First time I saw the chap, he was round and tiny and hairless. Cutest pink lips one could imagine, and a nose that suggested he was his mother’s son.  Eight days later they named him Oghenetega (God is worthy of worship) and so the journey began.

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I remember his baby tantrums with a smile now; seemed to me like he was going to be one determined man someday. Always wanted to have his way like all babies are wont to, but with Fisayo (his mom) being the disciplinarian that she is, he gradually learnt to make compromises.

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There is this calmness about him; for all of his hyperactivity, there is a stillness in his soul that I believe is as a result of the music of Bach, Beethoven and Mozart my sister used to play to him as a foetus and as he grew. It’s this pensive calmness that drew us to each other. That look on his face when he’s focused on something, as if he is deep in thought contemplating the pros and cons of a particular decision…. Priceless. Just priceless.

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But that is not why I love this boy ao much, our bond reach deeper into the very soul of things. 2012 was a turning point year for me; jobless, broke and at the end of the rope (or so it seemed at that time) I found strength in watching Tega laugh and smile and fool around. It was as if he felt I was going through a bad patch, and so he bonded with me. Hugged me like life depended on it, sat on me like I was a comfy couch and always so ecstatic to see me.

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I was going through hell, but in this boy I saw heaven and all its promises of hope, strength, renewal, faith and growth become real right before my eyes. I was crumbling within, but here was the sweet chap going happy go lucky with not a care in the world and smiling. After all, he’s a baby and had no care in the world. But somehow I knew better; that unspoken bond between us was such that when he looked at me, I felt he was telling me everything will be okay.

 

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And so I got off my butt and made a vow to turn my life around so I could take care of this boy. I told myself that I would do whatever it would take to make sure that I could take him out to fun spots, buy him clothes, toys, and everything. I stayed up nights praying to God to make a way for me, to help me be able to repay this angel who had been sent to walk me through the wilderness.

God answered soon as he eventually does. Things picked up little by little. In the storm I had lost one of my anchors and prized jewels, but the new dawn that was breaking looked loaded with a more bountiful harvest. I had come out of a dark tunnel to witness the beauty of a lush and fertile countryside, and more importantly it was all mine to cultivate and harvest from.

I haven’t even started making good on my promise to you Tega, but you know that uncle Ese loves you more than anything in the world. So as you celebrate your birthday today, know this for certain: the times will come when you will need me, and I will always be there for you.

Happy birthday mate!

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My love for Michael Buble is actually a recent one. I had listened to a lot of his old songs back in the days not knowing who was responsible for such deep, meaningfully refreshing and poignant lyrics. Yes words move me, and if you go ahead and snicker and mumble sissy, I’d understand. These lyrics below, to Michael Buble’s “End of May” seem to be what I would have written to express how I have until recently been feeling.  Somehow when I look back, I feel no worries,  no tears, no sad words…

I have somehow found strength in places I didn’t use to look. In God, in my work (I love my new job) and in helping others cross the bridge beyond fear to hope. I’ve watched my nephew Tega grown from a tiny baby, to a two-year old who likes FUN’s “Some Nights”, and will cry if you change the channel while a soccer match is on. In my darkest periods, his growth and the way he laughs come what may, gave me hope and helped me heal.

No I am not in denial or regret, there seems to have dawned on me a refreshing clarity of how things were and of how things needed to be. I have seen a past built on nonchalance, on complacence, on the backs of two broken spirits who needed strength to attain independence before venturing onto the crowded roads of interdependence.

In a way I feel like I just took a dive into a cold lake on a humid day, cooling the heat brought upon my neck by the scorching sun at the height of summer. I have found new strength rooted in the love of family and in the goodwill of friends (and the exposal of a few enemies), and still it all seems like I have just started on this journey of self discovery.

So each day, I wake up excited about the possibilities inherent in the new dawn, and I go about my walk much more eager to leave my mark on those I meet along the way. I have learnt that being responsible for others requires that you at first be responsible for yourself; that you take it upon yourself to stay true to the values you have set your heart on to follow.

I digress perhaps from this beautiful song, forgive me. Please download the song and thanks for reading these words….

Michael Buble – End of May

Golden haze,
Another morning feels like yesterday.
End of may..
Now you’re gone and there’s still bills to pay.
And you know it doesn’t help to make believe, you’re sitting next to me.
It doesn’t help, to make believe that you are right behind me
Saying it’s okay.

Longer days,
More time to sit and watch the pendulum sway.
In quiet rage I’m staring at this empty notebook page.
In times like these you feel like you are done with feeling,
You feel you want to stop the pain from healing
Because you feel like you’re the only one,
Who’s ever felt this way.

Some days in a daze, there’s brighter days.
Funny how the feeling never stays,
But I know I’ll have to come to terms when I’m awake,
Thinking about you is the icing on the cake.
Makes me realize the fact you’re gone for good for goodness sake.

Golden haze, another morning feels like yesterday.
End of may, a year is gone and I still feel this way,
When we meet again, I’ll ask you how you’re doing
And you’ll say fine and ask me how I’m doing

And then I’ll lie and I’ll say ordinary, It’s just an ordinary day.

It’s just an ordinary day

It’s just an ordinary day

—————————————————————————————————————————————————-

Edward Israel-Ayide

The much anticipated video from Choc City Kenya  first ladyVictoria Kimani finally drops, and all I can say is W.O.W

 

Video  —  Posted: March 11, 2013 in Entertainment
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If we define anxiety as experiencing failure in advance, we can also understand its antonym, anticipation. 

When you work with anticipation, you will highlight the highs. You’ll double down on the things that will delight and push yourself even harder to be bold and to create your version of art. If this is going to work, might as well build something that’s going to be truly worth building.

If you work with anxiety, on the other hand, you’ll be covering the possible lost bets, you’ll be insuring against disaster and most of all, building deniability into everything you do. When you work under the cloud of anxiety, the best strategy is to play it safe, because if (when!) it fails, you’ll be blameless.

Not only is it more fun to work with anticipation, it’s often a self-fulfilling point of view.

 

Seth Godin.

REBORN

Posted: November 8, 2012 in Poetry, Summons
Tags: ,

Sometimes the knockout punch, is actually a push in the right direction…

But so many times we don’t see the lessons when life and God nudges us where we should go. I just discovered this poem below, and it speaks a whole lot about how being cut off could be the best thing to happen to us. How renewal can come out of the deadness of a path gone cold…

Please enjoy, and don’t forget to share.

“Your services are no longer required”
He stared in disbelief
“Your presence is a liability.
You are fired. Effective immediately.”

Suddenly, his ‘value’ was spelled out,
Years of work amounting to nothing,
For his masters had found,
A cheaper, efficient replacement.

The pain of being irrelevant,
The ignominy and insult,
Delivering a lethal punch,
He crumbled slowly from within.

In the greenback world,
Of icy hearts and wanton desires,
He was an expendable asset,
A hired muscle and brain.

Still, he swallowed his pride,
Out of habit and a cultivated servitude,
“I understand,” he said and left.
With his former life packed in a box.

But something happened as he walked away,
From the clutches of the corporate machine,
A light, glowing, warm feeling spread through him,
Rediscovering the freedom that had long evaded him…

There was no looking back now,
A clean slate, a new life,
The knockout punch was a gentle push,
For the lazy genius within…

Firing was a wake up call,
The best thing that ever happened to him,
He stopped being what he wasn’t,
To be who he was born to be…

Omkar Phatak 2012

Two very simple truths:

a. Don’t waste your time initiating relationships that aren’t going to thrive and benefit both sides.

b. Productive connection requires mutual trust. You can’t empathize with someone you don’t trust.

If you enter an engagement filled with wariness, alert for the scam, the inauthentic and the selfish, you’ll poison the relationship before it even starts. Those you deal with won’t be challenged to rise to your expectations of excitement and goodwill. Instead, they’ll struggle in the face of your skepticism.

Instead of seeking and amplifying the sharp edges, consider focusing on the dignity and goodwill of the people you’re working with.

Sure, there are people out there who will disappoint you. But expecting to be ripped off poisons all your interactions instead of saving you from a few dead ends.

