Posts Tagged ‘respect’

Highest Honor

Everything natural on this earth is alive, if fact earth itself is considered to have a soul, called Gaia and she is female in her form. The soil germinates seeds and grows food for us. The plant itself is alive as it grows, water brings life, in fact without it; there is no life, just like air. All the natural elements (earth, water, fire, air) are a culmination of life and all living beings are an embodiment of these elements. You need air to breathe, water to drink, food to eat and sun for warmth. This applies to all created animals, they are a combinations of all elements of life. We are therefore no different from any living thing on this earth, but we are somewhat superior, one might even say we are at the top of the food chain. Have you ever wondered though how was it decided that one would manifest as a plant, an animal or human being? If lives of animals were not sacred, they would not be afraid of dying. While, we’re at it, who decides which animal spirit will be a rat and another a lion?

Well, according to Vedic literature there is actually a science that determines who is born in what form. They believe that existence starts in the most basic form and evolves to the highest level, which is spiritual enlightenment. Where one is no longer subject to the limitations of the elements, nor gets to be born and die again, but live in the purest form reminiscent with the source of their soul. According to them, existence therefore, begins on the earth as rock and with is the densest vibration and gradually over time, that manifestation changes form into something else. Think of how mountains go through erosion and what was hard rock now becomes soil. The soil can germinate life and eventually graduate into manifesting as a plant. The next stage existence is that of animals, which is a more enhanced experience of the elements and less dense dimension. Animals can protect themselves; reproduce with intention and most importantly are driven by their instincts to ensure survival. I would assume it starts off small and climbs the ranks, over time to being an elephant, maybe.

The next, not final, stage of existence is that of being born as a human. In this dimension of existence it is considered the highest honor compared to all living things on this earth. We are not driven by instincts, but we have our intelligence, will power and insight to spiritual enlightenment. Art is the highest expression of human intelligence and all of us have that gift, whether creating or enjoying it. Most importantly we all have eternity engraved in our souls. All of us, at some point wonder, where exactly do we all come from and where we are going, ideally none of us want to die or age for that matter. Ancient Eastern texts (Vedic) believe being born human grants you the opportunity to change the destiny of your soul by how you exhibit your human experience. We cannot merely exist to eat, reproduce, protect and die; this would make us no different to animals. Likewise spending all our days wanting to have more than others, when in actual fact the value of lives is exactly the same. “All people spend their lives scratching for food, but they never seem to have enough. Enjoy what you have rather than desiring what you don’t have. Just dreaming about nice things is meaningless – like chasing the wind” (Ecclesiastes 7).

 “Once we take human birth, our destiny is shaped by karma. Karma are actions pertaining to the development of the material body and such acts sentence us to future births in the material world where we reap what we sow. If we act according to good moral code we produce good karma, likewise if we engross ourselves in fleshly desires we create bad karma. If we don’t learn good lessons we are sent back to try again, with a better starting point if we were good, or worse off if we were vile. The material world reforms us, teaching us through reward and punishment to acknowledge God’s supreme position. – (Swami Prabhupada, Veda, Secrets of the East).

I may not fully understand the evolution of the soul as described above. Whether our souls evolve over time, arrive as is or travel from one dimension to the next, is not important. What is important to is that we realize the strength of what we possess within our souls. The bible says God created us in His image. He spoke things into existence and we possess the same power. We have dominion over earth and all things created, therefore, it is expected of us to experience life on a higher level. It should be above the animalistic instincts. Our vibrations can change the course of humanity and digging deeper within ourselves for the eternity we yearn for, will lead us to attain our individual pursuit of excellence. Remember, a plant only graduates to the next level by blossoming to the best of its ability and bear the maximum amount of fruit it possibly can. It has mastered the dimension of being a plant, and it needs a new challenge, and we are no different. We need to live with the desire to rise up above our current form of existence, master it and move on to the highest and purest form of existence where we are not tied down by cumbersome bodies. Consider the Lotus flower; its seed sprouts in mud and it rises up from the murky mud to flourish on water effortlessly basking in the sunrays. The murkier the mud; the brighter the flower becomes. Some people rise up from the lowest points of life to become noble citizens, which is a reflection of how quickly they have absorbed life’s lessons. We too can learn the lessons presented in our mud, and the most important one is the humility of acknowledging that there is a God and we are not He. 

We cannot control the circumstances of our lives and existence and perhaps may never know all the mysteries of life. But we can live each day with the gratitude of being alive and being who we are. Many yearn for the gift. We must appreciate our souls for being different and gifted, in this way we honor He who created us. For we no matter how difficult things can get, we are bestowed with the highest honor that exists in this life and we need to be mindful of it. Finding our passion, doing the best with our abilities and sharing our light with others, adds its own flavour to this earth. Let us not despise our lives over the meaningless comforts of modern life, whether we live in abundance or lack thereof. It should never overshadow the sound of our souls that should be listened to.

If you are young and healthy, you are the wealthiest being on this planet. Sometimes it may take lying in a hospital bed or an old age home to realize the value of your youth. Use it wisely and: Give thanks for it. Everyday!

Don’t let the excitement of youth cause you to forget you Creator. Honor him in your youth before you grow old and say –‘Life is not pleasant anymore’. Remember Him before the door to life’s opportunities is closed and the sound of work fades. Yes, remember your Creator now while you are young before the silver cord of life snaps and the bowl is broken. For then the dust will return to the earth, and the spirit will return to God who gave it. – Ecclesiastes 12

 

Unto Others

I recently went on a weeklong hiking expedition, I spent 5 days walking the mountains and camping by the seashore. Like with any continuous interaction with nature one anticipates clarity of vision and a refreshing of some sort, likewise those were my expectations before I left. I had written down the things I was hoping God to talk to me about, and hopefully comeback with a clear vision of what I’m supposed to do next to fulfil my purpose and take my hustle to the next level.

To my dismay, I just kept on having deep reminiscent thoughts of the difficult moments from my childhood. On some days I would even dream of these people who treated me badly, this bothered me for a bit, I mean the days were passing by and I hadn’t had the epiphany I needed from this trip. Until on the 3rd day I had a discussion with a fellow hiking mate, whom I had met there, that it really dawned me what exactly my subconscious spirit was bringing forth with all these throwbacks.

My new acquaintance told me about her difficult child hood and how she worked her hands to the bone to be justified. Today she looks back at those people who treated her badly and feels pity for them. She had rose above all their negativity and made something of herself, compared to how all her oppressors had fallen out of glory. It was then that I connected the dots as to why I have been feeling the way I do. When I compare notes with her, I realized how miserable the people who had burdened my childhood are today. Even their children are a sad, sad, story, like my heart bleeds for them. In the yester years they would not have imagined their lives would be where they are, to them, they will always remain above me as circumstances informed at that time. I started thanking God for helping me though those storms and bringing me to a place of independence, and peace. Next, I asked myself what was the purpose of this whole exercise because surely I had to learn something from it, otherwise it will not stop bothering me. I came to this conclusion:

Whenever you are in a position of power, never use it to intentionally oppress someone you consider to be at your mercy.

You are not only breaking their spirit, but you are also heaping a load of hot coal on your own shoulders. Burdening you with negative karma, which you will surely have to recompense for at some point in the future.

One would think that my friend and me are very special in that we were eventually vindicated from our oppressors. However, every human being is living with the same benefit. Take a moment and think back of people or a person who intentionally made your life a misery at some point in your journey. It may be a schoolteacher, stepparent, romantic partner, sales person, neighbor, friend, sibling, colleague…whoever. When you were trying your best to be kind and polite towards them, they just kept on throwing fireballs you, with no justification. Now, reflect at the life/status they had back then and where they are now, it may be in comparison to you or where they should be based on the level they were.

Chances are, they are not where they would ideally should be, or worse off than they were. Now this is not to encourage us to sit around and wait for the demise of those who oppress us, once we do that, we absolve them and bring misery to ourselves (Galatians 5v26 msg: “that means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us was better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original”). More so because we also oppress others at times without even noticing it, while intentionally using our power to benefit us. Here are a few examples:

  1. Neglect/ignorance – Delaying to deliver on a promise at an agreed time because honestly, you are too busy or pre-occupied puts the person waiting on your promise at a disadvantage. The delay may seem short on your side but it feels like forever to them.
  2. Careless talk – The moment you open your mouth to give a report about someone else, their entire reputation at that moment is dependent on your words. Don’t oppress them; if there’s nothing positive to share, pass the buck.
  3. Indecision – So you know you will not date this guy or have any future with him whatsoever, but you continue leading them on so you get adorned with attention. This person has given you power over their heart and you are playing dice with it. Okay, maybe you might consider them, but you’re honestly not sure right now; that’s okay, but make sure they know it…otherwise you are taking advantage.

These are just a few examples of how we can oppress others without even thinking about it. I will not mention those who out rightly abuse their power iand intentionally project misery with their words or actions. I personally think those people have deeper psychological issues to deal within themselves, and these are now spilling over to others. And sometimes its just pride! You know what they say about pride? It comes before the fall. Watch it.

At the end of it all, it all boils down to treating others they way we would want to be treated, on every platform, in every situation. It requires us to present and mindful of all our interactions with other people and what paradigms inform that. The wheels of fortune will always turn, so make sure that whichever direction they do take; you have humbly positioned yourself for it.

