Skip to main content

We are GOLD baby!

As I write this piece I am heartbroken at the recent announcement of the shutting down of Ndalo Media. In many ways, Destiny Magazine played an integral role in my writing journey and the birth of PenTheVision. I still remember the first ever article I wrote titled, “I don’t have to know everything and that’s Okay”. I wrote that in 2016 and I recall the first email I received from the then features editor, Fiona Daverns. In her email she shared that she loved my article and expressed her desire to publish it in Destiny magazine. I wish I could fully express my joy that day and something in me knew that, that was the beginning of amazing things in my life.

I guess the news of Ndalo Media shutting down came as such shock to all of us. I mean sis Khanyi Dhlomo is the epitome of black girl magic! It is through her legacy that we are able to dream the impossible dreams! She has taught us that our dreams are relevant and to that sis Khanyi, we salute you and everybody who has played a part in making Ndalo Media a success. This is just a period of testing; you guys are GOLD!

I said to myself this morning, “hold on baby, so you really are GOLD after all, that’s why you are facing so many challenges!”.  In the  final production of gold, it is often placed in a furnace and this process aims to remove any impurities and ensure that we have 24-karat gold – the most valuable grade!

Fast-forward to December 2018, despite all challenges and uncertainty, I am still in pursuit of making a difference and still writing. We are also on the verge of rebranding PenTheVision to morph into something bigger than just a blog. Thank you to all those who have supported us since our inception in July 2016. 

The next time you engage with PenTheVision, you will experience a whole new website and other elements. So, we will not be publishing any articles until the launch of our new website sometime in 2019. We are so excited about the upcoming changes and we will keep you posted.

And remember, even as you go through life’s ups and downs, you are GOLD baby!

PenTheVision would like to wish you and your loved ones a peaceful Christmas and fantastic New Year! Love you all…

Image courtesy: https://www.benjaminpop.com/products/youre-gold-baby

Cheers to unconventional friendships…

A dear friend of mine recently landed back in South Africa after completing her doctoral studies at Pepperdine University in California. The last couple of months have been incredible because we shared a glorious space together. This space became both our home and our office. Our friendship dates back to our university days and I am so blessed at how it has blossomed over the years. She has been one of the people in my life who support my unconventional dreams and allows me to constantly evolve without judging me. Of recent, we have been collaborating and helping each other build our empires and we are excited about the great impact we going to make in the world.

One of the interesting things I have come to appreciate about her the most, are the things she says that are so unique to her and our conversations. I love her use of words in ordinary conversations because they really are ‘doctoral’ 🙂 and no one else says these things but her. Let me share a few examples below:

Me:“Friend I really hate a sink full of dirty dishes.”

Her:“Hmmm buddy, I think hate is a bit of a strong word”

Me: “Friend, should we watch 90 days to wed on DSTV or a documentary on Netflix?”

Her:“Oh, that’s a good question!”

Me:“Friend, I am hungry, and I need food.”

Her:“Hmmm great insights friendy.”

Me: “Friend, my whole heart smells like him, he is solid food.”

Her:“Those are very decent points.”

Me: “I am obsessed with Netflix…”

Her: “Hmmm ‘obsessed’, friend I think you using that word a bit too loosely…”

Me:“Friend, I’m tired”

Her:“hmmm…let’s unpack that a bit more”

Lol, very different from the normal way people respond right?! But this is precisely why I love her, she lives out her uniqueness.

Great friends are rare species and this piece salutes all those friends who allow you to evolve even when they don’t understand. This is to say, thank you for just loving and believing in me even when you don’t have language to make sense of it. Cheers to our unconventional friendship!

Image courtesy: https://www.india.com/buzz/friendship-day-messages-2015-11-funny-witty-quotes-to-wish-happy-friendship-day-to-your-best-friend-487284/

The coolest thing about the reset button…

What is the purpose of a reset button?  “In electronics and technology, a reset button is a button that can reset a device. On video game consoles, the reset button restarts the game, losing the player’s unsaved progress. On personal computers, the reset button clears the memory and reboots the machine  forcibly. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reset_button).