An open mind and an open heart usually lead to precisely that in those that you are about to deal with. Perhaps we should give people a chance to live up to our trust instead of looking for the gotcha.

 

Seth Godin

@ThisIsSethsBlog

http://www.sethgodin.com

In Repair….

Posted: October 24, 2012 in Just Stuff, Poetry
Tags: , , ,

In repair I stand, breaking all these images of yesterday.

Steady trickles of blood as gash after gash tears my feeble skin…broken heart.

Days drag on, punctuated by habitual labour, a false substitute for long lost treasures,

And a willing heart.

Not much left now, just these broken frames of pictures taken under starlit skies on crowded beaches as we held each other close…

Goldfish…

No secrets now

Men must come now and sit at these tables to judge crimes of which they know not much.

Broken dreams; victory let loose from grasps weakened bit by bit till

That cold August day we agreed that these islands need to be built before an alliance could be established.

And so poetry and songs strike steady blows on hearts hurt much by bitterness, and anger… and silence.

Too many words…

Thorns in our flesh and in our hearts,

Two Angels hell bent on destruction

Who like wanton children drove this paradise to waste.

In repair we stand now healing,

The rains long gone and the storm.

Nothing left; save for the rubble from the ruins of broken dreams…and hope

To meet some months hence and say hello with smiles and hold hands as we walk in the sun….

O these fights within to stop the pain from healing

The wish to, if not much else, hold on to a reminder of when passion gripped our hearts

Until this blackness and the numbness stole the fire that we carried to light our paths.

Not alone but yet apart,

Across time, a heart speaks a prayer and looks with faith to begin a new journey

In repair…

For Chi…..please heal

Stop making excuses and start making decisions.

This mantra has been on my mind constantly lately. I’m certain many who hear me say it find it harsh, direct, maybe even rude. I find it liberating, empowering, and cathartic. Having spent 30 years of my life as a victim, the ability to say that to myself has been a godsend. At times I still suffer from moments of excuse making however more often than not “stop making excuses and start making decisions” creeps into my mind and I am quickly moving powerfully into the decision for which I was making excuses just moments before. Powerful.

I often ask myself why it took me 30 years to stop making excuses and become an overcomer of my history. Many of us have similar deals. We have experiences in our lives which have scared us, shaken us, taken from us, broken us. You have. So have I. Yet we continue the victimization by victimizing ourselves and not allowing healing, restoration, and growth. We continue to make excuses as to why it happened, why we are worthless, unworthy, and unlovable. Maybe it was a divorce, a physical violation, a break-up, a bankruptcy, or a crushing blow. Whatever it was, until we stop making excuses and start making decisions we will not overcome. We must make the most difficult decision; to decide to become an overcomer and shed the victim cloak for good. Even the most tattered rags can feel like a gown when faced with a change. But I’m not taking about change rather transformation. Transformation into what we have always been with one great decision. Over-comers.

Shed fear; you are deserving.

Shed pain; you are strong.

Shed hate; you are deep.

Shed loathing; you are worthy.

Shed the past; you are spectacular.

Making the decision to live is one of the most difficult decisions we must make. Yet we must make it. There is an abundant life just beyond the mindset we live in as excuse makers. You deserve to live a joyful, abundant life. Now is the time.

Make the decision.

Sean Moffet

@TheSeanMoffett

http://www.themoffettcompany.com

Used with permission of Sean Moffet 2012

Music or Noise?

Yesterday, popular Nollywood actress Tonto Dikeh released two singles from her maiden solo attempt to make a name in the Nigerian music industry. To say the reviews were harsh is an understatement. By evening, joke upon joke and picture memes featuring all sorts of public figures from President Goodluck Jonathan to action film cult hero Chuck Norris had filled the Nigerian social media scene. It was cruel, and I must confess that I also added my own scathing attack to this cruel mix of invectives and derision that was directed her way.

However, I woke up this morning to this Blackberry broadcast from a friend whom I respect so much Steve Harris. He is an accomplished speaker, author, leadership consultant and a life coach. His book “From College Dropout to Corporate Sellout” was published to much critical acclaim, and he continues on his quest in helping to build more effective individuals who will become change agents in their careers and personal lives. He is not someone you take his opinion lightly. This is his view:

“Yesterday, the social media space was abuzz with Tonto Dikeh’s musical debut. While her style, lyrics and vocals were widely panned to unanimous negative reviews, I learned something instrumental (no pun intended) from her.

  • BELIEVE IN YOURSELF

While I may not know her, (just heard about her yesterday) and haven’t listened to her debut, I think it takes a high level of self belief to take a chance on yourself. When last did you take a chance on you?

  • JUST DO IT

Don’t talk about it, be about it! My brother Pastor Jerry sent his broadcast this morning and said “There is only one time that is important in life; It is NOW! NOW is the most important time because it is the only time we have any power over. Have a sense of urgency over your destiny!”

Are you still saying I WILL DO IT or can you say like my fave female rapper, Eva (Alordiah), I DON DID IT!

Year don nearly end o!

  • HAVE RESULTS AND PEOPLE WILL TALK ABOUT YOU!

Nobody celebrates you for a great idea you haven’t made happen! During the last 24 hours, Tonto Dikeh has been the subject of national conversation: from BB broadcasts to mentions and TRENDING on Twitter. (And for a ‘celebrity’ (from the root word, celebrate), fame or notoriety is pretty much everything)

I wonder how many thousand times her song has been downloaded, shared, bluetoothed and broadcast.

Think about it.

Imagine if she was being paid N100 per download…hmm

Where’s YOUR SONG, YOUR BOOK? Where (is) the EVIDENCE OF YOUR LIFE?  Who’s talking about YOU?

So back to Tonto’s music, Good music? Bad music? The jury is out. You decide. The bottom line is YOU COULDN’T IGNORE HER!

And for that, she has EARNED MY RESPECT!

See you on 20.10.12*

Your Life Strategist

Steve Harris

@iamsteveharris

www.steveharris.com

*Steve’s “Mastering the Business of Your Talent” a specialized training that aims to teach you how to build wealth from your God given talent, holds this Saturday. Details are available on his website or directly from him on Twitter.

Music or Noise?

In a bid to augment a barely-existing acting career, that in my opinion leaves much to be desired, Nollywood “actress” Tonto Dike has released two singles “HI” and “ITZ OVA” from her foray into the music industry. What beats me however is how it seems easy for someone who has delivered mediocre offerings in one field to think they will make headway in another. Mediocrity like excellence is who you are.

If this is a sensational medium to promote her “Brand”, if this is an attempt to keep her in the news by presenting something shocking and garish to the public, then I’d say kudos to her and her PR/Management team. But if this by any chance is an honest, determined attempt to sneak a toe-hold in the already nauseatingly saturated Nigerian music industry, then darling Tonto, please go. Get. A. Life.

Of course I know #Poko (Whatever that repulsive #Yolo wannabe word means) adherents and fans will burn me fast, and attack me for not appreciating “One of Nigeria’s top talents”, but I’d say to you: to each his own. Go on celebrating mediocrity becomes it comes in a popular package. Some of us will demand excellence from those who hoist themselves up on the soapbox of public opinion.

On Twitter, Ayo Shonaiya, someone who has been in the industry for years and sure knows his onions, tried to impress on me that perhaps it is important that we allow her test the waters with this attempt, and come to a realization on her own if she wants to stay in the music industry. He said that perhaps “excellence will come through competition” and was of the opinion that music, like cooking or a foreign language could be learnt and perfected over time. Even without initial talent or flair for the art.

I want to believe he is right, and hope that this will not serve as a means for young people who have been pursuing excellence in their art to go “Why worry about these high standards and put so much pressure on myself? Let me just do it anyhow”.

I await the coming weeks and months as I enjoy these hilarious tweets and picture memes that are being spread all over social media, and hope personally that Tonto passes the mic to other more talented ladies and focus more on her acting and improve on that.

In the meantime, this is my review of both tracks:  Poorest display of Autotune I’ve heard in ages. A mediocre production that is lyrically reminiscent of poorly recited nursery rhymes… A mistake waiting to happen that’s finally happened.

It’s all #Poko baby!

Edward Israel-Ayide