The physical world (all we see around us) are made up of energy put together in specific ways to create the illusion of solidity. When you look around your house, your eyes convince you that you see a number of inanimate things, chairs, tables, windows, etc. You see cars, houses and so on on the road. That is true as far as perception is concerned, but in reality you are looking at objects that have been created through ideas or creative thinking of human beings. It was the thought that first constructed the furniture, the dress, the house, the automobile, the aeroplane, the computer! All these were conceived originally from thoughts. In-fact all our possessions came from original creative thinking and visualization of some individuals.
Thoughts are therefore the original source of all inventions, possessions, wealth and all man-made things that we can see, touch and experience. They are also origins of our various ideologies in the world as we know it, be it capitalism, socialism, educational systems etc. – all originated from someone’s thoughts or someone’s idea. When you want to do something, you start first by thinking about it, then proceed to doing it, and your physical actions match the thoughts you had. It is said that “anything we can think about, can be created”. It is mind boggling to observe that all those images that were conceived in motion pictures, like in the Star Wars and the James Bond movies, are all physically coming to reality. The internet, the remote phones, Robotics, the driverless car, you name it, are physically in existence. We now talk about ‘Artificial Intelligence’ AI.
A thought is a form of mobile energy that tends to find physical expression. When we have an idea and creatively visualize it, we are radiating thoughts energy into the universe. Following the visualization, the universe responds by helping us create or bring to reality these images as physical matter or event.
” Some people think that hard work brings success. This is not really so. Thinking is greater than hard work. Hands are merely helpers to the brain. Thoughts attract that on which it is directed….” (Claude M. Bristol)
‘Creative thinking involves a way of looking at and solving problems from a different perspective outside the pre-existing boundaries of our minds, – in other words, ‘thinking outside the box’.
We are creators, created in the image of God. Creative thinking is the magic that helps us bring forth new approaches and solutions to peculiar situations or problems in our world. It moreover, draws out our real potential. It’s amazing to watch a child creating through play. If unhindered, the child can freely produce some astonishing fabrications. He is not limited. He thinks outside the box.
At any point in time and age, new ideas, new solutions, new inventions are all locked up in humans- all of us, waiting to be magically manifested. Thinking creatively, is the only way of bringing out the best in humans in order to impart lives. This has been proven over and over again in the world’s development – be it the industrial revolution, the space age, or the present age of Artificial Intelligence, the Internet and associated Social Networks. The world can share what had been created originally from your thoughts, especially when these impact life positively. Without creative thinking, the world would still have been in the same place it was many, many, years ago.
Help create a better world! Think creatively for a better tomorrow!
A lot of people are stuck on how they see things or feel about things, their conditioned viewpoint of the world, and on their belief of what is right or wrong, and what is good or bad. It’s all about perspective – the viewpoint.
The viewpoint can be defined as the mental attitude that determines a person’s opinions or judgments, based on his or her point of view,perspective or perception. It is the way something is regarded, understood, or interpreted. One can describe an event, or argue about something from the viewpoint of his/her experience or circumstance.
Viewpoint includes a belief or opinion, often held by many people based on how things appear. Your perception of something is the way that you think about it or the impression you get. It is a construct of our own interpretations. People see the world differently and interpret events differently. It is interesting to listen to two or more people describe the same event. Each one has a different angle highlighted in his or her narrative. It is also noteworthy to mention the ways the media portray certain news items, directing their views along the ways they wish their audience to follow or believe.
I have been privileged to travel around the world. I have worked, and still work with people from various races and cultural backgrounds. I have come to understand a few things better and one of this is that in most cases, one’s viewpoints, perspectives and, or perceptions on something, are not always entirely correct. Because humans have biases, our ideas of the world are quite subjective. You interpret the world through your perceptual experiences. Some people however, are not matured enough or ready to grasp the concept of different perspectives.
“There is no such thing as one and only one correct perspective. Right is whatever conforms to your perception. You see the world as you are. Others see the world as they are too.” (Dr. Chopra)
Colonization of African countries and eventual alteration/ destruction of their indigenous cultures, values, and ways of life, were based on the European perception that these cultures and ways of life were ‘primitive’ and ‘barbaric’. Though there were other economic, political and motivating factors to colonization, these perceptions of the African ways of life were interpreted based on the European experiences and biases.
I have had the opportunity of talking with young adults who have been raised as “Third Culture Kids“. These include my own children. (A Third Culture Kid, often referred to as TCK, is a person who has spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside his/her parents’ country or culture).
I have observed how defensive and offended these TCKs become when you refer to a particular culture, country, or a group of people, in a negative manner. These TCKs have lived with and interacted with others different from themselves, and have come to see things from various viewpoints or perspectives.
One’s viewpoint or perspective on issues can often be influenced by one of many psychological factors, one of them being Confirmation Bias.
Confirmation Bias is defined as the tendency to search for, interpret, favour, and recall information in a way that confirms one’s pre-existing beliefs. In other words, we are often times influenced in our judgements and opinions on something, by our biases. This biased approach to issues is largely unintentional and often results in ignoring inconsistent information to our beliefs. People often exhibit confirmation bias in their viewpoints to protect their self-esteem because discovering that a belief which they highly value is wrong makes them feel uncomfortable. This is evident in racial disputes and arguments. Psychologists agree that Confirmation bias in humans shows that we do not always process information in a rational, unbiased manner. Another reason for the confirmation bias is that people like to feel intelligent while expressing their viewpoint.
Having rigid viewpoints, which usually are influenced by confirmation bias may create problems in interpersonal relationships as it can result in inaccurate and biased impression of others. It can cause miscommunications, conflicts, and suspicions among a diverse groups. When we understand this, it becomes important that we step out of our preconceived beliefs, and biases, and challenge our viewpoints before making certain sensitive utterances. This may not always be simple, but with conscious effort we can widen our perspectives or viewpoints on issues.
In recent times, as the pace of migration and emigration increases in humans, we hear so much about boundaries, borders, and walls. Current refugee problems exacerbate the call for these boundaries. By boundaries I refer specifically to physical international demarcations. Have you ever imagined a world without boundaries?
Humans personalize things. They think in terms of ‘my own’ your own, ‘our own’, ‘their own’, ‘us and them’. Does anyone really own things that nature provided and continues to provide naturally- things like, air, rivers, oceans, land, forests, the outer space, and even life itself?
I worked for many years as a Senior Research Officer in the Institute of Oceanography and Marine Research and as a Senior Consultant for the United Nations and the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), on ‘Water Pollution Control and Biodiversity Conservation’ in the Gulf of the Guinea. At the time, there were seminars and workshops on ‘Integrated Coastal Areas Management (ICAM). These seminars and workshops highlighted the fact that the Atlantic Ocean had no boundaries. Pollution along one national coastal region invariably affected the neighbouring areas and would, to a certain degree, affect the entire coastline biological resources.
In my write-up on The Connectedness of all , I tried, using an object as simple as ‘my bed’ in Zanzibar to highlight the interdependence of humanity, the connectivity of all things. In another of my blog on The “Butterfly Effect”of Life , I tried to show how any action, no matter how small or irrelevant you may think it is, can cause a continuous ripple in the ‘sea’ of life. The remote cause of World War 1 is a lasting example.
Without losing the trend of this write-up, all I am trying to portray is that in nature, there are no boundaries, no walls, no borders, only continuity, flow, and connectivity. Humans create great stress for themselves by placing constraints, demarcations and limitations.
Animals in the wild do not set boundaries, rather, their genetical make up, differentiations, and needs for survival influence their distribution. We are part of the animal kingdom. We pride ourselves as higher beings, ‘Homo sapiens’, but we stifle ourselves with so much constraints and ideologies, – politics, religion, race, gender, and now, boundaries and walls.
Recently my granddaughter, Melissa, was writing her International Baccalaureate (IB) extended essay on effects of the partitioning and Colonization of countries of Africa. Her project and write-up set me thinking. “What if all countries in Africa, for example, were left to grow or develop without the interference and partitioning by the European colonizers? Would there perhaps have emerged, different groupings of people with comfortable ethnic similarities? Perhaps the peoples’ natural instincts would have prompted them to develop means of interacting peacefully among themselves and with their neighbours’. I know there could be a lot of debate over this topic. Our own ideologies and actions have led to ‘ours and yours’ mentalities which in effect create fear, and insecurity. The fear of losing, or sharing that which we now call ‘ours’ makes us justify the need for protection – call it, boundaries, walls, borders, and nationalism. These are steeped in fears and insecurity and will increasing be so. One thing is sure, constraints create stress. Constraints create conflicts.
Consider the Internet, or take a look at the various social media like the Youtube, FaceBook, WhatsApp, Twitter, and so on. One is amazed at how these social media connect the whole world, rich and poor. One cannot but marvel at the ease with which information from these awesome media instantly flows across continents and beyond. Perhaps through these, we could someday, come to the realization that life is meant to flow without constraints, without boundaries.
What is life?. How does one define life in general?. Scientists and philosophers have not found it easy to define life. This is partly because life is a process, not a substance. The most acceptable definition of life is a biological description – using biological and physiological characteristics of living organisms – Metabolism, Respiration, Nutrition, Irritability, Growth, Excretion, Reproduction, which in high school we memorized using the acronym ‘MR NIGER’. Although there are newer and more scientific ways of describing these biological processes, the mystery of life still lies in their perfect and synchronized execution by the human body. At the bases of these complex physiological processes are physical and chemical elements, atoms and molecules, intertwined with intelligent signaling and regulatory mechanisms necessary for maintaining life. Our body and life itself, is a field of infinite correlation of physics, chemistry, biology and mathematics with some direct influence of the planets and solar systems.
During respiration, we inhale billions of atoms and molecules that eventually end up as cells in our organs and tissues – liver cells, muscle cells, brain cells, bone cells etc. As we exhale, we discharge molecules of our degraded tissues and organs into the atmosphere. According to scientists, our body replaces 98% of all its atoms in less than one year!
“The body makes a new stomach lining every five days, a new skin, once every month, a new liver every six weeks, and a new skeleton every three months ..” (Dr Chopra)
The awesomeness of life overwhelms me at the birth of a new baby especially now that I am advanced in age with 4 grown children and 6 grand children.
The birth of each of my grand children set me in awe about this mystery. A few months ago, I was faced with the realization that my youngest daughter, my ’32-year-old-baby’ Tochi, had just given birth to her own ‘baby’, Noah. I gazed at the new born. I marveled at the perfection and the realization of the inbuilt potential already encoded in this infant – the potential to eat and digest food, to grow and eventually walk, talk, learn, reason and then become an adult. As the days ran into weeks and weeks into months, I am thrilled at the progress in the development of this ‘Newlife’. At 6 months, I watched as Noah instinctively and progressively proceeded to crawl, pushing ahead on his stomach and arms, aiming to grab the object he fancied in front of him!
The human body at maturity contains 30 to 37 trillions of cells which are the fundamental units of life. These cells are organized to form organs and systems. Each cell is continuously doing countless things per second and at the same time is aware of what the other cells are doing and correlates its activity with the others. Amazingly, despite all the activities going on within, the body maintains a stable state known as homeostasis.
No one puts it better than one of my most valued authors, Dr Deepak Chopra, in his book, “Power Freedom and Grace” …
“There is no time for one cell to tell the other, ‘Listen, I’m going to digest food, you wait and don’t think thoughts for now.’ Our stomach cells are digesting food, while our brain cells are thinking thoughts, while our gallbladder is making bile, while our immune system is killing germs. The cells not only do more than one thing at a time, but they all keep track of what the others are doing – otherwise, there would be a great of confusion in the body.”
This is amazing! This harmonious synchronized functioning of the human body explains why Jesus called the whole human race “One Body“. We were created to work like “ONEBODY“ in harmonious correlation!
“…. At the same time that it is correlating all these activities, our body is monitoring the movement of the earth, the moon, the planets, the stars, and the entire cosmos. Our body, our mind, our emotions, everything in our physiology is changing moment to moment, depending on the time of the day, the cycles of the moon, the seasons and even the tides..”
Wow! Our body is part of the universe! We have a direct relationship with the universe! A simple example of this synchronization of our bodies to factors of the universe is experience of the daily rhythm, the 24 hour cycle of night and day. As a result of the spinning of the earth on its axis around the sun and other solar systems, our body goes to sleep at night and awakens in the morning. Another simple example is the 28-day female menstrual cycle where biological rhythm is an expression of the cosmos. In other words, the cosmic rhythms has some impact on the human reproduction!
The human body contains 60% – 70% water, similar to the percentage of water on the planet. The rise and fall of the tides, or the tidal rhythms, which are the result of the gravitational pull exerted by the sun, the moon and stars on the oceans also affects our body such that we have periods of ‘high moods’ and ‘low moods’ in our day to day lives. Anything that goes on in the universe affects our body, whether we understand it or not. A lot can be said about the relationship of nature, or universe to the human life.
Two factors stand out here:
1 – Knowing our Purpose in life, and Living together as ONE BODY,
2 – Taking care of the Universe.
For the human life or the body, to function at it’s best, each cell in each tissue, each organ or system must know its purpose, perform its duty diligently and function in a harmonious cooperation with each other. We as living beings are created as “ONE BODY” – two words that describe God’s intention in creating us. When we know our true purpose and execute this with passion, love, gratitude, selflessness, good neighborliness, aware of our neighbours’ needs, we can create a World of Mystery and Miracles – just as the cells of the body. Each individual is important and is expected to play a role in this ONE BODY.
Secondly, the human life needs the universe. We are surrounded by nature and interact with it. Perhaps most people are only aware of the biosphere – the thin layer of the planet earth where life exists,- its soil, the atmosphere, the hydrosphere and organisms within it. We experience nature by the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat. The Universe is, however, much more complex, that, even the air we breath, the water we drink and the food we eat are in relationship with the entire cosmos. Think of the seasons (Winter, Summer, Autumn and Summer) and visualize what happens to the air, the water and vegetation at the various seasons! Right from creation man has been dependent on nature and given the charge to cultivate and maintain it. Man, however, has been making serious negative incursions into our environment, through various forms of pollution, aforestation, and so on, not realizing the ultimate detriment to life itself. Conserving our environment means conserving life. Spend time in nature, admire it, learn about it and enjoy it. This is part of our duty in maintaining this Mystery called Life.
“Look deep into nature and you will
understand everything better.”– Albert Einstein
The Mystery of the Human Life is the concise description of the Mystery of Creation!
Words are units of spoken or written representations of a language that convey meaning. Words are used to express ourselves and our emotions. Words are powerful and we hear expressions like, “I give you my word”; “Keep your word.” In both expressions, word is regarded as a promise or an honour to be taken seriously.
Most people do not know the power of the spoken word. Words are vibrations spoken out as a result of our thoughts. Words therefore are spoken thoughts. Thoughts are powerful , but spoken words are more powerful since words are thoughts expressed. Whatever we express manifests more quickly in the universe through the Law of Attractionand Law of Vibration.
“Whatever man voices, he begins to attract” (Florence Scovel Shinn)
We could use a lot of scripture to portray the significance of ‘Word’. We read that God created the universe by spoken word and it came to be. We also read that “the Word was made Man and dwelt among us”. Word manifests!
Spoken words when uttered with emphasis, and strong emotions, manifest physical results.
Jesus said to them .“… If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you”.(Matt 17:20).
Jane Elliot’s “Blue-eye/Brown-eye Exercise”
After Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968, Primary school teacher, Jane Elliot wanted to teach her 3rd grade class about racism. Because most of her 8-year-old pupils had been born and were being raised in a small all-white town in Iowa and had seen black people only on television, she felt that her all-white class cannot fully comprehend racism’s meaning. Rather than a lengthy discussion about it, she used what she called the “Blue-eye/Brown-eye Exercise”. On the day of the exercise, she told the blue-eyed children that they were the superior group and made them sit in front of the class and gave them extra privileges. She told the brown-eyed pupils that they were inferior and less intelligent group, and sent them to sit at the back rows. She used negative words to describe the brown eyes pupils and positive encouraging words for the blue-eyed children. Within 15 minutes into the exercise, there was a direct noticeable change in the behavior and personality of the two groups – the blue-eyed pupils behaving more intelligent and more assertive, while the brown-eyed pupils became dull and confused, exhibiting lack of self esteem. The following day, Elliott reversed the exercise, telling the brown-eyed children that they were superior. A reversed change in behavior and personality occurred. Though this experiment became very controversial, the fact still remained that there is power in words! Other schools and establishments have used this same exercise and gotten similar outcomes. Words manifest! The above experiment teaches that we must be careful in what we say to our children. You may like to read more about Jane Elliot’s Blue-eye/Brown-eye Exercise in the internet.
Dr Masaro Emoto’s ‘Words and Water’ Experiment.
Some of you may have read about the water experiments by the Japanese scientist, Dr Masaro Emoto. Dr Emoto showed that water reacts to words. He showed that water differentiates between harmonious vibrations and non harmonious vibrations – vibrations of sounds, music and words. He proved this by freezing distilled water from different sources and water exposed to different vibrations. He then used special photographic techniques to document the crystals …..
“The result was that we always observed beautiful crystals after giving good words, playing good music, and showing, playing, or offering pure prayer to water.”(Dr. Masaro Emoto).
Below are a few of the results from Dr Emoto’s experiments of the frozen water crystals with words said to it, or music played to it.
Dr. Emoto’s ‘Rice -Water’ Experiments
Dr. Emoto went on to conduct other experiments using rice and water called, ‘Dr Emoto’s Rice/Water experiment’. He placed portions of cooked rice in 3 little glass containers. To one he said “Thank you” and labeled it. To the 2nd he said, “You’re an Idiot” and labeled it accordingly. He ignored the 3rd container. Everyday for one month, he said ‘Thank you’ to the 1st container and ‘You’re an Idiot’ to the 2nd. He ignored the 3rd. At the end of the month, the contents of the glass container with the positive words had barely changed giving out a pleasant aroma, while the 2nd with the negative words had gone very black with a foul smell. The rice in the ignored container began to rot. Many people have since performed this experiment with astounding results. You can google Dr Emoto’s rice-water experiments to read, or see more on the subject. You can also perform the experiment yourself.
Recreating Dr. Emoto’s rice-water experiment
3 years ago, inspired by this experiment, my son, Ugo, and his two daughters, Melissa and Michelle, carried out the ‘rice-water’ experiments themselves and the result was astonishing! Take a look and listen to the children describe their experiment after 30 days.
There is certainly power in the spoken words. We live in a miraculous world and we are living miracles. When you consider that words have effect on water and that the human body contains 50%-70% water, we may begin to imagine what everything we say to ourselves and to others are doing to our bodies – our physical and psychological wellbeing and our outlook in life. We should pay attention to what we say to ourselves and others. Words of affirmation are very important. Say positive things about yourself and to yourself. Say positive encouraging thing to your children. Say good things to, and about others and mean these things when you say them. “Your Words are your Magic Wands”
Have you ever wondered how significant your life is? Have you wondered if you make a difference – if what you do affects the universe, or, if your actions really do matter to this world you live in? Well, everything you do matters – your actions and reactions matter, not just for you but for everyone else!
The Butterfly Effect is the concept that small causes can have large effects. The expression was used with weather prediction but has became a metaphor used in everyday life situations. The theory was first presented by Edward Lorenz in 1963 to the New York Academy of Science and basically states that:
A butterfly could flap its wings and set molecules of air in motion, which would move other molecules of air, in turn moving more molecules of air—eventually capable of starting a hurricane on the other side of the planet.
Though it uses the fluttering of the butterfly as a metaphor, it is a theory that everything matters. Scientists have come to accept the authenticity of this theory andit has been accorded the status of a law:
“The Law of Sensitive Dependence Upon Initial Conditions” or “The Chaos Theory”.
When you change even the smallest of life’s details, you completely change its outcome. This theory becomes even more authentic today as outer space scientists, using theChandra X-ray Observatory, have observed that the space we think is empty in the universe is actually not empty but filled with uniqueelectro-magnetic energythat connects everything in the universe!
Examples of the Butterfly Effect :
Historians agree that the trigger for the World War 1 was the assassination of the Archduke, Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austrio-Hungarian empire and his wife, by a young Yugoslav nationalist, Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo, in June 1914. This had the butterfly effect that led to the most brutal world war involving over 65 million military from 30 countries. This war among several other outcomes, led to the death of over 17 million people and another 20 million wounded or disabled. That war changed the face of the world!
The invention of the WorldWideWeb (www)in 1989 by the English scientist Tim Berners-Lee is another example with a butterfly effect leading to the present explosion in the social media, the Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Smartphones,…… connecting people all over the globe. You can think of thousands of the continuing ‘butterfly effects’ of this one invention.
So it is with our lives. Think about the outcome of your life by the ‘simple’ chooses you made. Consider what triggered these chooses and where they’ve led you and people associated with you to, – the schools you attended, where you live, your work, how you met your spouse …..
Now, let us consider our bodies. Things we choose to eat, how we think, what we say, our emotions, and life styles, all have butterfly effects that result in the physical, physiological and psychological states we find ourselves in as individuals. These states in turn affect our health, our relationships, our families, our businesses. Habouring anger, frustration and hatred sets a butterfly effect that not only causes malfunctioning of the body and ill health, but also unpleasant relationships.
Even the smallest step we take in our lives can change the course of our lives and those of others immensely. A simple act of love or gratitude can have a butterfly effect that can lead to unforeseen consequences over time. Take a moment to think about this. Let us live our lives ‘awake‘, consciously knowing that our actions and reactions matter to the wellbeing of the Universe.
I see the world in all material and none material things around me. Everything and everyone are connected. We hear this all the time, but do we take a moment to think it over? This reminds me of the poem written by William Blake:
“To see the world in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.”
One morning in April 2005, while I was in Zanzibar, Tanzania, I woke up peaceful and made my morning devotions. I looked around me and felt grateful for everything. I zeroed in on the beautiful wooden carved bed I was lying on – this bed that provided rest for me. I visualized the tree from which it was made – that tree from somewhere in the forest of East Africa perhaps among the spices of this ‘Spice Island’.
That tree in the forest had received sunshine and rain to grow like all other living things at the time. That tree must have provided oxygen, fruits, or served as home to some animals, insects or birds.
Perhaps some parts of that tree had been used by some people to cook meals for their families. Perhaps some parts have been used to make furniture, or build a home for some family.
The carvings on the bed had first been conceived in the mind of some local craftsman. That tree which is now my bed had been the hard work of some craftsmen whom I’ld never know and who would never know they were making it for me. These men have fed their families with the proceeds from their workmanship.
That tree, my bed has been polished or painted using bee’s wax or some other organic solutions.
I went on to visualize the web of connections with my mattress, the pillows and the sheets and the mosquito nets. I visualized the cotton farm, the laborers that picked the soft fluffy cotton. I imagined the textile mills where even more laborers spun the cotton into yarns or thread and the production of the cotton textile – the textile which have now become the cover of my mattress, the bed sheets, and my mosquito net.
I could go on and on about the web of life’s activities connected to my bed. There will be no end to this ‘connectedness visualization’. It is like spinning a ‘Web of Connectivity’ of all things in the world.
My bed, your bed, could be the centre of the Universe!
Awe is an emotion comparable to wonder, with a combination of amazement, surprise and even fear. Although the meaning of the word Awe has changed over time, the expression of ‘Awe’ has been defined as an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, and fear, produced by that which is extremely amazing, grand, or extremely powerful. It is directed at objects considered to be more powerful than the subject, such as, a great water fall, the Great Pyramid of Gaza, the Grand Canyon, the paintings of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican, an inspiring Sunset, or the vastness of the cosmos.
Awe serves to draw attention away from the self and toward the environment. Focusing and admiring the beauty and intricacy of nature, the flowers, the oceans, sunset, can bring one to the state of Awe.
Awe therefore arises out of the experience through our senses, mainly through our sight, and at times through sound, touch and smell.
In most African countries where the wonders of nature abound, there is often indifference to these wonders, or at best, fear of them. The first time I really took note at the beauty of nature, was during my mission to Namibia in 1991, just after her independence. On a consultancy assignment with 6 male expatriates from Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and the Netherlands, I couldn’t help but ‘look’ and ‘see’. They called attention to the topography, the wildlife, and all nature! We went on a safari up the mountains and I beheld a planet that looked like Mars.
Have we landed on Mars? I asked myself. The topography of the top of the mountains was like the image we see of Mars.The tour guide handed us hammers to break the rock. What I saw was breathtaking … ROSE QUARTZ, Amethyst..! These rugged, dirty, rocky peaks were mountains of semi-precious stones!
Sitting by the beach in Swakopmund, I could not but marvel at how the beautiful, undulating, golden brown sand domes of the Namib desert come down and end their journey at the beach of the Atlantic Ocean.
For the first time, I witness people skiing on sand! The sand domes of the Namib desert were skiing grounds! (But of course, the skiers were expatriates and tourists). I admired for the first time, the Namib Flamingos and white Pelicans as they grazed by the seashore!
Ever since, I’ve always found something of nature that marvels me, rainbows, flowers, waterfalls, mountains, .. all have something that portrays the mind of the Creator.
The Pamukkale natural hot spring terraces in Southwestern Turkey which I visited with my husband many years ago still fills me with awe.
Everyone has had some ‘awe’ experience . When we witness something awesome, we make exclamations like “Oh my God!” “Wow!” As we regard nature’s wonders with awe, the sensation, the thought and the exclamations we may make, lead to the release of ‘feel good hormones’ in our body. These in turn enhance our well-being by improving our immunity, lowering blood pressure and minimizing depressive emotions. It is interesting to learn how nature compensates us as we admire nature! The “Awe” experience raises your frequency of vibration, and, going by the law of attraction, the more we appreciate, the more things to appreciate will be attracted to us. The universe brings forth pleasurable things into our lives through the Law of Attraction.
Spring season with the blooming of flowers is a period of awesome beauty. Watching the beauty of nature is far much better than watching some unpleasant media broadcasts and publications. When more people learn to admire nature and the awesomeness of its beauty, perhaps, we begin to experience a better world!
I love to watch clips from Louie Schwartzberg, a cinematographer, who captures stunning life images that reveal the fascinating beauty and connectivity of nature. Here is one of his videos at TED Talks…
So many people wonder and worry about their life purpose. “I don’t know what my life is all about” you will hear most people say. Thousands of books are available on how to discover your purpose in life. Many believe that their life purpose is a hidden treasure, which they must search for, and discover.
Life Purpose, or the reason for your existence, is not about finding a well paying job. or about getting rich, though, it could lead to these. It is about using your natural passions and aptitudes in any position you find yourself, be it your at your job space, your community, your home or anywhere else. What you are meant to do is already within you from childhood. Education, training and self awareness help to sharpen it (them). Regardless of your spiritual inclinations, a sense of purpose will not only lead to a greater well-being, but can help us be at our best and live more fully.
A few months ago, I was invited by a church community in Linz, a beautiful city in Upper Austria, to give a 2-day seminar/workshop on ‘Life Purpose and Commitment’. The target group was women but the entire congregation was invited. At the end of the first day, one of the organizers led me to a lady participant who was assigned to take me back to my Hotel. This lady took me to a Mercedes Benz car parked outside of the conference building. The car had the taxi label mounted on it. She opened the rear door for me and went over to the driver’s seat.
‘Are you driving this?’ I asked.
‘Yes ma” she replied.
I insisted on sitting in the front seat with her. As she drove off, I asked, ‘Are you allowed to drive this taxi?’ With very pleasant smiles, she replied, ‘Yes, ma, it is my Taxi’.
On further discussion, I learnt that she had always found pleasure in driving even as a child and dreamt of owing a car.
“Do you drive at night and are you not scared?” I asked.
“No, not anymore. At first I was, but I pray each time for God’s protection and I believe He sends His angels to guard and protect me.” She replied.
Still curious, I asked, “What about the Austrian police, – have you ever been stopped or had problems with the police?’
“No, ma. Most wave when they see me. They call me , ‘Die erste Africanische Taxifahrerin von Österreich’ (the FIRST African Woman Taxi Driver of Austria)!
It it surprising that this didn’t mean anything, or sound significant to her. She has driven people from airports and across borders in Europe, even at night when necessary. Her name is Patricia Ekhator. Patricia is married and lives in Austria. She has 3 little sons. She juggles motherhood and her job with so much graciousness and gratefulness to God. Her husband is very supportive.
With my mobile phone, I took photos of her while she drove. The next day at the workshop, to her bewilderment, I beamed her image on the screen, as the First African Woman Taxi Driver in Austria! The participants clapped and cheered. For the first time, they saw her differently. For the first time, Patricia became aware that she was already fulfilling one of her life purposes. She was rendering service not only by driving people around, but also promoting the image of the African women immigrants in Austria! She also uses this opportunity to express and share her faith. The next day, Patricia picked me up from my hotel and after the seminar, drove me to the train station.
My reason for sharing this is that many a time, we are already in our purpose but do not know it. What do you do that gives you deep happiness and fulfillment? Reflect on moments in your life when you did something that made you feel proud of yourself, and really happy. Don’t take anything as insignificant.You have to let go of cultural and societal expectations of you. You could discover that these moments, which I call ‘Peak Moments’, not only made you happy, but also made other people happy – periods that involved giving of yourself! These moments, or work are clues to your purpose(s) in life!
Read more on this from my post on Self Awareness published on my blog on November 22, 2014.Continue reading →
The month of February is regarded as the month of romance, the month for lovers, with the celebration of the St. Valentine’s Day on the 14th. A lot of cards, flowers, candies, and gifts are exchanged between lovers. The image of the heart and the winged Cupid and his bow and arrows firing at hearts is a common sight on bill boards, magazines and shopping malls.
What is Love?
The word “love” can have a variety of related but distinct meanings in different contexts and is said to be a virtue representing all of human kindness, compassion and affection. Love is an emotion of strong affection.I use the word love here in the context of the strong emotional expression of sexual attraction, affection and personal attachment between the opposite sexes. Love here expresses feelings of romance.
Romantic Love is the most powerful sensation a human being can have. It involves the obsessive thinking about and craving for a particular person. Romance is where love begins, and it seems to have the most extreme effect on human behavior. Starting from puberty, most humans wish to experience the feeling of being in love, yet most people would have difficulty describing what exactly love is. People live for love, sing for love, write poems for love, do funny unbelievable things in the name of being in love. People will even kill for love! We find quotes like, ‘You are the apple of my eyes’, ‘I can never live without you’,‘ My heart yearns for you alone’; ‘Love is blind’. You can remember dozens of these sayings. Perhaps you have used some yourself.
Many images are used as symbols of love. Most popularly and universally used is the Heart. It is believed that love resides in, and emanates from the heart. Other symbols are, the pairing swans, the pigeons and the doves known as the love birds; the rose flower- a symbol of perfection; the harp – a symbol of love in lyric arts, poetry and music. In China, the maple leaf is an emblem of lovers! Chocolate is also a love symbol and is believed to have aphrodisiac qualities.
Legends: There are many interesting legends around love. Popular legends are connected to St Valentine’s Day and Cupid.
St. Valentine’s Day which lovers celebrate on the 14th of February, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. Around 270 A.D. when the Roman Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men who he then enlisted into the army. Valentine, a priest, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret.
When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be imprisoned and put to death. Valentine’s soft spot for young lovers earned him the admiration of lovers and young couples.
According to the legend, the imprisoned Valentine fell in love with a girl who frequently visited him during his confinement. He actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself to this girl before his death. It was alleged that he signed the letter with “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today. At the end of the 5th century, Pope Gelasius declared February 14 St. Valentine’s Day and so he became the lovers’ Saint and February 14 became the Lovers’ Day!
On the other hand, there is a very interesting story about Cupid and His mortal Bride Psyche in Roman mythology. Cupid is the most famous of St. Valentine symbols. He is seen as a mischievous, winged child armed with bow and arrows aiming at hearts of lovers, causing them to fall deeply in love! The arrows signify desire and emotions of love. In ancient Greece he was known as Eros, the young son of Aphrodites, the goddess of love and beauty. To the Romans he was Cupid, and his mother was Venus.
The science of love
Getting struck by Cupid’s arrow may very well take your breath away and make your heart race this Valentine’s Day but, most of our body’s chemistry is controlled by the brain. “Falling in love” is not an exception. We call it love. It feels like love. But this most profound of all human emotions is probably nature’s beautiful way of keeping the human species alive and reproducing. We are basically animals with inborn biological instincts, and your brain is creating powerful hormones to get you to mate. Research scientists have found that a location at the base/ bottom of the brain is responsible for the triggering of the production of hormones and chemicals that give the feeling of falling in love.“Falling in love” is simply Mother Nature making sure that you find a mate and procreate! Dr. Renshaw, of Loyola University puts it this way:
“Falling in love causes our body to release a flood of feel-good chemicals that trigger specific physical reactions. This internal elixir of love is responsible for making our cheeks flush, our palms sweat and our hearts race.
Levels of these substances, which include dopamine, adrenaline and norepinephrine, increase when two people fall in love. Dopamine creates feelings of euphoria while adrenaline and norepinephrine are responsible for the pitter patter of the heart, restlessness and overall preoccupation that go along with experiencing love. MRI scans indicate that love lights up the pleasure center of the brain. When we fall in love, blood flow increases in this area, which is the same part of the brain responsible for drug addiction and obsessive compulsive disorders.” Waw! you may exclaim.
Dr Helen Fischer, the well renowned expert on the biology of love and attraction of Rutgers University in the U.S.A. has carried out numerous researches on the love areas in the brain and has proposed 3 stages of love, namely:
Lust or Erotic passion- Sexual drive which may not necessarily focus on just one individual.
Attraction – Early stage of romantic love characterized by intense craving for the loved one. (The intensity of romantic love tends to last between six months to two and a half years before turning into attachment for most people)
Attachment – deep feelings of union or bonding with a long term partner. It is believed to have evolved to enable a couple remain together to bear and rear children. Attachment phase however needs a lot of patience, understanding and consideration for the other partner. Frequent sexual relations between couples at this stage, releases hormones that warms up and bind the relationship.
Each stage is believed to be driven by different hormones and chemicals.
Here are some of the cocktail of “Love” hormones/chemicals shooting into your body from a location at the base/bottomof your brain, to make you happy victims of nature’s procreation plan:
Pheromones: Chemicals you emit to attract a partner
Oxytocin: This hormone bonds a woman to her sex partner
Vasopressin: Men release this hormone during sex. It promotes pair bonding
Phenylethylamine (PEA): A natural amphetamine
Dopamine and Norepinephrine: These are natural mood enhancers
Testosterone: This hormone increases your sexual desire and drive
Hmm, this can be alarming! Well, love still makes the world go round and being in love is the most beautiful feeling one can experience. I wish everyone could stay in love forever. Modern science is however weakening our myths and proving that love lives in the brain and not in the heart. But, does it matter? Next time you are sending a Valentine Card, instead of writing, “I love you from the bottom of my heart”, it may be more appropriate to write, “I love you from the bottom of my brain!”.