Undefined

I love this girl featured right here: who said brides should wear dresses or high heals for that matter? That femininity is defined by the length of one’s hair? She is my sister’s friend and I have to applaud her for not playing to other peoples’ definition.

I never really liked definition in English class, they sounded so final, so black or white, anytime I was asked to define a word, I was tempted to describe it instead. The thing with definition is there is no margins for errors, you couldn’t just drop  a word or add to it.  I felt that it boxed me in and was too restrictive, still definitions are very necessary for setting boundaries and for order in the language.

I heard a story of a young bride who used to cook the same meal in 2 pans at the same time instead of one, so her husband asked her one day why, her response was ‘I don’t know, my mum used to do that and that’s all I knew growing up, I am just following the defined way of my mum. Still puzzled the husband went to his mother in law and asked why she cooked in 2 small pots instead of one, mother in law said, I don’t even know why, I saw my mother do it all the time, so I just followed suit. Finally­čÖä they went to the grandmother to listen to the mystery behind cooking the same meal in 2 separate pots rather than one big pan. Well well, the grandmother couldn’t stop laughing, she said oh dear daughter and granddaughter, the only reason why I did that was because, I couldn’t afford a bigger pan and I had too many mouths to feed, that was the only way I could feed my big family. Of course they all laughed and thought how very silly, all this time they could have cooked in one big pan only if only they had asked, if only they I had opened their minds to some possibilities.  If they hadnt set so tight a defined way to cook.­čśÇ

You see I know that story is a bit out there but when we set such strict defined roles and labels, we box ourselves in and stifle our imagination. I have met a lot of people who have been through some of the most horrific experiences, I have met some also who have made quite a few mistakes. There are many things I have done or experienced, some I am proud of , others not so much, but none of these things on their own really define me. I am sure you can identify with that, you may be a parent, an employer or an employee, a daughter, friend, all these things you may be but none of those aspects Can justly define you.

We restrict our selves and our potential by trying to fix so snugly in someone’s definition of us, if you are a fan of the bible which is like the bestseller of all times,  you might know that we are made in Gods image that means we have the ability to create.  My understanding of that is Iam undefined, I can adapt , expand , I can stretch and I can definitely imagine. Don’t try so hard to fit into a defined path that you don’t even believe in, you are way more than your mistakes. You have a fresh page so start filling it with some words you like and words you choose.

I once saw a young girl exhibiting alleged side effects of some medication. Reading in between the line it became apparent she had read the label. After talking to her for a bit she admitted that she was just acting out the possible side effects of the medication. In her naivety she had ignored the little wording ‘possible’. We all laughed but later on I thought how sad that we talk, walk and behave in ways that fit the definition that the statistics have assigned to us.

We at inside out have decided we are more than labels, numbers or statistic, in fact we are changing our mentality, we choose to think bigger and better.
Whatever aspects of you people have experienced, you are more, you have the ability to be more, after all you are not defined by what people say about you. You are only what your maker says you are: well, we say you are flexible, teachable, stretchable and unstoppable.

For your consideration

simplygyaps

 

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Passionate Provision

My friend featured today in this post is an actress in Ghana, she is also a talk show host but I believe it hasn’t always been easy to turn her passion into that which provides for her. To stretch her thinking outside the box, to be authentic and true to who she is and what she believes in.
I want to share why she inspires me: when we were in high school we got into trouble many times mostly not our fault­čśŤ But one┬á┬áof the things that bonded us was our love for reading, our friend Maria was very popular by virtue of her access to books. I believe reading all those fictional stories just opened up our imaginations that went beyond the conventional labour market.

I can remember how happy I was whenever I got hold of a new novel, how I would rather read than eat my tea if it was going to interfere with my reading schedule.
You see, I loved words, the formation of them into sentences to tell a story, I could see words coming to life anytime I read but how was this ever going to lead to providing for me? It almost seemed that that we had to separate passion from provision, to go to work without our heart?
When I found out that my friend was in acting, I felt really proud of her, for not following the crowd, for not just going with what our society would call ‘ a normal job’ but working hard to make passion provide for her as well. I can’t see it being very easy, announcing to one’s┬ávery Ghanaian parents in those days, ┬áthat after the university education , they were thinking of going into acting. I see many people struggling with this concept of passionate provision, how to turn potential coupled with┬ápassion into that which provides.

