First things, first. This is not another post about how we should all be respecting the decisions our various leaders have taken in response to COVID-19, neither is it a post consisting of a list of things to do whilst in Quarantine – not implying that any of the posts in relation to COVID-19 are not important – but this post is about expressing gratitude whilst in quarantine.
Majority of the world is in lockdown or quarantine or in self-isolation. The pandemic has caused such great panic and distraught that it has become very hard to look on the bright side or to have anything to be grateful for. Corona Virus is always on the tip of our tongues, it has become a conversation starter. South Africa is on Day Three of our Lockdown and honestly, I am pretty tired of hearing about it, speaking about it and thinking about it. This morning I choose to start shifting my focus a bit onto something better. Gratitude. I have chosen to immerse myself in gratitude. Not only is there power in expressing gratitude during times of stress and uncertainty but it is also good for your mental health.
This morning I was on the phone with my aunt and she started telling me how proud she is of me, and that she knows that even though unemployment is a difficult predicament to face but she believes and has hope that things will start looking up for me. I am an avid believer that God places people in our lives for specific reasons and I believe that one of the many reasons why my aunt is a part of my life (regardless of her being my mother’s sister) is because of that conversation we had. Today, I choose to express gratitude for her and the relationship we have. I am so thankful that even though globally, we are faced with a crisis, that even though we are faced with nervous conditions, I have an aunt who is like a mother to me to encourage me along the way and to love me unconditionally. In spite of it being her birthday today, she expressed such a selfless act and I am so thankful for her and her life.
I hope this post encourages you to stay hopeful and to express gratitude in trying times. Gratitude is a way for us to appreciate what we have instead of what we lack. It will also open up doors that can only be opened by gratitude. Appreciating what we have now, today, will allow God and the Universe to give us all our desires and more than what we have.
Happy Quarantining Days. This too shall pass. You will not die.
The other day I was trying to understand the reason for the events of this year that have occurred in my life. As humans we constantly have the urgency to feel like we are in control and to know why certain things occur, which explains why I was so desperately trying to put into perspective all these unpleasant things that have been occuring to me and around me. I failed to define my present self or to find the reason why, so I turned to music to try put my thoughts and feelings into perspective. Finally, Solange’s album was the solid resonance of my life – specifically three songs which I will speak about in this blog post.
Track number two on the album. Weary. This song explicitly yet subliminally conveys the first part of myself. When I took to the internet to find out the vision and idea behind this song, I immediately felt like the lyrics were myself looking right back at me – https://genius.com/Solange-weary-lyrics.
The song starts off with Solange proclaiming that she is weary of the ways of the world. She has grown weary of the ways of the world and she is ready to take care of herself and ready to fight for her purpose. The lines that highlight this for us are the ones “I’m weary of the ways of the world…I’m gonna look for my body yeah, I’ll be back real soon.” These lines of the song speak about me wanting to find my self as an individual in society.
Solange also asks the listeners to question the state of the world – social hierarchy and inequality based on gender, race, or sexuality. ‘But you know that a King is only a man, with flesh and bones, he bleeds just like you do.’This greatly suggests that he who created a social hierarchy has placed himself on a high pedestal yet he is human, just like you and I. Due to all these inequalities and social injustices, one might end up feeling like there is no place for them in the world, but there is. And we all belong here.
As mentioned before, listening to Weary at this specific time of my life, was a solid resonance of who I am right now. Given that I am an unemployed millennial, I am in a predicament where I am trying to find my place under the sun. The social hierarchy in South Africa, does not make a black woman’s journey any smooth, making it even harder to find my place in society as a black woman. But do I belong? Yes I do just as much as the white woman and white man.
“You’re feeling like you’re chasing the world, you’re leaving not a trace in the world, but you’re facing the world.”This part of the song describes my sense of resilience in trying to find employment, trying to become and basically chasing the world and its riches so that I leave a trace when I am no longer here on earth. This part depicts a series events where I am chasing my dreams, my aspirations and simultaneously fighting against the odds of the world. Which is not a very pleasant predicament.
Solange’s subliminal messages of Weary expound the part of me that – this year – has been trying so hard to make a place for herself in the world. It put into perspective my feelings of self doubt and uncertainty due to questions of whether I belong here, if this is where I am meant to be in this moment. It explained the uncomfortable feeling and weariness that comes with growing, adulting, and becoming.
Cranes In The Sky. Number four on the album. If there has been a song that I have played numerous times on repeat, it has to be Cranes In The Sky. The meaning of this song is not as hidden as the others. It is quite apparent, just like my feelings and actions of this year. Solange describes her attempt at avoiding painful feelings. In an interview, https://www.interviewmagazine.com/music/solange, when asked about this song, Solange says she was in a season where she had to look at herself outside of being a mother and wife as she had just been divorced to her son’s father.
