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What do you really want out of life? Now what's stopping you?

Thursday, November 23, 2006


PC still down, car broken, cell phone stolen...what do all these have in common. They are currently the circumstances I find myself in. Sounds depressing? Believe me-you have no idea. I heard Pastor Sandy Ward once say that it doesn't matter if you go through hell-as long as you go through and don't stop and have a pity party. Well pity party is over and I am pushing on. Great people started where they were, with what they had, so that's where I am at. Circumstances can be changed in some cases. More important than the circumstances, is to deal with any root causes-either internal or external. Sounds crypic-sorry, but I'm short of time in an Internet cafe and will have to expand more on this later. Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Blocked again

When I started this I had writers’ block. I couldn’t for the life of me think of anything to write-this is most unusual. (As an interesting aside, does the apostrophe in writers’ block refer to a single writer, i.e. writer’s block, or plural writers, the way I have used it; in the assumption that millions of budding scribes have been frustrated by the experience?)

Staring at a blank screen waiting for inspiration is one way around writers’ block, another is to start typing (like I have just done) in the hope that something meaningful will flow from my fingers. For others it may take a walk outside in a pleasant garden, for others a meal enjoyed with friends. Others may find solace and ideas during a period of solitude while enjoying a cup of fresh brewed coffee. The simple fact is that each of us has different triggers and different ways of kicking back. The trick is to identify these triggers and use them to your advantage. If going for a run gives you a kick then by all means go pavement pounding, just try not to involve me (unless I can cycle alongside). This week notice those things that give you the most pleasure, and those periods of time that are the most productive for you. Ask yourself why these are most productive, maybe no-one else is around, maybe you are more alert in the morning, maybe the sight of the single secretary down the corridor…ok we’ll leave that one there. Now ask yourself why you don’t have periods like that more often and do something about it.

Friday, November 17, 2006


Handed in the papers for my mum’s estate yesterday; brought a whole fresh wave of emotion. I wish I could say that I knew how to deal with it, but I don’t. There are just some things for which I do not have answers. There have been multiple books written on the topic, some are even worth reading (C.S. Lewis’s ‘The Problem of Pain’ and ‘A Grief Observed’ are two that I would recommend), but none can really prepare you fully for the actual moment of anguish and loss. Understanding the stages of grief does not lessen the fact that you will still go though them, maybe a bit faster, but still through them. Doesn’t sound fair, but then that’s life. As M Scott Peck observed, people expect life to be fair and are surprised when it’s not. We live in an imperfect world and pain and suffering are inherent to it. Does that ease the pain? Probably not, but at least you have an idea of what to expect.

grief life Lewis

Monday, November 13, 2006

Trees of Life.

This period of time is particularly beautiful in Zimbabwe. First, as winter shifts into spring, the msasa trees’ leaves come out. For those who don’t know, the msasa leaves first appear as red and orange and then turn green, almost the reverse of autumnal senescence. This turns large areas of forest into swathes of living fire. Then about September, the jacarandas bloom. Common throughout Harare, these ‘imported’ trees transform the avenues of the city into purple tunnels, while underfoot the crunch of fresh fallen flowers is unmistakable. As the jacarandas fade, the flamboyant trees explode in rage of red, until the rains come and strip their petals.

Each tree is distinctive in its pattern of blooming, and easily recognisable. In a similar way, are there any factors that stand out in our lives? What attributes to others see, and what attributes do you wish to have evident? My mother had a special way of interacting with children, she never had to tell you that she was good with young ones; it was evident without her opening her mouth. My one secretary is similar in that regard, she loves dealing with kids, her eyes light up every time one walks into the practice-she can’t hide it. My friend Jon is passionate about music; it’s obvious in the way he talks about bands and songs and the way he plays. It’s an unavoidable part of him. He doesn’t have to tell you that he loves music, it just shows through his behaviour. Think about friends you know, what is the first word that comes to mind to describe them? Now, what do they think of when they think of you.

