Opportunism : A Love of Fate

One popular belief system of the ancient Stoic philosophers known as ‘Amor fati’, or ‘love of fate’ is of great importance during these current times, especially for millennials.

The philosophy posits that every event is discerned as fated to occur. When one complains and strongly protests against circumstances, one falls out of balance with the natural state of things; one wishes things were different.

We’ve been told that one of our greatest human resource is our willpower, our decision-making => our discipline.
Most of us wouldn’t be where we are without hard work or the ability to change our circumstances.

And so, we come to expect that the world will always respond in kind. That it will do what we want. That things will more or less go our way.

To the young and ambitious, Acceptance is the hardest piece of advice to follow. A bitter pill to swallow.
It is hard because it means tolerating things we don’t like, it feels weak, it feels like one has quit, it feels like defeat.

What am I supposed to do, just let things be?—YES!

The tendency to adhere to this faulty and damaging belief that things must be the way we want them, or must be the way we expected ultimately accomplishes very little to nothing at all. Energy/life is wasted!

More importantly, it prevents the acknowledgement of a crucial paradigm shift: Working with what actually is, seeing things as they are, converting all circumstances into opportunities, making the best of every situation, being fluid in our approaches, free in our thoughts, listening to demand and creating supply, willing to take new directions without fear of failure.

Amor fati => Love of fate => The art of acquiescence => what can’t be cured must be endured.

THE MESSAGE: One doesn’t have to like it to work with it-to use it to one’s advantage. It starts by seeing it clearly and accepting it unconditionally. Amor fati – a love of what happens, because that is our only option.

The world around us is what it is. The events that happen are what they are. The people in our lives do what they do.

Accept them. Understand them. Empathize with them.

A man or woman who believes this cannot be hurt by anything or anyone.

realist

Special Faces: A Big Thank You

 

I just want to thank all the readers of ‘Greener On The Other Side’. Stay Blessed!

 

Bundle of Joy

I tried so hard to make him see sense, but Cecil refused to listen to my good advice. In the end, I had to be very fierce with him for his own good. I arranged for extra tuition and every evening I inspected his exercise books to make sure he was concentrating on his studies.

He did study hard, a pious boy, but still, when I went into his room, I found small drawings scattered all over his youthful chamber. It was difficult for me to hide my anger. After everything I had told him he was still painting like a messianic madman. My only son! Here I was making money so that he could have a good life, but all he wanted to do was paint like an absent-minded simpleton. He told me that he wanted to share his feelings with the world because they are so strong. I tried to control myself but he was so obstinate. I called Cecil into our living room and said,

“I have noticed you are still painting, even after I forbade you to!

Cecil just looked at the ground in silence.

“Cecil, I am talking to you.”

I could feel my anger rising.

“Why are you disobeying your father?” I asked angrily.

“Dad, you say we should follow our talents. Painting is my talent.” Cecil answered.

“Talent? You think painting is talent? You should follow a talent that will bring you a good life. You are not going to have a good life through painting. I have already told you. You should become a lawyer.”

“I don’t want to be a lawyer.” Cecil replies.

“Listen to me, Cecil. You know nothing about life. Without a good education and a good career these days, you are nothing, do you hear me?” I shouted at him. Cecil said nothing again. In the end I was so angry that I unbuckled my leather belt and started whipping him, yelling,

“Today I will teach you a lesson you will never forget. Obey your father, respect your father and follow you father’s advice. Otherwise you are nothing. I will not let my son be a nothing, never, never, never.”

Cecil just stood there and said nothing. He just flinched every time I hit him but he did not cry out at all. I felt my blood beginning to circulate faster; I started trembling with incorrigible anger, and begun whipping my recalcitrant son harder and harder until Cecil’s mother came out of somewhere and started screaming,

“Help, everyone help, he is killing my son.”

She grabbed my arm and tried to stop me, screaming at the top of her voice. I stopped. Cecil still said nothing. I recovered my breath and waved the belt buckle in his face,

“Now let that be a lesson to you,” I said, trembling and breathing hard. “If I see you painting one more picture that will be the end between you and me.” Cecil walked out.

My heart was pounding in my chest as if it feared that my soul wanted to carve its way out and run off out the front door. I looked at my wife, and she looked back at me as if she did not recognize me. We looked at each other in the half-light of the setting sun, searching for words that did not exist. For the first time, I realized that I was growing old.

After that particular encounter with Cecil, I never really saw my baby boy painting again. In fact, I hardly saw Cecil at all. Oh yes, he greeted me in the morning with the customary ‘Morning Pa’ but that was all. Whenever I came home in the evenings, Cecil was never to be seen. If I asked his mother, she replied, “He is doing his homework.”

Every day!

“He is doing his homework.”

And if I tried to insist that he come out of his room, she still repeated, “He is doing his homework. Isn’t that what you wanted?”