My friend Ellie told me the other day how much she loves her job, she says she is genuinely happy, well if you know her personality and the things she cares about, her persuasive character and her passion when recounting a good experience, it is a good fit for her current sales job. She looks at situations through her own personality which makes her presentation almost flirtatious, she has found a way to make her passion provide for her as well. she says even though it is her job, she doesn’t need to separate herself, either as a mum or her home rather it is just an extention her life.
Again I was talking to a young man recently who has found a job as a bouncer at a night club and he told ┬áme it is the best job ever, even though the hours are very unfriendly. You see before he got this job, he used to get into trouble all the time ┬áfor alleged bullying, disagreement and threat of fight even, what ever it was that was getting him into these situations had to do with his passion for keeping order. He now uses that in a positive manner and he couldn’t be happier.
As per Confucius famous saying, ‘ choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.’ There is also a verse in the bible that says, our gifts will open doors for us, but sometimes this seems almost impossible, doors seem to be tightly shut in our faces as we pursue that which brings us joy.
We then set off with the intention of taking any job in the interim whilst we wait for what we actually want to do, but as we get into that day to day of life, time passes by and unfortunately most of us never get the chance to go back to explore that passion and the potential associated with it. Time becomes our enemy, relevance eludes us and opportunities seem to pass us by.
Work becomes draining, a chore sometimes when our passion/ potential and gifting are somehow not involved. When we have to completely take on a new persona in order to do the job. When even our values are not in alignment with ┬áthe job, when provision completely overshadows passion.­čÖâ

For the people that were bold to pursue what they are passionate about even when it looked like it wasn’t ever going to provide for them, we salute you, with the biggest salute going to my friend Judith Nana Abena Asantewaa Asante. For those of you who are still thinking of doing that, we cheer you on, and for those who have completely forgotten about it, we say it is never too late.

for your consideration

Simplygyaps

A procession

Leading

Look at my cute nephews, they were recently page boys for a couple and by virtue of their role they led the bridal procession. Page boys are normally trusted with wedding bands and walk down the aisle ahead of the ushers. I believe it went alright as I haven’t heard otherwise, but have you ever heard or even witnessed a page boy run off to speak to his friend or even chase someone whilst the ceremony is still in progress? I believe it happens but would it not be very surprising if my young nephews decided to chase someone in the hall and the bride followed them? The page boy although leading the procession is not the main player in the ceremony, they were simply starring in some one’s dream.

The couple would have been in rehearsal, would have surveyed and seen other couples walked that same way before and would therefore been able to tell when someone is taking a detour.
Now that we all agree that the bride will not follow the page boy blindly even if they are as cute as my twin nephews, let us look at what we do when pursuing our dreams .

We get the big idea, the dream, the leading , call it whatever, and like a bridal procession, there are people in the line to play different roles but the bride is usually the main player, well maybe the mother and a few other leading women, depending on the family dynamics. You have the dream, you are the one trusted with that big idea and others may be there to help you pursue it.

Likewise people in and around your life, may be walking in front of you or by you  by virtues of their roles  but that doesn’t  necessarily make them the main dictators in your God given dreams. Like the bridal procession, the flower girl/ page boy physically walk in front of the bride but does not provide the guidance for her big day.  The issue is when you give the page boy too much power, he wouldn’t know what to do with it, your dream is unique to you and the moment you allow the opinion of others to change what is deep in your heart, you may end up out of line in your own bridal procession.

Page boys come in many forms, older siblings, more successful friends, bosses, funders, opinion leaders etc. The thing is by one reason or the other, they seem to be in your line of procession but let me assure you that, you are still the main carrier of that dream, after all our hearts beat differently.
Do not allow narrow minded people with small dreams talk you out of your big ideas. My nephews will have a lot of growing up to do before they can be the main players in their own big day. They operate at the level of 8 yr olds and therefore couldn’t have set the stage for someone else big dream.

It is easy for us to see them when they are young but the problem is when the page boy situation is in big people. Suddenly we begin to give them our whole attention, we begin to rearrange our plans to suit their outlook, we begin to start believing their half truths and their opinion rather than what we truly deeply hope for. We fall out of line in our own wedding procession and become bystanders cheering others on.