Pslam 146 vs 7: “The Lord upholds the cause of the oppressed”

Life begins at the End of your Comfort Zone

comfort-zone

Just like when we are born. The moment we leave the comfort of our mother’s womb, life begins. The comfort of being carried, fed, warmth, safety and being thought for ends. Then, only then, do our real lives begin. Our lives take on that same cycle of growth throughout lifetimes. Our comfort has to be compromised for us to rise to the next level. It’s our nature, we learn through pain or passion.

Allow me to illustrate

 

As a child, you learn to walk learn because you are frustrated with not being able to reach the many things that make you so curious. You endure the discomfort of falling many times because you know, once you get it right, your life will never be the same again. As a teenager you fast learn that to stop people from bullying you, you have to stand up for yourself, find your own voice. It forces you to overcome your fear of conflict or confrontation. As a young adult you know that for you to get your degree/diploma, you have to forgo your comforts of sleeping and passivity and strive hard to get what you need to get. We all know what happens to those chaps that attempt an easy way out of varsity; they either dropped out, or kept on repeating years until they got their work ethic right. There’s just no other way.

 

Challenging our comfort zones, has taught me 3 things about life;

 

  1. Grow, or die. If a plant is not growing, it’s dead. If you insist on your comfort, you are slowly dying an invisible death inside. When you bask too much in the comfort of your achievement, your ambition dies. If you get comfortable with your partner and assume their affection\attention will remain perpetual without any extra effort from you, well, sooner or later, their excitement for you will eventually die.

 

  1. Life will repeat the same lessons until we learn what we need to know. Only then will we graduate to the next level of thinking, being and succeeding. Ever wondered why the same life experiences keep on happening to you? It’s like there’s something you do that invites these experiences. In Eastern texts they attribute it to your karma or darma that you need to fulfill before life can present you with new experiences. You need to either change your mentality, they way you do things or interact with the world. You need to learn; otherwise you will repeat that grade in life over, and over again. Unfortunately most people are never aware of what hinders them within themselves and they get stuck on the same level for most of their lives

 

Lastly, I have learnt that once you know something, you know it! No one or anything can take it away from you. It becomes embedded in your character because you have gone out of your way to attain it. As a child you only have to learn to walk once and that’s it! You only learn once (the hard way) that nothing good comes easy and from there on you appreciate the good things your have and are weary of the ones to come too easily. If you’re not ready to grow, then you’re not in enough pain.

Life is a continual journey. As we grow physically, we also evolve mentally, spiritually and metaphysically. Nothing is a hindrance to your development except yourself. The only competition you have in life right now is your thinking and attitude towards life. Everyday presents an opportunity for growth, no matter how small. Staying in comfort will not open you up to new ways of thinking and risk stagnation.

 

Be alert. Life is a test from when we are born until we die. Because, think about it; had you resisted exiting your mother’s womb when circumstances required you to do so, you would be dead. And be still born.

Lady Wisdom

Do you hear Lady Wisdom calling? 

Can you hear Madame Insight raising her voice?

She’s taken her stand at First and Main,
 at the busiest intersection. Right in the city square
 where the traffic is thickest, she shouts;

“You—I’m talking to all of you,
 everyone out here on the streets!
Listen, you idiots—learn good sense!
You blockheads—shape up!
Don’t miss a word of this—I’m telling you how to live well,
 I’m telling you how to live at your best.

My mouth chews and savors and relishes truth—
I can’t stand the taste of evil!
You’ll only hear true and right words from my mouth;
not one syllable will be twisted or skewed.
You’ll recognize this as true—you with open minds;
 truth-ready minds will see it at once.

Prefer my life-disciplines over chasing after money,
 and God-knowledge over a lucrative career.
For Wisdom is better than all the trappings of wealth;
nothing you could wish for holds a candle to her.

“I am Lady Wisdom, and I live next to Sanity;
 Knowledge and Discretion live just down the street.
Good counsel and common sense are my characteristics;
 I am both Insight and the Virtue to live it out.

With my help, leaders rule,
and lawmakers legislate fairly;
With my help, governors govern,
 along with all in legitimate authority.
I love those who love me; those who look for me find me.
Wealth and Glory accompany me—
also substantial Honor and a Good Name.

My benefits are worth more than a big salary, even a very big salary;
the returns on me exceed any imaginable bonus.
You can find me on Righteous Road—that’s where I walk—
 at the intersection of Justice Avenue,
Handing out life to those who love me,
 filling their arms with life—armloads of life!

God sovereignly made me—the first, the basic—
 before he did anything else.
I was brought into being a long time ago, well before Earth got its start.
I arrived on the scene before Ocean, yes, even before Springs and Rivers and Lakes.
Before Mountains were sculpted and Hills took shape,
I was already there, newborn;
Long before God stretched out Earth’s Horizons,
and tended to the minute details of Soil and Weather,
And set Sky firmly in place, I was there.

When he mapped and gave borders to wild Ocean,
 built the vast vault of Heaven,
 and installed the fountains that fed Ocean,
When he drew a boundary for Sea, posted a sign that said no trespassing,
And then staked out Earth’s Foundations,
I was right there with him, making sure everything fit.
Day after day I was there, with my joyful applause,
always enjoying his company,
Delighted with the world of things and creatures, happily celebrating the human family.

“So, my dear friends, listen carefully;
 those who embrace these my ways are most blessed.
Mark a life of discipline and live wisely;
don’t squander your precious life.

Blessed the man, blessed the woman, who listens to me,
awake and ready for me each morning,
alert and responsive as I start my day’s work.
When you find me, you find life, real life,
 to say nothing of God’s good pleasure.

But if you wrong me, you damage your very soul;
 when you reject me, you’re flirting with death.”

_Proverbs 8

My Soul Is Alright With Me.

I am a child born of love, so let love remain in my heart and my mind. Let love and joy be my friend, give me peace with no end. Let me live with no fear and no shame. Let me begin to see love come alive in my life. Let me feel how it feels to be me!

A longing and pounding in my heart, led me to want so much more out of life. Led me to forgive every hurt, to let go of the past and allow myself to heal every pain.

Now I am free, yes! I hold my head up high. The burden on my shoulder is no longer with me. Now I can breathe, and I feel so much at ease. My soul is alright with me.

Let love and joy, be my friend, give me peace with no end. Let me live with no fear – I don’t want to fear. Let me begin to see love come alive in my life, let me feel how it feels to have joy.

Let me be free from disease. Let my heart feel at ease. Let me know  how it feels to be free.

-Miss Lira

Soul in mind

Black History month: Pro Africa is Anti-nobody

It’s funny how when things change, the more they remain the same.

Last week when a lecturer introduced himself at Business school, he told the class that he was a racist. Everyone was obviously astonished,; here was this white South African male in his early 40’s openly declaring that he didn’t like black people. What was even more appaling was the fact that he dared to talk about race in 2015! The blacks were offended and the white people equally so, but as our educator for the day we had to humor him.

His analogy was that, he wasn’t racist because he chose to be, he was racist because he was raised to be. All his life he was conditioned to think and behave in a certain way. He only first saw a picture of Mandela when he was 20 years old and spent about 2 years in military school with racist ideologies being drummed into his head. So he had no choice but to BE. An electoral vote will not suddenly shift his paradigms; it takes much more than that for things to change.

The whole point of his shocking declaration was that we all needed to talk about race and not make it this horrible monster that opens you up to so much judgment. In South Africa white people are “apologetically” white and black people are also apologetic of who they are. We are all tiptoeing around each other, while neglecting to love each other and ourselves for who we are. Being pro-Black is not being anti somebody, it simply, means you love and embrace who you are and the culture you were born into, likewise for other races and cultures.

Mental Slavery

February is Black History month, and in commemoration I though I should share an extract of Robert Sobukwe’s first recorded speech while he was a student at Fort Hare University. Reading it really proved to me that not much has changed, instead we have created an illusion of freedom and became more afraid of who we are. Celebrate black history, be proud of your scars, embrace the possibilities and remember that no amount of money  or denial will change the color of your soul.

This extract is from a biography of Robert Sobukwe’s life written by Benjamin Pogrund’s titled: “How can man die better”

how can

“I had an occasion last year and also at the beginning of this year to comment on some features of our structure of which I do not approve. It has always been my feeling that, if the intention of the trustees of this college is to make an African College or University, as I have been informed it is, then the Department of African studies must be more highly and more rapidly developed. Fort Hare must become the center of African studies to which students in African studies should come from all over Africa. We should also have a department of Economics and Sociology. A nation to be a nation needs specialists in these things……….

 I said last year that Fort Hare must be to the African what Stellenbosch (University) is to the Afrikaner. It must be the barometer of African thought. It is interesting to note that the theory of ‘Apartheid’, which is today the dominating ideology of the State, was worked out at Stellenbosch by (Dr W.M.M) Eiselen and his colleagues. That same Eiselen is Secretary for Native affairs. But the important thing is that Stellenbosch is not only the expression of the Afrikaner thought and feeling, but it is also the embodiment of their aspiration. So also must Fort Hare express and lead African thought. The College has remained mute on matters deeply affecting the Africans because; we learn, it feared to annoy the Nationalist government. What the College fails to realize is that rightly or wrongly the Nationalists believe that Fort Hare staff is predominantly United Party. So that whether we remain mute or not the government will continue to be hostile towards us. So much for the College…

…I know of course, that because I express these sentiments I will be branded an agitator. That was the reaction to my speech last year. People do not like to see the even tenure of their lives disturbed. They do not like to be told that what they have always believed was right is wrong. And above all they resent encroachment on what they regard as their special province. But I make no apologies. It is meet that we speak the truth before we die. I said last year that our whole life in South Africa is politics, and that contention was severely criticized…During the war it was clearly demonstrated that in South Africa at least, politics does not stop on this side of the grave. A number of African soldiers were buried in the same trench as European soldiers. A few days afterwards word came that from the high command that the bodies of the Africans should be removed and buried in another trench. ‘Apartheid’ must be maintained even on the road to eternity…

…. And as Marcus Garvey says: ‘You cannot grow beyond your thoughts. If your thoughts are those of a slave, you will remain a slave. If your thoughts go skin deep, your mental development will remain skin deep’. Moreover a doctrine of hate can never take people anywhere. It is too exacting. It warps the mind. That is why we preach the doctrine of love, love for Africa. We can never do enough for Africa, nor can we love her enough. The more we do for her, the more we wish to do for her.

I wish to make it clear again that we are anti-nobody. We are pro-Africa. We breathe, we dream, we live Africa; because Africa and humanity are inseparable”.

-Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe (21 October 1949)

I have taken extracts of the speech, for entire read feel free to purchase the book. The aim of this article is not to sow negativity in our young democracy, but as my lecturer eluded, it is to create open dialogue on our racial dynamics. I believe we can find common ground at some point in this life time, but only through a principle of love. Love for oneself and love for another despite the history.

History will forever remain, we cannot pretend it away. We cannot remain divided, because that only perpetuates the slavery mentality. If you really think about it we are all slaves to a certain extent, black and white.

Aluta!

photo 4

Earth Mother

Save the planet

Whether you came from the stars

Or Mars

You found me here

On the earthly sphere

 

I was gleaning in the Sun’s bosom

Shining in all my glory

Feeding on those rays

Watering my gardens

Nursing my children

 

I birthed them in season

North and South both look appeasing

With the stars for the night and Sun for light and life

Men and beast existing

Perfect balance of living and let living

 

A breathing paradise, which was everything, anything can wish for

Yes, heaven itself is right here in my warmth

I have my secrets, some of which you will never know

And melanin is my stronghold

 

Why is concrete all over me?

It suffocates my children

It perishes my roots

Concrete is not vital for livelihood

Nor is money

Why have you traded your harmony with ashes

Dust of war fuels selfish intentions

 

I am earth.

I have always been and always will be

You cannot preserve me,

I preserve myself, and yourself

My children have adapted to the destruction

Or rather the illusion

Will they ever wake from this treason?

 

Take what you need and let me be

For if you take too much

You perish your own soul

#004: People!

GoodbyeIn life we will go through different seasons, as mother earth changes, we change too. Things can turn out for better or the worst, at any time, but nonetheless they will change. And interestingly all those changes involve people. It’s actually people who make the world go around!

Imagine of all the 5billion people in the world, the people that are currently in your life are the odd 3000 that you know. Is that a coincidence? I don’t think so. Every person walks into your life at a particular time for a reason. We never know why certain people come into our lives, and no one can ever fathom the reason why people’s paths cross in life.

Some paths will bring you pure bliss while others you wish you can erase from the face of history.  In your entire lifetime, you have met the people you needed to meet (and there are still more to meet) and they will always be part of who you are whether you choose to celebrate it or not.

There are people who will come into your life and make you grateful for being alive- everyday. It may be your children, family, friends, acquaintances, neighbors, collegues, spouse or  even strangers. But regardless, you cannot imagine how your life would have turned out without them. Some are there to give you strength, some encouragement, life, laughs, being, pruning. Those people who make it a point that they will not rest until your happiness or sucess is secured. They may not be many in our lives, but they are surely there. Usually some of these relationships take the soul of you to build, but at their peak they bring the sweetest aroma to your life. For them we give thanks and our prayers as they do the same for us.

However, in life you will you will have to meet (and pray for) another kind of people. The people who do not give a flying hoot about you. Certain people will tear you down, as in like totally break you and then move on with their lives. And trust me; they won’t miss you for a second! These are the ones who test character.

Weigh yuo downTrials build character. That’s why you must love your enemies and the people who hurt you because they presented you with an opportunity to grow. Each time they exposed you to a hard time, they stretched your capabilities and wisdom. And regardless of how the friendship ended, you still pursue peace with them. Not the “I want you back”, “bitter”, “ please be my friend” kinda peace, but peace that heals you more than them. This is why after every goodbye, we must learn to breathe, reflect, learn our lesson, forgive ourselves, forgive the other and move on!

However, be very careful, that even after the person’s chapter has ended in your life, you insist on holding on to them for unhealthy reasons. I don’t understand how we humans are- for some odd reason we have this fascination about people who don’t like us or reject us. It’s like you try to prove a point to yourself that there is actually an individual out there in the world who doesn’t want you. I mean who rejects such an awesome, considerate person that you are? Well, here’s a…..NEWSFLASH!: You are not money, not everyone will want you. Misery loves company, so remove yourself from any situation that no longer honors you, before you drown in it.

Being alive is a blessing and having people who love us is a greater blessing. Loving those who don’t love us is a multiplied blessing.  If you say you want to know God, you must start by knowing that which defines HIM; Love, Grace and Forgiveness. Live these out and you will see His glory.

Love tolerance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Give thanks for L.I.F.E

Noluthando Khanyile

 

#003: People that are hard to please

There are some people in your life you will always struggle to please. Not that you constantly seek their approval, but their opinion matters to you so much that you would like them to acknowledge when you have made good efforts. It may be people that we admire/respect, that their congratulatory note will be a massive vote of confidence or it may be people we want to extend our caring emotion towards. Hard to please people come in different shapes and sizes;

Genuine: This person never seems satisfied with whatever stride you have made. They always believe that you can do better. These people actually have a genuine belief in your capabilities and always want to stretch you. Funny enough they will tell you when you have done well, BUT instantly remind you that you can do better. These are usually mentors, teachers, role models, etc… and they often mean well.

Own standards:  Then, there are those people (especially parents), who refuse to honour you until you achieve something greater than they did. You can come back home with 10 CAF stars and they will remind you that they got their 9h star when they were half your age. So this means you must achieve more than that to please them. The thing is; with this type of a hard pleaser is, the goal posts are always shifting. It is now not the fact that you got a 10th star that matters (more than theirs), but it’s the fact that they got their starts quicker than you. With this type you are highly unlikely to win. In some instances they want to live out the dreams they left behind through you. We all have one life to live, be careful when someone wants a second dose of youth at your expense.Confidence

Pull you down:  This is the most dangerous of all the impossible pleasers. This person will make sure that they don’t acknowledge your achievement, purely because they don’t want you to realise how good you are. If you give them too much airtime, they will make sure your self confidence takes the first available train to Mars. Basically these people are just jealous of you and will discourage you, to make themselves feel good about their own lives. RUN.

Insecure: This type of hard pleasers usually occurs in romantic relationships. No matter how much you make an effort to show this person how special they are to you, they will always find something to complain about. You eventually feel like you are not good enough for this person or you are just incapable of loving someone as they deserve. The problem here is not the pink roses or cheap chocolate, the problem is that you are loving someone who doesn’t love themselves. Hence you are being made to fill a void that even the owner doesn’t know how to fill. Ps: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.

Don’t know how to: This person may be proud of you, but they will never show it. Not because they think it will get to your head, but because they don’t know how to. People were raised in different environments and unfortunately for some -affirmation was never part of their upbringing. And in most cases people cannot give what they don’t have. If you recognise your impossible pleaser to be this type, you need to teach them. Congratulate them and affirm them, don’t demand that they reciprocate it, but if you’re consistent enough, they will learn. Remember: you teach people how to treat you.

I have mentioned quite a few types of people that are impossible to please, I’m pretty sure there are whole of others out there. I only have one solution to dealing with such people: Celebrate yourself!

Don’t always seek the affirmation of others, set your own standards and beat them. Ask yourself: “what would I have to do/get to for me to feel satisfied/proud of my achievement? Don’t matter what anybody says, as long as I get “there” I’m happy”. And when you do reach that point, stop and celebrate. Give yourself a pat on the back so that even if someone else doesn’t celebrate you- you are proud of YOU.

Yes, it is always good to have people affirm and encourage you, but their definition of excellence must never be absolute to you. At the end of the day, they are people with their own imperfections. You do need people to look up to and we all have people whose negative/frank opinions have bettered our lives, but don’t let them define you.

I am a firm believer that: “It doesn’t matter what people think of you, or even what you think about yourself. But what matters the most is what God thinks of you”. Aim to please Him and you can never go wrong!

Remember:  No one can make you feel inferior without your permission.

Act

If you were married, I would understand…

So where was this girl when all of this happened??Differences

“She was there in the room with us”

What? You mean to tell me, this man beat you up in his room with some chick watching the whole show? He most probably met her that very night at a pub and now he comes and upholds her more than you, and you are okay with it?

