Countdown to my Sixties

“Having the Life I want by Being Present to the Life I Have”

The book of Awakening … by Mark Nepo

Picture showing a woman Looking forward to my sixties
Looking forward to the “sizzling “sixties

God willing, in six months’ time, on the 19th of April 2021, I will be celebrating my 60th birthday!

I am excited about the sixties … “sizzling sixties” … it is sometimes called … and in preparation, I take a moment to reflect on the previous decades and be present to my current one.

Happy childhood memories are scarce in my archives of the first decade … apart from the fact that I had an amazing childhood friend who is still very much part and parcel of my life today.

A picture of two childhood friends.
I had an amazing childhood friend who is still very much in my inner circle of the people closest to me.

My teenage years, were spent mainly in school and these probably were my best years! I was a good student … in many ways. I excelled academically, took many leadership positions in the various schools I attended and participated in athletics, drama, choir and debating events. I achieved quite a lot during my school years and had a good time doing it.

Recently, during my Brand Incubator workshop in Gold Coast Australia, I was asked to say something to my 19 year old self … and this is what I said:

“Angie, Congratulations! Well done! You have done well for yourself. Moving forward, things may not be so straightforward and your life’s experiences will not be entirely dependent on your ability to perform. However, always put your best foot forward and irrespective of the outcome, pause often to eke out the treasures from the various experiences.

… and …

whatever you do, don’t forget to enjoy yourself … laugh often, … for when all is said and done, life is indeed a gift … to be lived fully … and joyously so!”

Picture of a woman doctor
I graduated as a doctor

For me, my twenties were the years of fulfilment.

… I graduated as a doctor … I got married … and I gave birth to my first-born child! …

Major milestones indeed!

Image of a pregnant woman
I conceived immediately after my wedding

As for my thirties …

…. mmm … This was a tumultuous decade. …

Getting used to being a doctor … getting used to being married … and yes, … getting used to being a mother! …

Major responsibilities these turned out to be!

My forties … well, it is said that “life begins at forty” … and yes, in a way, I began my life afresh at forty … actually several times.  It was a decade of new beginnings. 

A new plant from an egg
I emerged afresh from my various mouldings

I began to live as a single parent … having walked away from my 10-year-old marriage at the count down into the new millennium. I gave birth to my now last-born, live child … and called her Lina, the last four digits of my first name. Having been called “Angie” during my twenties and in my thirties, I felt the desire to remember the silent part of my name, Angelina, and this particular birth, gave me that opportunity. It was a complicated birth, in fact, it ended up being a caesarian section. I developed high blood pressure at around 38 weeks and my obstetrician, having seen me loose other babies at different stages of gestation, decided to perform a cesarean section as soon as she felt I may deteriorate into pre-eclampsia and maybe even eclampsia. The caesarian section was carried out on 17th of April, just two days before my own birthday. For her middle name, I gave this baby my middle name, Akinyi (a name that means born in the morning).

So, with the silent part of my first name and my middle and surnames embodied into a new baby, I ushered in my forties.

A picture of a woman smiling
I acquired new skills

My career was also undergoing quite a number of changes. After finally completing my master’s in public health, (a two-year degree that took me seven years to finish), I was able to take on various jobs in the non-governmental sector. This was quite exciting and although not as stable as a clinical job in a permanent and pensionable position in the government, it paid the bills.  I travelled quite a bit and acquired new skills (Gender Activism, Project Management and Institutional Strengthening amongst others).

As I approached my fifties, I felt the desire to stabilize my life. I had just finished paying off the mortgage of my house, my children were growing into young adults … and well, I was getting quite nostalgic about the fulfillment one gets as they directly interact with a patient. I got a glimpse of this desired stability and fulfillment through a project I was running at the last NGO I worked with … and was willing to settle … but it was not to be. At the age of 52, I was literally kicked out of the organization. … Mmm… interesting experience that was … and maybe later I will glean out the learning points and write something about them. Just now,  it is sufficient to say that it was at this point that I decided to go back into clinical medicine.

