On Peace, Rest and Productivity

Life Essentials, Non classé, Reflections

It’s okay to take a break. 

I learned that this week.

A great man once explained that our stresses are what truly drive us to grow. He used a fantastic analogy: the lobster needs the pressure and discomfort of outgrowing his shell to be able to seclude itself, shed its old “comfort zone” and grow into its new biological environment.

So is it with us.

If you are allowing the pressures of daily life to destroy you, you are losing. Your challenges, struggles and shortcomings are valid. But it is only you who can break free from them.

I went through the fear, the fight, the resignation. And I made absolutely no progress. I decided to get up again and fight. I may have been moving slowly, making marginal progress, but I was progressing.

I drove myself to a standstill of anxiety, fear and (often unfruitful) endless hours of non-stop working. I thought I was making progress, and I was, but I was hindering myself.

This week I learned the true importance of planned, structured rest and disengagement. It sounded counterintuitive at first. But you NEED to refuel. You need rest. I was sleeping an hour a night and I grew so ineffective that I couldn’t even keep track of the days.

If you were doubting yourself, let this blog post be the anthem to help you realise that it is okay to rest. It is okay to take a break. It will help you succeed, it will not hinder you. You can be your own best friend; or worst enemy. Don’t make my mistake. It took me years to learn this.

Rest. For in rest, you will find productivity. And in rest, you will find peace.

Dealing with guilt and self-depreciation: A series of questions

Life Essentials, Reflections

A seven-step guide to taking care of yourself.

Dealing with self-hate, cultivating a spirit of self-love and avoiding subconscious self-sabotage. I wrote this for myself, I needed this. And now I offer it to you.


Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Are you still alive?
  2. Is it that bad?
  3. Against whose criterion are you really evaluating yourself?
  4. What are the realistic worst possible consequences of the particular action/s
  5. Forgetting the past, what steps can you take to mitigate any realistic damages?
  6. Is there any possibility that your sentiments exist within a vacuum of self-doubt, pity and self-hatred; or that your evaluation of self is based on the arbitrary standards of others or warped social norms?
  7. It’s not easy, but work to forgive yourself. Your forgiven self is the most capable version of yourself to move forward, find solutions and mitigate damages.

Cheers, peace & love.


– Chonye

“Fortunate Happenstance”: Notes on my favourite word

Life Essentials, Reflections

A fortunate happenstance, a pleasant surprise. Sometimes beautiful things simply occur. Not necessarily when needed. Nor with any personal input, action, or longing.


Not quite fortuitous. Not merely coincidence. Serendipitous. I’ve loved this word for years. I’ve also always pushed back against my love for this word. I’ve always questioned why I am drawn to this sentiment: of receiving something I seemingly have not earned or created.


Easy come, easy go?

Time and thought have allowed me to realise that these beautiful, serendipitous moments almost exclusively occur when I have taken the time to set my mind and my thoughts towards the light. These are the times when my every expectation is hopeful, and when I have diverted my focus from the insecure, self absorption of the inward facing lens to look outwards, focussing on actions, intention and most importantly, on others.

It’s what is called being an optimist. I have my own views on optimism; something that has not always come easily or naturally to me. But I can certainly attest to the truth that consciously removing your mind from the day to day worries of this physical world (90% of which are really inconsequential), and bringing it to a place of gratitude, respect, love, peace, and positive expectation both attracts and produces serendipity.

(And does a world of good for both heart and mind.)

– Chonye

The Foe called Fear

Life Essentials, Reflections

Fear is that uninvited dialogue in my head that raises its voice every time I attempt to write my thoughts honestly, and candidly. It is false armor. It pretends to provide protection; but really all it does is encase and suffocate. It is the brother of anxiety, the cousin of depression, the grandfather of failure, and the evil twin of regret. Because, I find, that fear always, somehow, leads to regret.

Growing up, my mum always told me not to use the word ‘can’t’.

I understand that now. Because the lexicon of fear is ‘can’t’, ‘don’t’, ‘won’t’, ‘never’ and, deceptively, ‘later’. Fear will remind you of what is impossible. And every time you consider what is possible, it will remind you of every possible hindrance to your possibilities, until the possible becomes impossible, too.

Fear is the colonizer who will not stop until it has taken all of you. It thrives in the absence of hope and creates a vacuum, where hope cannot exist. Fear is a friend of no one. It has been my foe for many years; and something I have fought against, struggled with, at times even conquered, but only recently started to understand.

I will write more on this topic in future. This piece, however, is more for my personal benefit than anyone else’s. One day I will find myself skimming through my archives. And that might be a day that I need to remind myself to resist the foe called fear. And perhaps reexamine areas of my life where I have allowed this foe to linger, or even dwell.


Resist it. Fight it. Conquer it.


Light, space, zest—that’s God! So, with him on my side I’m fearless, afraid of no one and nothing. – Psalm 27:1 MSG



Life Essentials, Reflections

Here’s a thought:

Life is short.

We are here today; gone tomorrow.

In the grand scheme of things, 90% of what we worry about is of zero consequence. We worry about the actions of others (that we cannot change) but not about what will be said of us at our funeral.

Or what legacy we will leave behind. What our mark will be on our community; or world.


Why not turn off your phone for the weekend. What’s the worst that could happen?

I think many of us could do with just a little perspective.