I somehow felt judgmental when I said this, it’s her business, but then again something sounds very wrong about this picture. It is a random girl after all, maybe if it was the new lady in his life one would understand, but iseqamgwaqo nje sasetshwaleni? Hai no, zero nje! Clearly Ephraim was trying to impress this silly girl when he beat up my best friend; this surely put a stamp on him getting “some” that night.

I could see the shame in Lydia’s eyes when I asked her if she’s okay with it. She kept on zooming her eyes up, and down keeping a small gaze in the middle. Up, gaze, down…, and she didn’t even once look me in the eyes.  And after a few of those, she eventually responded…

“Ok! Before you start giving me a long lecture on morality and the difference between right and wrong, I know a man only respects a woman that respects herself. I shouldn’t have gone to his place that night without letting him know. Yes I was drunk and probably said a lot of things I shouldn’t have said, but I needed to speak to him desperately. He tried to break things off when I confronted him about his cheating 2 weeks ago, but we have been talking via wats app since then, so I thought….”

…you thought what exactly Lydia? That you’re going to rock up one night and things fall into place? Listen here my friend; if a man wants you nothing can keep him away and if he doesn’t want you, nothing will make him stay. You need to stop making excuses for his behaviour and start smelling the coffee. Your relationship is basically non-existent at this stage. If he refuses to change his cheating ways and suggests a break up instead;  you’re still gonna run after him?  And you’re very right about self respect, your baby is barely 6 months old and here you are getting drunk at some tavern at night and running after men!

And the mere fact that you just gave birth to his child should at least warrant you a certain level of respect from him, don’t you think?

“Everything I do, I’m doing for my child can’t you see?  I refuse to allow my baby to be raised by one parent. We will make this work; we have to make this work Tselane. And yes I do realise that our relationship is practically over, but my heart still yearns for him. My love for him is so strong, I’m willing to overlook his mistakes as long as he loves me back and we get things to how they used to be. I know deep down inside he loves me more than anything in this world, I think him having a car now is making him go wild and girls throw themselves at him”

(Silence)

“But in all honesty I do regret that night. I shouldn’t  have went to his house unannounced”

I rolled my eyes. By now I realised this conversation is not getting anywhere, because now fresh excuses are being made for Ephraim. I had to ask decisive questions, just to understand where Lydia’s judgment stood about this beating. What bothers me the most are not her excuses, but her compromised dignity. We live in a very small township and everyone knew she’s been in a relationship with Ephraim for close to 6 years now. This girl that was with them the night of the beating is probably laughing it off somewhere over magwinya and atchaar with Lydia’s haters. It’s bad enough that Ephraim doesn’t respect her, now half of Itsoseng won’t too!  I kept these thoughts to myself. But I had to probe to her “regret”.

Oh, so you say you regret that night? What exactly do you regret? Going to his house drunk, unannounced and saying whatever or do you regret him beating you up infront of another woman? And if it’s for the beating are you going to open a case of assault against him?

“Yho! Tselane nawe you’re taking this issue way too seriously, gosh! I told you I still want to make things work between me and Ephraim, sending him to jail would totally ruin things, plus I don’t need that kind of drama in my life. Besides, he didn’t hit me with his fists and stuff, he used a belt. My body is green all over but my face doesn’t even hint of what happened. It was the first time my man laid a hand on me and punishing him over that one mistake would be cruel nje. I know Ephraim is not the aggressive type.”

I cringed.

Lydia, I would understand overlooking his “one mistake” if you guys were married! But you cannot compromise yourself so much over a paper-less agreement. He is merely a boyfriend, not your husband! Anyway, I can see you’ve already made up your mind about this whole situation and I’m not going to try and convince you otherwise. Do what you think is best for you and your little family. I’ll stay out of it.

End.

 

Do you think Tselani is right about Lydia having the obligation to forgive/overlook  the beating if she was married to Ephraim? And how often should a woman allow physical abuse before she reports it to the police? Maybe Lydia is being too objective about her friend’s situation. Do you think if she was to get a beating from the man she truly loves, she would have seen this situation differently? Lastly do you think Lydia is actually protecting her little girl with her choices?

The bible does call for women to be submissive to their husbands, but in the very same sentence it says: “Husbands love your wives! And from what I know Love doesn’t hurt you. It is kind, does not boast, keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil and does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. It never fails!

What’s your take?

not loveGet help: www.powa.co.za

And HAPPY WOMEN’S DAY 🙂

 

#Ayashisamateki: Distribution

But do you guys remember the awesomeness that is in wearing a new pair of shoes? The entire day you look down at your feet and smile inside each time you do. You even try catch a reflection of yourself just to see hoe good your new shoes look on you. The nostalgia is overwhelming. This past weekend we gave that feeling to close to 120 destitute children. Each time they look down at their feet they will see HOPE.

We set out to distribute the shoe collections to their rightful owners last Saturday, 13 July 2013. Overall we had collected about 250 other pairs of shoes on top of the 96 that was sponsored by Skye Distribution. All the children and teenagers on our list received a Dickies Supa Dupa sneaker. Mothers and dads in the vicinity also got blessed with a pair as . Toddlers shoes also went a very long way, we covered many young ones.supa

 

This was the most fulfilling of the day of my life, I must say. My biggest fear was that they will take the shoes and sell them on the streets, however seeing each one of them falling in love with their pairs was heart-warming. They couldn’t stop looking at their feet. Their old pairs were all rugged out, and the new shoes couldn’t have come at a better time!

 

Our first stop was in Yoeville.

A majority of these children are abandoned by their mothers and are either living with their grandmothers, child headed homes or with neighbours. Some come from a slum house in Becker street.

Everyone paint  boxes

 

The next stop was Mandela bridge

Teenage boys live in this area and have been waiting for these shoes with too much anticipation. This distribution point was the most fun, I must stay and we spent an illegal amount of time there.

35 corner

 

We then hit Joubert Park in the CBD

Girls are the major beneficiaries in this group. This area is drug infested so we had to exercise caution so as to avoid commotion. So we called the beneficiaries out of the park and found a relaxed spot for the distribution (well relaxed if you exclude the taxis, lol)

fav Bona!

 

Then Hillbrow..

This is in a slum house, mothers and their children benefited and we even had babies receiving clothes (from the physical donation, again, thanks guys).

Hello dankie

Our last stop was at the orphanage in Mofolo

Sonke thato

 

For more pictures please see our Facebook Page: Innerheights.

Thank you to Standard Bank employees and friends for the generous cash and shoe donations. Blessed thanks to Skye distribution for the sponsorship, YCL Linda Jabane district, Innerheights foundation and most importantly the Standard bank CIB grads 2013 for championing the project.

Someone might think such a gesture is futile as it doesn’t improve the children’s life  situation. However they don’t overstand  that such people are touched more strongly by love as it is something the lack the most. And LOVE trusts all things and hopes in all things. It is not rude and  is not self seeking.  It never fails.

Blessed Thanks!

#Ayashisamateki: New Beginnings

So lately my weekends have been spent up and about jozi streets, looking for worthy children to benefit from the Ayashisamateki project. By worthy I mean: they are younger than 20, are not completely drowning in drugs and they can show me where they stay and tell me a bit more about themselves. I’ve spent time with street children (and adults) in Berea, Hilbrow, Braamfontein, Jozi.

I have, however, developed a special bond with the young boys living under the Mandela Bridge. Mostly because they are the first group I was introduced to by my friend Alex who visits them regularly and they have the youngest age group living there (as young as 11). So I’ve grown to know some of them personally, and when I get left-over food donations around town I take it to them. Engaging with these young men has taught me something very important about life: If something is meant to happen, it will happen. And, you can only help people that want to be helped- you cannot force your compassion on other.

So when I first saw the 11 year old boys at the bridge, I collected their names for shoe sizes with the rest of the group. However they were so tiny that my heart didn’t allow me to leave them behind so I arranged to take them to the orphanage in Mofolo that I have I have been supporting for the past year. We begged the little boys to come with me so they can be fed and warm and we were already making plans to get them to school. One was very reluctant, but *Tom (not his real name) who is from Limpopo wanted to go to the shelter and was excited to leave the street. They spent 2 days at the orphanage and on the 3rd day they stole money (R50) and ran away-back to the street. About a week later, I went to collect Tom again who admitted he was influenced by the other boy and wants to go back to the home. When we got there he was so happy to see the Gogo and hugged her like she was his mother. I felt our mission was accomplished and a young child will get to be taken care of, go to school and find his family. A day later I got a call from the older guys at the bridge telling me Tom was back. I was sad. But oh well, I tried.

At the same bridge I had met another young man (Boyza), however he was 21 years old and wasn’t my primary concern really as the little ones had captured all my attention. Boyza only had 1 request: He wanted to go back home to Qwaqwa. He came to Joburg with his mother when he was young. At age 9, his mom left where they were visiting as though to go to the shops nearby and she never came back for him. So at that tender age he was forced raise himself and live on the street. With that said, when you come across him today you can never tell he lives under a bridge. He washes and gets piece jobs washing and parking cars to have some decent clothes.

I had given my number to an elder boy Lebo, to contact me as he was helping me move around jozi to find beneficiaries (esp girls) and it helps to walk the streets with a street wise person. So about a week after Boyza asked me for money to go home, he took my number from Lebo and called me to remind me about his request. I told him I will make a plan after we distribute the shoes (as he might also get a pair). My biggest worry about this was that; what if he gets the money and doesn’t go home? Or if he does get to Qwaqwa and finds no one home or he can’t even remember his way there. After all I was there to buy them shoes, not to be a social worker. This was just tricky.

On Sunday morning, Boyza called me again, this time almost in tears. He told me he got stabbed the previous night and he is tired of the street life, he desperately wants to go home. He is not even willing to wait for his new pair of shoes from Ayashisamateki. He wanted to go. I think he called me 6 times that day. So my friend Alex agreed to accompany me to see them on Tuesday evening. And Boyza showed me his scars (not too bad) and he was still on that going home tip. He assured us that he remembers his way back and will try his best to get his life together. He said he realises that if he keeps moving with the street motions he will either end up dead or be like the dirty old men that eat from dustbins and he didn’t want that.

I gave in eventually and Alex was willing to accompany him to the taxi the following day. I agreed to help save his life from danger only of he allows me to tell him how his soul can also be saved. I introduced him to Jesus Christ and he was delighted to meet Him. He told me he loves going to church but was never sure if he’s saved. This was a brand new start for him, and He now had the Lord of all on his side to face this new chapter. I was beyond happy. We started planning how he’s gonna start a vegetable garden at home while he looks for work. He asked that I organise him a small bag for his clothes so he doesn’t get home with plastic bags and maybe an extra pair of shoes to see him through the next months as the ones he had were almost finished. Again, I said i’ll make a plan and we parted. What happened from here on was both out of this world and humbling.Bye Boyza

At home I managed to find him a small bag my brother didn’t use anymore. In it I packed him some oranges for the trip, a motivational Christian book and a t-shirt. On Wednesday morning I went to the storage where we keep the Ayashisamateki donations to get him some socks and possibly shoes. To my surprise, I found a fresh pair of Puma sneakers (donated recently as it was sitting on top of a packed pile), and they were exactly his size! Brother Alex came to collect the bag and transport money (obtained from the shoe donations- thank you guys). His fare was R 170 and I gave him an extra R50 for pocket money.

Alex walked him to the taxi rank. Got him onto the taxi, paid the driver and wrote Boyza’s details down and they said their goodbyes. Just make sure he was indeed serious about going back, Alex waited by a corner somewhere for 10 mins and afters seeing that Boyza didn’t run of, he went back for the final, final goodbye. To his surprise when he got to the taxi he found another man sitting next to and talking to Boyza. This man thanked Alex for paying this young man’s fare to go to Qwaqwa. I turned out the guys is Boyza’s uncle and they have been looking for him years on end. And there he was in the same taxi, going to the same house with him. Immediately he called home and told them he was coming home with a special somebody. If this is not a miracle, I don’t know what is.

Alex had this to say about Boyza’s trip: “I have never seen Boyza take such bold strides. He is walking tall, confident, smiling with no clue what to expect when he gets to a place he calls home. The streets are all the love he has ever known. They; embraced him, Hugged him, Protected him, Abused him, Yet comforted him.”

All along I have been trying to help kids that don’t want to be helped (or don’t know any better), while there was someone who needed the help and was ready to receive it. Yes, Alex and I happened to be at the right place at the right time to help Boyza, but already His help had been prepared by the Lord. For many are the plans in a man’s heart, but only God’s will prevails. I don’t believe any of this is coincidence, it was pre-destined and God had set His eyes on Boyza’s life way before we came into the picture. He is indeed sovereign.

As for Tom, I’ve sort of given up on him; he’ll find help when he’s ready. Even though I’m a person that looks at world through my heart, I haven’t got time for games; I honestly have way better things to do with my love. I want to thank Brother Alex for introducing me to guys and walking this journey with me. To Sis Mpume Myeza; thanks for creating the atmosphere for Boyza to share his request and a bigger thank you to everyone that donated to the project which ultimately help give Boyza a new beginning. As for me, everyone says the Lord will bless me for reaching out to the destitute, I say: I am already blessed with the honour of being God’s hands and feet. That He entrusts me with His children and He gives me so much love that it overflows.

#Ayashisamateki clearly isn’t about shoes, but lives.

Blessings!

 

PS: I got a call from Boyza on Thursday morning telling me he arrived safely. He told me he was on his was to get information at a local FET to learn welding. It will definitely take a while for him re-integrate to his community. But he will never spend another night on the street. Mission accomplished!

#Ayashis’mateki: Thank you!

“AYASHIS’AMATEKI”

 

On behalf of Standard Bank CIB Graduates 2013 and the Innerheights foundation, we would like to; Thank you all very much for the support we have received for the #Ayashis’Amateki initiative!

Today marks the end of our collection period for 2013, and from your generous donations we have managed to collect:

 

  • R 12,340 in cash
  • 30 pairs of Adult sneakers
  • 20 Formal shoes
  • 20 pairs of kiddies shoes
  • 2 pairs of new school shoes
  • A lot of socks!

 

We are also proud to announce that Skye distribution, has volunteered to be our official supplier for the purchase of shoes. The agreement is that they will supply us with Dickies Pro sneakers at cost price, which will make our cash donations go a long way and we can afford brand new shoes for a majority of the children. Overall 96 kids will benefit ( age range: 3 years- 19yrs) from the project, and they are based in the following areas:

 

  1. Braamfontein under the Mandela Bridge (21)
  2. Yeoville by the recreation centre (17)
  3. Joubert Park (18)
  4. Slum house in Hilbrow (12)
  5. Slum house in Becker street, Yoeville (8)
  6. Hope for the helpless Orphanage in Mofolo (21)

 

Distribution

 

Saturday, 13 July 2013, is the official date the shoes will be distributed to the children. This is to allow our supplier time to process the #Ayashis’Amateki order as the sizes required vary. If you would like to be present on the day of the distribution please respond to this e-mail and will forward you the necessary details. The groups will be split, so you will only be required to assist in one venue.

 

With the remaining cash donations we are hoping to give out a cup of soup (and a roll) to the children on the day of distribution. This will give a warm fuzzy feeling (inside and out) to our beneficiaries and make the day even more joyful. And maybe we can throw in an orange for nutrition, compliments of the Bag of oranges Campaign (see on Facebook: The Bag of Oranges Campaign). The formal shoes collections will be donated to the CIDA campus to assist disadvantaged students with Interview gear (further details to follow). Extra shoe collections will be donated to deserving adults living on the streets, that are seeking employment.

 

Once again, thank you for your donations. Love is the strongest force on earth, and we hope our act of love will make a positive impact in these children’s lives.

 

Pictures of the day will be posted on our gallery (www.innerheights.co.za)

 

THANK YOU ONCE AGAIN! TOGETHER WE DID ITJ

 

Warm regards,

#AYASHIS’AMATEKI TEAM

#002: People who Love You but Won’t Give Up their Comfort to Protect you

Seeds of loveIn life you are willing to go an extra mile for someone you love because you know they would do the same for you. But sometimes the people that we truly love (and we believe love us), might not be willing to go the extra mile for us. Often times these people think there is nothing they can do to help us out, when infact there are so many opportunities to do so but they never open their eyes to them.

Maybe it’s a lack of will power or fear of the unknown, but in most cases the person is just a coward. They are afraid to face up to the situation and what it might do to their comfort (status quo). Deep down inside they hope the problem will go away by itself and you are strong enough to handle the disappointment. Sad thing is; if they let you down once and you recover from it, you best believe it will happen again. Let me give you a few examples;

Your husband knows (and acknowledges) how his mother is condescending and disrespectful towards you for no reason whatsoever. Yet he would still bring her to visit at least 2 months every year. A classic example is when a parent remains silent while another person hurts or violates their child. Last week I watched the movie “Precious” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precious_(film)  and this type of conditional love was blatantly clarified in my mind (and heart).

Precious is a 16 year old girl, who is struggling with her grades at school and is pregnant with her second child. Her first baby is 3 years old and has Down’s syndrome. By the way Precious is not the prettiest of girls and has never had a boyfriend in her life. You see, her daddy has been molesting her since she was 3 years old and has fathered both her kids. Her mother has known about this ever since, at first she tried to stop her man from hurting the child by asking him over and over again: “What are you doing to my baby?”

Precious’ mom couldn’t face the trauma of losing her man and being a single mom. Well the guy eventually left her, unemployed, single, depressed and with 2 grandchildren. That woman seemed demented, all she did all day was sit on the couch, watch tv and collect a welfare grant for her unemployment and grandchild. Oh by the way at the end of the movie Precious’ dad dies of Aids, just after Precious gave birth to the second child.

I know that this is an extreme case of conditional love, but it really highlights the damage that gets done when you don’t stand up to protect the ones you love.  For evil to triumph it takes good men to sit and do nothing. Here’s how I have learnt to deal with people that I know love me, but would not give up their comfort to protect me:

1.       Protect yourself. But love them anyway.

If your well being is constantly affected by their poor choices (or lack thereof) get yourself out. You need to look out for number 1 first. I strongly believe that you should leave a situation that no longer honours you. Love them from a distance.

And loving them may sometimes mean just praying for the person or simply forgiving them. You don’t want to get yourself too close so they can hurt you again. Just like Precious decided to take her kids and go live where her mom cannot find her. But I’m sure in her heart she still hoped that her mom becomes a better person and digs herself out of the misery she created for herself.

2.       Love without expectation.

Never allow people to change who you are inside. If you chose to love, do it without reservation and expectation no matter how many times you’ve been let down. People will always be who they want, and frankly that’s what really makes the world go round.