So, in my fifties, I re-started clinical medicine from scratch.

I believe that “When the student is ready, the teacher appears” and I am very grateful to Dr. Ntalo Were, a seasoned private practitioner, who took me in and re-taught me the clinical skills. I also went back to school and did a Master’s degree in Family Medicine with the University of Edingburgh. 

Sooner than later, I experienced the realization of yet another saying: “When one desires something enough, the universe connives to give it to them”. I got an opportunity to work in our National and Referral hospital where I now run a “Healing the Healers: Caring for the Carerers” Program, based at the staff clinic and under the auspices of the Prime Care Unit of the hospital. Mmmm … I do feel settled, stable and fulfilled!

In preparation for my retirement, I have started an online business, which, although still in it’s infant stage, has the potential to have a financial trajectory that transcends any other that I may have had in the past … and … I get to enjoy this while giving back to humanity in a way that I enjoy, during my own time, and from whatever geographical location I choose to be in.

It is in this state, that I begin the count down into my sixties.

What a blessing!

I am grateful!

How I resolved a conflict within me

Chossing a move in a game of chess

A case of self-reflection and self -forgiveness

It is 11pm. I am on night duty at the Accident and Emergency unit in our referral hospital.  The reception area is packed with patients all waiting to be attended to.

“ Saidieni huyu mama!” (Help this woman!) … that was the clarion call.

I heard it as the woman was wheeled in right into the consultation room where I was seeing another patient.

Acknowledging the emergency in the situation, I stopped everything and I attended to her. She was about 65 years old and her major complaint was a severe headache … but … what had caused the commotion was the manner in which she was crying, screaming for help and prostrating herself on the stretcher.  As though she was not already drawing enough attention, her relatives were equally screaming and demanding that she be attended to immediately.

A doctor from the next room, came in to help and I left him to continue as I went back to deal with my initial patient. He listened to the history (by now, having gotten the attention they wanted, both the patient and her relatives were calm). He then, examined the patient, made a working diagnosis, prescribed some pain relievers, drew blood samples for investigations and sent them off to the X-ray department for a head CT-Scan.

A couple of hours later, I hear another commotion. This time it is the daughter of the woman. “You are a woman like me and therefore will understand” she says as she barges in through the curtains. “We have done all the investigations, now just admit my mother!” she demands as she waves the documents around.

I was in the middle of palpating the abdomen of another patient who lay exposed on the examination coach and just stopped myself from screaming at her to go out. Instead, I heard myself calmly say. “One patient at a time please. I will listen to what you have to say, but just now, allow me to finish with this patient first”

When she finally came into the room, I beckoned her to sit down.  “I have been here the whole night and I have a two month old baby at home who needs me”. She said, as tears welled into her eyes and rolled down her cheeks.

Just then, the attending male nurse, walked in.  “I have told you over and over again to wait outside for your turn. Your mother at least have been attended to and is just waiting to be admitted. There are many more who have not even been seen by the doctor. Please wait outside!” He sternly commanded.

 A man responding to a burning car
Capacity to respond appropriately is crucial

Having been on his feet for several hours and under the stress of trying to meet all the demands of the many patients under his watch, I certainly understood his reaction … and at least for that moment … I was temporarily relieved that he was there to demand some order and patience from the patients.

However, a day later, as I reflect on my night’s activities, I find myself wondering if I could have done better.