 

Liturgy

Adjatay, of the Bwiti cult, was well known throughout the villages and even beyond. His fame rested on solid personal achievements. As a young man of sixteen he had brought honor to his village by killing Achi the cat with his bare hands. Achi, a black panther, the most elusive and strongest climber of all felines had terrorized the villagers with its uncommon hunger for human flesh. Adjatay, unusually tall and huge for his age, tracked the feline in the most hostile forest in the land and killed it.

In the traditional cults of the Bwiti; the individual is often submerged under the weight of his family. With the development of a trend of individualism, each man now wants to have his own ancestral relics and administer the rites of his cult apart from his brothers.  Adjatay is clearly cut out for great things. He is still young but he has won fame as the most notorious feline killer. Age is still respected among his people, but achievement is evermore revered. As the elders say, if a child washes his hands he can eat with kings.  It is now time for Adjatay to wash his hands through the initiatic rite of the Bwiti. Through dialogues with the ancestors, Adjatay will become Nganga, which means an initiated man. Adjatay will have developed a better understanding of himself and of the world with the aim to cure and guide others on the path of personal development.

The initiation:

In the heat of a December afternoon, in the heart of the Equatorial Forest, Adjatay’s village resounds with the call of drums. A towering figure covered with raffia palm leaves and topped with a finely carved wooden head is moving through the village. It is an embodied spirit. The rhythmic drums perpetually beat, and the flutes sing and the spectators hold their breath. The embodied spirit is surrounded by young men dressed in short loincloths, their bodies whitened with chalk. These men wield long switches witch keep the gathering crowed at a distance. The spirit sways with the music, and the men sing as they dash to and fro. After a while the spirit troupe disappears into the men’s meeting house. Once in the house, the novices ingest the Iboga plant which gives the young men visions and hallucinations allowing them to travel to the ancestors’ land. It is a rebirth initiation. Symbolically the young boys are killed and made born again. All through the day, performances such as these will continue: masquerades, singing, dancing, and every sort of festivity. It is a rite of passage celebrating the fact that a particular age set has officially gained recognition in the community as full adults.

 

What Could Be: A Letter to my Younger Self

Dear Lionel,

I wish to properly introduce myself first:

I am you in twenty years in the future from your vantage point. You must be wondering how all this is possible; this letter – you, me, writing to you, to me, in the past, at this moment, in the future. Nevertheless, do not worry too much about the plausibility of all this for now. This ‘one-time’ opportunity could pass. This letter might be the only chance for us to finally meet, because amazing occurrences in life rarely happen twice.

I know for a fact that you think a lot about yourself in the future, of what could be, and I particularly love dwelling in nostalgia, reminiscing about myself in the past. With this letter, our opposing parallel lives have finally merged; your present is now my present. So pay attention because I write from the future.

There is so much I would like to tell you, details of what lies ahead, the kind of man you will become, the choices you will make and their aftereffects, the amazing moments you will experience, like the time your friends will throw you a surprise birthday party, the hardships you will endure, like the time when you will be persecuted for your skin color during your internship in Europe, the mistakes you will misapprehend, like the time when you will over-speed and crash your car and your ankle, the moments of courage you will weather, like the time your girlfriend will be drowning and you will save her, the moments of solitude you will discover, like the time you will decide to write your first novel, and everyone around will be mocking you, the comradery you will share, like the day your best friend will defend you during the political crisis, the carnal desire you will be tempted with, like the day you will be taken to a brothel, and you will be tongue-tied and ashamed, the romantic love you will feel, like when you will first meet Kelly, the moments of duty you will be committed to, like when dad will lose all his money, and the betrayal you will not see coming, like when Ari will take your business from under you all the while smiling in your face.

All this might sound strange as you read this, and no, I will not give you any more details for I want you to learn to dwell in the euphoric, impetus of present life. I want you to consider hope as a life motto, and believe in ‘what could be’. For I know too well what is disturbing you at this particular time in your life. You are very anxious; fear is at the center of your being. Trust me, trust you, trust yourself, but more importantly, trust your instincts. Instinct is something which transcends knowledge. We somehow have a God-given ability enabling us to perceive truths when logical deduction or any other willful effort of the brain is futile.

I hope I was not too preachy, but these are aspects of life that will align everything you are yearning to understand. But then again, I do not want to give you enough details that will in turn make you completely alter the future, your future, my present. Rest assured I am content with my life as I write this letter; moreover, it could be better. So the ball is in your court.

I suppose you are still young at heart to fully grasp all that is written in this letter at this particular time in your life, and I am quite relieved to know this. I hope you keep this letter in all your adventures, and hope you re-read it over the next few years as it will all make sense as the years pass. Give yourself time to grow. You do not need to be serious all the time.

In any event, I hope it strengthens your belief in yourself.

 

Yours Truly,

Lionel ‘Love Jones’ Ntasano