So I came across this idea of a “Happiness Project” and today was supposed to be the very first blessed day for me to go out there and get my happiness!!! Right…so my very first task was to get rid of all material, emotional, spiritual and mental clutter in my life. This whole month is dedicated to this very important task.For those who are confused, this basically means I will be getting rid of all the things that I feel weigh me down…for once in my life or twice…maybe thrice…point is, I’m going to be selfish!!! Yes!!! Woke up very pumped up about this. One of the ways I thought I could remove emotional clutter is to learn to say no and enough is enough!!! Sounds simple right? This to be honest, has been a weakness of mine my whole life. I think I’m getting better at it but overally I really suck at this. Iv noticed when I say yes to things I really don’t mean to say yes to, I become angry and bitter and resentful and that beats the whole purpose. I decided to rush home after work today so i could squeeze in a quick 25minute run but knowing my husband, I knew he’d delay coming to pick me up. So i decided to head on home using public transport. So for small towns like Mutare, especially in hoods like Greenside, we don’t really use kombis but rather small cars as public transport. So I got into one of those 8 seaters and sat in the front with this other guy. During the trip at one of the stops, he says to me “Do you mind switching seats and going to the back coz I’m so uncomfortable where I’m seated?” And m like “I don’t like having to move every time someone gets down.” Then he gives me this look that I interpreted as “Really…u r going to b a b@#$% about this?(no swearing but u know what I mean)” Then out of habit, I got down and traded my comfort for his comfort coz I didn’t want to be seen as a fussy little thing and keep everyone waiting while we argue about it….I was cursing at him all the way home and giving him a stank eye every time I had to get down to give room to those getting off . Geez….failure #1. I could have just said no, sorry…I can’t do it and asked him to move instead…politely too with a genuine smile on my face!!!…then I had planned after my run to go through my wardrobe and get rid of all the things I don’t wear anymore….by the way, I lost 25kgs since my pregnancy and this has been the smallest iv been in a while, so most of my clothes are either too big or too small plus I don’t wear even close to half of the shoes I have…I think more than half of those have been worn less than 2 times and iv had most of them since I left the states over 5 years ago. I tore my wardrobe down and only came up with only a handful of things I was emotionally ready to let go of. I couldn’t even throw away old underwear lmao. Honestly i had to force myself to let go of the handful..all I succeeded at was giving myself a chore of tidying up all the mess I caused with clothes and shoes all over the bedroom and at the same time trying to stop Ava from running out with my bras and underwear to the sitting room where my in-laws where and dealing with her crying because she wanted to try on everything she could grab..the day hasn’t been as successful as I’d hoped to say the least…hopefully day 2 will be better!!!! #bringit #HP
So as you can guess…my HP has been either unsuccessful or uneventful thus far therefore causing 6 days of silence and nothing to report. I actually woke up very sad today and had a lump in my throat, felt like i needed a good cry….felt like this too on Friday and ended up at Tanya’s house (very good friend of mine), with comfort food drinking down a box of wine…yes we do boxes not bottles…alcoholics? naaah…we do it only once in a while so it doesn’t count.. Happiness was the main topic of that drink up..im sure the main topic on everyone’s mind daily but it always seems so unattainable….or it always seems like one has to win the lottery to attain it lol…Then i thought to myself….”wait a minute…am i not supposed to be happier somehow. Am i not on an HP project?” I realized i hadn’t been really proactive and its also because i really didn’t have a direction or specific things to work towards being happy other than the “I want to be happy” idea. So first, i asked myself….”what is happiness”…My favorite definition of happiness that i found was “Happiness is the joy you feel moving towards your potential…” Bingo!!!!!!! What most of us think happiness is…is actually pleasure..which is short lived and is not sustainable in the long run…u know how you feel when you first meet someone new and have