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"Culture is the heritage of us all. some may be more interested than others in the treasures of the past, but no one can fail to take a pride in his country's participation in the story of mankind, as represented in carvings, sculpture, music, paintings and the other arts. And there is a personal commitment to this, for no man can really say he is alone: we are all joined through our identity, with the cultures which are part of the mainstream of life"
- Simon Kapwepwe, Zambian Independence Freedom Fighter

"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm" - Winston Churchill

"Try to be the rainbow in someone else's cloud" - Maya Angelou

"Your time is limited so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinion drown out your inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition" - Steve Jobs

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Woolgather Wednesday: Kindness Ate The Quail

Kafue Bridge,  Kafue, Zambia
 George Mutale

I hear you say what ate the what? And what has that got to do with this very eeriely arresting and beautiful image of a bridge?! What drugs am I smoking right?  Have no fear, this is Woolgather Wednesday: hallucination, rumination and seriously profound excogitation from interesting angles, not LSD trips and caterpillar hookah smoking Alice in Wonderland style high-ness, is the order of the day.  All will be revealed - trust me and skip (yes skip like a little girl in afropuffs) with me down head trippy lane.  I promise I will take you out of Kansas and all the way to Oz safely and responsibly without the need for sparkly red pumps or hallucinogens he he he.

So let me start at the beginning.  I was having a conversation with my Mummy about what it takes to do the right thing, to be a good person,  to live life with purpose, to affect the world positively and to interact with people personally and professionally without getting burned.  One thing led to another and she uttered a Bemba proverb to comfort me: 

Uluse lwalile inkwale: Kindness ate the quail.

I, like I am assuming you, was like what does that mean??!!! Niceness or kindness ate what? I didn't even know inkwale meant to add to my already discombobulated mind. I really did not need to be confused, I do that quite well on my own. My mother then let me know what it meant and I was like Mummy what drugs have you been smoking?! She hushed me and proceed to tell me that the proverb stems from the story of insoka yalile inkwale: the snake that ate the quail.  I shall now enlighten you, and yes you will feel I should have prefaced the proverb with story, but it is the Zambian and African way to do things backwards and in circles to deliver sage words and concepts for growth and learning - the old confuse to enlighten jedi mind trick:

There was a snake that was in distress and a quail walked by and seeing another in need, decided to be a Good Samaritan and helped the snake out.  Once the snake was out of danger, instead of thanking the quail, it proceeded to have the bird for dinner. Yah, the snake ate the quail! 

The moral of the story is that you can be kind, but that doesn't mean you will be rewarded for your benevolence.  In fact, you can be taken advantage of and end up worse for wear. So in the end you can feel like you have been eaten like the quail after you direct your kindness to snake-like people and/ or situations.

I know, DEEEEEEEEP man!  And if I ever meet that snake I have some choice words for it and will not hold back with the expletives...

Okay, so what has this got to do with bridges? Well I thought about this and I realised that lately I have repeatedly allowed myself to be eaten like the quail that was eaten by the snake.  Good thing is that I have recognised the situations and people that have contributed to the feasting, taken responsibility for my part, learnt from my actions and thankfully also am determined to rise like the phoenix a better person and wiser for it and so have come to this conclusion:

The important thing is to be kind to yourself and that is not selfish, it is paramount to survival. And also be kind for kindness sake and don't expect anything in return which, is also being kind to you as being a good person is never bad.  Expecting things that are not guaranteed however is not being good to yourself, that's just setting yourself up to be unnecessarily hurt.   If you are kind to yourself and for kindness' sake, you are less likely to become the quail and be eaten by the snakes out there.  And sometimes that means letting bridges burn: letting people fall out of your life and cutting off avenues for negativity and problems from elsewhere to bleed into your life.  

Sometimes you need to be cruel to be kind because being nice allows the snakes to crawl in with malice, to writhe and wreak havoc in your life. And you don't want to be nice: nice people are too concerned with people liking them and not with whether they are doing good or are good.  Be a troll sometimes: if people do not measure up to pay the toll and/ or if the situation you are faced with will cost you more, under no circumstances should you allow passage for any of that to play a part in your life.  Being kind to yourself means you will be kind to others because you will be happier, and wont want to hiss and lash out with the venom that comes with being bitter from what you let into your life.  When kindness eats you, you become a snake too.  

So don't be a quail, or a snake - be a troll and guard your life's bridges with kindness.

I have vowed to only write about things if I can put a positive spin on them, especially if there is negativity or criticism involved.  And when I write motivational posts, many times it is to hold myself to being better as once out there, I can shame myself when I do not honour my convictions and take my own advice.  And if there is anything that anyone else can gather from it, that's an added bonus.

I hope that this post is as kind to you as the woolgathering sojourn from my mind, to transforming my thoughts into the 1s and 0s I have written and you have just read, has been kind to me ;}

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