Positive attributes in your character will always show up. The flip side of the coin is that negative attributes will also be obvious. If you have a problem with anger, fear, or rejection, these will eventually show up. The good news is that they can be altered and changed.

‘By their fruit you shall know them’ is indeed a true and valid concept.

Harare character tree

Sunday, November 12, 2006

More Images

I have been thinking a lot about images since I last wrote. The images we form of ourselves are shaped and created by the words we speak and the other things we see. One of the reasons television and multimedia advertising is so powerful is that it allows the creation of an image in your mind without the process of words. An instant picture is transferred into your mind without you having to create it. If your do not guard your mind you are susceptible to such ‘mental’ attacks. One of the reasons pornography is so successful is that it operates in this manner.

To change the image of yourself you have to change what you say about yourself. Positive confession has power, unfortunately so does negative confession. Negative confession is often rooted in your image of where you are now, not of where you want to be. Unless you continually reflect on where you want to be, you will never see yourself there, and consequently you will never get there.

Friday, November 10, 2006


Television, billboards, magazines...images are all around us. They influence us in what we buy, wear, feel and how we behave. They help shape social norms (anyone remember the first gay kiss in movies years back and now how every sitcom seems to have a gay couple now?) Like it or not, images are here to stay and they WILL shape you.

What is your image of yourself? How do you see yourself? Is it positive or negative, does in influence others, or is yours readily influenced by external pressure? How you see yourself will determine how you act, where you be and what you become. What you are today is an expression of your internal self image. Change the inside and the outside will change. True and lasting change comes from within. Too many times we try change the outside-you can't take someone from the slums and place him in a mansion without changing him internally first-else he will turn the mansion into a slum. Don't like what you see, change your image of yourself!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Jingle Bells

Christmas music and decorations have already hit the shops as santas and angels jostle for window space. It’s pumpkins out and reindeer in. Themed music bombards the ears of shoppers, reminding them that, with just less than two months to go, time is running out.

Some regard this as an infringement on their rights, as the imposition of an outdated festival that has little to do with their beliefs and values. Christians complain at the secular materialism that has corrupted their sacred festival, while others remark that at least hymns are hear by those who would otherwise never set foot in a church, even if the ‘praise and worship’ is interspersed with renditions of ‘Rudolph’.

Whatever your standpoint, it forces you to at least spare a passing thought about the core of the festival-Jesus. Despite the trappings and traditions and the secular ‘add ons’, it is primarily a festival of faith and a celebration by millions of the incarnation of their Saviour. It is a time for family and friends, and despite the negatives (e.g. binge drinking, fuller shops, spending unnecessary amounts of money) I think that it has a lot going for it. For me it is a feast of remembrance, a time to sit back, relax(hopefully) and meditate on the past year and plan for the one to come. A time to enjoy the company of others, and for a short time forget all the mess and worries around us and enjoy a moment of peace.

Friday, November 03, 2006


Spent last night on the farm. Had to go through some of mum's old filing to get documentation needed for estate. Brought home to me the importance of having a decent filing system. Mum was organised, she just never through anything out, but to be honest I can't say I can make total sense of her filng. That said, if you ever asked her for anything, she could tell you exactly where it was. I am trying to think generationaly at work. I am writing things down in a procedures manual so that in case someone moves on it is easy for the next person to pick up the pieces. Having to decide what is necessary is interesting and helps to refine your own processes.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


As I was leaving the house this morning I noticed that the oleander outside my gate had bloomed. There is not much unusual in this until you realise that they had been in bloom for the last two weeks, and I use the gate everyday. I had been blinkered by my grief and routine, and not even noticed the beauty that had been awaiting me each day. So I start to ask myself, what else have I been blinded to the last few weeks? Check your routine. Are you missing something that you otherwise take for granted? Look with fresh eyes on your route to work. Take a good look at your colleagues. Take someone different out for coffee this week, and listen to what they have to say. Roll back the blinkers a bit and see what else is there.