butterflies and day dream e.t.c…thats the pleasure in a relationship…or when you do an activity that you like…that moment is pleasure and not happiness. The reality in life is that you will go through sad moments and difficult times where pleasure is just not possible. But i realized you can go through difficult times and still be happy. Thats what i want!!! Something long lasting and sustainable. For example you can spend 18 hours working on a difficult project, not having enough sleep….not feeling any sort of pleasure…but happy because you will be working on something that means a lot to you…meaning you are somehow moving towards your potential.The things i really want to start working on is DE-cluttering emotionally and mentally. I would like to focus and be present at whatever task or activity i will be doing especially when with my daughter. I would like to feel more like myself and reclaim myself. I have had a problem with my memory for years now. Its become so bad i’m starting to really get worried. But i think if i focused more on my tasks and sort of stop being on cruise control and so stressed, it will help me out a lot. Being present is a very spiritual task. My relationships and how i see the world are greatly improved when i am present. The most amazing thing happens when i watch my daughter doing the smallest of things, listening to her talking…all the funny things she says that i miss when i am either on my phone and not concentrating on her..So today i sat down and listed things i need to work on this month and this week i have a list of tasks i need to do. Well…its not all of it..some things are personal so this is the stuff i can share. If i fail any of these tasks, i will carry them over to next week until i get it right 😉
Goals for June: Be present (Focus), De-clutter and Reclaim Myself
- Give away ALL clothes that are too big on me.
- Have a date with my family each week e.g this Sunday i will be going on a picnic with my daughter at a park with animals.
- Have a power hour on Sunday where i can go through my to do list and tackle everything i have been procrastinating.
- Do one thing everyday towards my to do list no matter how small it is.
- Dedicate 2 hours of me time a week. I will take a drive to somewhere with a beautiful view this week (very easy place to find in Manicaland) and i will watch the sunset and nature and just write and think and sing…whatever i feel like doing…
- Concentrate on one thing at a time when i am doing a task.
- Follow my training schedule with no fail.(I will be running this week. Iv realized that running keeps me really focused generally. I become unstoppable. It gives me this natural high…pleasure…but then it also aligns everything else for me and i strive to achieve more that day.
- Do not take work home and respond only to important calls and chats when i am home.
- Have a business meeting with a friend to progress on a business idea.
- Sing and dance when i get ready for work each morning. EVERYDAY this week no matter what i wake up feeling like.
- Interview the homeless street kids (not for fun ka…its for a project lol)
Lets hope…actually…this WILL be a better week…Hello Happiness!!! Hello me 🙂
This is going to be harder and deeper than i thought it would be. I listed my to do list for the week but i did not do half of the things I’d said i would do. If last week and this week had a title, it would be ” Facing my Ego”. That’s where my HP journey inevitably led me and i think that’s where i need to be until i find answers. I also probably have to add back the things i didn’t tackle on my To Do List for this weeks’ To Do List until i get it right. At the moment, i don’t see my HP as a failure but probably taking a necessary detour. I am sincere about being happier and this means facing my own demons…my ugly real demons…not in a glorifying “I am human and my weaknesses make me better” type of way but to really see myself as i truly am. To understand why i do the things i do, how it affects people around me.I am searching for the whys and hows and the plain simple truth so i can truly and genuinely progress. I read something very interesting about the ego today. First of all…i got to the whole ego issue due to some inner turmoil i was feeling. I was asking myself a series of questions when i was reflecting about a certain situation, and i kept feeling tense when i asked myself specific questions. My muscles would tense up and my breathing would become shallower. I wondered why my body was responding this way to my own questions and answers..was i lying to myself? Have i developed a habit to mask the truth coz i fear the reality? They say when you study people, their bodies and gestures can tell you more than their actual words. My prayer today was “God please help me see me as i am…help me understand what i am doing wrong..help me.. help me God.” I was literally saying this to myself the whole morning…So in looking more into this inner turmoil or tenseness, i noticed, when i feel this way..i step “outside” of myself then go into “auto pilot” …i say things that seem to be coming from an “external source” that do not match with the me inside..that don’t match with my soul…or i do things out of spite…or i want to be holier than thou..or i want to make myself look better or right..to be indirectly better or more evolved than the next person…to always explain myself…i desire to be understood and I’m hurt when i feel misunderstood and then i act towards that..i overcompensate.In all my relationships…every single different kind that is there..i give way too much and there’s never really a balance. I never give the other person a chance to outdo “my love” coz it made me feel good and worthy…as if i wasn’t enough and i had to add more to me. I was always the girl who bought her boyfriends better gifts. I was in one relationship for 5 years and our birthdays were a week apart and i always bought him nice gifts and the final year of our relationship, he finally got me something out of feeling bad bcoz he’d never get anything for me lol. He looks like the bad guy? No…i gave way too much…more than i should have been.Do i need to do more than be who i really am to feel loved? When did i start thinking I’m not enough? Where is my self worth..? Iv always thought i regarded myself highly,so naturally i was shocked at my own self revelation.. that this high self esteem and “goodness” i thought i had in me has always been a mask of my ego trying to help me feel what i was lacking. I realized this in me when i began to listen and pay attention…to everyone talking around me…to myself..to my body..my inner screams …to my circumstances, without judgement of either. The reality has always been there…searching for things that are already within. And now knowing i have full control over everything that is happening in my life and that will happen in my life, i need to understand why, then look for the hows so that i can truly live a life worthy in Gods eyes.
So back to what i read about the ego that i found interesting…. Firstly, all or most spiritual leaders identify the ego to be the cause of wars and disintegration of any type of relationships. The ego is the ring leader to all things evil in the world pretty much…the reason for most human “bad behavior.” So when i read this, my first thought was…I have no ego…if i do, its very small because i see myself as this selfless creature (self righteousness)…right? Wrong!!! I continue reading and it states some of the signs of the ego and part of them were stubbornness, fear of judgement, fear of failure…then i think “OK, that sounds like me…a lot like me.” And then i continue reading and it said all these symptoms have one thing in common, they all depend on the external environment to feel the way you want to feel…now I’m listening (reading lol). I will quote the next thing i read..
“When you rely on the other peoples perceptions to feel good, then you’re going to fear judgement, you’re going to fear failure, you’re going to fight to prove a point that you know is wrong, and you’re going to try and blame others for your situation in life…This is what’s at the core of the Ego: being dependent on the external environment to feel the way you want to feel.”
That resonated within me and stripped me down to my naked truth. If i could put a visual of how i felt when i read this, it would be a picture of a person who has just been poured icy cold water and has that initial moment of shock of the cold water…that moment just before the loud cry of shock lol.. I must have an ego the size of a football field then!!!..occupying too much space than i can accommodate in my little body. So anyway, i got to that realization and like any “addict”, i need to identify, understand and transform my ego. Identifying is the truth part…truth in its entirety. I like approval, i act and speak holier than thou.. I’m stubborn, i am very afraid to be judged to the extent that i am willing to live a lie or wear the “stretched smile”…sometimes i want to succeed out of spite (showing all my haters what i am really made of). My huge big fat ugly ego pounding its chest.
Then step 2 is understanding…why my ego rears its head. This is when i am allowed a little compassion for myself..I continue reading..There’s a reason why I’m fighting to make the external environment give me what i want. I currently do not have what i want. I currently do not feel how i want to feel. If i felt deeply connected with the people around me, would i care about what they think of me? If i felt powerful, strong and free, would i really care if i didn’t get the outcome i wanted? The only way to overcome my ego, is to feel the way i want to feel so that the ego becomes unnecessary. When you feel the way you want to feel you’ll stop needing anything from the world around you…wouldn’t that be something else…having that kind of peace in your life. So as i read on, to transform which is step 3 , I’d have to “Do” the things that would make me feel how i want to feel and create the world i want to live in. For example to feel “powerful” instead of hiding the parts of me that i think are weak or not worthy and then over accentuating the better qualities in me because i am praised for those qualities, I could actually try something new and challenging instead so that when i conquer the challenge, i feel powerful. This makes so much sense!!! I started running as a joke a few months back..i didn’t really think i could do it. I did everything i could in high school to avoid running. I always admired people who could run though. I always thought it had the feeling of freedom to it…with the wind blowing on your face and defying speed and denying your body…i always thought there was something spiritual about the act…but i just never tried it. So when i decided to try…i was right. Running is spiritual for me. Whenever i set a target on Nike and reach my goal, i feel powerful. When I’m in the gym running on the treadmill, i chant this statement when i start to feel tired and want to give up. I say to myself ” Conquer your mind, conquer your body, conquer your life” and i get this amazing burst of energy that gets me to the finish line. I get so fired up at the gym, i started becoming a source of inspiration to both women and men. I would push myself during class and the instructor would use me as an example. I was so focused at my goal of losing weight and being healthy, i didn’t really care what everyone else thought. Some women seemed to think i wanted to be “seen” because they thought i didn’t need the gym (i was significantly smaller compared to them) and worse still when i pushed hard in class..it was as if i was trying to show off lol. I didn’t know what people were thinking in the beginning coz honestly it didn’t cross my mind that people were watching until i noticed the instructor making sure I’d go in the front or the guys would want to train with me or help me learn boxing for example.I would use the treadmill after class and in the beginning, no one would use it until i noticed i literally had to rush after class to get a spot on one of the treadmills. I noticed the change in peoples’ behavior but i hadn’t linked that my behavior had effected that change. One day, one of the stronger guys in class came to run next to me on the treadmill and he says to me “Sha…i just had to come and run on the treadmill. The class was so hard and i thought i was too tired to do more but when i saw you come straight to the treadmill, i thought..if she can do it, so can i.” On another day, one lady asked me in the changing room why i came to the gym coz i wasn’t really “fat” and she says she always made sure that when she came to class, she’d go behind me or next to me because she saw me pushing and it was easier for her to also push herself by seeing me doing this. At that moment in time when i started to realize all this i was like wow, i had no idea all this has been happening. Now looking back, i realize i was already feeling powerful inside by pushing myself and challenging myself and the external power followed and matched my internal feelings…i get it now. I get it. Our external circumstances reflect our inner conditions. Iv read this a million times and I’m only getting it now through reflection. So definitely keeping fit gives me some sort of internal power and focus. I had really slacked on this the past few months but i will be back on it.
These are the things i need to focus on to be happier. I need to focus…really truly focus on myself and really work internally to have the results i want. So i guess last week has been very successful. On last weeks to do list, i was supposed to dance every morning. I think i did this 4 times and one of those times was after work with my daughter. She loves dancing and singing and making up her own songs. So there we were dancing to a bunch of really nice gospel songs, some ragga and RnB…we were breathless and tired after that and i reached out for the edge of the bed and sat down. And Ava comes to me and hugs me and claps her hands (kuombera) and says “Thank you mommy.” I’m getting tears in my eyes just typing this. I will never forget how happy she was. We usually dance and sing together and maybe i missed those moments of her joy coz maybe i never really paid attention to the actual action and be fully absorbed by being in that moment with her…so seeing her joy in that moment is one of the best moments of my life. I will cherish that forever. And we will be doing more of singing and dancing together lol. I love it!!! Happy Tuesday. Day 14 of HP project #Bringit # Conqueryourbody #Conqueryourmind #Conqueryourlife #Blessed #Hashtagging
The title of my HP project this week is “I AM”. I have sort of been complacent internally as far as being present last week. I found myself reverting back to my “old” tendencies. I got my hair plaited this week. I got box braids done and it took about 4 and half hours to get them done. I decided to reflect during this time. Put my ear phones on and listened to some music fit for meditation. I thought to myself…”Who am i?” “What do i want my life to represent?” “Am i in the space leading me to my purpose?” “What is hindering me?” “What do i want?”. I knew what i want. I want an “ABNORMAL LIFE” lol. By that i mean i want to have a “larger than life” life. I want to achieve everything i should achieve. I want to be the best version of myself i can possibly be because you do not get second chances on life…once you are gone..you are gone. I actually found it difficult to answer the “Who am i question.” I came up with words that i think describe who i am…my core…if i stripped down to whats really important, this is who i desire to be:
- I AM LIGHT….by this i mean i desire to inspire. If i ever reached my true potential…rather when i reach my true potential, i want to have inspired people to be who they want to be. Whether it be grandiose or small…to just really live a life that truly counts to them and not have “What ifs” on their death beds. I want to inspire.
- I AM GIVING…giving for me is easy. Iv been told its a weakness…i have felt its a weakness but i think its something i can use to do good. I once heard Ayanla on Oprah saying, giving doesn’t count unless it is received. True giving is whats important. Not for show or to feel good but to actually make a difference to the person who receives.
- I AM WOMAN…i have had so many conflicting emotions about being a woman…especially a black African woman who has lived in a western country. There are so many expectations put on us as women and roles used to define who we are. If you can’t cook, you are not a “real woman”. If you can’t have children, you are not a “real woman”. If you are past a certain age and are not married and have no children, you are not a “real woman”. If you do not act a certain way or are not as “moral”as expected, (i.e smoke, drink, go to a bar e.t.c) you are not a “real woman”. So i had to find my own definition of a woman that makes sense to me and that i can live by. A woman is human. She is real, with real emotions and real struggles and is allowed to make mistakes like any other human being (man lol). A woman is a creator. Her body is Gods’ canvas that allows to create and nurture another soul. Her body is a miracle maker and therefore should be respected and honored. A woman is no slave to any body or any man. She does not belong to anyone no matter what the bride prize bill says. She can choose to be “led” in marriage by a man who loves and respects her, she can choose to be single and still be fulfilled and enough.She can choose. A woman is enough as she is…her touch can be gentle or rough. She can lead, drive trucks and be in a boardroom filled with 40 or more men and still win the deal due to merit. A woman is an achiever…a woman can just be simple and chilled if she prefers. A woman is human and ONLY SHE can define exactly who she wants to be and its OK..
- I AM A NURTURER…to my daughter or any other child i decide to nurture in future. I would like to educate a lot more children and mentor them so that they can build their villages, families and societies.
- I AM POWERFUL…i can do anything and achieve anything that i put my focus on
I could go on and on but those are the few things that i think my core is made of. Who i really am or aspire to be. The funny thing about this that i am realizing as i write this is, I already am who i want to be. I keep saying “who i really am” in my core is who i aspire to be. I already am light, i already am woman, i already am giving, i already am a nurturer, i already am powerful. I guess the question or the real issue is to act upon it and to reveal who i think i already am. To take steps everyday and every waking moment to show my soul…to show what was already put in me by God. I have realized when you don’t have a clear sense of who you are, you cannot be happy. If you don’t know who you are, you will never be enough…who you are will be defined by other people, by society, by your parents, by your husband, by your friends and colleagues and the danger in that is you lose yourself to all these “limited definitions” of who you are and your life will pass you by and before you know it, you are about to take your last breath and realize you did not take charge of your life and the opportunity of being alive and do the things that God put you on earth to do. So i am working towards being very clear on who i am and staying true to this path.
I still have a lot of unfinished business as far as my to do list is concerned. This week i managed to have some quality time with my family. We discovered a new place on the Christmas Pass (Mutare) that i want to feature on ‘My favorite Things’ but i need to go back and take pictures. It is a beautiful restaurant. I also ran 15km on Saturday which is the furthest i have run so far in preparation of the Tanganda half marathon (21km) next Sunday. My box braids felt like a tonne of bricks on my head lol but boy was i proud of myself. Ran the 15km with Thobhela as my power song. Really felt like busting a dance move during my run lol. I am enjoying my journey because i think the good and bad will all work towards the same goal of growth and helping me to be happier and to become a better version of me. Loving life, truly living and feeling blessed. #BringIt #HP #YoumakemeproudtospellmynameWOMAN #MayaAngelou