I once knew a manager who will get his whole team in an office and tell them that they embarrass him, he will tell them off to the point of crying. He definitely was a page boy and by virtue of that was seemingly leading a group, how ever he wasn’t fit to give instructions for someone else’s dreams. The truth is, page boys/ girls can easily be replaced and that was just what happened to that big page boy manager .­čśÇ

Any time we want to get to a destination, we need some directions and we plan our route, we usually start from Where we are.  We need to assess our selves and see if we have given too much power to some people in our lives who are abusing it. We need to know our desired destination and then work out a route or 2 that will get us there. We may need a few rehearsals and study other people that have gone that way, then when we start our own journey we will be so sure of the way we are heading, that we will not be easily side tracked when the page boy/ girl takes a detour. After all how many brides will leave their big day entirely in the hands of the page boy?

For your considerations
Simplygyaps

Mirror mirror

IMG_5083What happens between childhood imaginations to becoming too realistic and wise up to the point of losing our ability to dream? This week I have had the opportunity to pause and reflect on a few things and realised that I have become almost too realistic to dream. My thoughts as I pause long enough to look in the mirror.
At the pool side seeing how free the children are, the ability to lose their inhibition, the frolicking in the sand, the sheer joy of being free ,made me ponder over life in the adult world.
Could we become too wise up to dream? Is my reality now an an enemy to my imagination? Sight the enemy of faith? Have I stopped waiting to exhale? When I have the opportunity to ask big, what would I ask for?
There was a recurring dream I use to have a few years ago, somehow I realised in my business of life, I don’t have this dream anymore, I am too busy surviving in the real world. Oh how I wish I could go into my place of imagination, where I dream of big things happening around me and through me! Where I dream of being a life changer and causing change around me. Where I use my influence to cause people to think beyond their imperfect, encouraging them to create seats out of whatever is available to them.

Taking a break in sunny Spain has almost reminded me of my childhood in Ghana, where I was not afraid to dream and imagine. In the absence of credit cards and loans, I could only imagine and dream with no pressure to physically achieve these things.
I am very grateful for where I live now but sometimes the man made opportunities around us can actually hinder us to tap into our natural abilities. We plan to borrow to get that house rather than imagine and believe for better, we consult the experts rather than using our relationships around us.

Oh how I wish I could dream again, how I wish I could just imagine that beautiful place of possibilities, watching my kids swim, bury each other in the sand, make me wanna lose my sensible self and run wild.
Then I think of the reality of going back to work, doing the school runs, taking care of the home, then I sigh deeply. But maybe it’s not all gloomy in my real world, maybe it doesn’t have to be so all the time and maybe the reason why I am appreciating this time is because of my real world with all it chaos.

Indeed all work and no play makes me grumpy and narrow minded, it robs me of the ability to sit and stare, but can you also imagine if sit and stare is all I ever did?
My reflections on this trip therefore brings me to this resolution, I have to bring my dream world into my real world somehow. After all I don’t need to get on the plane to be able to imagine.

If you are reading this, my advice is to lose your inhibition now and again, and don’t become too grown up so as to stop dreaming.
For your consideration
Simplygyaps

Together Apart

Together Apart

The dictionary defines Oxymoron as a figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction e.g. Falsely true

I like the flexibility it  affords to describe some situations that are outside norm, sometimes it is the only way to express the unusual situations and unusual people who seem to  beat the status quo. For how else could we explain the silent screams and the deafening silence that is  all around us?

The city of London seems to make me think about putting opposites side by side, the sheer glamour side by side with small spaces and the affluence with the squalor.
I have coined the above oxymoron to express my thoughts on the gathering that took place this weekend. People of diverse race, colour, ages, united by faith and one purpose

Watching people standing together and yet knowing that there are more differences beneath the surface, in their expectations, In their journeys, the size of their dreams, their resilience level among other things.

It made me realise that although we may seem to be united with a purpose, the fact remains that we cannot sacrifice our individuality. The beauty of this gathering was the opportunity for individuals to proclaim the same message in diverse ways. I realised that a bold colour in the midst of magnolia, makes such a difference, red in the midst of all blue looks amazing.
Together apart,  also because we are a group of people that have taken a stand, this also usually set you apart, sometimes to the point of isolation. Some people have chosen to be inclusive of everything that they stand for nothing at all in order to avoid this isolation.
We have our dreams and ideas but sometimes this may require a period  of isolation to develop our ideas, to learn more about ourselves, to work on bridging the gap between where we are, to where we  need to be. However we may become so addicted to the togetherness aspect and forget completely about being apart to explore our individuality.

The three days conference gave us a lot of messages, In songs, speeches, conversations and dance even. It came to all the participants as a group but was received and will be applied by individuals. The results will therefore be  on different  levels according to what was done with the message. This gives me hope and permission to self-reflect and examine how such gatherings has impacted me when apart.