3.       Look for unconditional love in the right place

Only God’s love is without conditions. Once you fully know and understand how much God loves you and how precious you are to Him, you will never again seek affirmation anywhere else. Perfect love drives out all fear- You will never be afraid of being let down because you know God’s got your back, always. And God has the power to protect your heart from the pain. You will find yourself going through the worst of situations but you never lose your peace of mind and you never fall apart (even when you expect yourself to)- This is what it means to be hidden in the Lord.

“Greater love has no one than this; that someone lay down his life for his friends”  John 15:13

Ps: There are many “Precious” girls out there, especially in the South Africa we live in today. Protect them for me. Pretty please…

#Ok, next we talk about people that are hard to please (for real :) )

#01: Ungrateful People

You throw a 50c coin at a beggar and to your surprise he stands up and shows you so much gratitude for it. I mean it’s not much, but for the fact that they were grateful for the 50c, doesn’t it compel you to give them a little bit more because they were grateful for little? Well ungrateful people will give you a totally different reaction.Ungrateful

No matter what you do for these people, it will never be enough. This type is usually family members or friends that you care deeply about. They know that you will never leave them stranded and in turn take your compassion for granted.

It’s like going to buy petrol for instance, after you have paid, the petrol attendant won’t say “thank you” in fact they shouldn’t because you are expected to pay. Which brings me to the problem with ungrateful people:  They have a sense of entitlement. Why should they thank you, when you HAVE to do A, b and c for them? You are expected to do stuff for them!

You can buy the whole earth for these people, but they won’t be grateful for it because it didn’t come with the moon. Often times they will give you deceptive appreciation, saying “thanks” with a thousand complaints underneath their breath. These ones will side with your enemies and not hesitate to give false witness against you because you never give them the best (according to their expectation). So when people congregate to say you’re a terrible person, they will definitely add to that conversation.

I’ve had to deal with my fair share of ungrateful people, and trust me being constantly overlooked hurts. Now I know better, and learnt valuable lessons from them. I have learnt to:

  • Give without expectation
  • Never inconvenience myself to accommodate them. I can only give what I can
  • Not to beat myself up if I can’t help them at that time
  • To give more assistance to the people that actually does appreciate my efforts.  Gratitude invites more blessing
  • I can actually survive life without them (they actually need me more than I need them)

My greatest advice on how to deal with such people is to STOP doing stuff for them! Or just give the bare minimum. Maybe then they will realise the value you add to their lives and show you appreciation. You know what they say: “You never miss the water until the well runs dry”

We were all created to serve one master and that is God. You don’t owe anybody anything, unless they are your child, even in that case there are limits. Yes we are commanded to love one another and give the other cheek, but at certain times, tough love goes a long way in gaining respect and teaching people to say Thank you.

It’ the same with God, when we thank him for little, He blesses us with more!

#Next : It’s  people that are impossible to please. No matter how well you do, it will never be enough for them….

You too can make it happen. Why not?

We thought it would never happen, or something will go wrong, or our planning would just not be enough. But it did happen and everything was beyond perfect. I could have been at home watching cartoons (like I do most Saturday mornings), but last week Saturday was something special and I was glad to be a part of it.

Together with the Project Hope ladies, we organized a special lunch for teenage girls from Hope for the Helpless orphanage in Mofolo. You see since Project Hope was incepted, the orphanage has been our beneficiary in terms of donating groceries every month. However we know that a child is not only raised on food, they need love and knowledge that someone actually cares about them. So this was basically to spend some quality time with the girls, to get to know them better, while encouraging them to dream beyond their circumstances. That is why the theme for the lunch was: Living your dream. We tried to make the event as special as possible, from delivering handmade invites with their names on them to giving each one a rose when they entered the event venue.

We were prayerful on the weeks leading up to the event that God prepares the young ladies hearts to receive something and grow from it. Well our guest for the day, made sure of that. We had Thendo (Mpho’s sister) come share her life story with the girls and how she managed to escape rape and death situations to be where she is today. Born of a preacher mother, she was one rebellious teenager and got herself into all sorts of trouble which exposed herself to many horrible things, some of which she is still dealing with right now. But by God’s grace she is now a blooming woman, who has just written her own book and is focusing her life into Social entrepreneurship and living for the Lord. She said, she wishes at her age she had someone caring enough to host an event like that for her and warn her of what life carries ahead.

The girls were encouraged, and I hope they understood that by them growing up in an orphanage might just be a blessing in disguise and God actually cares for them more than they think. We had fun sessions with the young ladies when they shared a bit more about their dreams and what defines them. And let me tell you, those kids are one joyful bunch, some even sang for us! We obviously didn’t have money to finance the entire event, we got young professional ladies to sponsor a girl for lunch. These ladies also brought knowledge to the girls in the various fields, which added more value to the afternoon. I recall Sandra (a medical doctor), saying: “We are encouraging you to be the best you can be, so we can have a coffee break with other black sister doctors”. Yes our desire is make the most out of these ladies and see them thrive and be successful so we can grow our young black professional landscape.

Obviously the event was a once off treat for the girls, as the main concern over their lives right now is food, clothes and decent schooling. But this one thing can remind them how special they are. Knowing that the next time they go to school without lunch money, they know they have a provider who does exceedingly and above than what they can imagine. Even if it’s just once or twice a year.

Sharing on this event is not to place glory on anyone, but God. Yes, I honor the ladies for working relentlessly to make the event a success, but ultimately this showed me that when God gives you a vision, He will bring it to pass. There were so many things to worry about, from the weather to the finances, but He took care of everything. This shows that you don’t need to accomplish xy or z to help someone out. Just heed God’s call inside of you to reach out, and trust Him to do the rest. To think those “special invites” were printed in color on a normal A4 page and wrapped in ribbons that cost R2.50 each. Because we had the heart to make it special, the almighty made a way for it to be.

You just need to desire to help someone out, it may be through kind words, financial assistance or even going to visit the less fortunate. Nothing you do can ever be too little.

A big thank you to project Hope, the ladies who sponsored the lunch, my brother for providing us with transport, the venue people for hosting us, and God for holding up the weather, providing  goodie bags, trusting us with his little ones and giving us the vision.

You too can bless someone, with something. Remember, we are blessed to be a blessing. You are not where you are because you deserve to be, your opportunities could have easily been granted to someone else. And you don’t have to be a millionaire before you can help others. Maybe driving around with a packet of oranges and giving it to the beggars you come across on your way to work could be a start OR you can come together on a monthly basis with colleagues and donate say R100 each and decided how you’re going to help someone out. Just think of a way and you will find it.

If you want to know about Project Hope, or the Orphanage, please go to our new page: From God with Love. I have also profiled a few other initiatives that serve to make a difference in other people’s lives and you can get involved with them if you like.

Izandla ziyagezana.

Life is short…

Not a single one of us is guaranteed another day on this earth. Our days were apportioned to us before we were even born albeit, there’s a time for everything; to live, to die, to grow, to cry, to laugh, to hurt and to love. These times should be treasured (and accepted), living each moment as our last, because we don’t know what tomorrow holds. These are people who have been part of life somehow. Our paths in life crossed and some point and a part of me was shared with them and so was theirs. Let me tell you a few stories…

We used to call my brother in law’s granddad, Da (father). He was a vital element in my life somehow. This year, when everybody was celebrating Mandela day, our family wasn’t in a jolly mood. You, see 2 days before we had lost our Madiba. Da was also born in 1910, we were looking forward to his 92 birthday in November. An old man who was strong and had so much love, all of a sudden fell sick after a few weeks passed on. We were sad, but also grateful that we shared in his life.

Shortly after Da’s passing, his grandson had an annoying headache. End July he was admitted into hospital and after a week or so he died. We buried him on top of his wife who passed away in a car accident a couple of years ago. They leave 4 kids, the youngest being 8. God will keep the children, but unfortunately life had to happen for him. May his soul rest in peace.

Then there’s Ntombana. A chick we grew up with, we lived in the same neighborhood in Dobsonville. She went missing on the 23rd of September. Her body was then found by cops in a nearby cemetery 5 days later, she had been raped and stabbed to death. I still can’t get over how horrible her last moments might have been. She was openly lesbian and has been ever since I knew her. Yes, everyone has their time to die, but no one can judge another. Farewell Ntombana, a very sweet somebody who is the only person I know who has a smile on every single picture. Laid to rest 4 Thursdays ago a few days before Gay Pride. Here’s her story http://www.citypress.co.za/SouthAfrica/News/Lesbians-family-begs-for-justice-20121006 (There is only one lawgiver who is able to save and destroy. Who are you to judge another? –James 4vs12).

On the same day I went to see Ntombana’s mother, I started in Braamficherville on the news that Mr Norman had passed away. I know him through Golden Ark senior citizens, a food project, to feed the community. I remember when I last spoke to him he said: My child; “by the time the first rains come this year we need to be ready to plant our crops”. He was the Chairperson of Golden Ark and was passionate about the agricultural project. Gogo Angie told me that the previous Sunday, he woke up like any other day. He just fell on his way to the door and that was the end of him. Death is indeed a thief.

