There are infinite tips of spears that poke our backs day in and day out in life. It either tears the flesh on our bodies or we heal but not without evidences of scars. I have not lived life long enough to say so much about it. Even the good book says people who have lived long enough are the ones who should speak. But through my keenness to the compassion and atrocities upon the dynamics and statics of life, I am able to deduce one or two nuggets that help me uphold the value of life and inspire mjangos who have it wrong. And in the same way as things come back around when they go around, when I have it wrong, someone will inspire me too not to give up and uphold the right attitude.
So last night I had a long conversation with a very close friend. Call it small talk but you bet it didn’t remain small throughout the three hours. We both found ourselves having something in common; we had relations with people who had made us feel like they had us wrapped around their middle finger. They made us feel unimportant for some time, like we meant nothing more than our names that they liked to call out whenever they felt they needed something from us. Out of God knows where, I happened to say to her, “You are a child of the universe no less than the stars. So you deserve better. I deserve better too. So shall we stagnate at a place where we mean almost nothing? I don’t think so.” She laughed and said, “Why is that so true?”
And immediately, I remembered where I had heard that phrase ‘you’re a child of the universe’.
I said, “Hey do you have bundles? That line is from a poem I once heard my Uncle Richard read. We should read that poem.”
She said, “Yea I do.”
Before you proceed, you might want to Google the poem too. It’s called Desiderata. It is a Latin word that means ‘Desired things.’ It was composed by Max Ehrmann in 1927. Just so you know, this poem has smitten the world with hope and inspiration for close to a century now. It was not published, but it has found its way to the worldwide platform of readership and guess what, its value never depreciates because in it are the words of wisdom that we should desire. And you know wisdom gives life, don’t you?
So step by step mjango.
Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
Naturally, I am a fast walker. I can’t walk slowly especially when I’m alone. It’s even worse when I’m walking in the city in Nairobi. As busy as it is, everyone seems to be in a hurry to go wherever they need to be in time. When I also walk fast, I realised I experience more commotions than those who slowly tread among the intense moving crowds along the streets. Metaphorically speaking? You can’t stop life and all its elements from thundering and moving so fast. But you can make it through when you tread gently and surely.
And remember what peace there may be in silence.
When your mum is scolding you for something you have done or even not done, did you know the scolding ends faster when you just remain silent and let her talk?
As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.
There is more than enough emphasis in this line mjango. ‘As far as possible’ and ‘without surrender.’ All just to say it is upon us to try patch things up with people. No specifics have been given, so it definitely means everyone that you may have wronged and definitely those who stepped on your foot too. Oh damn it! Haha. I will not sleep tonight if I don’t add this one: Even your ex mjango. Not to say that you two should get back together, but if you left each other’s lives in bad terms, you have an obligation to try as much to drain the bad blood between the two of you. Once you both call it truce, then you can continue not talking to each other and all that crap people say they shouldn’t maintain with their ex. If they refuse to make peace between you, at least you went ‘as far as possible.’ It’s the hard truth mjango, believe it or not!
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.
If you know the truth about something, you don’t need to be violent and rowdy in order to make people believe you.
Yesterday I had an acquaintance graduate to a friend. It’s amazing how I make friends real fast by the way. I asked her not to mind the fact that I never lack something to say unless I want to listen. People who know me know that I am chatty. But those who know me well know that I am chatty so I can get whoever I am talking to speak up as well. It does work. I take the conversation to a certain altitude then their socio-psychological system hits autopilot and what do you know? They start talking about themselves and saying things I even didn’t ask and all I do is just listen.
Sometimes when people experience tough times, all they want is to be listened to.
There is a time in my life I used to turn down people who I deemed as lowly and way below my intellectual class. It taught me a great lesson because I turned down those people in order to secure those who I termed as my class. Today, none of them still stands as my active friend. They soon termed me as lowly and they left my company for good! So there is some treasure even in the simplest of people. Ask Naaman in the Bible.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit.