This song speaks about the part of me which is failing to see herself outside of being unemployed with nothing to her name. We all see the world through the lens of how one identifies and has been identified at that time, so at the moment I am identifying as an unemployed 22-year-old looking at the world through the lens of unemployment. One almost feels socially excluded. This song told me to feel every feeling I am feeling, to internalize every thought and emotion but to also, most importantly, work through it. It reminded me of something Chimamanda Adichie said in her Dear Ifeawele read, she suggests that to be a feminist one must be a full person – to not define oneself solely by motherhood/being a wife and in my case, being unemployed.
In the same interview, Solange says that “… every woman in her 20’s has been there, where it feels likeno matter what you are doing to fight through the thing that is holding you back, nothing can fill that void.” As if it could not get any better the song then helped me clarify my emotions of void. Nothing can fill the void of being unemployed. Nothing can fill the void of feeling heavy. And that is okay, but the trick is to get through it and to not build a home in those feelings.
The first verse is the epitome of trying to fill the void, trying to avoid painful feelings: I tried to drink it away, I tried to put one in the air, I tried to dance it away, I tried to change it with my hair. We indulge in unhealthy habituals just to get away from constant feelings of self doubt and to escape the ever so present painful reality. This song reminded me of everything I had ever done to fill the void – there were vivid memories of it as I resonated with the lyrics.
But then there is also a part of me that is not so blue and gloomy about this year. Borderline (An Ode To Self Care). Number fourteen on the album. This song speaks about my resilience to preserve myself and to not lose myself to the mess and the ugly that has been staring at me in the face. In this song Solange took us to a time when she explored the tricky balance of engagement with the world’s struggles and the need for self-preservation.
I am one to want privacy and to protect parts of me in a world where everything is made public, in a world where some humans actually live on and in tiny devices. We are living in a time where people can very well express themselves through emojis and memes but struggle to do so in spoken words. We live in a time where our minds are so muddled that they feel like a complicated space to navigate and visions of ourselves are almost pixelated images. Self care and self preservation is the only way to survive all of this.
Although I am living in it, I am not a part of that time, thanks to self care and self preservation. It is so important to preserve the sentimental parts of yourself so that you do not run dry.
So this week I give thanks to Solange’s subliminal messages which expounded my present life. A Seat At The Table really makes me feel like I have a seat in the world despite the social hierarchy and despite the feelings of heaviness that come with not being the person you envisioned yourself to be. It made me feel like yes I belong, we all belong among the stars despite all odds being against us as individuals.
This morning something so revolutionary occurred. I was in bed and I felt my heart beat and I told myself that I have a purpose. I felt like I was reclaiming my life consciously and not just saying it – it was a very reassuring moment for me.
This Sunday I am grateful for life – I thank God that I am here breathing. I am grateful for self-awareness; so many of us unconsciously walk through life and we need to realise that that itself is not okay. The need to own your emotions, own your self, to own your thoughts is very vital. I am someone that is always so greatly aware of my thoughts, my emotions, and my self and I find this ability to be such a blessing. There is nothing as powerful as being one with your self.
Although, this past week I was mostly feeling like a child failing to adult successfully, I am grateful for Sundays that give me a chance to put into perspective my ways and thoughts so that this coming week is better than the last. Sundays give me a chance to forgive myself for being so hard on myself and to surrender to life. I am thankful for the knowing that I can re-evaluate my life and choose how I want to go forth with this journey of life.
Ever since I started blogging, it has become some form of therapy for me. I find healing in releasing and creating, its very therapeutic and for this reason I am thankful for life cause without it I wouldn’t have reached this point. Sunday gratitude also allows for vital re-adjustments to happen, it is accepting that okay this is where I’m at right now, what can I do to be better and to do better.
Sundays are gentle reminders that I am a wonder, Gods greatest creation and I hold the power I seek, the love I seek and that I am constantly unbecoming to become; unlearning to learn. Even though I am not where I want to be but I believe that I am where I need to be in this moment.
In closing, I would like to say that consistent gratitude is something that I think we should all partake in. Its opens up a channel for all life’s blessings to fall through. I have come to the end of my consistent gratitude challenge but I will obviously continue doing this but will not blog about it the way I have been.
It’s week two of my consistent gratitude journey and this week I send out gratitude for meaningful friendships.
I remember praying for a friend or friends that would love and appreciate me as much as I would them, because well, we all need friends that will share the same sentiments as us. I have that friend and most days spent with them is very meaningful and intentional.
On Thursday, the 26th he took me out on a date – a very simple and calm lunch date at an outdoor coffee shop. As people, we are constantly trying to make sense of our lives, our emotions, and our thoughts that we end up unconsciously carrying so much heaviness in our hearts. I had not realised that this was me until the lunch date. When we were leaving, I was feeling very light and good – and so was he.
We all need friends that will remind us of what friendship means and how meaningful friendships should be. I think that as people we do not realise that friendships should be treated like any other intimate relationship, when one is in an intimate relationship, they put in the work to make it work and I constantly find myself asking myself why we do not do the same for friendships, I mean they are just as important – if not more.
