Monday, 30 December 2013

When Sweets Thrill But Bitter is Better

Ever wondered why all the sweet tasting stuff you love are what will make you fat, rot away your teeth, damage your liver, make your skin break out in spots and generally reduce the quality of your human body?

I think about it all the time. Don't tell me about moderation, how many fields of bitter leaf do you think you would need to consume before it has an adverse effect on your body.......While you are calculating that, how much chocolate is too much chocolate? Bet that doesn't need any thinking.

It just isn't right I tell you.

The world is a funny place. You would think it's all those goodies that your body needs that will get packaged right and sold to you but NO. It's those delicious killers that get all the attention. Chocolates have the most beautiful of wrappers. Fries with spicy wings and a chilled extra large coke are served to befriend your spirit not just kill your hunger. Most times you start craving these things, it isn't hunger pangs causing it. Ever seen carrots and greens sold or served in a way that causes you to dream of them later?

Something is wrong I tell you.

And while the world screams about healthy living and obsesity, meals get larger and larger and drinks get bigger and even more sugary. One day i might just see a gallon coke bottle, or a pack of chips bigger than 2 feet. When people talk about moderation, do they serve you those sizes in the hope that you will go share it with some hungry dude down the road? Or throw the left overs in the bin so that mangy stray dog gets a bite to eat?

Moving on to conspiracy theories.

Look closely you might find the same companies that own the food places own the gymnasiums and the gym equipment factories and the TV stations that keep dishing out series after series every hour all day and the pharmaceutical companies doling out magic pills to help loose weight remove stretch marks cure loneliness remove excess sugar and salt from your system and make you feel better about yourself.

Like moth to flame we know and yet.

George Orwell's 1984 becomes more and more the book of a man who saw the future more than that of a man who predicted the way the future would play out.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

New Year Resolutions

Think about it for a moment how many times have you spent the end of a year planning on becoming a better person improving yourself in the new year and by the the fourth week of the new year you are frustrated at your lack of improvement and back to being the same old you from the other year?

Easy is as easy does. Try setting yourself no more than three goals this time around and make sure moving from a size 22 to a size 10 is not one of is doable but these are targets that lead to frustration. Stay with simple, few changes, a day at a time and no deadlines.

Savings are what we all want to do but hardly ever get around to doing. The 'piggy to bank' savings style might be childish but actually helps you save up a bit. This is where you put away a part of every cash that goes through your hands into a piggy bank (say 10%) and at the end of each month you break the piggy bank and transfer your savings into your bank savings account (one opened specifically for saving towards certain projects). If you have ever written down a list of the monies you actually spend in a month as compared to your take home pay you will realise the viability of this method. Note, piggy banks are as big as you need them to be :-D

Giving is a big feel good act. When you give you feel a great sense of purpose and communion. Make it a point of duty to give to people in the New Year. It doesn't have to be only financially you can give your time help out in different ways and places.  Pick a poor kid nearby and pay to have the kid in school. Visit an old people's home and help out for a day. Buy a ball for street kids around so they can stop kicking the over patched ball of polythene and cloth pieces. Give out that extra car to the family down the road. The good thing about giving is its immediate feel good effect, if you do it once you will do it twice and then again. The one thing to watch out for when giving is expecting gratitude from everyone. Allow the feeling of being able to help be your reward or you might end up not sure you should have given.

Aim to live healthier. Don't set any crash courses concerning your weight or eating habits....those targets die naturally deaths before January is done. Try to check the kinds of food you eat and the quantity before moving on to weight loss techniques. Exercise is key but starting with movement is even better.  Just move, don't sit around all day. Walk your dog, walk to the store, go walk by the lake, take your kids out, take your friend's,  neighbour's kids to the park, chase after them. Ride a bicycle, go swim, join a fitness group that enjoy each other's company more than rigorous activities. A little at a time, get your body to adjust to changes before you delve into those huge weight loss regimes.

Whatever way you decide to improve yourself in the New Year set baby step goals for yourself then improve on them as you catch on, that way you will still be walking along resolution road by the middle of the year.


Saturday, 28 December 2013

This Traditions Must Give Way

Have you ever wondered why the dead have to be returned to a village they have never been to or only been there 5 times in their lifetime for a total of 10 days? Ever wondered what the logic behind a couple getting married 4 times via 'introduction, traditional marriage, court registry and white wedding' is? What about why it is the wife's mother who comes to help her with her newborn first born and not the husband's or any other female more capable and in a better position to?

I am African. I love community living and I am quick to remind myself of its numerous benefits when some aspects of it get on my nerves. BUT there are so many traditions we have carried on with and added to those we have acquired from other cultures or via western education that have now become more of a burden than a way of life.

There was a time people got marked on the face and tattooed on the arms and legs as identification. These markings told on first sight where you were from and sometimes offered protection in times of war from certain quarters. People no longer mark their children because there are better ways to identify people now.