You are more likely to get offended by people who are ever saying things so that they can be seen by others and people who are rude in nature.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
When we reached this part of the poem, I narrated how I caused my own low self-esteem by comparing myself with my best friend back then in my primary stages of adolescence. The guy was a chic magnet and I was a geek. I was the bright guy whom girls would only approach if they had a math problem. I tried too hard to be like him and all it caused me was embarrassment and disappointment. This is all about acceptance of oneself. If you don’t appreciate yourself the way you are, nobody will do that for you. In fact, it locks the door that people would have used to walk in and appreciate you. You think you’re the best? Take a look around and you will see someone who is way better than you.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
If you think you don’t have achievements to be proud of, stop and check whether you had a plan in the first place. If you did have a plan mjango, then be proud of that too, because that’s the recipe of achievements. But it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t constantly revise your plans to ensure you remain relevant in the world of achievements.
I get heartbroken when I talk to people and I get to deduce that they don’t have plans in their lives. Come on now, you have to know at least what you good at, don’t you? If not, then don’t just sit there. Try out things and sooner or later your heart will click at something. And maybe there is where your career will lie. When you get to it, build your passion for it. That’s what is called ‘knowing your craft.’ Then stick to your craft. But there is something imperative that you should never forget; humility.
Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.
A sensitization of the painful fact that not everyone can be trusted. If you want something done perfectly, do it yourself. Unfortunately, I keep telling my good friend Jose that in this life, sometimes we just have to depend on people even if people are bound to let us down.
Nevertheless, (I like this part) don’t be quick to throw your hands in the air saying that the world is a bad place and thus, you insult everyone. Just because you were cheated on by your man doesn’t make all men your enemies. There is still good, a whole lot of good in the world. Just open your eyes and wipe your bitterness that is in the form of tears and you’ll see.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.
Being yourself simply means do not pretend. We pretend because we don’t want to disappoint or hurt other people. We think we owe them yet all we actually owe them is honesty. If you don’t drink and your friends offer to buy you booze, how generous, yes. But to be honest, you don’t drink. That’s who you are. So stick to that.
I am not surprised that the emphasis of that had to be about love and affection. An area human beings lie the most! For those who lost their trust in this virtue called love, you’re advised to regain that trust. For it is only love that stands after everything has been swept away by the dynamics of life.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Listen to people who have lived or been there before you. They have seen what you have not seen in the journey.
And as you listen to them, you will realise that the bottom line is that they would like you to mature. That also means that you can’t keep doing things like youths do. At some point you just have to let them go. And that point could even be now.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
There is no better way to nurture strength of spirit but through prayer. We all know misfortunes will happen at times. We are well versed with that. But trust me we are never ready when they happen suddenly. That’s why we need to be strong in our hearts at all times. You also nurture strength of spirit when you acquaint yourself with the realities of life every day.
All in all do yourself a favour and save yourself too much thought about ‘what if things go wrong.’ Life is too short to be worried all the time. Live in the moment and tomorrow will handle itself.
Make friends if you feel lonely. But don’t just make them, keep them! You feel tired? Take a break. It doesn’t hurt. That way you will be more courageous than ever.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.
Some of us are very principled with our lives, super careful and unstoppably ambitious. That’s nice. But don’t be too hard on yourself.
Don’t feel unimportant just because someone else said or implied that. If he or she takes you for granted, don’t eliminate yourself from the face of the earth with that rope or bottle of pills. Your mother, the universe, says that you have a right to live and she carries your license to be happy on earth. You’re as important to her as that tree Sheryl Ayiera, 2018’s Miss University Kenya has gone around the country planting (vote for her as she carries Kenya’s flag in the Miss University Africa beauty pageant contest by visiting Miss University Africa’s page on Instagram or Facebook, like and comment.) or the stars you admire in the night sky every night.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy,