Featured

Developing the habit of reading

Someone I grew up with asked me to give them tips to develop the habit of reading after seeing my WhatsApp status about a book I am currently reading a few days ago. I probed to understand what is stopping this person from reading. The person lamented on how they would love to read but lacks the motivation. He added that he knows he has to read.

Like my friend, a lot of us want more to read this year. Many of us have made this resolution every year in the past but ‘failed’ at it. We know the importance of reading but can’t just get to do it. For some, we cant seem to complete a single book. We open several books throughout the year, but a few pages or chapters is all we manage to read.

I don’t consider myself an avid reader. I have the same struggles; lack of motivation and sometimes not finishing a book I started. I used to read a lot when I was young. However, as time went by I surmised that I was now too busy with work or academics to pick up a book and read. If I recall well, I think during my counseling psychology internship year, I read only one non-academic book because ‘I believed I was very busy.’ Reading is important. We cannot afford not to do it.

The benefits of reading go beyond it being a survival skill we need to be able to understand precautions. Reading develops and improves the mind. Like any muscle in our bodies, the brain needs exercise to be strong and healthy. With our minds, we can change the physical reality of the brain. Studies have shown that stimulating the mind through reading has been connected with the prevention or slowing down the process of Dementia and Alzheimer’s. We discover and learn new things from books. There are various genres of books ;fiction, non-fiction, faith-based, motivational and so on that we can learn new things from that will change our lives for the better. Harry Truman said, “not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers”. If you want to stay relevant in a field, you have to invest in some knowledge and advice. Books are one of the places where you can dig up that treasure of knowledge. Reading can also be a refreshing and relaxing exercise after a long day. I can go on and on.

Developing a new habit is not easy. A habit refers to rituals or behaviours that are done regularly and tend to occur automatically. Neuroscientists often talk about how neural pathways are created in the brain through repeated thinking patterns and actions. This applies to both good and bad habits. It takes some time for that to happen. The good news is that it is possible to develop new habits! It just needs us to be strategic.

I often compare developing a new habit/ getting rid of an old habit with changing a playlist on YouTube. If you have played a certain genre of music or music by a certain artist for a long time, the day you feel like playing a song by a different artist, 2 or 3 songs later, you will be back to your ‘default playlist.’ However, if you search for albums of the ‘new’ type of music you want to listen to, it will take a while before your music changes back to the old playlist. However if you repeat your new search often enough, eventually your playlist will change. There might be strategies that you need to put in place. For example using this YouTube logic, you might need to be near your tv or computer to remove the old music that you no longer want to listen to from the list.

Below are strategies we can put in place to develop the habit of reading:

CHANGE YOUR MIND

Assess how you think about reading? Do you view it as a burden? Do you think about it as something hard to do? Once you are aware of those thoughts, you need to catch them and change your mind. “When you see choosing to change your mind and to learn as a heavy burden, you miss out on the opportunities in front of you. When you see choosing to change your mind and to learn as a wonderful privilege, suddenly you see the opportunities”- Dr Caroline Leaf.

Don’t we all wish we had a magic wand that we could wave around that will change everything for the better?! Unfortunately, life does not work that way. We need to put in the work. The work starts with and in our minds. ‘As a man thinketh, so is he.’ We need to catch our thoughts when they divert into the negative. For example, a thought like ‘I am too busy to read’ needs to be caught and changed. What can work in this instance is to verbalize the opposite of that thought. Something like, ‘I love to read. I make time to read’. Of course, it takes time. You will have to keep at it.

START SMALL

You can start by reading a page per day. Some books are long and can be intimidating or even overwhelming for new readers. When you start small, a few months later you will be surprised by your progress. Desmond Tutu once said that “there is only one way to eat an elephant: a bite at a time.” 

No matter your goal for the year or decade, you have to do it one day at a time. Habits work the same way.

BUY A BOOK

You may attach a sense of worth and value to the books that you buy for yourself over the ones people lend you. In this case, you may find the motivation to read them. It can be a way of expressing self-love and showing commitment to the habit of reading. Therefore invest in yourself and get a book that can enrich an aspect of your life. A gift may work as well.

FIND OUT WHAT YOU ARE INTERESTED IN

A few weeks ago, I visited my friend on my way back from the bookstore. I excitedly showed her one of the books by Brenè Brown that I had bought. She asked me,’ how do you know which books to buy?’ She told me she is clueless about which books to read and obviously to buy. Knowing which books to buy or read can be daunting for people who want to start reading. I believe it is important to find out what interests you. For me, it is financial freedom, purpose, healing, grace, and personal development. With information available at our fingertips, we can discover experts these particular areas. That can be a guide on the kind of books and authors we need to consume information from.

Moreover, you can figure out what you need to be investing in, looking at what you are struggling with this season. Or it may not be a struggle, but a skill or strength that you want to improve. With the power of the internet, you will be able to find books in those particular areas.

MAKE READING A PART OF YOUR ROUTINE

Mark Batterson who is the author of the book ‘Win the day’ advises that to get to do the most difficult or challenging task, the best thing to do is to do it first thing in the morning. You can make reading a part of your morning routine and ensure you do it first. For example, if running is not difficult for you, you can read a page of a book before you run. The run will feel like a reward for doing the difficult task which is reading

READ EVERYWHERE

When you use public transportation if you are not chatting with your neighbour or you feel the conversation has come to a natural halt, take out your book and read. Read whilst you are on a passenger on a road trip. Read when you are on the queue at the bank. Read during your lunch hour at work. This is not to say you block social interaction by holding up a book to your face. Sometimes what we need may be in those conversations than in a book. However, you can discern. Your neighbour may not be feeling chatty, so give them that space and turn to your book.

BE COMMITTED

Stay the course. Keep reading! Do not do it one month and then take a long 2 months break. There is nothing that you cant do if you put your mind to it. Demand a bit more from yourself!

PRACTICE WHAT YOU LEARN

If the goal of reading is to learn and not to just refresh, then there is need to jot down lessons from the book in your journal or diary. After that, try to integrate the lessons and the best ways to apply them in your daily life.

I wish all of us success in our reading journeys!

REFERENCE

Dr Caroline Leaf: Switch on your brain: The key to peak happiness, thinking, and health.

Regards

Seleb Seepi

Rising Strong: A review

This is my first book review. I am so excited! After watching Brené Brown trend on Youtube, with interviews with the likes of Oprah Winfrey, I knew I wanted to have a collection of her books. Additionally, we are both in the helping profession; her a social worker and myself a psychologist- a novice for that matter. So I knew beyond any shadow of a doubt that I will learn a lot from her. This is the first book of hers I have bought!

The book is 280 pages long and I am proud of myself for completing it within 2 weeks.

Let’s get into it!

Writing Style and Structure

I found the book captivating and easy to understand. Dr Brown is a good storyteller-often in the book she will tell a story to emphasize or explain a point. She did not only use her life stories but used others as well. Overall the stories were relatable and made me think of times when I faced the same situations. She conducted research during the process of writing the book. Dr Brown interviewed ‘regular’ people to support her claims. This points to our shared human experiences; how we all encounter the same challenges such as shame, fear, anger etc.

My thoughts on the book

I expected the book to be motivational, however, it was rather therapeutic! She addressed ways in which we can rise strongly from our falls, overcome our mistakes and face hurts in a way that brings wholeheartedness. she addressed different emotions or falls that are common to our human experience such as shame, heartbreak, fear, nostalgia etc. I had to process a lot of things whilst reading the book.

Lessons

So what did I learn from the book? I learned so much! She emphasized the importance of writing down our stories to help us in navigating and processing our struggles. This method has been found effective by a lot people from different fields in the helping profession. In her words, “choosing to write our own story means getting uncomfortable; it’s choosing courage over comfort.” I also learned that we need to be curious about our emotions. We need to ask ourselves why we are feeling a certain way, be curious about our triggers and so forth. Additionally, we need helpers in our journey of rising strong! We cannot do it alone!

I strongly recommend this book to anyone who wants to be brave enough to rise strong from falls, mistakes and hurts. It would even be useful for organizations when they rumble with stories of change, challenges working together etc.