A colleague of mine was telling me about a tragedy that befell her relatives. That morning she had been so tired because they had to identify bodies in Mpumalanga. A recently married couple, went to Swaziland with the groom’s dad and brother to introduce the wife to their relatives there. While travelling back, the family got involved in an accident with a truck and another car. Everyone died on the spot, all 5 of them. Turned out the young bride was pregnant. May their souls rest in peace.

Nathi’s older brother is engaged to my cousin, we were all so fond of him. Born in 1995, he was shaping up to be fine young man. He loves cars, his father owns taxis so he learned driving at a young age. He is the one that picks up my little cousins when they are invited to a party somewhere. On the 13th, he was driving his father’s BMW with a few friends, something went wrong and they were involved in a car accident. http://www.iol.co.za/news/crime-courts/cops-blamed-for-teen-s-fatal-crash-1.1408390. Out of the 4 people that were in the car, 2 died and 2 were critically injured. It was Nathi’s funeral 2 Saturday’s ago.

About 5 weeks ago, Pana came to my place with Mom to help us move in some stuff. He is an old family friend who visits every other weekend. Pana was no trouble at all; he just loved watching tv and smoking his cigarettes. Last week Sunday, he was taking a walk to a spaza in the neighborhood. A taxi sped past and knocked him over. He sustained head injuries and a broken leg. 3 days later he passed away in hospital. By the way, the driver of the taxi is a young teenage girl who was playing around with her boyfriend’s company car. Her life has changed, forever, just like how Pana is gone forever. I’m still sad.

The previous Sunday we woke to the news that some guys from my hometown (Nquthu) were missing. Funny enough, I know all of them and my step mom is related to some of them. They were driving in a low lying bridge from Magogo (Northern KZN). Apparently there was a heavy storm on Saturday night and their car was swept away, 2 managed to get out the car and stand on the roof of it. The other 3 got washed away in it. Follow the link to read their story http://www.thepost.co.za/woman-watches-teachers-drown-1.1408922. Their bodies were only last week Friday (http://www.thepost.co.za/teacher-s-body-found-others-still-missing-1.1411997) more than 30km’s from where they drowned. Imindeni yakwaNgobese, kwaSikhakhane nakwa Buthelezi iduduzeke.

Life is short guys. I’m reciting these tragedies as though fables, but that is the reality of the earth we live in. I am beyond sad, these experiences have just taught me to accept things as they are and move on. Life brings us new turns every day, and we never know what can happen next. Maybe you’re sitting there and your last day is a few months away? Will you be grateful for your time here, or are you going to wish you had made much out of your time? We must get off the paradigm that there’s always tomorrow to do this or that. Tomorrow’s not guaranteed.

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell ad make a profit.” Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a small vapor that appears for a little while and vanishes away. Instead you ought to say,”if the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that. But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. Therefore to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin__James 4 vs 13-17

If you’ve been meaning to tell someone how wonderful they are, do it today, not tomorrow. Mend that relationship, send that gift, go visit that relative, buy that house, open that business, write that book, go for that audition, make that suggestion. If you have a dream, start living it, or least start finding a way on how to. Our lives are but a mist that appears in the morning and disappears by day. That is how short your life is. Start living for today, let go of the past because it will keep you there and prevent you from loving the here and now. The people you just read about are ordinary people, as special as you are, nothing different about them. If it happened to them, it can surely happen to you.

With the understanding that life is short, it is wise to start planning for eternity. Start serving the author of time and you will understand that death is not the end. But the beginning of another, beautiful, worry free life with our Father. If you’ve been meaning to surrender your life to Christ, do it now, today, don’t postpone it much longer because we don’t know what tomorrow holds. Choose life.

All flesh is as grass. And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers. And it’s flower falls away. But the word of the Lord endures forever__1 Peter 1 vs 24

Sweetest Revenge

When people deliberately hurt us, our natural reaction is to seek justice. We may forgive them but deep down inside, we wish that something equally bad happens to them so they can feel how we felt.

Here’s a piece of advice: If someone hurts you, please don’t spend your life waiting to see their downfall because it will never come! You just need to deal with the negative energy they enforced upon you, learn from it and move right along. Their whole life should not perish just coz they did you wrong. God loves them as much as He loves you and if you don’t perish from your wrongs, they won’t too.

If someone doesn’t love you/rejects you it doesn’t mean they are bad people altogether. You are not money, not everyone will have the burning desire to want to have you. Don’t hate for not being loved, rather respect other people’s choices to choose who they want in their lives and who they don’t. Their decision to dislike/ disrespect you is based on their perceptions, and has no reflection on you whatsoever. So other people’s actions towards you should not define your character and dictate who you are.

You see when someone does something bad to you. By trying to “sort them out” or “teach them a lesson”, actually means that you are now stooping to their level. And trust me; it drains so much of your energy. You should obviously express your hurt and tell them what they did is not right, but beyond that there isn’t much you can do. Instead continue being who you were toward them. I know it’s hard, but treating your enemies with kindness is the worst thing you could ever do to them. Guard yourself in prayer so you never lose your peace. You are exercising power with gentleness, the bible calls it meekness and it has such positive fruit on your character.

Allow God to deal the injustice you have suffered the best way He can, it is not up to you to decide on someone else’s fate. Think of all the people you have wronged, deliberately or otherwise, would it be fair for God to let them have a say as to how your life should end up? You see we want to settle scores and see that people get what they deserve and yet God does not give us what we deserve in our transgressions. This, my friend is what forgiveness is about. It is not just simply saying: “I’m sorry”

Yes you forgive and let go of the hurt, but seeing the person prosper, sort of hurts. Not in a jealous kind of way, but in a “you don’t deserve to be this happy” kind of way. You see we take the act/hurt and define the person by it. We brand the person as our heart ache defines them. It’s like saying an entire bank is useless because you were once issued a faulty card and you couldn’t access money to pay for a meal you just ate or something.

Sometimes people will not realize their fault towards you, at that very time you want them to see it. You may express your anger as forcefully as you want, but if they chose not to realize it, they just won’t. That’s why it sometimes helps to put the shut to the up. Yes, just shut up and let it go. Maybe you might even have to apologize even if you were wronged. Simply do it and move right along. It is not a sign of weakness; it just shows that you choose which battles to fight.

You cannot afford to lose your peace of mind, just because someone decided to be rude today. Sometimes you just need to let people drown in their stupidity so they can learn the valuable lessons life has to offer. You just walk on in faith, believing that the Lord knows best how to deal with them. Just cast it all on Him and best believe He will heal your hurt in the process. Focus on your own journey in life, learn your lessons and keep to your lane.

Let God be the ultimate judge, because your definition of noble is not absolute.

They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint- Isaiah 40:31

As I lay still…

I lay still in your tummy

 And you never knew I was there.

I gave you sleepless nights

And morning sickness’s

Yet still you never knew i was there.

Funny cravings and mood swings

Seemed rather usual to you

I gave up trying

All I cud do was lay still in the only home I knew.

I took a small percentage of everything you consumed

Whether gud or bad I had no choice

Finally!

You noticed me

But i heard u say “this can’t be, this baby is a mistake”

But it was too late for you to terminate me.

I shared all your emotions gud and bad

When you cried, I cried

 When you laughed, I laughed.

I kicked and moved in circles hoping you would rub me

But u didn’t.

I grew strong as the thought of me sickened you.

The more u hated me, the more i loved u.

I could move nor kick any further

The time had cum for me to meet you.

I heard him say “push u almost there”

As u screamed your smoke filled lungs out.

I was welcomed by a bright light

And two cold objects holding me on either side.

I cried for i did not know what was happening.

I felt the life line bonding us together being cut off

After being wrapped I was placed in your arms,

For some reason I stopped crying.

This felt right, it felt more like home

But much safer and warmer

I felt your lips on my cheeck and a warm drop of water on my forehead

 All i cud do was blush.

I drank some warm liquid coming from you and slept the whole day next to u.

I felt closer to u than ever.

I drank that warm stuff again

As night approached u laid me right beside u

You spent half the night looking at me,

So did I

But when morning came i was no more.

I had to leave I hope u understand

For now I lay still in your soul

 And still u never knew i was there

By Ntobeko Gaju

Loosing a child is the greatest pain any woman could ever go through. Either the child dies after birth, born still, dies a toddler, or is miscarried. No one bears the pain more than the woman who had that soul growing inside of them. I believe that no one should ever have to go through something like that, but then again, life happens and everything has a reason to it. This type of pain only God can heal because only He can comprehend your hurt, no one else.

If it has happened to you and you ask “why me?” well….why not you? Who do you know that deserves that kind of pain? It’s harsh, I know, but we all have to bear different burdens. I can talk about the pain of a woman who was gang raped or molested several times as a child by different men. Would you have rather had that?

You see when such painful episodes occur, we need to look deep within to find the strength that God has instilled in us as women. We are the apple of His eye and what hurts us, hurts Him. We should never blame Him for the bad things because only goodness can come from Him and He is always there to carry us when we cannot carry ourselves.

A woman’s heart can bury the deepest of pain and yet that same woman will bring joy to all around her. You see our DNA is different from men, we are built with so much strength and gentleness. Only we have the honor to bring life into this earth. Through a very long, difficult and yet sophisticated fashion. To think the lady in the poem, didn’t want the pregnancy and even continued smoking through it. Yet when the child was there, she loved it more than anything in those few hours she had with it. That is a natural quality in us to love our offspring and no man could understand that.