A Reflection, a tribute: Muhammad Ali

Books, reading and lessons learned, Reflections

Born Cassius Marcellus Clay, in Louisville Kentucky, 1942, the man known as “The Greatest: Muhammad Ali” was pronounced dead today, after a long struggle with Parkinson’s Disease.

The Greatest

He told himself he was the greatest before he ever was. He worked harder, longer, smarter than anyone else. He overcame every obstacle and disadvantage the world had set before him before birth, and after. He was hated, he was loved. But he said he was The Greatest before he ever was; and he became what he said. He became the greatest.

I am a person of habit. Today, Saturday morning the 4th June, I woke up, made my coffee: milk, no sugar. I turned on my iPad to see the day’s news. And there it was. One of the most audacious, inspirational men of our generation, a black man, who dared to be the best. Today he is gone.

Growing up with my mother, an avid (closet) boxing fan, I knew that I could not stay silent about this. I knew this news would shake up my household, at least a little. And I knew, almost as a duty, that I need to honour his memory; and his life.

Such is the nature of life. We are here today; gone tomorrow. But his memory will live on; it must live on. This is my contribution: what I have learned from Mr Ali, the vital lessons for life that I hope will never be lost. Not on this generation, nor the next.


(Source: Entrepello.com)

  1. From birth, the world will try to tell you who you are. You define your identity; you define who you are.

“My name is not Clay. Clay is the name of the people who owned my ancestors. My name is Cassius X.”

Mr Ali had a unique ability to see the world beyond his disadvantages. He decided he would shape his life the way that he wanted, regardless of if any had done so successfully before him. He rejected the identity society placed on him; and he rejected it wholly.

He decided that he, and only he, would define his destiny. He fought the status quo. He tried to please no one.

“I know where I’m going and I know the truth, and I don’t have to be what you want me to be. I’m free to be what I want.”

A beautiful motto, and if any, word for word, it is one to live by.


  1. Never, ever give up. 

“I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit’. Suffer now and live he rest of your life as a champion.”

Do what you dislike, and do it first. If you have the audacity to dream big, if you have the audacity to see yourself achieving your ultimate goal in your mind’s eye; you had better be willing to work hard, make great sacrifices and be very uncomfortable along the way.


(Source: i.huffpost.com)

  1. Gratitude

“I’ve been everywhere in the world, seen everything, had everything a man can have.”

In my opinion, it is vital to actively exercise gratitude. I keep a gratitude journal; and have found that focusing on what I have, on my blessings, helps me to position and orientate my mind in the direction of my goals, but more importantly, steer it away from negativity, thoughts of inadequacy, complaints and excuses.

Actively practicing gratitude helps me to get my focus right.

“It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out: it’s the pebble in your shoe.”


  1. Failure only makes you stronger; so long as you do not fail in your mind.

“Only a man who knows what it is to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is even.”

In life you will experience many failures; unless you never put yourself in the position to fail. If you are in the ring, you will, at some point be defeated. But an incident of defeat should never create a personality of defeat. Defeat should never be internalized in that way. You have only truly lost once you have lost the battle of will, heart and mind.

I learned this the hard way. But sometimes, the hard way is the best way to learn.



(Source: boxingjunkie.usatoday.com)


  1. Set your mind to your goals and then align your words

My favourite Muhammad Ali quote of all time:

“I figured that if I said it enough, I would convince the world that I really was the greatest.”

Great words spoken by a great man, who knew something that the world at large did not. I have no doubt that his lessons, and legacy will live on. And, that each one of us, in this short, fickle affair we call life, will be able to use it to impact others after us. That our time on this earth will not be wasted. But that it will be an asset to our families, communities and mankind.

As was the life of the The Greatest, Mr Muhammad Ali.


– Chonye

TIME: A reflection


One year ago, today, I made this post on Facebook.

It was ascension, and given the occasion, as well as my unending wanderlust, I flew myself to Paris for a few days where I attended mass at the beautiful Basilique du Sacré Coeur; walked the streets past midnight, taking in the sights and sounds; and in my heart, reclaiming my freedom.



Time is our only non-renewable resource.

I took myself on vacation for a week. Unapologetically, airplane mode on, suitcase in tow; I invested my time in myself.

Taking time to think, pray, read, learn, write, visualize: I pushed myself wholly and deliberately outside of my comfort zone. I detoxed mental fatigue, anxiety and the weight of so-called obligations. I was present and reflective. I walked miles, taking in the beauty of the city.

I returned with a heart of gratitude, peace and love. It was a transformative experience that I may never forget. I wrote down every single one of my fears (in excruciating detail) on a piece of paper. Then I struck a match and burned it to cinders.

I didn’t plan to share this with anyone. I’ve decided to share because there’s someone out there who is wasting their life’s most precious resource waiting for something to happen (or end); trying not to disappoint anyone or simply caught up in the day-to-day, resolutions completely forgotten, wondering where the year has gone and what they have to show for it. Someone may be inadvertently living life at 50%, 70% or even 80% capacity; but never giving it 100.

Perhaps they’ve started to doubt if their dream could ever become a reality, and decided to settle for something less, something easier, something conventional.

I would urge this person to take (or even tow) themself to the mental autogarage for a full service. Reevaluate everything. Take time to think and pray. Forget about where you need to be and what you need to do. It’s your life. Why not invest some time in yourself: claim your life back and give that life your all. Because it’s the only one you have.

Happy Sunday! – Au Musée du Louvre, 24 Mai 2015