Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Whose Dream Are You Chasing?

I saw this picture quote, and it jogged something in me. In this modern world where everyone has something to say about everything, including what you should be doing with your life, it is so easy to get sidetracked and lose focus. You may be bombarded with information and ultimately end up answering to somebody else's calling and not your own. Before you know it, boom, you're chasing a dream have no business chasing. A dream which does not benefit you, grow you or inspire you. The conundrum with that is that when you are not inspired, you will not and cannot inspire other people. This is the surest way of setting yourself up for failure. When you find yourself on such a slippery slope, you may need to take some time to retreat into a cocoon. Take time for silence and dig deep. Pray. Meditate. Do whatever you need to do so that you can have the revelation of where you need to be.
As you go through this process of self-discovery, ask yourself some questions. Who are you? What moves you as a person? What is that you want to achieve? Also, ask yourself where it is that you are headed and how you want to get there. Identify your real talents. List them if you have to. Know your value and your worth.

Half the time we sell ourselves short because we lack understanding of where our real talents lie and how valuable those talents are. We are dragged along and are willing to settle because we are constantly being told what we ought to be doing with our lives by people who do not even know us. No harm in listening to advice and reaching out for help. But, when we are constantly bombarded with advice on how we ought to be doing things a certain way and not taking the time to digest it for ourselves, we lose track and ourselves along the way. When we do not take the time to challenge what is fed to us, scrutinise information and sift, we are left confused and lost. We should be able to do things in the way which is comfortable for us and that which will see us succeed.

When we take time out and listen to our inner voice and our heart, we will realise that we may not always have to align ourselves with everybody who comes our way. There are times we may have to be selective and prune away certain associations. You may lose a few friends too, and that's okay. If you align yourself with the wrong people, you run the risk of deviating from your real purpose. What that means is that you run the risk of having to make a U-turn when you finally realise that you have been chasing somebody else's vision. So if you want to reach your destination then do not allow yourself to be dragged along. To be blown by the wind. Discover your real path and stay on the right road. Pursue your real calling and move at your own comfortable pace. If that means going it alone sometimes, so be it. Because it pays in the long run!

Saturday, 8 November 2014

My Reflections....

It was disability day at church today. I do enjoy most sermons, but I found today’s sermon particularly inspirational. It touched the very core of my soul. And so, I thought I would share my thoughts with you.

When we look at people who are/appear different from us, what do we see? What flicks into our minds? Do we judge them by appearance? Do we approach them with a pre-conceived understanding of who they are, what they represent or where they are coming from?

Often, we regard disabled persons (all forms) as individuals to be pitied. When they are going about their business, be it in wheelchairs or appear awkward or uncoordinated or incoherent than we are, we jump to their aid, at times take over; because we assume that they can’t cope, therefore, need us. There is nothing at all wrong with helping or wanting to care for the ones we consider to be vulnerable. But there are times when we need to take a step back and let them get on with it as our help could be doing more harm than good.

Have you ever stopped to consider that, perhaps, for someone who has endured years of physiotherapy, psychotherapy, encouragement and/or persuasion, to be able to move, crawl from A to B, feed themselves, read a word or two, whatever, is a precious achievement, and is indeed something to be celebrated and cherished! A sacred territory not to be tampered with? That stammer that riddles their speech, or the quiver of their hand when they make a squiggle of their name is just them getting on with it. 

Eating may be a doddle for you and I, but of what consequence is it to us if it takes them a bit longer to move a spoon from hand to mouth? They are only living their life the best way they know how. Why pity them because of it? Why take away their pride, dignity and independence? Why make them feel unequal and less worthy than others? We alter our body language and speak in condescending tones (well-done dear, you're so lovely, that's good etc.) just to let them know that we recognise how different from us they are. It got to stop!

A story was told about a disabled boy who thought had found a good friend during his years of primary school. When primary school ended, on the very last day, the friend walked up to his disabled friend and told him he had a confession to make; and they had the following conversation:

‘I have something to tell you,’ said the friend.
‘Go ahead,’ said the disabled boy.
‘I don’t really like you that much,’ he said, ‘I was just pretending to be nice to you because, well let’s face it, you’re in a wheelchair and you can’t be nasty towards someone who is disabled.’
So you can imagine the shock and horror that resulted from this revelation. 
After having composed himself, the disabled boy said,
‘Just because I’m disabled doesn't mean that I am different from everybody else. You didn't have to pretend to like me simply because I am in a wheelchair……’

The tendency we have is to judge people by the way they look, heap them in a category or give them labels. We pity the disabled because our brain has been wired, or we have been socialised to view disabled persons as helpless beings not capable or deserving of an independent and fulfilling life. We can't accept or phantom the fact that they could be leading a full life just as they are.

As you can see from the illustration above the revelation by the disabled boy’s ‘good friend’ was, indeed, the greatest deception you can imagine. Not only that, but it also demonstrates ignorance, and as the narrator of the story explained, it left a huge scar on the disabled boy. A scar which will set him back and take years to heal.

Food for thought, I think...