Merry Christmas

On behalf of myself and Of Dreams and Deeds, I want to wish all the consistently faithful, inconsistently faithful, consistently unfaithful, inconsistently unfaithful and non readers of this blog a very merry Christmas. I hope you enjoy the Holidays with friends and families. It’s a season where Santa makes sure dreams come true for the kids in all of us after all. So dream on, and I hope they all come true!

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#Thankful

Well, it’s the season of thanksgiving  And one thing I am thankful for, among many other things, is for the people who read this blog. I am grateful because it’s reassuring to know that my words have an impact on people.

It reaffirms what I said in the post “My Deepest Fear”, that:

I can’t lie to myself anymore that I don’t have something to offer the world…that I am not needed here. That I have nothing to contribute.

The words on this blog are just words, right? But no, the reactions of you all to the things I write definitely make me want to continue. (I myself am surprised at what people say most times. I sure do want to hear more of it!) For the comments, and to those who share the words I’ve written on this blog, thank you!

It’s really humbling that I’ve gotten visitors to this blog from virtually every continent in the world. Here is a current breakdown of the views I have from different countries.

Country Views:

United States 490
United Kingdom 49
Norway 42
Nigeria 21
Pakistan 9
Philippines 7
Canada 7
India 5
France 3
Russian Federation 3
Australia 3
Jamaica 2
Indonesia 2
South Africa 1
Peru 1
Viet Nam 1
Malaysia 1
Taiwan 1
Spain 1

Sure, there are days the blog has zero views, there are days it has 7, there are days it has 22… you get the point! But despite the inconsistencies of the views, I still am thankful. For you & everyone else that stops here once in a while.

Gratitude is something I don’t take for granted. I’ve actually been accused of saying “thank you” a little too much. And I admit, I am guilty! And the things I’m thankful for are things like this: someone clicking a link to something I’ve written!

It does’t look like a lot but it is.

Since July 1st, I’ve been keeping a Gratitude journal: where for each day, I write down things I’m grateful for – for that particular day!

I pen down how grateful I am, for: moments where strangers smile at me, moments of laughter, the privilege that I get to have someone to pick me up if I need a ride somewhere, other several ways that people offer help, and opportunities I myself am grated to help others, ability to finish a project, articles, books I’ve read & are able to read & enjoy, poetry, music, the ability to sleep, to eat, great conversations – with friends  and strangers alike; & those in between, moments I’m able to talk to my family – my Mom and siblings, times I get to bond with my Dad,  moments that I didn’t miss my bus. Or moments I did, and lots of my other HOW FASCINATING moments like this – where I get to laugh at myself. How fascinating!!!

So, all this is my way of saying four words: Thanks, I AM GRATEFUL!

My Deepest Fear…

This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.

I am sitting here at the library and thinking to myself, I can’t lie to myself anymore. I am absolutely tired of it. I can’t pretend anymore that I don’t see streets paved with Gold (on this earth mind you) on which my feet will soon walk on… I can’t pretend anymore that I am nothing special. I can’t lie to myself anymore that I don’t have something to offer the world…that I am not needed here. That I have nothing to contribute.

And the greatest fear of mine is to live up to this truth of my uniqueness. There is a spark that has been deposited in me by my Maker, a light that is not meant to be hidden under a bushel. My fear is coming to terms with the reality that I have a voice the angels in Heaven envy, the kind of voice that mountains are more than willing to echo. My fear is being able to stand up confidently in front of the thousands of people I see before me, and being able to believe them when they tell me that they are here to hear what I have to say….

And I have to say, at this moment, I have to try and sniffle as hard as I can to prevent this drop of tear developing in the corner of my eyes from falling down…I’ll excuse myself after I finish writing this!

My greatest fear is owning up to the fact that there is absolutely nothing ordinary about me. And I am sitting here at the library, thinking to myself, “why did it take this long?”

Why did it take this long, to realize that “my playing small does not serve the world.“, that “there is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around me.

And so, today I let those fears go….

As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. – Marianne Williamson

This is in the spirit of the lessons I’ve learned through my LeaderShape experience, coupled with a lot of self-reflection, especially over the past month. I started keeping a Gratitude Journal at the beginning of this month, and I was stupefied as to how much of life I actually missed before now…the simple little things we count as insignificant! Like the smile of a child, the hellos said by strangers, the fact that someone said “thank you” for something you did for them, laughter, music, poetry, running in the rain, the fact that I had something to bite on, the fact that I was able to run, and catch the bus before it passed by me….

And today, just in the space of 12 hours…I received two news that reminded me that there is something in me that others see, which I’ve refused to see for a long time.

One: One of my poems, which I wrote as a memorial for the victims of the Dana Air Crash that happened on June 3rd in Lagos, (my country) Nigeria, was selected to be included in an Anthology meant to commemorate Dana Airlines Flight 9J-992 from Abuja to Lagos, Sunday June 3, 2012.

Two: The mid-course evaluation of my Philosophy Professor, who at the end of his helpful comments wrote: “Keep up the overall consistently strong work” This is a very challenging class, as a boatload of work has to be done over a period of 5 weeks. Gruesome to say the least! And so far, I’m in the A minus range, and it might stay that way if I, according to my Professor again, continue to “keep up the good work in class!”

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. – Marianne Williamson

As for me, I am done with being fearful of how awesome I am…

MEPHOBIA: Fear of becoming so awesome that the human race can’t handle it, and everyone dies.

