Protect Thyself

“A person may not say anything out of fear, wayward evasion or artful deceit; but his aura, without reserve, reveals everything. Learn to communicate with energies. They do not lie.”

-The Little Mermaid, MMXVIII

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2018

-Knock! Knock!

 -Who’s there?

-New Year!!!

Ding-a-ling! I can hear the dulcet timbre of Christmas and New Year as we gladly mosey into 2018. What a world of mirthful jollity a novel beginning brings! 

Inside each one of us, there is a river that flows. That river is hope. When overflowing with love, it keeps everything fresh and alive everywhere it reaches, enhancing the beauty of the landscape. However, after a long severe drought, it slowly dries up; leaving in its aftermath unrealised dreams and unmet goals. Absence of hope is despair and despair is essentially destructive. We all need to struggle to keep hope alive and not surrender to despair because nobody can survive without hope. We need hope as we need oxygen. The act of living is, in itself, an act of hope. The festive season is like monsoon which exuberantly fills up the dried up river- it’s a compass to those who have lost their bearings, to some- a license to renew forgotten promises. The gist of celebrating New Year is to leave behind all your mental stress as you see the sparkle in the eyes of your loved ones, to burn your negative emotions in the incandescent fireworks and to ditch your past histories and anything that makes you unhappy as you pop open that splendid bottle of champagne. This is the best part of New Year’s- a psychological lift that every human being needs from time to time. 

One question which irks all of us, however is, “Why do we feel that time is flying us by?” A review of my year so far will be a series of shots of me saying: “I can’t believe it’s 2017 already. I can’t believe Christmas is gone. I can’t believe I’m back to work. I can’t believe the weekend is almost over. I can’t believe it’s Monday already. I can’t believe the week is over. I can’t believe it’s the weekend again. I can’t believe January is over already. I can’t believe October is about to end. I can’t believe it’s December already. I can’t believe 2017 is almost over.” As we grow older, we have the freakish impression that time moves faster and faster, that the earlier periods of our lives seemed to last longer. Like nowadays, the weekend seems to be only thirty minutes long. It is as if, unbeknown to us, time is secretly being coarctated. I think the reason for this disparity in our experience of time has to do with how involved we are with the events in our life. Something that captures our attention and emotion will seem to last longer. The problem is that nowadays we live our life like we are travelling in a speedboat, in a race against time, always focusing on our next destination. We live our life hopping from one deadline to another, one project to another, one birthday in the weekend to a birthday in the next, a football league match this week to a cup match the next. Our attention is not in the present moment, we are always being dragged away from what we consider to be mundane activities that yet constitute the major chunk of our life. If we want to change things around onwards, we probably need to think of the journey like we are travelling in a glass bottom boat, where there are many wonders right here under our feet, giving depth to every moment and making the journey more long-lasting and pleasurable. 

To mark the occasion, I’d like to remind you, my loved ones, of our priorities: to make the world we live in a kinder, more peaceful place through our actions. Help whoever you can, whenever you can. I believe success, when shared, has a multiplier effect. It’s not about leaving anyone behind. It’s about helping pull everyone, and humanity in general, ahead. Do not be stingy when it comes to sharing love, compassion and sympathy; for in the end, from dust we were made, to dust we shall return.

Guys, I cannot fathom driving without street signs, traffic signals and no rules. Just the same, I cannot fathom blogging without YOU! Yes! YOU! YOU’RE FAB! Blogging has been the ideal escape for my soul struggling from the darkness of worldly wickedness to the light of fond camaraderie. You have all been very amiable to me and appreciative of my posts throughout 2017. Words alone cannot express the immense gratitude I feel in my heart. You, 4 191 people, deserve more than mere thank you’s, really. As I come to a close, I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2018. May the year 2018 give you the opportunity to realize your dreams, rediscover your strengths, muster your willpower and rejoice in the simple pleasures that life would bring your way. 

I love you! 

Cheers! 

Propelling Your Blog As The Next Hot Ticket Item

Eureka! I’ve finally discovered the secret to blogging success! The good news is that I can’t wait to share the magic potion with all of you! Whoot!

Ready?

Let’s get started…

What is ‘blogging success’ at the outset? Is it something achievable? Is it quantifiable? For me, a successful blog is one that is loved by all. A blog that is pampered in its niche attracts thousands of visitors, garners hundreds of likes and is home to a never-ending string of comments. A successful blog stands out from the rest because, well, it is amazeballs. But what does it take for an amateur to get there? Did it cross your mind at some point in time that those established bloggers were starters, like you? Yeah? Good!