Thank you for reading

Selebaleng Maggie Seepi

MAKING FRIENDS WITH THE PRESENT

‘Time is measured in minutes; life is measured in moments‘-Mark Batterson

A lot of us spend the present preoccupied with the events of the past and anxieties of the future. That is not to say having memories about the past or anticipating the future is wrong. Having such is central to psychological functioning. We often treat the now as a means to an end or as an obstacle or an enemy as Eckhart Tolle postulates in his book New Earth: Awakening to your Life’s Purpose. This refers to where one is never fully here because they are trying to get somewhere. Treating the present as an enemy points to us spending it with what we think should have happened or not happened. Ultimately, we get angry or sad. Our internal dialogue consists of how we think people should have treated us or how we wish circumstances should have turned out. This results in blaming and accusing which does not help us in any way.

The present moment is all we have as tomorrow is not promised. Borrowing from the words of Eckhart Tolle, we can make the present our friend or enemy. It is up to us. Our relationship with the present moment is a relationship with life itself. To quote Erving and Polster, ‘the present exists now and to stray from it distracts from the living quality of life.’ We stray from the present moment by focusing on the past or the future.

Jesus warned us about worrying about tomorrow, but to deal with each challenge that comes our way one day at a time (Matthew 6:34). I think what Jesus was reiterating was the need to enjoy the journey and not be obsessed about getting to the destination.

‘No matter what habit you are trying to build, what problem you are trying to solve, or what goal you are going after, it always happens one day at a time.’ Mark Batterson

So let us try to win the day. Let us try to make friends with today. Let us make friends with the now as it is.

If we spend our present moment in regrets, guilt and anger about the past or fear and anxiety about the future, it shows that we have a dysfunctional relationship with the present. Treating the present moment as an obstacle to overcome prevents us from living fully present and gives birth to impatience, frustration and stress.

 My desire to grow in living fully present grew in 2020. You can understand why. The year was challenging. I realized that I was spending my days feeling despondent because of the past and the future that I wanted and did not yet have. I felt things were moving slowly because of the pandemic. I then found myself feeling depressed and frustrated with my life. My internal dialogue consisted of shoulds and should nots.

I did not want to be at that place anymore. I wanted to start enjoying my day-to-day life.

HOW THEN WE MAKE THE PRESENT OUR FRIEND?

SELF-INTROSPECTION

We need to take stock of our thoughts and actions. Are we treating the present as an escape to elsewhere but here? Realizing the kind of relationship with the present and acknowledging it is the right step in growing in awareness. Dr Caroline Leaf, a neuroscientist often emphasizes how we should not let thoughts fly through in our minds as if we cannot control what and how we think. We can catch and assess them. We have that control. We are not robots that have been programmed to think and act in a certain way. Our brains are malleable! We can flip the switch.

PRACTICE BEING FULLY PRESENT WHEN DOING SMALL ACTIVITIES

Try to be fully present when you are taking a bath, a walk or any other activity you may consider small. You can use all your five senses to practice presence. If you are taking a walk in a garden, listen to the birds chirping away. Give attention to the differences in the sounds they make. However, do not think about what type of birds they might be. It will just cloud your mind. Just listen! Listen to the sound your feet are making as you walk. Listen to any other sound in the garden. Are there other people chatting close by? Look at the skies, the different types of trees and flowers; some short, some tall. Look at their various colors. Admire their beauty and magnificence. What can you smell? Your perfume or cologne may be, the scent of flowers? Or maybe a sewage drain? How does your skin feel against the wind or the branches or the leaves? Stay with that feeling. Do not bring in your knowledge of the physiology of how everything happens. What can you taste? Pay attention to it!

Try to utilize all your five senses to enjoy an experience. Sometimes it is not necessary to take a picture; or if it is important, you may do it after practising being in the moment. Initially, your mind will drift to your list of things you need to do, what happened yesterday etc. But if you find opportunities to do this exercise in your day, you will grow in presence that will be evident in other areas of your life. This will also help you if you are an overthinker. Once you are fully present in a moment, the voice in your head does not have room to keep you preoccupied.