The conference is now ended and the  group is dispersed, the next stage is crucial but as this is done apart, we sometime forget to render accountability to ourselves first and then to the channel of people that worked in various ways to make the meeting possible.
I got many lessons but perhaps the  one that is going into my pocket book of tips is that there is a place for uniformity but there is even a bigger place for individuality especially in accountability.

I pray you find your individuality and bring it in to the/ a group, this gives a beautiful blend of musicians, dancers, speakers, listeners, servers, good cooks and those with just beautiful smiles. May we function when we are together or apart.

For your consideration
Simplygyaps

 

Calculated risk

Calculated risk
As I sat watching athletics with my kids, I learnt some interesting lessons that I want to share with you. It was a 3000 metres race, a seven and half laps around the field, however this girl was running like a sprint, true story after a lap or 2 around the field she quit the race. Then there was the other girl who stayed so behind that she never caught up with the group , she came last.
What did I learn about both girls, they both had a problem with balance, one took too much risk and the other took too little risk.
In pursuing our dreams and ideas we need to take some risks, how much risk though depends on our circumstances and the calculations we have made prior. If we take no risk we will rot in that situation we are dreaming of leaving, if we take too much risk we might end up quitting the race altogether, our family and friends might get sacrificed in the process.

There were a cluster of girls that run together, they had the previous winner in the midst, others run with the aim to overtake her and others just wanted to follow in her steps so they can still finish in a respectful position.
After 3000 metres running,  amidst cheers and fears, the results were announced with very few surprises, the sprint runner had a (d) by her name whilst the one who stayed at the back was last.
Lessons for me ( maybe you as well)
know my race: of course I can’t run a marathon like a sprint, neither can I run a sprint like a marathon. The nature of the idea/ dream will determine the how to the pace, ┬ásome may take longer behind the scenes ┬áprep before ┬áseeing ┬áthe outdoors.
Calculate my cost: there is always a cost involved, it might  be monetary, it might be time, it might relationship, I need to calculate the cost to the risk involved, too much risk might hurt my near and dear and no risk at all might hurt me and my dream.
When pursuing your dreams, sacrifices are required and this comes with risk, how  big though, is determined by the calculation we make and what or who we are willing to sacrifice.

The wisest man that ever lived writes in proverbs that before you build your house, prepare your land, calculate the cost, make preparation, so you can balance the cost out or at least try. Do you need to cut down your hours instead of quitting outright? You may need to save some more before you embark on that journey.

Thirdly,  not do it alone, I need to find those who have done it before and walk in their footsteps.  I also need people around me to spur me on and sometimes to challenge me to stay the course.

Are you chasing a dream of your own? I am a big believer in pursuing our  dreams, we cheer you on but we say take a calculated risk.

For your consideration
simplygyaps

Beyond my imperfect

 

Beyond my imperfect

I walked along side my young friend, he had a shabby appearance, his stutter made it hard for him to explain himself, he is a loner, an outsider, he was perceived with suspicion ,he didn’t quite fit the stereotype. He began to tell me his dreams, he wanted to work in a kitchen, he had a dream of making some wonderful dishes , if only people could see beyond his external ┬álimitations. If only he had the right words to describe his passion, his gifting felt trapped inside him, I watched him as he spoke about these dreams, then he goes sad because he can’t see how employers could see beyond his imperfect.

The few times I have been to the gym( I can count them on one hand), I have loved to use the treadmill, (don’t ask why) the first time was awkward, felt like I was definately going to fall down. The second time ┬áwas much better, I learnt to push through and looked beyond my seemingly fear of fitness and touched something within me, almost as if beyond my external tired self.

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Our dreams and ideas can sometimes not make sense to people around us, the statistic may not be on our favour, all the external limitations may make us so not right for the job, but as long as we can push thought the mud and see beyond our imperfect, the world will catch up with us.

I learnt a valuable lesson though, the threat from society, the assumptions from the people in power, cannot override the dream within, it might delay it, it might frustrate it but as long as we can see beyond our own limitation and push through, that dream would be realised. Sometimes the body is frail but when the spirit is strong, one can survive  another round of hardships.

Thankfully my young friend met an employer who was willing to see beyond his imperfect and was willing to invest in this young person.
The outside is influential but the inside has the power to sustain our dreams, after all our beauty is from the real us which is way beyond our imperfect.

For your consideration

simplygyaps