As I was thinking about this friendship and what I used to pray for and long for, it dawned on me that we are the ones we have been waiting for. So this week I am really grateful for friends like these – the love we both share and the times we share together which also remind us that we are more than enough and we are doing just fine in this life.
So the theme is ‘four weeks of consistent gratitude’ and this is my first week entry. Looking back at my diary entry last Sunday, the 15th of September, I can boldly say that I am most grateful that I had a fruitful week. Last Sunday, I wrote down that I would like to be intentional, to be consistent in all that I do and to be hopeful. I send gratitude to God and the universe because all of this has happened this past week.
I wanted to be intentional, to do things and say things with intent so that I do not feel as if life is just passing me by. The moment I released that into the universe and included that in my prayers, I was very mindful of my words and actions. I believe that this would not have been as easy if I had not included God in my plans, and for that I thank Him.
I also send gratitude for consistency. Having enough discipline to be consistent is very hard. I have to pray for this and to really push myself to be consistent. I decided that I would not have coffee this whole week and I actually managed, the cup I am having right now is the first I am having since last Sunday. Everyone who knows me knows that coffee and I ‘sika nje’ and for non-Zulu speakers that means ‘we are one.’ I was also consistent with working out, this past week I went jogging for two days, jumped rope for the other three days and Saturday was rest day. This was a major level-up for me because I had been ‘resting’ for the whole of the previous week.
Being hopeful is hard when you are 22 and your life does not
seem to be going the way you envisioned it to go, so this is also something I
pray for: hope. God answered this prayer and reminded me that it is only in Him
where I will find everlasting hope and that He is still very mindful of me.
Side Note: being grateful and sending gratitude is very easy and fulfilling when one does not wait for that big prayer to be answered or for that big dream to come true. Life is progressive and everything happens in due time, and once we start allowing that to marinate in our hearts and minds – life becomes more rewarding and fulfilling.
I am a firm believer of sending out gratitude on a Sunday to
set the tone of your upcoming week.
If you are a consistent reader of my blog, you have probably realised that on Sundays I love to reflect on the past week [past 6 days] and to also send out gratitude to God and the Universe for all that has transpired – the losses, the blessings, the process of becoming and unbecoming, the process of learning and unlearning, as well as for life. It has become a fully-fledged ritual.
The Oxford dictionary defines ‘gratitude’ as the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness and it also has the word ‘recognition’ as a synonym. This definition enlightened something important to me and that is: to send out gratitude one has to be self-aware and in tune with themselves, my intuition has to recognize. I cannot be grateful and recognize my blessings and all the things that are happening to me and through me, if I allow myself to be swayed by current substandard situations. Yes, I may (and definitely should) be moved but that should not lead to me being oblivious to everything good.
The word ‘recognize’ – in the Oxford dictionary – is a verb and is defined as ‘to acknowledge the existence, validity, or legality of.’ I would like to just focus on the first part of this definition – to acknowledge the existence of. As I mentioned above, I truly believe that my intuition has to recognize, on a deeper level, all that I can and should send out gratitude for. In the midst of all the atrocious cruelties we are currently facing in our country, we are left in a sphere of hopelessness and despondency but I strongly believe that there is still a bit of space left to take some time and send out a bit gratitude.
Consciously, our minds are weary of the ways of the world,
of our fellow sisters being kidnapped, raped, and murdered but our intuition –
through our subconscious – is able to say to us ‘hey listen, I know that all of
this is happening but you made it out of bed this past week, 6 mornings in a
row, you made it home after a day at work, do not take that lightly.’ See thing
is, it doesn’t have to take something ground-breaking for one to be grateful.
This Sunday, I am grateful for the people that love me, for the people that reciprocate what I give to them. I am also so very grateful for the many times I have made it home this past week even though so much is happening in our country. I am so grateful for God, His love, His blessings, for the fact that He hears my prayers and responds to them, and for fulfilling His promises in my life. I am grateful, also, for the Universe – that it listens to me and responds to me. That it is aligning my destiny for me, that I have received what I have let out into the Universe.
So why not step into your intuition and try to thank whatever
higher powers you believe in for all that you have and all that you are yet to
receive. Gratitude is a very powerful form of subliminally speaking your dreams
and hopes into life.
By expressing gratitude, this places us, as humans, in a space
where we are not always reaching for something new in hopes it will make us
happier, more content, or thinking that we will not be happy until we have
achieved or received that very thing. Gratitude is not a means of turning a
blind eye to what one has not achieved but it merely just saying, ‘okay I know
I do not have this but I am grateful for what I do have which is so much.’ Gratitude
helps us refocus on what we have than what we do not have. Essentially, when we
recognize, appreciate, and affirm all the good things we have in life; we are
bound to receive more goodness. Which will set the tone of your week.