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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

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Only Human (And That Is Enough)

Ever since following the seminal change happening in North Africa and watching it filter to the Middle East and even to West Africa I have had to take a bit of a hiatus.  I am also going through an interesting time in my life, trying to juggle work, prepare for an imminent transition, keep up-to-date in the goings on in the world while trying to making sure I am personally at peace.  This proved rather hard this week for various unforeseen reasons but it has been a great learning experience so in retrospect I am glad I weathered the storm.

It is really important to take that time to be introspective and to figure out what your goals are and more importantly the need to stand one's ground even if other people may not like it as ultimately your wellbeing is yours, not anyone else's.  I was recently given some very good advice by my MENTOR, whom I will write about soon as I think it is important for everyone to have people that they can go to for personal and/ or professional guidance: 

Isaiah 41: 10-13:

10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
   do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
   I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
 11 “All who rage against you
   will surely be ashamed and disgraced;
those who oppose you
   will be as nothing and perish.
12 Though you search for your enemies,
   you will not find them.
Those who wage war against you
   will be as nothing at all.
13 For I am the LORD your God
   who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
   I will help you.

I take these words metaphorically not literally.  I do not believe God to be vengeful or violent.  I read from this that if you stand your ground and present yourself honestly to the world, your deeds will be evidence enough and others will see them and you will not suffer in the long run. If you trust in yourself, you trust in the truth ultimately standing up for you when you are tested and/or questioned.  

I believe that it is okay and important to disagree. I think this is paramount for ideas to grow and so it is good not  to hang around with exact replicas of yourself or to want everyone to think, work and be like you.  And I think it is important to accept people's differences and learn to be adaptable and to try to work things out.  You can only change yourself, you can't expect other people to change and believe me there are many people who won't.  And sometimes you have to accept that things may not be resolvable or that a different strategy may be needed to be able to find a solution that involves compromise to salvage a situation.  And sometimes you just have to walk away.  That doesn't mean defeat - some things are just not meant to be. One of the biggest lessons I have learnt is that control can come from a place of strength or a place of weakness and it is important to beware of the kind that comes from weakness for it is the kind that tries to conquer and destroy for fear of being overwhelmed or sidelined.  It is also important to know when to relinquish control to someone else, or to simply walk away and know that takes strength and maturity to do so.  I am still learning how to do that effectively.  It is a very hard skill to master.  The problem isn't the doing actually, its more of dealing with the aftermath, especially when resistance is involved. 

I believe that you can find inspiration from all religions but  my defacto is Christianity as that is the faith I was brought up in.  And these words were the right words of inspiration I needed to hear and I hope that they may provide comfort when needed, no matter what you believe in.  If those words don't resonate with you, the try Aaliyah's song, which I like to play in my head when I need to get through a tough spot:

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