Supposing I had taken a moment and just listened to the woman and allowed her a moment to breath. “I hear you.” I should have said. “It must feel quite overwhelming with all the things you are going through just now … “

And maybe I could have added …

“ … I feel overwhelmed too … Let’s just breathe and take one step at a time. Your mother is now stable and will go to the ward as soon as the admission process is complete. Your baby will be well too … and I will also eventually see all the patients still waiting to be attended to …  All is well … ”

… mm-mm … This would have had a different result … I think …

After-all, as Oprah Winfrey reminds us all the time,  “All of us, irrespective from what walk of life we come from, need one thing … ‘to be heard’ …”

Taking time to listen to this woman would certainly have made a difference. Why didn’t I take time to do that ? …

… Well, I could justify my inaction by saying …  I was tired (yes it was in the middle of the night); … harassed (yes there were many other patients still waiting in line to be attended to); … and … upset (yes this woman had earlier budged into the private space of another patient) …

Choosing between two different fruits
In a calm environment, one can consciously choose to respond … and not just react

However … all this not withstanding …

I still had a choice ….

To enable me have the capacity to still make a conscious choice,  irrespective of how stressful the external environment is, I need to have a calm internal environment.

How do i do this?

… well … this is probably a topic for another day …

… for the time being, every time I find myself with someone in an overwhelming situation, I will pause and remind myself of Maya Angelou’s  quote … “We are more alike my friend, than we are unalike” … 

Only then, will i surrender… (peacefully so) …  to whatever emerges as an appropriate response.

For now, I will forgive myself …

… I did the best I could with what i knew then …  now that I know differently … I will act differently the next time i get the opportunity to.

How I internally positioned myself in the Digital Economy

A tree with fruit

A Case of the “Parable of the Sower”

The ” parable of the sower” is attributed to Jesus and it can be found in the bible (Mathew chapter 13 verses 3 to 8). It reads as follows:

“ A farmer went out to saw his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprung up quickly because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scotched and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop – a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

Jesus, later on in the passage, explains what this parable means. The seed is the message about the Kingdom of God and the places where  it lands is our human heart. Jesus further elaborates that our inability to have an in-depth understanding of the message,  leads to it being snatched by the devil, scotched by the troubles in the world and choked by the worries and deceitfulness of wealth.

Application of the parable of the sower to my positioning in the digital economy

Disclaimer: This application is purely my use of the analogy and does not in any way insinuate anything beyond the explanation given.

I take it that my entry into the digital economy is like a seed. It has landed wherever it has landed. Now it is up to me to decide where this is.

The hard path: 

The path is an avenue for many things, but it is certainly not a place where seeds can grow …

A path in a forest
A well trodden path  … hard and unyielding …

Initially soft, maybe even having rich soil, but after consistently being trodden by passer byes, becomes hard and unable to nurture growth.

In life, including life in the digital space, painful past experiences, can harden the heart and this sometimes results in skepticism … and even cynicism.  People have been lied to and some even swindled in the digital market. It is therefore important to do due diligence before signing up for any online business opportunity. Also, once one has made the decision to engage, it is useful to be aware that the cynics, like the birds in the parable, are still hovering around.

Skepticism – as the hard path in the digital market

It is not lost to my attention that Jesus says lack of in-depth knowledge is the direct inability to be able to absorb the message of the Kingdom of Heaven. Yes, we could be skeptical and this, being a natural self defense mechanism, is not necessarily a bad thing. However, it would be a pity if we lose out on magical life experiences simply because we are afraid.

I was skeptical for a long time … and probably would still be … if it were not for the nurturing persistence of a person I now call a friend.  By diligently sharing factual information and his experiences in the digital economy, he ensured that I gained enough knowledge to make the decision to sign up for an online business opportunity.  (See my post: “How I made the Decision to enter into the Digital Economy”)

From where I stand, the word “digital” represent an unfamiliar world and in the past, I have even described myself as “technologically challenged” in this area. The same applies to economy. I have never really tried to pursue wealth as such and my earning trajectory plateaued many years ago.

Well … this is about to change…

In a future blog, I will write about my new perception of the digital economy and how I can leverage  technology to transform my capacity to earn. Meanwhile, I have positioned myself to acquire the best knowledge and skills that a digital marketing mastery course has to offer.