BE AWARE OF YOUR OWN PRESCENCE

I don’t know about you, sometimes with the busyness of life, I forget to pay attention to myself. I get an aha moment when I pause to do so. I realize I am not small. I am. I am a spirit housed in a body. I am alive! I exercise this when I am taking a bath and I am not in a hurry. I pay attention to my breath. If I realize that it is shallow, I then take deep slow breaths. I pay attention to the flow of my blood from my head, down to my neck, shoulders, arms, chest, until I get to the feet. In the psychology world, that exercise is called progressive muscle relaxation. And oh my it does get you relaxed and sleepy.

Yes, it is not easy to do when you start. But in this life what is? So practice practice!

Once you are in full awareness of your being, you realize how big you are. It then becomes easy to let go of small issues. It also helps quite a chaotic mind! Moreover, it helps lessen preoccupation with how your body looks. For example, it takes away your focus from how thin/fat, ugly or beautiful you think you are. You then get awakened to the reality of your aliveness that is beyond your physical form.

Disclaimer: As a mental health practitioner, I am in no way saying mental illness is a quick fix. Mental illnesses are caused by a lot of factors among them being genetics and chemical imbalances in the brain. If someone is struggling with traumatic events of the past or constant worry about the future, they should seek help from a psychologist.

References

1.Eckhart Tolle: A new earth: Awakening to your life’s purpose

2. Erving & Miriam Polster: Gestalt Therapy Integrated

Thank you for reading

Selebaleng M. Seepi

Could my excessive spontaneity be a snag?

I will admit I have always not been big on planning for the ‘small things’ such as my meals, outfits for work, etc. I started organizing my outfits for work the night before, beginning of November 2020. I felt good about myself. I was on time for work and a bonus I received compliments about the outfits!

This then made me think about planning vs spontaneity and the line between them.

As I have said before, I have always labelled myself a spontaneous person in certain instances. I always felt like I do not want to restrict myself. Like what if I have organized an outfit the night before and then on the day I just do not like it?

Yea I am very much aware of the pros for planning.

Planning helps you make use of your time and resources effectively. Planners generally feel productive. It also allows you to prepare and possibly avoid future risks.

The downside to planning is that you may miss out on all the fun as you are busy making lists and schedules. Or you feel hurt when a plan that you worked on for so long does not succeed.

Spontaneous people have the reputation of having more fun as they do not spend most of their time on schedules and lists. One might say they like living in the moment. But there are limitations to spontaneity such as being less productive, wasting time and not avoiding or preparing for foreseeable risks.

So then the solution is to strike a balance between the two depending on the situation. For example; planning for what you will need for a big presentation will be lucrative. However, planning for every nitty-gritty details about the presentation might prevent you from enjoying your time and being in the moment. In this case, then a little spontaneity will be necessary.

But come to think of it, what if being overly spontaneous is somewhat related to being disorganized? What if one covers up their disorganization by ‘being spontaneous’. Some view disorganization as a state of mind while others believe it is a personality trait. Whichever school of thought you choose, we can agree that being disorganized wastes time. Imagine going to work to a messy office desk and having to look for a pen under a pile of documents. Time wasting!

What if underneath the attitude that ‘I will wing it’ is a lack of self-confidence and esteem? What if ?

Sometimes we cover up things we can deal with by using ‘safe’ and less offensive adjectives. We may say we are lazy or lack the motivation when in fact we fear taking risks. Or we might say we are short-tempered when in reality we are hurting and gets triggered every time the lid covering our sadness opens. We all know that admitting and accepting something about yourself however painful it is the gateway to healing and change.

Thank you for reading

Maggie Seepi

The woman and the girl

I have been silent for a long time huh? I am glad to be back and putting my thoughts on screen again.

Well, I have been intrigued by the story of Jairus’ twelve year old daughter and the woman with the issue of blood in Mark 5 since the first lockdown in April. Scripture says Jesus had just crossed over to the other side (and amazing things always happen when He crosses over-there is ample evidence of that!) when He met Jairus (the girl’s father). He fell at Jesus’ feet asking Him to come lay hands on his daughter who was at the point of death. Jesus willingly went with Him, however, a huge crowd was all about Him. Among the crowd was the woman with the issue of blood. I am sure you are familiar with her story.

What fascinates me about these stories (or is it one story?) is this;

  1. I just find it highly significant that the story of the girl and the woman in need of Jesus are mentioned side by side, sort of overlapping.
  2. The woman with the non-stop bleeding had her condition as long as this little girl had been alive (12 full years!) The number 12 is very significant in the Bible. Jesus was found in the temple at 12; the 12 tribes of Israel,I can go on and on!The number 12 represents government. A foreign authority was operating in the lives of the woman and the girl and it was time for God’s government!
  3. The woman got healed before the girl. She sort of hijacked her healing .The moment she got healed the little girl died.

Please bare with me. I am sure you are asking yourself where I am going with this.

What I am getting from the two stories is Jesus’ s love for women and girls. He loves his daughters (women and girls) and wants to them to enjoy the freedom He paid the price for. I have always believed that sometimes when Jesus wants to heal a woman He reaches out to the girl in her. Even my experience as a psychologist assures me that sometimes to set the woman free, you need to untie the girl first. I remember a time when Jesus was healing me from some emotional trauma a few years ago; each time I had an encounter with Him I would see myself as a girl not as a woman.

I am however amazed by Jesus’s method here. He is not predictable nor does He do the same thing over and over. He is still the same, yesterday , today and forever! So we see Jesus healing the woman on His way to healing the girl.

The woman’s story is no ordinary story. She had spent all she could on doctors but instead of getting better she got worse. I can imagine the torture that she went through. I am sure no woman enjoys her period which normally lasts a few days. As for this woman hers was continuous-for 12 years. As per the law (Leviticus 15 during that time, she was considered unclean and everything she touched, or everyone who touched her was considered unclean.

I am sure it is not wrong to assume that she was isolated all her days as people feared getting themselves unclean. She must have had no children, because it would mean that she had to be intimate with a man. She must have suffered a lot of shame. She could not sit around other women or go with them to draw water from the well.

But this woman who seemed to have no one to speak for her was very important to Jesus. The girl was fortunate to have a father who had a position in society, who came all the way to speak for her. Jesus shows us here that He heals everyone. He gave the woman a new identity-scripture refers to her as the woman with the issue of blood. Can you imagine being called by your issues? Sad huh? But Jesus called her DAUGHTER! He wants all His girls to know that they are daughters first and foremost despite their issues and past.

Let me close with this, to avoid making this blog unnecessarily long; Jesus wants the woman to come in faith. Jesus is still willing to heal us from any emotional trauma. He wants His daughters set free and living in freedom. So in view of the women’s month we can make it our point to seek Jesus and His healing so that we do not make everything and everyone who comes in direct contact with us unclean.

Thanks for reading.

Yours

Maggie Seleb Seepi

‘DEMAND MORE FROM YOURSELF!’

Yaay! My first blog of the year! Is it too late to say, ‘happy 2020!?’ I am going to say it either way, as a declaration for the year to bring us happiness. Happy 2020!

So I started watching season 16 of Grey’s Anatomy this week. Such an amazing medical series if you are a fan. I watched the third episode yesterday. There were a lot of great scenes, you know Shonda Rhymes always delivers! Every season, every episode! According to me, episode 3 was particularly charged. I mean there was a man and a woman who had not seen each other for over 60 years but upon meeting at the hospital, were still very much in love. I can’t even begin to talk about the fact that they did not speak the same language. But the language barrier did not stand in the way of their love. Love is a powerful force indeed! They declared that no day went by without one thinking about the other even though they got married and started families with other people! I mean! But come to think of it, soul ties huh!? (not to be cynical or anything) Haha. 

Anyway, two scenes moved me in addition to the one discussed above. I have been thinking about their meaning and implication to life ever since. 

In the first scene, awkward Levi (I think he is still an intern) and Dr Deluca were doing surgery on a particular patient. Levi mistakenly lost the guidewire inside the patient’s body (they were using it as a guide to find/remove something in the patient’s body). Poor Levi! It put the patient’s life in danger, therefore they had to remove it speedily. Fortuitously, they managed! Thank God! However, Deluca got into trouble with the chief surgeon as he was the supervising attending. He responded to Dr Bailey’s rebuke by punishing Levi and tasking him to carry the wire everywhere for 4 weeks so at to know not to lose it next time!

In the following scene, Levi chats about the guidewire incident with his boyfriend. He felt sorry for himself, and said, ‘I always screw things up-it’s what I do! His boyfriend, however, did not join his pity party. Rather he said to him, ‘demand more from yourself Levi! wow!

I know I have heard many phrases implying the same thing. But this touched me! Levi’s boyfriend went an extra mile and volunteered to assist him practice threading the guidewire through a simulator a 100 times without dropping it! He gave him a push that a lot of us desperately need. We need to give it ourselves as we may not get it from others (and shouldn’t expect it). To expect people to do that is putting a lot of our responsibility on them, leaving us with little to nothing to ourselves. In such situations, blame, anger and resentment thrive.

So I have been thinking of ways I can demand more from myself this year. What I have been brainstorming on today, encompasses demanding more persistence, drive, hard work, imagination, creativity, learning, commitment, excellence in all I do to fulfil God’s calling upon my life. 

We should all demand more from ourselves. I am sure if we do, we will demand less from other people. More importantly, we will become better versions of ourselves! Sometimes due to how busy, fast and challenging life is, we tend to accept mediocrity from ourselves and ultimately from others. We wake up and just do the bare minimum to convince ourselves that at least we showed up. But that is not okay. After all we have a well of resources within ourselves. God has given us everything we need for life and Godliness according to His power that works in us. We just need to put a demand on ourselves to achieve and be more!

We often start the year on a high. I know I did. We get comfortable as the year progresses and revert to the dysfunctional behaviours that we declared in our new year resolutions that we will work on. I am sure some studies show that people give up on working towards achieving set goals early on in the year! I pray that 2020 will be different in that we will work hard towards the achievement of our goals. 

May we demand more from ourselves firstly as human beings who are on a journey of self-discovery and living purposeful lives. Then as, daughters, sons, mothers, friends, wives, husbands, partners, employees, citizens etc. May we demand more positive thinking & speech from ourselves, more action, more love towards others, more commitment, more more more!

Demand more from yourself!

Thank you for reading!

With Love

Maggie           

Hello and goodbye

I attended a writing workshop a while back, we were encouraged to write poetry as it will help with improving our writing skills. Here is my first attempt. It’s about my coming back to Botswana after staying in South Africa for almost 5 years.

I remember my goodbye to you
It was not so long ago
I was excited about the freedom away from you
However, my heart would often ache for you because you are ‘home’
I knew that it was meant to be a brief goodbye
Here I am saying hello again

But here I am wondering if you are welcoming me with open arms now that I am here
It didn’t seem you were waiting for me, or were you?

I feel like I need to catch up as your life went on without me

Nonetheless, I like the adventure thereof

A part of me is still mourning for the loss of my other love
When I was away from you, he accepted me:
Loved on me
Told me I can fly
With him I created magic
We saw, heard, made and destroyed
I knew all along that he was there for a short while
Not as a space-holder
But because- destiny

I am here now
Will you allow me to fly
I can’t help but wonder
Will we make magic together?
Will you hold my hand and let my fingers seep in between yours?
I want you
I missed you
I’m am saying hello again

David’s Mighty Men

So I have been reading about King David in the Bible.I am glad to have come across amazing lessons especially about David’s mighty men. Check this out:

“So David departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam;… Everyone who was suffering hardship, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him; and he became captain over them. There were about four hundred men with him.”1 SAMUEL 22:1‭-‬2 AMP

After David ran away from Saul who wanted to kill him, (I hope you know the story) those that were rejected in the community followed him.

They are the same men who wept bitterly and threatened to stone him when the Amalekites trafficked their wives and children in 1 Samuel 30. However David ENCOURAGED HIMSELF IN THE LORD.

