#selfie with Mama Eunice. What a great weekend in Muhuru Bay. #WISERGrad #akethoraLink →
I watched this video clip the other day on what alcohol does to the brain. Interesting stuff. Basically, it clears it out. Makes your neurotransmitters only send off limited messages. Filters the extra chaotic stuff in your brain. This is why you feel so clear, so focused, and often, so invincible. But, it’s only temporary. How do we create this filtering in our every day life?
I have come to think of resistance as what we are always battling within our minds. That dragon we need to slay. If we then are the knight, what are we fighting for?
In the workplace or home, resistance is often caused by chaos — whirling thoughts, emotions, and misunderstandings between people. And at the very same time, monotony. Too much of the same thing is boring and causes us to lose focus and thereby, move back to chaos.
What I found from years of teaching is that there are two things kids love:
2. Constant newness
Seemingly contradictory, right? But I think this gets to the very heart of anti-resistance. At the very heart of what is Flow. Clarity and creativity are at the heart of it. Having organization creates a foundation that enables creativity. And creativity must also be sought. Something new every day.
What we’re fighting for is the ability to think, move and act without resistance. To gain Flow and get in deep with people, with ideas, and with what really matters.
"I’m trying to find money for African start-ups. But I’m much too African for this cold weather."
"What sort of start-ups?"
"Most of them combine agriculture and mobile technology."
"How do those two things go together?"
"Africa is is an interesting case because it skipped the PC age and went straight to mobile. The economy is still largely based on agriculture, and farmers are beginning to use mobile technology to keep track of weather updates, market prices, and improved farming techniques."
Let’s get personal. Last year, I had a 5 hour first date. We had met briefly during one of my fleeting trips to the States and kept in touch after I decided to skip the hot cocoa follow up to our first encounter and hop back over to Kenya without much of a goodbye. So, why not spend a day together once I swung through his city?
Certainly not what you think of when you think of a first date. You think of a quick drink with plans to go home/hang out with your friends after. Late enough or early enough so that you have an escape or a way to look important. Maybe both. And that person? Well, you only need to know a little bit about that person to decide whether you want more — right?
But you can’t escape when you’ve decided that on this day, you’d see how far you can take it (not physically kids — quit your dirty minds) before it ends. Will it end?
During the course of 5 hours, I felt exposed. He knew more about me than most people knew after months, even years of being friends. In a 5-hour discussion, our thoughts flowed out of our minds, often retreating back, resistance battling the moments when we let go. Flow. It would flow till we fled back to our minds to hide, to try to determine what to do next, now that a piece of ourselves — raw — had opened during those moments of vulnerability. The date ended suddenly after 3 beers and the need to pull back became too much.
While I could go on about my deconstruction of this event (it was weird), it made sense to me the other day as I became more and more curious about this idea of Flow.
Flow is that feeling you get when you’re sitting in front of a canvas, paints splayed all over your bedroom floor. You have 2 paint brush handles in your mouth, one in your hand, mixing hues and tints rapidly as colors combine wildly in your palette. You’re in it. Something begins to totally loosen inside of you and you let go. 5, 6, 7 hours pass as your painting takes form. Your painting is about potential.
Flow is that rhythm, that music our body makes when we keep going. Just a little bit longer.
That’s the whole premise of 3 cups of tea, right? (Or 3 glasses of wine, for that matter.) If the conversation continues to flow, you delve through the outer core, the shields we place around ourselves, into who we actually are.
We are consistently stuck in zones of resistance, telling us that we lack abilities, the potential to do something. In my work life, I’ve gotten really good at sitting for 5 hours to figure out a problem — whether it’s editing content, building out a better financial model, or fleshing out a new marketing strategy.
My resistance surfaces when it comes to delving deeply into people, having those necessary long conversations that matter. It is a lot of responsibility to deeply know someone. It’s ok for me to sit in front of excel for a whole day, barely moving to eat. But a 5-hour date? That petrifies me.
What if they know too much? Think I’m nuts? And more scarily — what if they expose too much about themselves?
I was meeting with an advisor from the Ministry of Education today for breakfast. She hadn’t seen me since September. We did our usually kiss kiss greeting upon seeing each other, and I said, “I’m starving. Let’s go eat.” She turned to me and said (in her awesome, matter-of-fact tone), “You certainly are starving.”
It is always incredibly interesting to me how much every society pays attention to women’s bodies, commenting on whether they’ve gained weight or lost weight. How they may look older. Or wrinklier. Or have a cut here or a blemish there. As women, we can’t help it. We do it ALL the time.
What’s different about Kenya, however, is that even the men do it. All the time. A woman’s weight is in constant scrutiny by the society around her. And in Africa, fat woman are considered beautiful. Skinny woman are not. I had downgraded my beauty caliber in this culture to my friend while simultaneously looking ‘prettier’ to the Western eye. Isn’t that funny?
As we walked to breakfast, my fellow educator told me that my “time for getting an African man” reached its peak when I was at my fattest back in 2012. Now, it might be too late because I’ve lost too much weight. She asked me if I was sick. No, just training for a half marathon, I told her.
"I like being fit," I whispered embarrassed that I hadn’t ordered a bigger breakfast.
I couldn’t help but think about the relativity of beauty. About how women all over the world are judged by their bodies and their abilities to be physically beautiful according to some artificial construct. About how many of our conversations each day revolve around our looks, no matter where we are and who we’re speaking with.
Kinda fucked up, huh?(3)
Found in my 2011 notebook… the moment our company was conceived. Proof that ideas sometimes begin with messy doodles in a notebook… #enezaLink →
When a financial institution asks me my “mother’s maiden name” as a security question. Because it’s assumed that I have at least one and no more than one mother in my life AND that she married AND that she gave up her own name AND that that part of her identity was erased enough from my public history so as to be a password to access my private information.