This poem was written by my male cousin , who is a paramedic. Once they helped a young girl of 16 years deliver her baby in the ambulance. Just after giving birth, this girl stood up and said “I don’t want this baby” and she walked away. It will take a very long time for this young girl to heal from those wounds, but at least she gave her baby life. By Ntobeko writing such a poem, it made me realize that men also feel the pain of losing a child. So if you’re going through loss right now, don’t shut yourself out to your partner. He wants to make you feel better while dealing with his own pain as well.

Just know this: Only God can give and take life, you have nothing to do with that. And rest assured that your little one is back in heaven where they belong. Look forward to more blessings in your life and allow God to redeem all that has been lost. Life goes on, that’s what it does.

This woman’s month, let us celebrate the inner strength that we all posses as women.  We are precious and so valuable; we carry so much in our hearts. If you were to ask your mother to share the hurts she has had to stomach in her lifetime you will be depressed for the rest of the year. But she is as happy as happy can be for we have a healer. Only God can heal the pain others can’t reach:  “He leads me beside quiet waters,  He refreshes my soul” (Psalm 23 vs3)

As we celebrate Women’s day, dear woman go search your heart of all the pain undealt with over the years. Bring it to the Lord and ask him to soothe and whiten your spirit. Draw more strength from Him and let go of all the hurt. We know you can handle it, but just not alone.

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised-Proverbs 31 vs 30

 

Respect is Earned. Elders are Respected.

After City Press published a picture of President Jacob Zuma with his genitals exposed, the entire country was shocked, to say the least. A lot of reactions and opinions were expressed. I for one didn’t know how to feel about it, but I know that this issue was given too much attention. Perhaps it did deserve it or maybe it didn’t. Here’s my take on this matter, I won’t lie, this will be tricky as it borders between the thin lines of morality vs objectivity. I am unfortunately not going to take sides, as my idea of truth is not absolute, so I can only share my objective opinion on the matter. Please do forgive me if some of my arguments may seem offensive, but sometimes we just need to call a Spade a Spade simply because it looks like one.

The entire country came to a standstill because of “The Spear” by Brett Murray. I would like to declare that I did find the picture disrespectful towards the Mr Zuma. No living human being should ever be ridiculed like that, because none is perfect, not even one of us. “He, who has no sin, let him be the first to cast a stone”

You may not like Zuma, perhaps you never even voted for him, but the fact remains that he is the president of the country. He has to be respected as a leader of the nation. For me the most painful part is just imagining if something like this was done to my own father and my children and their friends saw it. It is wrong, I won’t lie. Brett Murray could have put his point across differently; I mean Mr Zuma is the President after all. In other African countries grave occurrences could have fallen on the artist who painted such a picture of the president. Children are even afraid to utter the President’s name, not out fear, but of respect for the highest position in the land.

Thus Brett Murray playing ignorant by saying “he did not mean to hurt anyone by the exhibition” really is an insult; he should just apologize to the President and the nation as a whole.  Plus, before you draw a picture of someone in the nude you ask for permission at least. He knew this would be controversial, but then again a lot of things about our President are controversial.

Which brings me to my next point; had our President been a different person, he would have been depicted differently. He wasn’t painted with a big heart or big brains or big hands, but with his genitals out. I believe a person should inspire the reverence they crave and the same applies to Jacob Zuma. The genitals are not an attack on his cultural decision to practice polygamy contrary to what the rest of the ANC population believes. A dignified father of a household does not go around sleeping with random women openly and impregnating them. Some of the women have HIV and some of them are his friend’s children with no expressed intentions to marry them. Yes a lot of men do these things out there, but in as much as we are required to respect the office of presidency, he should also do the same. So polygamy is not the problem here, reckless sexual behavior is.

Another thing, commenting on The spear in isolation is misguided and it deepens the offence. Zuma’s portrait was part of a whole exhibition. And according to my understanding, the theme was to reflect on SA politics and how things have changed from fighting for freedom to nurturing corruption while the poor remain poor. And we must all admit that Zuma has been the most notorious leader this country has ever had, from a rape and corruption trial to presidency; the most questionable high profile appointments to a conviction and subsequent parole of his financial advisor, there is then, of course, his weakness for the opposite sex which is evident for all to see. So the portrayal is not an attack on his persona, but on his conduct as a leader and the examples he sets. No one should be judged on their personal decisions, but he can try to contain his weaknesses for the benefit of the people in his sphere of influence. The bible says: if it causes your brother to stumble, don’t do it. No amount of boycotting or striking can erase Zuma’s previous conduct. So in the context of the entire exhibition, Zuma’s portrait did make it’s own statement.

My key subject matter though, is how this matter was handled by the entire nation. No doubt, it did hurt and offend a lot of people on both sides of the fence. It literally tapped on the most sensitive wounds in our democracy and frankly, everyone was just quick to take offense (again, on both sides of the fence).  It was indeed a time where almost everyone, was somewhat tested on how they perceive things in this country and virtually their loyalty questioned. I say this because as a young black woman who didn’t really take this issue to heart, I was somewhat perceived as insensitive. I know I have lost respect from some of my comrade friends. So this picture has not only increased racial tensions but also sows division among Africans themselves. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion because we all perceive things differently, that’s the beauty of being human. Yes I do believe that the picture was disrespectful and I wish it was never painted, but I also feel this whole thing has been blown out of proportion. A whole country cannot come to a standstill over one person offending another.

ANC called for the boycotting of the City Press, and copies of the paper were burned last week. They demanded the picture be taken down from the respective websites. They also took the matter to court and marched to the gallery. A white professor went into the gallery and painted an X over the painting’s face and genitals and another black guy smeared black paint over it. Both men were acting independently and didn’t know each other. In the midst of the turmoil, both races managed to find common ground, very heart warming, I must say. There is hope afterall.

So now the marches and court interdicts have been abandoned, the painting ruined and sold to a foreigner, how do we start picking up the pieces as a nation? A lot of underlying issues have come out in open and they need to be dealt with. The fact that we resorted to: boycotting, burning, banning, vandalizing and court orders to put a point across says a lot about conflict resolution strategies our leaders have. Is this the only way to fight our battles, really? These methods earned us our democracy, fighting the apartheid regime was hard required force. Now we have a democracy where everyone is equal and we are still using the same tactics to face our challenges. It’s like saying today’s youth lacks passion and is passive compared to the 1976 youth. But we are facing different challenges to the 1976 youth. We cannot be fighting Aids and unemployment with stones and burning tyres. Exactly, different battles require different weapons.

4000 ANC members (against an expected 15000) marched to the Goodman gallery for the removal of the damaged portrait and to basically put their point across. Are these very people not affected by the serious problems engulfing our country? Since they know they have a right to be heard and have rightfully exercised it, cant they do the same for their children’s future? I am just worried that the “masses” are only mobilized when it is suitable for certain interest groups. Malema’s hearing proved this theory of “rent a crowd” true. I have nothing against the March to the gallery because the ANC took offence and wanted to set the record straight. I just wish they could exercise the very same enthusiasm to real issues that are killing our nation. Or are people dumb enough to be told what to march for?

A 17 year old mentally ill girl was gang raped and the video went viral, no one marched. An 8 year girl was raped by a 15 year old boy and her eyes were gouged out, no one marched. Our sisters and brothers are caught in an education system that says it is okay for them NOT to know 70% of what they are taught,  a mere 30% is good enough for them to pass, no one marched. Some provinces are without school textbooks and it’s almost June, no one marched. Our Crime intelligence boss is being investigated for hideous crimes and still keeps his position, no one marched. Our country has one of the highest unemployment and HIV infection rates in the world, no one marched. Today, I saw a headline that a grade 3 pupil is pregnant, no one will march. I could go on and on, there is so much that we are struggling with as a nation and there are a lot of matters that require our urgent attention. My concern is that as a population we have our priorities wrong. When know how to stand up and be counted, but we don’t know for what exactly.

Out of this whole saga, the one thing that gave me the most anguish was that security guard who arrested the people who vandalized the painting. The black guy was man handled like he just robbed a bank while the white guy was being handcuffed carefully. They both vandalized the painting and should be treated equally. By equal, I mean equal respect. But then again it’s unfortunate that as a nation we are still failing to see each other as individuals but by our skin color. For me that particular scenario should be the starting point of opening debate on perceptions and feelings caused by this exhibition.

The President clearly understands that there are a lot of underlying issues and has called for an open debate. The debate is not to talk about that ugly picture, but to allow individuals to express their feelings that were stirred up by the commotion. What concerns came to mind and how to make things better. For this gesture, I really thank the president. He has looked pass the humiliation and turmoil, from which I believe his silence throughout that time was the best response.

Right now fighting about who is wrong and who is right will not get us anywhere. I cannot say Zuma is a victim nor can I say Freedom of speech (Brett Murray) is a victim, neither get my sympathy. For a long time I really wasn’t sure how to feel about the portrait, honestly because a part of me was offended and a part of me wasn’t. Again this is my opinion and you are entitled to yours. You may agree to some of the points I made above and you can disagree to some of them, trust me, you are not the only one. We all learn as we go, and as country we need to remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day, such hurdles are part of the growth process.

 “The uncomfortable bottom line is that South Africa is a white controlled-black country”- Jonathan Moyo. Your thoughts?