But wait for it!!Give them a chance would you? 2 Samuel 23 has two sections(sub topics) dedicated to these men:DAVID’s MIGHTIEST WARRIORS AND DAVID’S THIRTY MIGHTY MEN!

FROM REJECTED TO MIGHTY!
What am I learning from this?
1.If you learn to encourage yourself in the Lord like David did, using strategies available to us in scripture – praising God, thanksgiving, meditating on testimony etc your personal victories will become a corporate blessing.

2.Your beginning however rough, does not dictate your end. If you stick to the Man Jesus, yes there will be days where you feel like leaving Him, He is however able to transform your life, give you a whole new identity.

This part here, may apply to a person as well, like if there is someone who has mastered getting strength from God, if you stick with them, learn from them, your life will change.

3.We should aim at ensuring that those who interact with us leave our presence better than when they came. LOVE.

I hope this blesses you as it did me
Yours
Maggie

Let the child in you lead you

... And a little child shall lead them. (Isaiah 11:6 NKJV)

People who walk through the doors of counselling rooms are asked all sorts of questions by their therapist. I know this because I have been on both sides of the table. We often ask questions such as, ‘can you recall the first time you noticed that you got anxious when you had to speak in front of people?’; “have you always felt this way about your father?” etc etc

These questions and many others are meant to elicit awareness of when dysfunctional behaviour, beliefs and thoughts began. Sometimes a therapist may go way back to someone’s early childhood depending on the modality they are using, like say Psychodynamic or Gestalt therapy. Anyway, this is not a psychology lesson. I am interested in applying this concept to look back to the time when we had ‘life figured out’ if I may say.

I am fascinated with re-membering the activities we enjoyed when we were children to help us in our pursuit of callings or purposes. There is something carefree, confident and yet vulnerable about a child and their approach to life. They dream big! They don’t worry about where they will get resources to fulfill their dreams or not. They just dream. At one point, we were also like that.

I thought of this after reading somewhere about Oprah Winfrey. She mentioned that she started public speaking when she was only 3 years old. She would do Easter recitals in church, until she got to where she is now.

I am sure every one of us is aware that each and every one of us has a purpose to fulfill in this world. I am hoping that we are walking in our purposes or at least trying to. It is our responsibility to identify our purpose and walk in them.

For me– most of the time when playing house, I would play ‘motsetse‘ (motsetse is a Setswana term referring to a woman who had just given birth according to culture she has to be in a secluded room for two months together with her baby – for her to nurture the baby before it has contact with the world).


Well, I may have been thinking that I chose to be a motsetse for the food my playmates made because according to the Setswana tradition, a motsetse should be taken care of by family. This is even reflected in the girls’ playtime. But this character I played speaks to my nurturing nature- the desire for family. It also speaks to what I am doing professionally, which I believe is a calling. I love counselling people. I love assisting people who are having life’s challenges. It’s weird because the counselling I do is done in a counselling room, more like botsetse.

I don’t believe in coincidences. I believe in divine alignment. I believe in Godly setups.

Another thing my cousin and I enjoyed doing was reading. When my cousin was 9, and I was 8,we would rush home from school so that we can go read the books we liked not the ones we had to read at school. It helped since my mom is a teacher, so we never ran out of books to read. My grandmother used to say, ‘Ntebo le Maggie hela ha ba tswa sekoleng ba tsaa dibuka ba a bala ha ba lapa ba robala‘(Ntebo and Maggie enjoy reading so much that when they get home from school they read until they fall asleep).We would write poems and short stories.

Weird thing again, sometimes I would play a ‘husband’ since I was the tallest amongs my female cousins and friends. So at times they would suggest that I play the husband. I would fetch firewood so that we cook at our ‘house’. As far as I can remember, I have always fought battles for my cousins, like when they were being bullied by other kids, I would always defend them. Even now, I fight for my family in prayer and declarations. You might say, playing husband spoke to my nature to defend.

I thought my desire to write came when I finished my undergraduate degree. But the Holy Spirit has been reminding me of these little things I used to do, which I stopped doing as I became an adult (sadly). He reminded me of another time when I wrote an essay about my grandmother in grade 6. My teacher was so impressed, that she went to read it for another class.