1. Passion

 

Passion is the key to unlock the door to blogging success. When you blog, you have to do it out of love, for its own sake; and not for money or for digital attention. Let me share my story with you. As a little child, whenever I was sad or depressed, I closed myself in my room, took a paper and scribbled down my woes. Sometimes they would be letters which I would write to God while at other times I’d be producing personal journals. It turned out that when I looked back the day after and read my musings, they were way better than what I’d have written had I not been miserable. And quite funnily, I would treasure those writings in a well-hidden precious box to re-read them again and again. (I still haven’t let go of this habit.) All just to tell you that you should be driven by your emotions when you blog. Do it for fun otherwise it will end up being a fiasco.

2. Create meaningful content.

 

This one is pretty straightforward. While facebook might give you the carte blanche for posting things like, “I’m feeling excited to wear coconut leaves on top of the mountain”, the blogosphere will simply regard you as someone as thick as two short planks. When you blog, you have to articulate your thoughts and feelings lucidly. The 5W-1H is your best friend. Explain your sentiments. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information at the US National Library of Medicine, the average attention span of a human being has plummeted from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2013, which is one second less than the attention span of a goldfish. Scary! So, always serve your audience with educative, inspiring and humorous blogs that will keep them hooked till the last sentence.

3. Focus on quality.

You know, good grammar is like personal hygiene-you can ignore it if you want, but don’t be surprised when people draw out their conclusions.

Guys, I’m not asking you to deliver in a ridiculously fake RP English either. The “Golly gosh! It has been yonks since one has last conversed with you, I must say. How d’you do?” is a no-no. You’ll be making a fool out of yourself. Cut the crap. It’s a bit much. You only have to master the rudimentary rules of grammar, punctuation marks and vocabulary. I advise you to avoid the “Haay wutt r yew doin?!” lest a random blogger replies, “about to throw a dictionary at your face”.

4. Be original.


The blogosphere is bursting at the seams with a considerable number of bloggers and the only way to set yourself apart is by confidently using your own voice. Let your personality dazzle through your words. Do not plagiarize, for plagiarism is the mark of the lowest of the lows.

“When you have wit of your own, it’s a pleasure to credit other people for theirs.” -Criss Jami 

When you quote something as I have done above, use quotation marks, provide a citation within the text and make sure to link the citation of the quoted material to the reference. By doing that, you will be scoring credibility points. Not to mention, you will sound like a professional.

5. Presentation

Without further ado, let’s get down to the next vital factor which is presentation. We might preach about not judging a book by its cover and bla-bla-bla but who turns heads in the street?

She does.

Quite similarly, the appearance of your blog matters a lot. Your blog post could contain the most groundbreaking content but if it doesn’t seem inviting, attractive and easy to navigate, you’re less likely to earn social shares or natural backlinks. Use colours, bullet points, photos and gifs, inter alia, as your props.

6. Encourage community.

You have to realise that there is no Sophia behind the screen on the other side of the world. There is a real walking, talking, living human who is probably going through the same struggles as you are. Successful bloggers respect other fellows in the blogosphere. They respond to comments left by their readers, they read, ‘like’ and ‘re-blog’ others’ posts. They are the ones who make friends all along and support them by showing blog-love. You have to be generous and considerate.

7. Consistency

 

The most-watched TV shows with the highest ratings are those that are broadcast consistently. In the same manner, maintaining consistency and frequency in your publishing schedule is a critical component of your success as a blogger. The more frequently you update your site with fresh content, the more chances you have to strengthen your SEO and be indexed higher by search engines. Readers will also notice your pattern, guesstimate your next blog and flock to your site at that particular time. It works wonders in the long-run.

In a nutshell, no successful blogger slid in on a shrimp sandwich. They worked hard, devoted ample time, resources and energy before they were recognized. Take it easy. Be patient. It’s not gonna happen overnight but with the proper techniques and efforts, you’ll get there, too.

DO YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS?

 DO YOU WANT TO ADD MORE TO THE LIST? 

HIT THEM IN THE COMMENTS SECTION BELOW! I’M ALL EARS!

Religion & Politics

“Religion and politics are nothing but a stinking by-product of man’s gargantuan greed for power. The two evils go hand-in-hand; if politics is the rich man, religion is his unchaste mistress, both having a discreet love-hate relationship. Terrorism only happens to be their spoiled rotten love child whom they can neither extol nor disown.”