There was a time land was never sold but owned by families over generations and even though people travelled far and wide the lands they lived on in their travels wasn't owned and so they could not be buried there if they died there. If they could not be returned home they were buried on lands called "strangers land' which was viewed as not a very good burial. But times have changed people are able to own land in places far away from their original villages, there are public burial places and they are not designated for the 'landless' so why must we continue to spend loads of money and time we can hardly afford in this busy world we live now to take our dead 'home' to bury?

There was a time Marriage involved an introduction- where both families were introduced by the intending couple and each family then went about their investigations to make sure their child was marrying into a good family. After all was researched and concluded the marriage took place. Today we have all become Christians and Muslims and a host of other adopted religions and now term that marriage 'traditional marriage'. It has become a prelude to the religious marriage.  However it does not end there. The religious bodies do not have any legally accepted papers ( don't think that document you sign is worth the paper it is printed on) So you also have a visit to the registry to sign some more papers all for a wedding that became legal at the point you called it traditional marriage under customary law.

There are so many traditions or new ways when added to the old that are very unnecessary but we continue to carry them all along burdening ourselves by ourselves. We can cremate the dead or bury them in the nearest burial ground. We can marry via only one kind of marriage - traditional, religious or court. We can get any capable woman to come help with a newborn. We don't have to go bring a child under 10 from our village as a helper we can employ help old enough. If we think New yam festival is fetish according to the dictates of your religion then we shouldn't bore people with stories of Halloween. If we will replace one concept with another it should be a more logical and helpful one.

The best way to rid ourselves of customs, traditions or ways is to ask WHY. Why are we doing this in this particular way? Because this is how it has always been done as the sole reason is a good reason to seek change. This traditions must give way.

Friday, 27 December 2013

The Very First Hour of Morning

When the first sign of light comes into the sky to chase away the darkness of night, that time when you turn in sleep to an even better position and sleep becomes sweeter. When the weather becomes just right no matter the season and when only happy dreams remain. That my friends is the right time to wake up.

Ask the praying person, ask the reading student, ask those who meditate, exercise,  plan, ask everyone who wakes up at this time to do something. Whatever it is, this the best time for it. This is the time you have clarity of thought and energy, this is before the troubles of the day start. This is the time to wake up and think and make plans and decisions that will rule the day ahead.

The very first hours of the day are like a new lump of clay, still moist, just right to decide what to make of it. It is that point when your refreshed body awakes bustling to get on with the new day with energy and zeal. It is a good time to sit up and meditate on where you are coming from and where you actually want to be. To think things out long before the day starts with too much visual sensory input and impairs your thoughts and outlook.

The decision and direction you give this 'morning meditation' will most likely determine over 50% of what you do and how you react to events during the day. So give it a trial and see....wake up at 5am maybe a little earlier and for one hour just try to plan your day, or read, or pray, or write something down or just meditate on the day ahead and your plan of action concerning it's events. Doesn't have to be anything earth shattering, you can just enjoy the clarity of thought that abounds at that time.

The very first hours of morning just before the hustle and bustle of the day starts,  just when a fully rested and refreshed you awakes, is the time to draw up a course of action that will change the world to your taste :-p

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

What IF

What if there is no life after death. What if death is be all and end all of all.

Ever wondered who you actually are and why you are here? Here exactly and not somewhere else? Wondered why you are black or white or yellow or even purple and not some other colour? What purpose made it right for you to be in Africa and not Australia? Ever wondered why wars kill so many people or why hurricanes come around and sweep away cities? Ever stopped to think how a plane full of people from different countries with different lives, desires, aspirations and beliefs get destined to die in one plane crash?

Do you know how many religions and by extension gods, humans are involved with? Do you think other life forms have this belief systems too? Does the claim to their lower intelligence mean they have no use for gods? what then happens to the aspect of their creation and then their deaths? If animals have no spirits how then are they quicker than us to tell when odd forces pass by? What causes dogs to wail a day before the death of a human close to them?

Think about it. Have you ever inadvertently killed a few hundreds of ants? Maybe intentionally too. What if there was something out there as bigger than us as we are the ants maybe 100 times bigger and more intelligent to the same degree? What if like we treat much smaller animals say fish for example they decide for food sake or even boredom to harvest a few hundred thousands of us? what if they feed on life force instead of our flesh?

What if we were all created with a certain time frame destined to expire at a set time and in a particular way? What if we had no such restrictions and had being created to live out this lives as we please, smoke if we want, die of cancer of the lungs or of old age. What if we had been put here with absolute free will with Nature as our Guide and as our Corrector?

What if there was life after death? What kind life would it be? What if it lasted for ever this new life? What activity do you see yourself doing for eternity? What if however there was no life after death? What then would be the purpose of this life? Would both good and evil people come to the same end? What constitutes good or evil?

What if I knew the answers to all this? :-D

Let me tell you.......the life you have you know, live it the best you can, for you and for those around you. Let the next life carry its own burden.