Yes, so let’s go back to those amazing times when we were young and we did things out of pure passion. May the Holy Spirit remind us of those things and may they help us find the path to our callings.

May we honor the child inside!May we make her dreams come true.

Much Love

MAGGIE SEEPI

Day 4 -The Cultural Exchange

I AM GRATEFUL FOR THE CULTURAL EXCHANGE
I am grateful that I got to stay in a multilingual country (South Africa). I am also grateful that I got to learn a bit about different cultures and travel to different provinces.

I valued conversations that incorporated inquiries like, “how do you do this in Botswana Seleb?” in both the professional and social arenas. They gave a deeper appreciation for the uniqueness of my culture. Moreover, they gave me an understanding of cultural practices different from mine. I am grateful for my curiosity because I always asked questions. My questions ranged from meanings of different names, food, to why cultural practices are done a certain way. For example, I attended a funeral at a place near East London (Isixhosa community), I was shocked that the burial of the deceased took place around 4 pm. The morning and afternoon were spent reminiscing about time spent with the person when they were still alive. I thought that was lovely. However, in Botswana, that is a different case, as burial is usually done early like around 10 am. The reason for this is to respect the deceased and take them to their resting place as soon as possible. I think it’s a decent reason.

I also loved it when conversations had phrases like, “we also do that in my culture!” This shows that we are the same even with our unique differences.

How can I forget the time I was in Taung in the North West province? I was thrilled that I got the chance to facilitate workshops in Setswana because most of the people speak Tswana there. However, my Sengwato-Setswana dialect was comical to the workshop attendees. They laughed out loud at how I said ‘thogo’ instead of ‘tlhogo’ (head) like them. Haha our differences should make us happy like that and not divide us, isn’t it? Diversity is beautiful. It adds colour to our worlds and gives us opportunities to learn from each other.

Anyway, it doesn’t mean that it is always rosy! Unfortunately, I cannot have conversations in Xhosa that are beyond normal greetings even after staying in the Eastern Cape since 2015. I have come to believe that as much as learning different languages comes with passion, it’s also a gift. I don’t think I have that gift. Many people especially taxi drivers and cashiers always assume I can speak Xhosa. My lack of fluency often leads to questions like, ‘where are you from? how long have you been here? Why are you not learning to speak IsiXhosa?’ No one wants to give their background history to strangers so that is always awkward to navigate around.

I am sure it was a sad thing to watch in 2018 when my white colleague and I were running a Self-regulation programme in the location among Grade R learners who could understand and speak IsiXhosa only. I also made a ‘good mistake’ of telling my white professor that I was learning Isixhosa. Wow, he is very good in IsiXhosa, it’s astounding. So each time I went to his office, he would speak to me in IsiXhosa! The puzzled look on my face and to a certain degree-frustration! We are made for connection, therefore when there is a blockage, frustration is inevitable. Additionally, I still can’t sing well the Afrikaans version of the song ‘God is good’ at church even when looking at the words on the screen. I always hum it, I believe that counts for something.I hope.


Our similarities bring us to a common ground; our differences allow us to be fascinated by each other. ‘-Tom Robbins

Thank you

Mwene

Thoughts of Rwamuguma Yongyera

Humanity Boss

Live your life in writing

Wanam World

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent~Eleanor Roosevelt

Becoming The Muse

words on paper

Nianni LifestyleBlog

Self growth, development and relationship

Pastiche Mode

a little bit of everything

Bird View

Life as it comes.

The Magic In Ordinary Days

Finding joy in the mundane

Pointless Overthinking

Understanding ourselves and the world we live in.

Intentional Livingstyle 💕

Intentional lifestyle principles and inspirations shared 💕

audreysensibilities

Random thoughts turned to blog material...

Melody Chen

Word-Experimentalist

Bombay Ficus

Running, Writing, Real Life Experiences & Relatable Content.

Dr. Eric Perry

Psychology to Motivate | Inspire | Uplift

Asi's lens

Just living my life as I believe God intends