-The Little Mermaid, MMXVII

Letter to my future daughter

Dear Alexandria,

As you reach your tender sixteen, there are a couple of things I would like to share with you. I want to start by telling you, my beloved daughter, that I love you endlessly. I fell in love with you when I heard your heartbeat for the first time. I fell in love with you when you clutched to my bosom in the middle of the night. I fell in love with the way you smile, with how you smell, with every single piece of you because you are a part of me. You have to know that, to me, you are far more precious than the Kohinoor diamond. Alex, you are a blessing in my life and I’m forever grateful to God for proffering me the good fortune to be your mother.

Darling, you are not born with a silver spoon in your mouth. You are born with a sword in your hand. You are neither the hopeless princess of a disneyland nor the delicate sleeping beauty of a fairytale. No! You are not any of those. You are a warrior. A true warrior. You do not need someone to save your bacon because inside you lies all the might to guard yourself and others as well from the demons. You are that much admirably invincible, my goddess. You’re growing up to be a beautiful woman tomorrow. Seek not, my child, to be the evanescent beauty that pleases nothing but the eyes. I’d rather you seek to be the sempiternal beauty that pleases everything but the eyes. Oh dear! What fools these mortals be who acquiesce to society’s decree. Fair or ebony, tall or knee high to a gnat, it matters not; for beauty transcends the conventional to alight on a face- as fresh as the morning dew, to alight on lips- words they enounce soft and gentle and to alight in a heart- generous and tolerant. This is the unvarnished definition of beauty, love.

Being your mother, honey, I bestowed upon you this thing called ‘life’. Yet, you have to feel alive. And for you to feel alive, you should forge your own identity. You have been put on The Promised Land with a divine purpose. It is your cardinal mission to honour and give meaning to your life by discovering the reason for your existence. Once you uncover your ikigai, stick to it like a moth to the flame. Earn your livelihood around what spurs you to get out of bed at 5 a.m. You enjoy photography? Be a photographer. You enjoy cooking? Be a chef. I’d be proud if you choose to get your hands dirty just to keep your passion burning. Pour your heart into what you do, and I promise you will wear the crown in your chosen field one day. Do not get too comfortable settling. It’s like being trapped in a dark, scary room where you are screaming at the top of your lungs with no one to hear you. You don’t want that, do you? So, embrace challenges. Be on the go. Try. Rise. Fall. A thousand times over. Experience life-both with its lemons; and colourful spices and flavours. Flatline is for the dead.

Alex, you are bathing in the fountain of youth. You are just about to explore the different facets of your sexuality. Your sacred feminine spirit is calling on you to wear that little black dress, to do that gorgeous make-up or to dream of a charming prince on a white horse. However, there will also be moments of skepticism and disdain when you will feel like the ugliest creature on Earth, especially after watching The Oscars. It’s perfectly normal. Through it all, I want you to act responsibly with your body. You owe it to yourself. Your first kiss with your boyfriend might make you want to believe in French romance and the happily-ever-after kind of love. Why shouldn’t you anyway? But I want you to believe in second love, too. The kind of love that feels like hushed waves washing over a dry shore-yeah, it does exist. I’m not gonna ask you to look at the world through rose-tinted glasses. It’s also a cruel place here, my child. A pig-ignorant society will judge you. There will be men who will drool over your body. You must absolutely learn to say ‘no’ without apology. It is not your responsibility to smother the lingering lewd thoughts men have around your physical features or material attire. You are not accountable to me, let alone to your next-door neighbour, or your uncles and aunts. You are accountable to your conscience. Just do good no matter what and stay true to who you are.

A rich life is what you deserve, Alexandria. Travel to places you’ve never been before. Learn a new language. Read books. Laugh out loud. Do the bungee jump. Dance under the moonlight. Be goofy. Love fiercely. Eat your greens. Lift heavy. Rock your heels. You have but one life to make the most out of it. Baby, you are a powerhouse of intellect, courage and joy. You are a million stars under a sky. Sprinkle your angelic shine everywhere you go. Carpe diem!

I got your back!

Your loving,

Mama

Daily Meditation

Oh God, 
Let my thoughts dower seeds-fertile and bounteous
Let my soul express a devotion-intense and tenacious

Oh God,
Let my actions reflect a faith-resolute and proven
Let my body sheathe a temple-pure and open

Oh God,
Let my words flow like a prayer-tender and healing
Let my heart be the Heaven’s abode-gracious and forgiving

Aye, nowhere else but in me You dwell
Thence solemnly I vow to be well

Amen.