The rocky ground:

This could be as hard, if not harder, than a well-trodden path. However, because it has the opportunity to have some alone time, some dust can settle on a rock. This can become a layer of soil deep enough to sustain the germination of a seed. But the nutrients needed by the young plant are not available in the shallow layer of soil. For growth to be sustainable, deep roots are essential.

A young plant breaking ground from a rocky patch
Like growth on rocky ground, it takes determination to break ground in the digital space

Getting deep roots in the digital economy

In the digital market, the thin layer of soil over a rock could be the initial excitement of a new business opportunity … and maybe even driven by the possibility of a get rich quick scheme. This can be powerful enough to germinate the seed and could have some immediate gratification seeing a young shoot with the potential of growing into a full blown tree.

In his explanation of the parable of the sower, Jesus talks of “troubles of the world” as the rocks that may prevent the germinated seed from growing further. These, I imagine, would also exist in the digital space.

So … How do I position myself to circumvent the rocks?

… By learning from the masters …

Positioning to get coaching, mentor ship and mastermind experiences in the digital economy

Together with acquiring knowledge about aspects of the digital economy such as affiliate marketing and e-commerce, I think it is also important to acquire skills that can help one navigate the way through. This is why, going forward, I have positioned myself to do just that.

A group of people learning from each other in the digital arena
Mentor-ship and masterminding is a factor that ensures positive growth in the digital economy

In the online business that I have enrolled in, there is 1-2-1 coaching, mentor ship and mastermind experiences that would enable me to learn from people who have excelled in the digital arena.

The thorns:

In the parable of the sower, Jesus explains that the thorns that choke the message are the worries, anxiety and the deceitfulness of material wealth.

A lot of these worries are based on our egos desire to gain … yes …  to reap from what we have sown … and sometimes … even from what we have not sown …

Positioning to give Value in the digital economy

I therefore, want to position myself from a place of giving value. This way, I just share the best of what I have (my experience) and do not worry about how you perceive it and/or what you decide to do with it.

The Value of Mindset in the digital economy

Even after being clear about my intentions, I realize that I can still be overcome my worries and anxieties. These, I have learnt, mainly come from concentrating on the experiences of the past or the plans of the future. If and when I focus on the present, I get a sense of peace and well-being that enables me to do whatever I need to do.

“The Now” is “a Gift”, that is why it is called “Present”.

It is my desire to accept this gift and thrive in its power.

How do I do this?

Well … I consider myself to be a seeker and over the years I have read many books in an attempt to understand my life experiences.  These are:

  • “The Power of Now” by Erchart Tolle;
  • “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Victor Frankle;
  • “The Road Less Traveled” by  Scott Peck;
  • “The Alchemist” by Paul Coelo
  • “ASK and it Shall be Given” by Easter, Jerry and Abrahm Hicks;
  • “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki
  • “The Untethered Soul” and “The Surrender Experiment” by Michael Singer”;
  • “The Power of Vulnerability” and “Daring Bravely”  by Brene Brown;
  • “Becoming Supernatural” by Joe Dispenza
  • and many more …

These books continue to shape my mind-set and now (thanks to the digital space) they are easily available in formats that I can easily listen to even as I go on with my daily activities.

Specifically for my digital business, I am happy to say I have positioned myself to be among people with a similar mind-set. “You become the average of the 5 closest people in your life” is a well-known fact in life and I have chosen to be deliberate with who I hung out with.

Furthermore, these people (my business colleagues), use digital platforms to share their knowledge skills and life experiences. They are also generous with their time and attention and would not hesitate to reach out and help a colleague in need. What a community! I have found my tribe …

The good soil:

Soil, in it’s nature, is a mysterious and baffling substance to me. It could be considered dirt, in many instances, yet, it nurtures life! The food we eat and even the quality of the air we breathe, is produced and sustained by soil.

The process of germination, photosynthesis, flowering, pollination, and fruit production is all a miracle. We cannot even begin to fathom how it happens. Despite the mystery, we know that with the right soil, the seed will eventually grow into a plant that flowers and bears fruits.

A tree branch abundantly endowed with ripe fruit
Life in Abundant fruition is a Miracle

In a way, the internet is also a miracle. The technology is revolutionary and the human connection possible, surpasses anything we could ever have dreamed of even just twenty years ago.

That I am living in this era … is truly an honor and a privilege.

Now, how do I position myself to thrive in this mysterious, miraculous environment of the digital economy? …

… Honestly, I am not sure that I know … and/or … that it’s even up to me …

What I know however, is that the Divine Intelligence, that transforms a seed into a tree, exist  and, as Erchart Tolle says:  “We are here to enable the Divine Purpose of the universe to unfold … ” 

In my positioning, I have avoided the path, the rocks and the thorns. The good soil is the default and I am in it.

… The rest …  The Divine Intelligence will Unfold.

 

How I made the decision to enter into the Digital Economy

Digital Economy Desk

A case of “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear”

Invitation into the Digital Economy

This is it Angie! Over the last several weeks, I have sent you many emails and videos about the possibilities of this online business. Now is the time to make the decision. You are either in or not. Which is it?”

I want to give credit to this digital marketer. Prior to this tough message, he had diligently and professionally so, sent me many pleasant emails … many of which … I never opened.

The above message however, was different. He was asking me to act.

I did.

I told him that I didn’t think that digital marketing was for me … but I felt his emails had some value and would thus like to continue receiving them.

To cut a long story short … many emails later … all of which were laden with value … I eventually made the decision to enter into the digital economy.

I subscribed to the online business opportunity that was being offered.

What made me do it? … a combination of many things … but one thing that I know for sure … It was a case of …

… When the student is ready, the teacher appears …

 

Source and meaning of “when the student is ready the teacher appears”

The origins of this saying has been attributed alternately to the Buddha (Siddhartha Guatama Shakyamuni) and to the Theosophical society.

My understanding of the literal meaning of this saying is:

Of all the factors that are necessary for learning to take place, the need, desire, ability and willingness to learn (by the learner) is key. Only then, can the presence of a teacher be useful.

This literal meaning reminds me of an African Proverb that says “You can take the cow to the river but you cannot make it drink”

cow grazing beside a river
The cow will only drink from the river, when it is ready to do so …

 

 Advantages of the Digital Economy

I currently work as a doctor in the  accident and emergency unit of our national and referral hospital. My work is great! It is very fulfilling in many ways. Every day I get the opportunity to make a difference in somebody’s life and I am aware what an honor and privilege this is.

I love my work and I do it comprehensively, with competence and compassion.

The nature of work, however, has its limitations.  My life projections have long flattened out … and …

  • I am dependent on my physical energy which is beginning to wear out;
  • I cannot replicate myself in my day to day interactions with my clients; and
  • I work for only a fraction of the 24 hours I have in a day.

A doctor holding her stethoscope
Being a doctor is great, but the work has it’s limitations.

Furthermore, although the possibilities of retirement have been in my radar for some time, I have not quite worked out what this would mean in terms of my capacity to continue to earn a living.

For more than a year, I had all the information I needed to make the decision. I had received many emails and free videos of a proven step by step process on how to start an online business. I even received testimonials from individuals who had used the proposed vehicle and were now living a life of their dreams. It was all very good … but it all fell on deaf ears.

Then one fine evening, the idea of no longer trading my time for money (the possibility of which was narrated by an individual in one of the videos I had received) suddenly seemed very appealing to me.

…The student was ready … and therefore … the teacher appeared …

An online business, with systems in place  that can replicate my efforts… even in my absence … and which can leverage on the 24 hour availability of the internet … suddenly seemed to be just what I needed …

Signing up for an online business
I finally made the decision to sign up into the digital economy …