…And I give you permission to go do the same.

Life is too beautiful not to dream. This is the purpose of this blog, to document those dreams, and the deeds that are being done as I journey to achieve them. However, I am interested in not only documenting mine, but others’ as well…which leads us all to the next chapter of this journey.

More about that soon….

In the meantime,

If your heart turns blue, I want you to remember
This song is for you, and you are full of wonder

Father’s Day

First, I’d say Happy Father’s Day.

Now, on to the purpose of the post.

And I’m sure you’re probably wondering what in the world this blog about “dreams” and “vision”, and all that good stuff have to do with Father’s Day…Well, if you’d give me a few moment of your time, I’ll go ahead and tell you how.

Crucial to any kind of vision is building bridges to help you get to your destination…as opposed to burning said bridges. These bridges refer to our relationships in day to day lives. Build a sub par bridge, and the consequences are all too glaring. Therefore the strength of those bridges is highly important.

The most basic of relationship is the familial kind, it’s the first form of relationship one is introduced to when when opens one’s eyes to the world. It also has the capacity to determine how the course of one’s life will be. It’s pretty much very important, and without a shadow of doubt, the importance of the Father’s role in this familial setting cannot be overemphasized. Statistics will show you the devastating effects that the absence of this role in any family have on the society at large.

At LeaderShape, the first thing we learned about, on Day 1 was building community. This involved deciding what you’re going to do to get along with these people you haven’t met before in your life…who might I say, you’re stuck with for the rest of the week, in some obscure woods. Sounds exciting, doesn’t it?

Well not so much, because then you realize that there are people who are different from you; in their approach to life, their values, their backgrounds, etc (What a shocker! Who knew, right?), and you had to learn how to not step on anyone’s toes…at least not intentionally!

This gave us, I believe an opportunity to share, and to accept and value the beauty and strength in diversity; that if we were all the same, we’d be better off as robots. However, this involved being open and willing to find similarity even in the midst of diversity…we’re human…at the very core at least! This allowed us to be vulnerable, to tell our individual stories, which I must admit was pretty tough. I mean, you’re sharing your life with strangers who you’re meeting for the first time! Awkward!

But no, really, this vulnerability, over the next few days we learned is a quality a leader (an effective one anyways) just has to possess. It is very needed. However interesting is the fact that most people see it as a sign of weakness… What was amazing about this experience was that I saw people who were rigid as a rock, and who saw crying as a weakness, open up and let the tears flow as they told their stories. It was amazing!

Now about Father’s Day. I have a lot of stories to tell really. I’ll admit that the bridge, which I was talking about earlier, between myself and my Dad is not that strong! And the little strength it had has over the years been weakened due to a boat load of factors, one of which is resentment. I have a lot of things I don’t want to forgive him for. It’s not like my Dad wasn’t present, he was there…but really I’m just like that was about it. At a point, I referred to him as figure-head father, who is just taking up the role because my real father wasn’t around…

Fast forward, and now I can see where he’s coming from with the help of my Mom who made me realize that a lot of his approach to life can be retraced back to how he himself was raised. That new understanding made me appreciate things I never did. My Dad I would say definitely didn’t get the chance to fully experience childhood…He was robbed of that due to the amount of responsibility he had while growing up; sending himself and his siblings to school, having to take care of them due to the fact that he was raised by parents who did not even get the chance at a decent education. The biography from my grandfather’s obituary says this word for word:

He could not complete his primary education because he was withdrawn from school by his father so that he could help him in the farm.

Now something I can definitely appreciate is his hard-work, and sacrifice. He made something out of himself, became a Psychiatric Nurse, and in an attempt at a chance for better opportunities in the United States, left all of that! Now would I have wished that he did not, absolutely…but if nothing else, for that I respect him. He made an attempt!

And if anything, I’m actually grateful I have a Dad!

This post has been in the draft folder since morning, and I was about to edit this to finally post it, but my Dad and I started having a conversation just now about how in the Northern part of Nigeria, if the child is a son, they are left to fend for themselves from a very young age…but if a female, they are taken care of in hopes to marry them off (and receive dowry) at as young as the age of eight! The mothers pretty much are responsible for taking care of their children, and the father who usually has more than four to five wives doesn’t feel any sense of obligation. I am nothing but grateful!

But anyways, present day: June 17, 2012, I’ve learned a lot, I’ve grown a lot…and all those crap that has built up over the years on this bridge can now be removed, and dumped where they belong…in the incinerator! It actually clears the space in other for one to journey to one’s destination…with ease too. From the book, The Art of Possibility, accompanied with the lesson I’d learned about being willing to be vulnerable (I didn’t mind being “soft”), I learned about the technique called “giving an A.” I talked about it here —->

And that is exactly what I decided to implement for Father’s Day, as a gift to my Dad.

And the interesting thing was that I actually did say the words: I LOVE YOU to my Dad, for the first time ever! It’s interesting because the culture I grew up in is the sort where words like those are not vocalized. Love is to be expressed through deeds as opposed to mere words, I admit, but sometimes saying those words does make a huge difference. By the way, my Dad responded with a Thank you …maybe the next time I say I LOVE YOU DAD, I would hear as a response, I LOVE YOU TOO, SON?

One cannot help but dream!

Just because I love to tie whatever I have to say to music, and plus the fact that I learned about love today at church… I’ll share below this awesome song that was recommended to me by an awesome friend of mine: