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Views from my end of the spectrum…

Talking music…

Day 7 of #BlogTemberChallenge #30DayAfriBlogger #MyAfricaMyWords

Sax player
A saxophonist.

 

Music, is not only the food of the soul, but represents one of the highest forms of emotional expression for me.
Wish to know what’s trending in Zimbabwe? I’ll probably tell you that Jah Prayzah is probably the most happening musician at the moment. I could also tell you about a few of his tracks. I’m likely to inform you about Zimbabwean musical maestros like Oliver Mutukudzi, and educate you about Victor Kunonga, who happens to be one of my favourite local musicians. However, that’s as far as it goes.
You see, my taste in music is not determined by trends and in fact hasn’t been for some time now.
Strangely, after I turned 21, music for me stopped being about trends and became more about mood and expression.
I’m of the melancholic choleric personality disposition, by implication this means I’m predominantly melancholic – the moody, emotional and romantic type (see http://bit.ly/KrvuLz). That’s probably the most apt personality description I’ve ever come across. Naturally, this influences my taste in music.
I love jazz…
I could listen to it all day. I particularly like instrumentals because the absence of lyrics means I can slot in my own words and give the tune my own meaning. I thoroughly enjoy that flexibility and the music takes on new meanings, depending on how I feel and what I’m experiencing at that moment.
I’m deeply moved by the sound of the saxophone, I find it intensely emotional, although that does not mean I’m not moved by other instruments.
Because of the meaning I attach to music, I tend to stick to specific tracks and musicians that best express my emotions.
For melancholics like me, who like to sink deep into ourselves, there comes a time and mood for expression and nothing expresses feelings more than jazz.
My long-held top 10 loves include:
1. Alone in a strange place by Sipho Gumede – this is my all time favorite.
2. Fikiswa also by Sipho Gumede – I don’t know the story behind this track, but I’m sure it’s no coincidence that this was also his wife’s name. I presume it was composed for her and wow, I think that is the height of romance. A man, using his creativity to express his love has to be the ultimate expression of love.
3. Natural thing by Earl Klugh – is extremely soothing and has a calming effect on me.
4. Tropical Legs, also by Earl Klugh – always takes me back to my childhood.
5. Mr. Mokoena and Walk of life by Jimmy Dludlu – strangely lift up my mood. I’d play these jovial tunes while driving to work on dreary mornings just to give my mood a lift.
6. Love is on the way by Dave Koz – communicates hope for the single. The song seems to hold a promise that something good is about to happen.
7. June 16th by Jimmy Dludlu – that date happens to be marked as the Day of the African child annually and the historical meaning of this heartrending song should not be lost on anyone.
8. Shamwari by Caeser Kajura
9. Song for papa also by Caeser Kajura – is very sentimental and triggers emotional thoughts about fathers.
10. A year ago by Kenny G – particularly appeals to me on rainy days. I don’t know why I associate it with rain.

I could go on and on about my favorite jazz tracks and tell a story or two about some of them, but for today I’ll stop here.

Photo source: http://bit.ly/2gQjIwC

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Three Gems Nestled in Zimbabwe

Day 6 of #BlogTemberChallenge #30DayAfriBlogger #MyAfricaMyWords

Zambezi
The Zambezi River.

Planning a holiday and wondering where to go? I suggest a visit to the magnificent Zambezi River between the southern African countries of Zimbabwe and Zambia.
Although the Zambezi is the fourth-longest river in Africa, there is some value in visiting it because of its link to the majestic Victoria Falls and Lake Kariba.

 

The Zambezi is the longest east-flowing river in Africa and the largest flowing into the Indian Ocean from Africa. The Victoria Falls, locally known as Mosi-oa-Tunya (The Smoke That Thunders) in Tonga, is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the world. With a width of 1,708 metres (5,604 ft) and height of 108 metres (354 ft), the Victoria Falls is the world’s largest sheet of falling water. Lake Kariba is the world’s largest man-made lake and reservoir by volume. A double curvature concrete arch dam in the Kariba Gorge of the Zambezi river basin between Zambia and Zimbabwe, the Kariba Dam forms Lake Kariba.

Victoria Falls
The majestic Victoria Falls.

 

Apart from looking at these diverse and majestic water bodies, you can take a boat cruise in the Zambezi River and Lake Kariba, or go bungee jumping over the Zambezi and white water rafting along the river. You can also go for a game drive and enjoy the country’s wildlife variety. While in Victoria Falls, assuming you’re on the Zimbabwean side, you’ll also get to see one of the world’s best known baobab trees, reputed to be over 1,000 years and you can also tour a crocodile farm.

Kariba Dam
Kariba Dam.

In addition to admiring the beauty of these water bodies, one can also derive some psychological benefits from visiting them.
Some time ago, the company I worked for underwent a change of management, which shifted the work environment from happy and healthy to gloomy and dreary, while the family set up we’d enjoyed became a dog eat dog scenario. Everyone was stressed. This was one of the rare instances when my blood pressure shot up. In addition, to the stress my mind was clouded, I could not think my way out of the situation.
I happened to travel to Victoria Falls and while there I went on a boat cruise with friends. It was a beautiful early morning cruise. A tranquil ride in the mighty Zambezi River.

 

I don’t know what on earth happened while I was in that water, but one thing is for sure, when I got off that boat, I was a different person. The stress was gone (I even tried to feel it but couldn’t). I guess somewhere along the river, my sorrows drowned, or perhaps the seemingly endless body of water had a calming effect. I went into the water stressed and re-emerged exhilarated and rejuvenated, with a very clear vision for a bright future.

I remained in that jubilant mood for the rest of the month, during which I returned to the same old work environment with a new attitude. That same month, I went back to the drawing board, plotted my next move, secured a new job and resigned from the old one. I guess the superstitious would say I was cleansed of some misfortune in the river – there’s a religious sect in Zimbabwe that actually practices the ritual of cleansing bad luck in rivers and under waterfalls so perhaps there’s some psychological insight to that belief.

So, as you plan your holiday, do consider these three gems all nestled in beautiful Zimbabwe and shared with our neighbor Zambia.

Photo sources: Zambezi River http://bit.ly/2gHIoaA, Victoria Falls http://bit.ly/2w874P8, Kariba Dam http://bit.ly/2w93JPW

Facing the future

Day 5 of #BlogTemberChallenge #30DayAfriBlogger #MyAfricaMyWords


The future beckons
Calling at me
Bidding me come
Into what lies ahead

Show me what’s in store
I plead with her
For a little peek into more
Of what lies ahead

Blocking my view
She says “No!”
Life gives no preview
Of what lies ahead

Life only gives choices
Experience and wisdom
Together with resources
To face what lies ahead

So, certain of yesterday
Unsure of tomorrow
I stand in today
Wondering what lies ahead

Fear tries to tug me backwards
Caution says tread carefully
But curiosity pushes me forward
Towards what lies ahead

Aware of what I’ve accomplished
Desiring a better future
Knowing what can be achieved
I walk towards what lies ahead

Staying where I am is not an option
Neither is going back
So I proceed with caution
To face what lies ahead

I try to be confident
In the choices I make
Hoping I’ll have no regret
When I see what lies ahead

Try as we might
Who can tell what the future holds
No one has insight
Into what lies ahead

Some things I’ll never know in advance
And even those who love me
Must leave it to chance
For me to learn, whatever lies ahead

So armed with hope
And my faith in God
I step and grope
Into what lies ahead

Trusting that God is in control
And my life He holds
I cling to His invisible hand
And step into the future untold

By Matilda Moyo 17 February 2009
First published on http://bit.ly/2xMyADV
Photo source: http://bit.ly/2wCPVAw

A lesson from experience: 5 things to never lose sight of…

Day Four of #BlogTemberChallenge #30DayAfriBlogger

Indeed experience is the best teacher, and life is a series of lessons. Some lessons come through observation and others are learnt from personal encounters. Regardless of how the lessons come, it’s important that we learn, grow and move on.

Throughout my interactions with people from diverse backgrounds, I have learnt that no matter what comes my way, there are things I should never lose sight of.

1. Your core values and belief system.

Never lose sight of the values you hold dear as an individual because they make you who you are.

2. The uniqueness of your journey.

Life is a journey and we all have our own path. Some people’s paths are smooth, easy and rosy, while other people’s are thorny, rough and tough. That’s fine, I believe that in creating us and carving our individual paths, God equipped us for the terrain we would tread through.

Don’t let anyone impose their blueprint of how life should be on you. Don’t compare your life with anyone’s.

Walk your course and let others chart their own path too.

3. Your experiences and lessons learnt over the years.

You are a curation of experiences and valuable lessons. You came from somewhere, you didn’t just happen on planet Earth.

Throughout your life, however long it’s been, you have made some mistakes and learnt from them. You have also probably made some discoveries and learnt how to do things better. You have attained wisdom over time, which you apply to your current life. Never undervalue your wisdom.

In the same vein, be very wary of people who walk into your life and think they can teach you how to live. That, to me, reveals a degree of narcissism and arrogance that devalues who you are and the lessons and experience you’ve collected throughout your life. It assumes foolishness on your part and wisdom on the part of the other without accommodating the middle ground of difference. You probably have different backgrounds, exposure and experiences. This doesn’t mean that one is more superior to the other, it just means they are different. Don’t let anyone downplay yours.

4. Your life purpose.

We were all born for a reason, which is usually tied to what we’re most passionate about. Unless we acknowledge this, establish our reason for living and work towards fulfilling that purpose, we will always feel empty and unfulfilled. Find your life purpose and use your gifts, talents, skills, experience and energy to fulfill it.

As you go through the journey of life, there’ll be lots of distractions, detours and dead ends.

Prod on and stay focused on achieving your primary goal.

5. Your future.

“Learn from the past, live in the present and plan for the future,” Audrey Farrell.

Some people are stuck in the past and neglect both the present and future. Others are caught up in the future and neglect the present. Have some balance. Indeed remember and learn from the past, but enjoy your life now and prepare for the future.

Picture source: http://bit.ly/2gAdD7s

Embracing my cultural identity

Day Three of #BlogTemberChallenge #30DayAfriBlogger

Those who’ve interacted with me on Twitter probably know me as uMaMoyo123. It’s not a random name, neither is it derived from combining the first two letters of my first name with my surname. MaMoyo is my cultural name and simply means “daughter of Moyo.”

The first person to ever call me MaMoyo was my paternal grandmother, Mbuya vaMaSibanda (grandmother, daughter of Sibanda).

Strangely as a child I resented that name and preferred to be called Matilda. Apart from sounding too mature, MaMoyo lacked the exclusiveness of my first name. You can imagine how many MaMoyos there were in the clan, particularly at family gatherings because my aunts, sister and cousins were all MaMoyos too. I also secretly suspected that my grandmother, rather than master all our names, opted for the default name MaMoyo for all of us. Of course that was clever of her, you can never go wrong with the cultural name. I didn’t realise then, that she was asserting who I was according to my cultural identity.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve developed an appreciation for the name and embraced my cultural identity. There’s a certain dignity that comes with being called by one’s cultural name. It conotes a high level of respect because it’s not just anybody who calls me by that name, it’s usually mature people who appreciate its cultural meaning. It also has an affectionate ring to it.

I am a Karanga, a sub-group of the Shona and my ancestry can be traced back to the Rozvi Empire, the architects and builders of the Great Zimbabwe where this country derives its name. I guess that means there are some droplets of royal blood in me. (Call me Princess – jokes).

Moyo is the most popular name in Zimbabwe, we literally fill up the telephone directory. During one of the national elections I participated in, to ease the work for those who were checking our eligibility to vote, we queued up in alphabetical order according to the first letter of our surnames. People whose surnames start with less common letters were grouped together. However, those whose surnames start with C’s and M’s queued on their own and within the M’s the Moyos had their own queue, that’s how populous we are.

Once, when I forgot my bank account number and asked the lady at the enquiries desk for help I was told “sorry ma’am, with a surname like that it could take a whole day so as a standard rule we don’t offer that service to Moyos” so I had to go back home to fetch my card.

The uniqueness of Moyos is that they can be found in both of Zimbabwe’s two major tribes, Shona and Ndebele. Moyo means a heart in Shona.

Zimbabwe has 10 provinces, namely Bulawayo, Harare, Manicaland, Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West, Masvingo, Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South and Midlands.

My parents are from the Midlands province, which by its name implies being located in the middle. It’s one of the provinces where the two tribes are mixed. Of course now anyone can settle anywhere in the country but previously, certain tribes dominated particular parts of the country. One will find that Zimbabwe is divided largely into the Mashonaland and Matabeleland regions, with the Shona being the predominant tribe in Mashonaland and the Ndebele and other tribes occupying Matabeleland.

My family speaks both Shona and SiNdebele fluently because of our Midlands heritage. We’ve always been encouraged to use the language that best expresses the message we wish to convey. It’s not surprising to find people with a first name in SiNdebele and a Shona surname in our corner of the country. For instance, my father’s first name was in SiNdebele, while his siblings’ names were in either Shona or English. The same applies to most of my relatives. Names are given more for their meaning and the language is secondary.

That’s who I am in a nutshell. I won’t go into details about our cultural practices and customs as each one requires a blog post of its own.

Image source: http://bit.ly/2ewdxx9

Map source: http://bit.ly/2xHGlLn

Top 10 house rules

Day Two of #BlogTember #30DayAfriBlogger

I suppose we all have rules we adhere to without giving much thought. I’m not a stickler for rules but I have a few. Some were passed down through generations for either functional purposes or for protection and safety, while others emerged to help me cope with an ever changing world.

To be honest, I’ve never thought of my house rules as rules, more like just the way life is organised and I expect people to respect that order when they’re in my domain. As the saying goes, ” when in Rome…”I’ll leave you to complete the rest.

These rules are largely unspoken and certainly not written down anywhere. There’s just a “knowing” that comes with being in my space. Perhaps it’s transmitted telepathically – or via “that talking eye” that encourages a degree of compliance.

As I wrote in my intro yesterday, I have multiple homes depending on where I’m working at a particular point and time.

Currently, I have two homes, the house that’s my permanent dwelling and my home away from home – which is the apartment I’m living inv where I work. My parents’ house is also still home to me, so this blog post will combine the top 10 house rules from those three homes.

The top rules for my parents’ home were designed largely for functionality. The most prominent ones I remember are listed below.

1. Every one’s child
In my community, it didn’t matter who your parents were. As long as they were your parent’s age you addressed them as Mom and Dad, or whatever their children called them, and gave them due respect. They also had the right to reprimand you if they caught you in any mischief. At all times you were to respect your elders. That respect was expressed in various ways, including initiating the greeting when you met adults and greeting them in their language. My parents were from Zimbabwe’s Midlands province so we spoke Shona and Ndebele fluently and were required to greet elders in their mother language.

2. Put first things first
One of the habits in Stephen Covey’s book “The 7 habits of highly effective people” is put first things first. This habit was aptly illustrated by a 5 – 6 year old little boy in a video produced in relation to the book. In the video, seven children chose one habit and explained how they applied it to their lives. The little boy’s chosen habit was “put first things first.” He explained that he practised this habit by making his bed and brushing his teeth before eating breakfast.

This rule has always applied in all my homes. You get up, make your bed, bathe, eat then face the world. I thought this was a standard practive and basic daily routine until I met people who don’t exercise it.

Tied to this was the rule regarding dinner. You can’t eat dinner before you bath.

This is another seemingly standard rule but I’ve met people who can dive into a meal without taking a bath. I’m sure the food tastes the same whether or not you’ve bathed, but it’s just more comfortable to eat and relax after a bath.

3. The 10 commandments
Being a Christian household, most of the house rules in my parent’s home were drawn from the 10 commandments. The same applies to my household.

4. No kukwata (Don’t eat next door)
No matter how scrumptious the food next door is, if it’s not a party you say “no thank you” to every offer, then excuse yourself and go home. In fact, our meal times coincided so that made it easy to apply this rule.

5. Mudiki ndiye anokokota mugoti (The youngest licks the wooden spoon)
This applied to pleasantries like custard. It helped to maintain order and prevent fights over the wooden spoon or that extra chocolate.

6. Household chores are to be shared equally between males and females
Our duty roster was communicated verbally and we all remembered what we were supposed to do. I mention this because I know some households that had neatly drawn tables outlining their duties but failed to stick to their roster.

During our adolescent years the househelp ceased to be relevant and household chores were split among my mother’s four children. Responsibilities were shared equally on a rotational basis regardless of gender. This included doing the laundry, preparing meals, washing dishes and cleaning the house.These were absolutely mandatory. However, answering the phone was voluntary and you could indicate that you weren’t going to do it by saying one word – “nings,”while crossing your index and middle fingers.

7. Windows and curtains are closed at 6pm.
This rule was never spoken. It was learnt through observation and strictly adhered to. At exactly 5:55pm, someone, either Mom or the eldest person in the house, would get up and move from room to room closing windows and drawing the curtains. I’ve inherited this rule. One doesn’t even have to check the time. There’s this automatic knowing that just prompts one to get up and start closing windows and curtains just before 6pm.

8. Respect other people’s belongings
Everyone, that is my siblings and I, had their specific items that were colour coded according to our favourite colours. You couldn’t cross the colour line and use other people’s items without their permission. Similarly, you were to look after your own stuff and decide who you would share it with.

My own rules are pretty simple and are targeted at visitors to my place. They are designed to ensure peace and harmony with those who enter my space as listed below.

9. Never, ever rock up unannounced
Planning to surprise someone with a visit? Don’t let me be the target. Call first, don’t just rock up or else you’ll be disappointed because you might not find anyone there. We’re a very outgoing household and we like to plan our diaries in advance. So, save your fuel, call us first to find out if we’ll be at home and what our diary is like before planning your visit. When we’re prepared for you, we’ll welcome you with open arms.

10. Maintain the order you find.
We don’t have a live in house help so to reduce housework, everything is done on the go. Our space is neat and everything has its place so believe me, if you visit and create disorder, your conscience will convict you. Honestly, you can’t walk into an orderly home, create chaos, then leave with a clear conscience.

#MyAfricaMyWords

Picture source: http://bit.ly/2eyoVfF

A trip to Africa, with sheXpress

sheXpress, the name of my blog, kinda feels like my middle name now, as I’ve used it for the past seven years.

I’ve been blogging since September 2010. Coincidentally, my blog was set up on 11 September, a day before my birthday.

Having left the mainstream media, I found myself with so much to write and no publication to write for. So, since my birthdays are usually auspicious occasions when I gift myself with something significant, that year I decided to start this blog.

The name was intended to combine my femininity (she) and my desire for a platform where I could express myself (express) hence the combo sheXpress.

The introductory page of my blog reads “sheXpress is a Zimbabwean woman and writer, who loves to write about the world around her. Join her on this journey and enjoy the African experience as sheXpress transports you to her unique world through her words.” I have not drifted much from that since starting the blog.

Now for a bit of information about me.

My name is Matilda and I’m Zimbabwean, although I live in different countries depending on where I’m working at that time. I work mostly in Africa, by choice, because I’d like to contribute meaningfully to the continent’s development.

I love writing and enjoy sharing my world and experiences through the written word. My writing is influenced largely by my Zimbabwean experience, although I try to broaden it so it’s relevant to a wider audience.

I write about anything and everything that captures my attention, although I try not to rant and rave too much. I wouldn’t want my grandchildren to visit my blog some decades from now and think “oh, what a crazy granny we have!”

This is my second blogging challenge this year. I must admit that I wasn’t very consistent in the first one. Although it was a 30 day challenge, I only managed to go up to day 11, then my schedule got hectic and I dropped out.

At that time my goal was to develop the discipline to write daily. That goal has not altered.

I hope that this time I’ll master the discipline to write on every day of the challenge and contribute content that gives the African narrative.

This current challenge, #BlogTember #30DayAfriBloggerChallenge is an opportunity for me to share my Africa with the world, and transport them to my corner of the globe so they can partake of the beauty that I live with and see everyday on this continent.

I look forward to this journey and invite everyone who wishes to join me to come all long. Come and see my Africa, through my eyes and my words. #MyAfricaMyWords

Source of map: http://bit.ly/2gqqJEn

The peculiar gift of words…

“I don’t have a present for you, but I can give you a word, that’s my gift to you,” the prefect announced to an alarmed dormitory of girls.

Her declaration, in response to being told it was one of the girls’ birthday, was met with rolling eyes, bored expressions and little enthusiasm. It didn’t take much intelligence to guess what the girls were thinking. Although they were from diverse racial and cultural backgrounds, the group of about 25 eight and nine year olds shared a common opinion about the prefect’s idea of the birthday present on offer.

“What an odd gift!”

The girls were expecting something more tangible and pleasant, like sweets. After all, they were eight and nine year olds.

Lynette, the prefect on duty in the junior dorm that night, was tasked with switching off the lights after ensuring that the girls had brushed their teeth, used the toilet, said their prayers and were in bed by 7pm.

A warm and lovely prefect who was not too strict on rules, it was not surprising that one of the girls thought she could manipulate her into dishing out bedtime treats on one of their birthdays. After all, Lynette had a heart and could occasionally bend the rules a little and distribute sweeties even when the girls had brushed their teeth and were snuggly tucked in bed.

It was my birthday, and some clever little girl, who was not even my friend, had hoped to capitalize on it by making the announcement. Unfortunately, on that day Lynette did not have sweets to distribute, but still felt she could give something, however intangible, hence her offer of a word.

“The word I’m giving you is…carafe. Do you know what that is?” Obviously none of us knew, so she tried to explain further by describing it as a “decanter,” but we didn’t know the meaning of that word either! She eventually found definitions that our young minds could understand. Lynette explained that her grandmother often gave her words as gifts, then bade us goodnight, turned the lights off and left us to ponder on the new word as we drifted off to Dreamland.

We all thought she was crazy and were annoyed that we didn’t get any sweets, but eventually slept and forgot about the strange gift.

Strangely, I did not forget. About 30 years later, I still remember those two words and value them. How can I forget such a unique gift?

Although it seemed odd then, I now appreciate the value of words as gifts. Sometimes we need someone to introduce us to new words and help to broaden our vocabulary. Reading widely is one way to do that, but so is conversation.

My former editor often encouraged us to throw a few new words into stories.

“Newspapers also help your readers to learn new words,” he often said, and I agree with him.

Not all people see the value of broadening their vocabulary and learning new words, though, in whatever language.

I once worked for an organization where my boss, who was not a writer, complained and struck out words he did not know from my reports. It was a losing battle as he would not consult a dictionary. So, to get work done, I learnt to recycle the same few words that he knew and was comfortable with. One can only imagine how drab and flat our publications were as a result. Apart from producing boring publications, my vocabulary risked shrinking to the level of his.

It’s probably a cliché that there are tangible and intangible resources and that tangible resources diminish with use, while intangible ones expand the more they are used. The same applies to vocabulary as an intangible resource. You either use and expand it or you lose it.

Thankfully the cause is not lost. There are various initiatives to help people to learn new words, apart from books. These include online resources and smartphone applications that offer a word of the day or week, blogging challenges and writing prompts based on a new word. I use the dictionary app on my smartphone and subscribe to some of these resources. I must say, even though I may not use all the words in this lifetime, I enjoy learning something new and adding another arrow to the quiver of my vocabulary, in case I need it in future.

I wonder what would happen though, if we started a “word revolution” and decided to learn and share a new word a day within our circles everyday. Or, if we took it upon ourselves to gift our children with words daily the way Lynette’s grandmother did.

I imagine that conversations would be more interesting to begin with, people would also have a wider selection of words to choose from when expressing themselves and I am sure chances of being misunderstood would also be reduced. I am sure we would also communicate more clearly.

Have you ever conversed with someone who uses words like “thing, thingie, thingimabob, nini, whatyoumacall it” and expects you to understand what they mean? Some even turn to profanity, which I strongly believe is an indication of a limited vocabulary. I’m inclined to believe a word revolution would help such people to be more articulate.

Consequently, messages would be less garbled and there would be minimum confusion. We would probably have less of those peculiar moments when the most appropriate word eludes us. Most likely we’ve all had those times when we know that there is a better word, yet somehow it disappears into the crevices of our minds when we need it most and resurfaces when it’s no longer relevant, like immediately after an examination or a crucial presentation at work.

Also, if inappropriate words can spark a war, surely appropriate ones can usher peace.

Just my imagination at work, but I firmly believe there is joy in giving and receiving. If we can give love, money and material objects, why can’t we give words as gifts? After all, they are free of charge but can empower people, enhance a personal growth and transform lives. Imagine how many people have failed an examination, lost out on a job, messed up on a promising date or missed an opportunity simply because they were not equipped with the right words to express themselves?

On the flipside, imagine those who gained and were at an advantage because they uttered one word that distinguished them from everyone else. The right words can either put or remove someone from power, after all, leaders are elected on the strength of their words during campaigns.

Think for a moment- if knowledge is power, how else can that power be expressed except through words?

So, let’s start a word revolution, gift people with words and learn from them. Words are gifts, let’s maximize their potential for the benefit of humanity.

Cigarette in the rain…

Like a cigarette in the rain

A single drop would stop the flame

We were lovers but we were never friends

I should’ve known that it would end

When the first dawn came

Like a cigarette in the rain

(Randy Crawford)

Sometimes we engage in futile exercises because we are optimists and who hope that whatever we do will succeed. However, it is not always so and some of the times, we soon realise that not everything works out as planned. At times our efforts are in vain and we are doomed to fail, yet even when it’s on our best interest to cut out losses and let go, we hold on.

Randy Crawford’s song, “cigarette in the rain,” best illustrates this situation.

Although she sang about a love affair that was doomed to fail as reflected in the opening lines “I guess the end is near, the reasons now are clear,” the song also applies to other life situations. It could relate to an unprofitable business venture, a wrong career turn, a friendship that’s gone sour, a marriage that is beyond rescue or a relationship that’s incompatible and simply won’t work.

Whatever the scenarioz sometimes we invest more than we should, only to regret it later. We struggle to let go, even when we know that what we’re holding onto has no future and we are only prolonging our misery and wasting more resources by clinging to an untenable situation. I guess that’s because we’re only human after all.

Even when the voices of common sense, reason, wisdom, caring family and well-meaning friends advise us to let go, we ignore them to our peril. Although occasionally things work out and we’re glad we persevered, we often know when we will fail and regret not salvaging the situation when we had the opportunity to act, especially when all evidence pointed to inevitable failure.

Examples abound of people who paid the price for clinging, even when everything was screaming “let go!”

There’s that friend who was battered to death by an abusive spouse despite warnings to leave the marriage, that student who lost focus because of hanging out with the wrong crowd, that business person who died a pauper because of refusing to acknowledge and adapt to change. We can all cite examples of the cigarette in the rain, plausible efforts came to naught and were always doomed to fail despite our best efforts.

Hope is usually the string that keeps us holding on in anticipation of a desired outcome, even when we know in our heart of hearts that we’re wasting our time and effort. Although it is good to have hope, we need not always be it’s prisoners, particularly when it’s false hope.

Our instincts are often accurate in predicting the outcome of an attempted venture long before we see the results. While it’s useful to take advice from other people, sometimes you need to trust your instincts – after all you are best placed to know what’s good for you. One would think this would guide us on the course of action to take, yet we ignore that premonition, drown that inner voice of wisdom and continue on a perilous route.

So we end up with a cigarette in the rain scenario. The question iswhat’s your cigarette in the rain? What dying flame are you puffing at in the hope of getting results? What fruitless labour are you engaged or investing in?

Perhaps it’s time to be honest, review the situation, acknowledge failure, make a decision to stop wasting time and other resources, then move on to something more profitable and beneficial.

There is liberty in letting go of what’s not working, and besides, you’ll free up much needed resources for your next venture – whether it’s time, financial, emotional, or mental resources.

So go on then, spare yourself the pain and drop the cigarette in the rain.

*Shutterstock photo.

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