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Funmi Iyanda
Lagos, Nigeria
Funmi Iyanda is a multi award-winning producer and broadcast journalist. She is the CEO of Ignite Media and Executive Director of Creation Television
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Monday, November 19, 2007

Just another manic Monday?

Monday morning in Lagos, the pace is even more manic than usual, Christmas is upon us I fear and woe betide the man (not gender specific) who is unable to buy himself and his family some joy this Christmas. Even worse, damnation be upon he who is seen to be unable to buy joy as measured in toys, travel, rainment and merriment.

Just before you run out unto that ferris wheel being spun around by a deranged drug fuelled anjonu, pause for a moment and ponder on this poem by William Yates

“Get all the gold and silver that you can,
Satisfy ambition, animate
The trivial days and ram them with the sun,
And yet upon these maxim meditate:
All women dote upon an idle man
Although their children need a rich estate;
No man has ever lived that had enough
Of children’s gratitude or woman’s love

No longer in Lethean foliage caught
Begin the preparation for your death
And From the fortieth winter by that thought
Test every work of intellect or faith,
And everything that your hand have wrought
And call those works extravagance of breath
That are not suited for such men as come
Proud, open-eyed and laughing to the tomb.”

Linger if you may on the last three sentences. Identify what true happiness is. Choose it. The choice often requires bravery and sacrifice but then what are you living for?

Just to emphasize the point, here is a zen parable

“A man travelling across a field encounters a tiger. He fled, the tiger after him. Coming to a precipice, he caught hold of the root of a wild vine and swung himself down over the edge. The tiger sniffed at him from above. Trembling, the man looked down to where, far below, another tiger was waiting to eat him. Only the vine sustained him.

Two mice, one white and one black, little by little, started to gnaw away at the vine.
The man saw a luscious strawberry near him. Grasping the vine with one hand, he plucked the strawberry with the other.

How sweet it tasted!”

If you must die now as we all will eventually, focus on the good, choose to die happy.

Now you may go out to find and do fulfilling and enriching work that honors you and hones you abilities, learning and talents. Something that enriches you by enriching others. The strange thing is, people actually get paid for that sort of work….eventuallyJ.

At lunch, why not download and read this hilarious (Letters From The Earth) but thought provoking piece by Mark Twain.

It is going to be a great week!


Anonymous said...

HA HA HA HA HA! i'm on the part where satan describes man's conception of heaven and i'm amazed at how we populate heaven with the very things we don't like. never thought of it like that before. we live for magic and escapism, don't we? our utopia where we do all the things we'd rather not do. oh, MAN :) we really must give the angels headaches on a daily basis...

Anonymous said...


"Yet you can see how unreal it is to them, and how little it takes a grip upon them as being fact, for they make no practical preparation for the great change: you never see one of them with a harp, you never hear one of them sing."

snaaaaaaap! ok, i won't be back until i'm done reading this, lol.

Eni + Anu said...

I've got a phobia of getting robbed in Nigeria =(

Kiibaati said...

There is this Ghanaian hiphop song I love to hear. I can not make much of the lyrics because it's in their mother tongue. But the chorus is in english and makes listening to the whole song worthwhile.It goes thus: "Do sumtin before u die!"

Sherri said...

when i read mark twain's letter a while back, i simply concluded he was a atheist. i later found out he was a deeply spiritual man just like Albert Einstein was!

yes, the hypocrisy and inconsistency of the bible writers is confounding.