new books, who ‘dis?

This should have been a Saturday shenanigans post but I didn’t get to do anything substantial really, just ran a few errands, met my friend Lynette and bought a few things that just happen to make me very happy – books.

(yay!)

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I got three books this time – Originals by Adam Grant, and Rumi; A Spiritual Treasury compiled by Juliet Mabey – from what I believe is Nairobi’s best book shop, Bookstop at Yaya Center, and The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo – second hand from a man selling books on a sidewalk along Moi Avenue.

I’m at a point in my life where I’m continuously craving personal growth on what seems to be, every single minute of the day. I guess I’ve always been this way, just wanting to be better and not knowing how or where to begin chasing these ridiculous dreams like say, traveling the world, becoming a respected artist/ architect, knowing true love et cetera et cetera. And then again realizing that they aren’t as ridiculous as they seem. I guess this is why books have become an escape for me, by reading through other people’s thoughts I get to learn from their stories, and visualize my own dreams (somehow) through their words.

When it comes to films and literature, I seek out material that challenges my wits. In the past few months, I’ve rewatched The Matrix Trilogy, 8 Mile, Frida, and many other films that narrate the stories of people following their dreams or discovering ‘super powers’ just by simply realizing that it all starts from changing your mind set. That we possess immense potential to make our worlds, and even the earth, a better place.

Memoirs have to be my favourite genre of books to read – there is nothing like the rush I get after following an under dog to their success in their own words.

I’ve come across several Paulo Coehlo books before but never really thought to buy them, with the playful covers and not-so-realistic titles like ‘The Devil and Miss Prym’. I had a neighbour called Michelle back at the hostel I’d live in during my campus days, and she had one of his books on her mantel. She said she’d never read it either. I guess the graphic on the cover just never appealed to me and I (ignorantly) dismissed Paulo’s work as fiction, placing it in the same category as the ‘Twilight’ series. I’d read all the books in that series and let’s just say, I got over that vampire love romance phase a few years ago.

In the past three weeks however, I’d keep seeing The Alchemist everywhere I turned. On Instagram, Tumblr and even with second hand book vendors on the street. It’s like the universe was literally shoving it in my face, so I gave in and finally decided to grab a copy. And besides, it was the first time I came across an intriguing Paulo book cover. I highly recommend this book to anyone reading my post right now. It’s a beautiful book, but I rushed through it to get to see how the story ended so I didn’t quite enjoy it as much as I could have.

That’s the thing about life isn’t it? We get something nice and just want to rush through while if we took our time to savour every single moment, we’d have a much wholesome experience instead. Luckily for me, it’s a book that I have by my bedside and I can re-read it over and over again as many times as I like. I finished it in three days (I try to read even a little after work in the evenings and I breezed through this one, couldn’t put it down!).

I’ve known Rumi’s work for years now, but I guess I just wasn’t ready to understand his message. I’d come across deeply profound quotes here and there but it’s recently just began to have a meaning. My friend Magical Rabia wrote this poem for me in my notebook and told me to get some of Rumi’s work, and I’m so glad I did. It’s not the type to be read at one go, at least for me. I think it’s to be read one page at a time, contemplated over an afternoon, and resumed on the next day.

So I guess that leaves me with Originals. I hope I can finish it in a week or two (I’m trying to be generous). Well even if I don’t get to finish it in two weeks, I’ve managed to follow through with my monthly quota of books so yay me!

What are you reading right now? Anything you’d like to recommend? 🙂 ❤

say it like you mean it

Every single day, we are faced with challenges. These challenges may be as small as stubbing your toe first thing after you wake up, and then hurting your gums because you were brushing too fast, because you overslept – because you’ve been snoozing your alarm for the past one hour and now you’re late. That was a mouthful.

Or the challenge may be as big as losing a loved one, or missing out on a great job opportunity. My point is, it is clear that in life we will face challenges. But you have a choice. Either let the challenge take the best of you and lead you to a downward spiral, or pick yourself up and take it as a lesson. Complain and persistently dwell on the issue without thinking of a way forward, OR see the challenge as a temporary bump and figure out what the next step is.

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Remember how I talked about making every single day count? Well, this decision was prompted by noticing that in the past three months my level of awareness and consciousness had grown, and I needed to take this ‘consciousness’ to the next level – you know, see where this could go if I just let it be. What do I mean by this, you ask?
It may sound like a very shallow statement, but I can’t find a better way of putting it – I  have become more aware of my thoughts and the effect they have on my mood, my health and my growth.

I realized that I choose how to deal with whatever challenge I’m faced with. Whether I’m aware of it or not. If I stub my toe, I can dwell on it all through the rushed brushing and then stay in this negative state as I shower and dress up and walk to the stage and get on the matatu etc, you get the drift. Or, I could see that it is temporary. It has passed. And just focus on the NOW. Get my point?

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Granted, we may WILL face larger challenges in life. These may require time to grieve over, but we mustn’t get stuck in this state of mind. We must see life as a this blank canvas, and every brush stroke is an opportunity to keep painting this beautiful picture. Our master piece. Every experience is a different brush stroke, and it all adds to the character of the piece. Our life. It is all GROWTH, and we can learn from everything – to become stronger. Better.

To keep these good juices flowing in me and stop this habit of complaining, I decided to repeat affirmations to myself at all times. I say them like I mean it, like I truly believe these words are true. I have seen a remarkable change in my state of mind. I’m lighter, and more aware of my thoughts – through the emotions I feel. And it almost seems like I believe my crazy ass dreams even more strongly now 😀 They sort of reprogram your mind to think positively and eventually make you believe it is true.

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I am not the author of these affirmations, I haven’t been doing it long enough to come up with my own but I’m sure in a few weeks I’ll get the hang of it. I bookmarked this article on my phone months ago (it’s finally starting to really make sense to me now) and I picked up the rest from other self help blogs etc online.
The concept is simple; have a positive statement about oneself in the present tense.

What are your favourite affirmations? Feel free to share, and say it like you mean it 🙂

  1. My body is healthy; my mind is brilliant; my soul is tranquil.
  2. I have been given endless talents which I begin to utilize today.
  3. I possess the qualities needed to be extremely successful.
  4. Creative energy surges through me and leads me to new and brilliant ideas.
  5. My ability to conquer my challenges is limitless; my potential to succeed is infinite.
  6. I am courageous and I stand up for myself.
  7. I am blessed with an incredible family and wonderful friends.
  8. Everything that is happening now is happening for my ultimate good.
  9. I acknowledge my self worth; my confidence is soaring.
  10. My future is an ideal projection of what I envision now ❤
  11. I radiate beauty, charm and grace.
  12. I wake up today with strength in my heart and clarity in my mind.
  13. Curiosity leads me to interesting new places.
  14. The world is large enough for my dreams.
  15. My dreams are valid.

“It is the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.” – Muhammad Ali.