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

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Change Happens…Accompanied by Growth

I’ll make this short…or at least attempt to ūüôā

Believe it or not, Change Happens is actually the name of a Non Profit Organization here in Houston. I was opportune to take a tour of their facility today. It was arranged by my Coordinator in Justice For Children, the organization where I currently intern.

Anyways…

The building is located right there in the middle of Houston’s Third Ward…it’s pratically the only good-looking building in the area. Third Ward if you don’t know is grappled by the infestation of drug and pretty much everything else that is to be expected of a community of such reputation!

We (2 other interns with myself) approached the door, and pressed the intercom, the door was opened for us and we sat in this serene¬†reception¬†area, with two marble angel¬†sculptures¬†adorning the corners to our right. “It looks like church”, one of the intern remarks.

And then we were directed to this¬†conference¬†room – named Gabriel – where we watched a video that summarized what Change Happens does. The founder, one Rev. Leslie Smith took it upon himself to start a¬†rehabilitation¬†project in the neighborhood – and it’s been 20 something years since then. He is said to have named the two conference rooms in the building after Angels (the one on the 2nd floor was named Michael)

Now what do they do? In summary, since I promised to not make this too long, they are involved in the community by providing outreach services – like helping families to apply for CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program), Medicaid, Food Stamps, etc; helping youth prevent engaging in risky behavior – teaching abstinence , prevention programs; Mentoring Programs for juvenile offenders to transition into the community; Homeless Services¬†Programs, where they provide housing for homeless individuals, and help them transform their lives such that they can apply for jobs, etc; HIV Prevention and Education; Summer and After School Programs for the kids…

Now what really attracts me is the facility itself!

As we continued our tour from the Gabriel room, we walked into the LIBRARY! Yes, they had a library which contained a lot of books, and a reading section for the kids. By now, I had already started noticing on the walls that there were artworks, only I didn’t know that they were going to appear everywhere…even up to the ¬†third floor. We were shown the classrooms where the kids studied, and there was a transparent window, where they said parents could peek to see, smile and wave at their kids and stuff…

Especially in the break rooms, the artworks there were specifically from Haiti where the founder goes about twice a year…and these are original artworks from painters and artist there!

Another thing I loved is the open space of the facility. We were told that because everyone was really involved in the field, they don’ really need an “office” as much… I love that!

I’m excited about this today because I have a reassurance that my vision is doable! Read the about section if you’re not familiar with it. It is very similar to my vision, and to witness the beauty of something that started from two crack houses, which were renovated, energizes me! They started their offices there – 20 years ago! And today, totally a different story!!!!!!

That’s what growth is about…and GROWTH happens to be one of my core values. I believe we never stop growing! Growing for me is accompanied by these other supporting values; knowledge and learning – which is what I’ve tried to spend the most of my life doing! It’s the end of the first half of the year, and I’m somewhat proud of myself that I’ve read about 20 books, some of which are completely¬†antithetical¬†to beliefs I’ve held strongly for a while – all for the sake of growth. I’m also grateful for opportunities to grow, like this internship for example, and even something as simple as attending some local event, volunteering, etc! It’s not something I take for granted! Life is a learning field, and I’m willing to learn as much as I can before I pass on to the great¬†beyond! – hoping before I do, I get the chance to use what I’ve learned to impact the world in some way.

And to understand why this tour today is huge for me, Change Happens is directly connected to most of my core values: Growth, Service (which I wrote about here –>), Creativity, Balance…

Don’t know if this is too long already…but I’ll end with what would be my theme song for this CORE VALUE of mine – GROWTH!

Baby steps Ayokunle, baby steps…and soon I’ll get to that PLACE I LONG TO BE!