just spent some couple of months out there. The implication of the relativity, complexity and fluidity of time is that the human person must question once more the value of his schedules, programs, calendar and set goals to be achieved within a given period of time. The human society must once again reevaluate her tempo of activities and what it considers to be on time and late what it considers as past or present or future and once more how it generally relates with time. Since there is no universal clock at the center which all other clocks must synchronize to, it is safe to assume that time is a concept and not a given and as such it becomes relevant because of its existential value upon which many references are made such as rites of passage and maturity, history and precedence with their predictable consequences.

My mind is fascinated also by the words of the Holy Bible where God is quoted to have said that his ways are not ours and his thoughts not ours also for a thousand years are like a single day and a single day like a thousand years come and gone not more than a watch in the night. I don’t know if the writer of this text knows about black holes and stars and planets as much as Stephen Hawking and Einstein know but there is treasure in those words that makes us glimpse into our curiosity and the awesome mystery in the dimensions of time vis-a-viz the Christian claim that there is a God that is not bound by time- in fact he is the Lord over time and willfully shapes time.

What then should be the proper relationship with time? Since while it is day in one part of the world it is night in another, or while it is just a minute in one sphere of the universe it could be ages in another; how should we perceive and relate with time?

For me I think this calls for more appreciation of the mysteries in the world and again the less of the pressure we put ourselves in due to the feeling that time is elapsing and we are running out of it. I for one think that the tempo the world is moving is so fast that we have little time to enjoy the little moments that really reconnect us to our truer human nature. The ideals of love, family, friendship, music, art, are constantly sacrificed on the altar of temporal success which is characterized by rush hour traffic, hourly wage, high speed computers, target goals, fast food and the many other prices we pay for the pace at which we are moving. For instance it is the fact that a person may feel like a failure simply because he or she has not achieved a set goal at an expected time scheduled; I am not yet married, I had hoped to be a CEO at this age, my life is crashing because I have little time left.

The ultimate relationship with time must be that of accountability, responsibility on the grounds that there are real consequences to the choices we make today and now. This relationship is built on the fact that what we do or not do today will definitely serve as a precedence as a cause factor as a reason and even a reference tomorrow. Another important relationship with time must be that of wonder at the mystery and the awesome nature of this reality which should open up our minds to the truth that we may never get to wrap our heads around every observable reality. The most practical relationship with time I think should be the ability to appreciate the present; the willingness and discipline to be in the moment and the gratitude of enjoying the little, the chatter; the laughter; the scent of spring; the heat of the summer, the now!

The ultimate time that confronts the human person is the reality of death and this explains the strife to achieve and accomplish because time is running out or more truly because death is approaching. This is echoed in our daily language as we say ‘make hay while the sun is still shining’. This reality must therefore spur us into prioritizing those things that really matter those things that are not subject to time and corruption those things that are eternal such as justice, love, peace, charity, kindness. We must hurry not to amass and gather but we must hurry to learn how to live truly how to smile and how to breathe in freshness and positivity that is translated into cordial sensitivity and mutual respect for if we measure the value of our time only on material success then we will come to the sad realization at the end of our time that time can never be enough because there will always be more to achieve there will always be more to discover, more theories to formulate and more inventions.

The value of time is to open us to our limitedness to our emptiness and powerlessness before something so common yet so powerful. With trains and buses at the stations, with flights, with the constancy of seasons, with malls and curriculum, with business meetings and court hearings, with deliveries, the modern man must respect time and organize himself to be prompt and right on schedules. This must never be at the expense of truly being alive; truly being human. We must not spend the little time in doing very well what is not our true nature- we must not misplace the value of time, we must never forget to love. One writer Bejamin Tregoe once noted that “the very worst use of time is to very well do what need not be done at all”.

as the new years begins i hope that you will think twice about your use of time and become more intentional about what is in your choice to do or not

The African Child in tears…

There are many perils that threaten the African Child but a very critical one is the wide gap between the dream of the child and its actualization. Join us to narrow the gap
@teamtouchinglives
@waltfotos
#narrowthegap

What happened to you? You have changed!

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photo by: Waltfotos

Many of us are mere objects of people’s fantasies and at a particular time in a certain way we perfectly fit in to their ‘hero image’. These are the rosy moments when we receive adulations and compliments we hear the praises that can foil our enemies and everyone chants in our honour. Many of the things we do at this period are greeted with applauds and accolades and somewhere deep down we feel great and a very strong sense of purpose growing up from the impact we visibly see we are making and the influence we suspect we can command leveraging on the satisfaction we bring to our ‘fans’ and the sincerity of their appreciation.

Then comes a very dicey moment when the same people who had showered you with the accolades begin to ask you what has happened to you? You have changed! Rather than the usual songs of praise you now receive almost instant rebuff as people screen their faces almost as though you disgust them. They begin to ask what has happened to your old good self, why have you changed from being that old good fellow because this your new self is different is strange is even bad!  Then the few praises become very insincere and because you are obviously now insecure the few who still praise you do that as a form of button pressing and arm twisting to get off from you something they need. At this moment you begin to look twice in the mirror and maybe even miss your old self or feel completely lost and strange in your own skin. That is natural. Experts advise that at this period you don’t take anything personal but I heard one add that [even though] whether you like it or not you will take it personal.

The reason why experts strongly advise that we do not take such ‘what happened to you, You have changed’ personally goes beyond the dangers it can bring to our mental and physical health and how it may perforate our self esteem and hurt our personal identity confusing us from who we are to who we think others think we are. The ultimate reason in my mind is the understanding that it is not about you but about them who ask you the said question. You were their object of fantasy, their idealized expectations, you were a mere object and somehow your configuration has not proven to be consistent in satisfying their projections. They begin to discover shifts and colorations, patterns and marks that are not akin to their growing and insatiable expectations of who you should be.

So yes there may be a considerable change but the question now is what happened actually? What happened was that you got comfortable felt accepted and brought out all you got in your baggage and puff they ran off when they discovered other truly human elements in you that they hate may be even because it reflects their imperfections too and we all hate our down sides I suppose. But how did you and your ‘fans’ get to this point of mutual dislike when everything was rosy back then? How did the chanting of ‘hosanna’ turned to the brawling of ‘crucify him’? Why? Obviously there was a missing link!

What was the missing link? Intimacy! There was no intimacy and so while on stage you could receive all the praise and adulations but off the stage there was no real connection no intimacy no friendship no love- just lumps of expectations and a human being to satisfy them would have to become an object. Unfortunately for you, you are not an object you are a person.

We shall explore more on the missing link that brings about relational shifts and also how it is not about you but all about the people who ask you: what happened to you? You have changed!

My Point of View…

I know that the mountains can soar high into the skies
I know that the oceans can stretch to awesome horizons
I know that the rains travel thousands of miles from the clouds
I know that the wind never starts and never ends
I see the way others look and I know that we see differently
I hear how they speak and I figure they know more
I notice their reactions and I understand there is more than meets the eyes
I reflect on their explanations and I suspect we understand differently
But I have only my eyes and it gives me my only view
My point of view is a very little one I know
But like a mountaineer I struggle before arriving there
I don’t think I see differently I just see particularly
My point of view is not perfect is not grown up
But there is so much in my little point of view
Anyway who really cares about my point of view?

Starve your fear…

First of all I want to apologize for the very long delay before following through with the promise that this post was to focus on how to starve out the fear that feeds on our false assumptions. I was battling with some of my fears too; the fear of feeling that my work here is not appreciated, people are not reading through these posts or even the fear that I might as well just been wasting my time blogging because it is not reaching out to anybody.

It is a normal human tendency obviously to feel this gnawing fear that consumes whatever is precious and beautiful in us especially those great things which we want to cultivate so as to contribute positively to the growth of the universe in the right direction. Fear will never let you down; it will do what it came to do unless you stand your grown and reposition yourself to combat it with every will in you. The fight is constant but hopeful. In the last post we said that this fear grows by feeding on our false assumptions and ultimately stealing our dreams. Have you ever thought over things you wanted to do but never did? The piano lesson you didn’t take, the poem you didn’t compose, the vacation you never took, the project you never completed, the book you never wrote, the phone call you couldn’t make, the apology or appreciation you didn’t tender or the online lesson you enrolled but stopped halfway? The list can go on and on and on. In all these, what happened was that you gave in to your fears; you fed your fear so much that its threats overwhelmed the satisfaction you hoped to achieve by embarking on that particular project of yours.
On another level it is equally our refusal or inability to starve our fear that makes us remain in an abusive relationship [at home or work] that ‘dims the little light in us’ instead of fulfilling the ideal of every relationship which is to make us grow better.

So how do we starve our fears?

First of all you must know your fears and where it is eating you up. Are you afraid of losing a spouse and so you put up with every abusive behavior just to remain in the person’s life? Are you afraid of being jobless and so must suffer in silence as you work? Are you afraid of failure and so put up excuses for the great things you could have achieved? I once read that the graveyard is the greatest reservoir of great minds; the ‘would be’ doctors, pilots, engineers, fathers, wives, etc. The grave can be described therefore as a land of buried dreams. Would you let your fear bury your dreams under such cold silent darkness?

Secondly you must refocus your attention. The more you focus your mind on your fears and its threats, the more it enlarges and what was just shadow may gain structure and weight. By refocusing your mind on the fruits, satisfaction and glory that comes from achieving and breaking forth from that silent suffering, you are re-energized and motivated to once more feel free, feel young, feel true to yourself, feel original and pursue your dreams. Unless one is able to identify and uproot the fear that sustains the silence that encourages the suffering, we may be right to conclude that such a person will suffer and may even die under such silence nurtured by fear.

As a rule I hereby must tell you that it can never come easy and it is not always the case that what you have started you must complete. However never cower under the threats of your fears and suffer in silence living a life that is not yours. So when fear creates an imagination of loneliness, shame, stigma, disappointment and all round failure, you must counter it with fresh imaginations of growth, glory and gratification. Fear is like a shadow and it is always the case that when light appears, darkness gives way. Starve out your fear and let it shrink so that you can soar high like the eagle. Remember when tied down you cannot fly for you will always be drawn down at every attempt. Identify what is tying you down and ‘cut it off’ says the MASTER!

Suffering in Silence…

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suffering in silence…

Suffering is one thing and silence is a different thing but suffering in silence is entirely a different thing all together. Suffering is a commonplace human experience so that we become suspicious of any place or condition here on earth that is purported to have no suffering in whatever form possible. Maybe this is one of the reasons why the ultimate promise of a true paradise is a reality of another life- the afterlife.  Paradoxically, as much as humans are making genuine efforts to alleviate suffering or even eradicate it completely in some quarters, suffering seems to be honored and valued in some respects. Suffering is sometimes even encouraged and glorified as a grace to attain greater heights. When understood as a form of discipline either of religious undertone or otherwise, suffering is always proposed as a necessary virtue to maturity.

Okay now we are talking about suffering; not that suffering, but the other suffering, I mean raw suffering and most disturbingly the sort of suffering we bear in silence. This form of suffering as most things in life is highly comparative and peculiar so it is at one degree for some people and at another degree for others but in one form or the other we can relate to this fact that we had once suffered in silence or we are now suffering in silence or worst still because of the silence around our suffering we do not even know that our predicament is tantamount to suffering. The sufferings we bear in silence comes in various forms: it could be the sudden hike of a commodity to an unbelievable price just at the counter; it could be bullying and intimidation in the office or school; maybe violence and threats from a spouse; maybe one is held an emotional prisoner so as to succumb to the whims and caprices of the narcissist partner; there is the case of sexual abuse that the victim is afraid to open up; it could be putting up with a lousy neighbour or sibling; bearing with the inefficiency of a service provider when we don’t get a service at the value of what we paid for; or condoning a missing item in a contracted agreement. The list can go on to include blackmail, discrimination, debt, hostage and a lot more.

In my attempt to classify them, our sufferings in silence can be grouped into three broad categories: suffering in silence, suffering by silence and silent suffering. I am no expert on either silence or suffering (except of course for the few times I was asked to keep quite in the library and the little brunt of pains I bear as I am injected by a doctor) so my classification is regrettably loose and opinionated. So any improved or expert rearrangement is highly welcomed.

By suffering in silence I mean that the subject (sufferer) is aware and conscious of the fact that the current predicament is indeed one of real suffering but he/she is still silent about it for one or more reasons that matter enough to make such an individual incapable of speaking up but yet suffer in silence. Suffering by silence for me is the sort of suffering that an individual or people go through due to the silence of those whose speech would have been influential enough to turn the tide of those suffering. Many people today are suffering because those whose speeches can alleviate the plight have chosen to be silent and so by their silence many are suffering. Finally silent suffering is the form of suffering we undergo and we do not even know that such a situation is one of undue suffering and can be redressed.

Any suffering that amounts to a problem is a reality of injustice and thus must be solved appropriately. In the first and second forms of suffering I attempted to identify, there is a strong blockade to assuaging such problem. This blockade is fear. Fear in this situation may appear under different guises that continue to feed and kindle the situation in question. Unless one is able to identify and uproot the fear that sustains the silence that encourages the suffering, we may be right to conclude that such a person will suffer and may even die under such silence nurtured by fear.

The ultimate factor that unless tackled, such suffering will persist is the false assumption that when we do something or say something up against the current condition we will lose more. For instance you have a superior who bullies you and intimidates you probably even into abusive conducts such as un-consensual sex, holding on to your wages, and whatever else you know you are putting up to because he is obviously abusing his power and authority over you, yet you are afraid to speak up against him and the act because you are convinced that when you try that you may lose your job and whatever little privileges you are enjoying now.

Well the good news for all those suffering in silence is that such assumptions are false.

… we shall continue on our next post titled: “Starve the Suffering”

Face of Chance, Chance from Face…

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face of chance…

We have often lost our tracks and have vied off into terrains that are not only harmful to us or have injured our families and hurt our friends and the world at large but are also offensive to our maker. Our infidelity to vows, betrayal of trust, neglect of duties and abandonment of commitments seem to be the order of the day. When I look at the history of the world and the dark sinister thoughts of the human being that mature into evil actions I am tempted to think that man is evil by default. I am tempted to feel helpless in trying to fight off the looming shadows of evil that mar my thoughts and contaminate my actions and each time I try to speak about this burden of imperfection to someone I am told that it is our human nature- what can man do!

Ironically, man also seems to understand and continually in different forms search for perfection amidst the contending aura of imperfection and weakness. In very simple ways we see man walking back to cleanliness, repentance, restitution and sanctity so much so that it can be taken for granted that while in weakness and imperfection the human being is restless and estranged and so must return to the truer and ideal state of self which is good and perfect. Man hungers for this inner satisfaction, joy and balance that give peace and tranquility. This hunger informs almost all important decisions of the human being. For instance a person may decide to get a job or go to school or volunteer into non-profit social and humanitarian service. Equally, someone can also decide to quit smoking, drinking, stealing,  fraud, etc. in both of these aspects of decision-making of doing and stopping to do, the human person has proven to be concerned about being relevant while yet enjoying peace of mind and balance between the ideal and actual self.

One of the key factors that determine our decision making is our feeling of functionality and the meaning we derive from the things we do or avoid. For instance an alcoholic father starts the journey to sobriety because he discovers that he is neither functional as a good father nor a committed staff in his office. He senses the division between his real self and his ideal self and thus makes effort to unite them by of course doing away with the negative, weak and imperfect aspects. You see he can only find joy and peace when he conquers his evil and masters his weaknesses; when he returns to his, I dare to say, default nature which is good and perfect.

This return however is not coming on easy on many of us. And in the face of the enormous challenges akin to such efforts to be good and perfect, we succumb to the philosophy of damnation and believe that there is no hope for us to become any better. I do have this feeling many times over and over. Gradually therefore we notice a progression of our evil and the erosion of our good. We begin to lose the battle from the inside. We begin to assume that all hope is gone and that our situation cannot be any worse because all is bad. Truly speaking our concern and realization that we do evil things is really important and no matter what others may seem to think about evil, evil is evil and the human person seems to have a considerable dose of an evil nature. I think the evil nature of man is so pathetic that the same God who looked at man as the summit of his creatures and said he is very good was also quick to point out that man is so vile so much so that he regretted creating him in the first place: “when the lord saw how wicked everyone was on earth and how evil their thoughts were all the time, he was sorry that he had ever made them and put them on the earth. He was so filled with regret that he said, “I will wipe out these people I have created, and also the animals and the birds, because I am sorry that I made any of them”” (Gen. 6:5-7).

Well you can never appreciate that God himself is regretting doing something unless you remember that this is the all knowing and all perfect God whose thoughts and actions are fundamentally flawless.

Many of us after realizing that things are not working out for us in the way we want, we quit, we resign, we change and transfer, we disown and redesign, we say enough is enough and so no more. If I was God the creator I will be so angry with the human race whom I created in my own image and likeness and in whom I breathed my spirit and have all messed up my glory in them because of their evil. I may disown man and quit my relationship of love for him. I may wipe out humanity because I am insulted and dishonored.

However, I once listened to an old man said that infants who are born into the world are a sign that God still has hope in humanity. This is true at many levels of reflection. God could wipe us all out for insulting his glory and if that seems so mean and vicious, he can tactically halt any human procreation by rendering all wombs on earth unfruitful. By closing all wombs from bearing forth children we can certainly suspect that in about two hundred years from now there will not be any human being left on earth. But not so, not so with the Lord. He still yet gives us another chance to reengage ourselves as we journey towards the desired perfection and meaning.

Do not give up on yourself because the Lord creator has not yet given up on humanity; at the very least he still brings in little children, so all hope is not yet lost. This is most significant when we consider the war drums and battle cries that echo in the world now, when we evaluate global warming, food crisis, political instability, health crisis and the devaluation of the human person at multiple levels. It is a powerful sign that even in the midst of all these children are still born.  Therefore, each time you come across the face of the little ones, or you hear the cries of infants or the mutterings of a toddler, as a matter of fact each time you encounter a pregnant woman you must in total appreciation say “there goes my other chance”, “the world still has another opportunity”, “tomorrow comes with hope”. This therefore calls for a readjustment on how we relate with children- be careful what you do with little children and how you treat them because you may just be ruining humanity’s second chances and putting out the light for a brighter tomorrow. Parents particularly must appreciate their children as an opportunity and exclusive privilege given them by God to fashion a better and improved version of themselves so that the little ones will not fall into the same dangers they ignorantly did times past. Every face of a child is a chance and we must hold unto the hope in that face. In each child is a clean slate given us to write a better narrative for the future for the past maybe past but in the face of a child we have the oppurtunity to shape tomorrow. Conversely, we can predict the future by the quality of the children today. The face of a child is a face of chance, and we must face that chance positively.