According to the above definition, the reset button has a threefold purpose, namely to reset, restart and reboot. Though these words are electronics jargon, most of us have an understanding that they indicate some sort of ability to ‘start afresh.’

I have come to appreciate that even in our lives we have the power to press the reset button. Pressing the reset button requires a shift in perspective. As I shared in a previous article, I have been going through an emotional roller-coaster. But I am so grateful that even in these weird moments of my life, God continues to shower me with strength and wisdom. As I write this I am feeling incredibly peaceful and renewed with hope to face the world.

I have come to realise that as long as you are still dreaming, you are capable of creating avenues which can help you achieve your dreams. We should never waste a day, it’s a such a precious gift. Mornings are my favourite time of the day because each morning presents the possibility of new beginnings.

I was impressed when Oprah interviewed Michelle Obama about her recent book, titled “Becoming”. In the interview Oprah asked Michelle, “You mention in the book that one of the things that has lasted with you, you say is this sense of optimism”, Oprah then reads a quote from Michelle’s book:

“I continue to keep myself connected to a force that is larger and more potent than any other election, or leader or news story and that’s optimism for me. This is a form of faith and an antidote to fear”.

Oprah continues to ask Michelle this question, “Do feel the same sense optimism for our country and who we are becoming as a nation?”

Michelle’s response, “Yes, and we have to feel that optimism for these kids. We are setting the table for them and we can’t hand them crap. We have to hand them hope. Progress isn’t made through fear. We are experiencing that right now. Fear is false, and fear is the coward’s way of leadership.” I love this because I share Michelle’s sentiments that, to have a meaningful and fruitful life, optimism is key. The real miracle of life is in optimism and as people we thrive and live on hope.

As long as you are breathing, you have the power to make a positive change big or small and that is the coolest thing about the reset button.

 

Image courtesy: https://empowereddollar.com/reset-button/

A better caretaker…

I opened my eyes this morning, facing the ceiling, I laid in my bed for a couple of minutes and just appreciated the sound of the chirping birds. We all know birds chirp every morning, but we hardly ever truly pause to appreciate this gift of nature. But today was different for me. Today, I felt like the birds were composing a joyful melody just for me. It felt like the Creator of the universe had wanted me to lay there silent appreciating this sweet soothing melody.

As I lay in bed, I was overwhelmed by a great sense of calmness and peace. My mind took me on gratitude lane and I just thought of all the things I had wanted, from the time I was a young kid to now being this blazing hot woman! Hahaha vele! lol 🙂 . Anyway, in gratitude lane I was reflecting on the things that I have been blessed with and also thinking about things I so badly wanted but ended up not getting. I am grateful for the things I didn’t get because what I received was far better and in line with my purpose 🙂 . I laugh about some of the things I thought I would ‘die’ if they were not placed in my path.

I think the chirping birds was the Master’s way of saying to me, ‘girl I got you!’ Even in the things I ask for now and circumstances I am confused about, I know that my Heavenly Father is a far better caretaker of my life than I am. I always think I know stuff, but my young life has taught me that the He always knows best.

This piece is a nudge to any one panicking about their life, I want to say, darling, relax! because God’s Got you. He is a far better caretaker of our lives than we are and the greatest gift we can give ourselves is, to learn the undying truth that we are God’s best masterpiece and into His hands we can commit our lives because it is the only safe place.

 

Image courtesy:https://www.cafepress.com.au/+best-caretaker+greeting-cards

I hate how lukewarmness feels on me…

Lukewarmness can have various meanings depending on the context. But the word doesn’t usually have positive connotations. For example, most people don’t enjoy a lukewarm shower because the water temperature has to be just right or cold if it’s a hot summer’s day. People don’t enjoy lukewarm food, it either has to be hot or cold depending on the type of food. The worst kind of lukewarmness occurs in behavioral form. Usually we tend to dislike people who are lukewarm because they present unpalatable qualities. Example of these qualities are, people who are indecisive, uncertain, indifferent, uncommitted, unresponsive and wishy-washy.

Another kind of lukewarmness is one that happens inside of you, where you feel like you have lost enthusiasm and zeal for life. I am by default a very optimist person but of recent, I have been having an internal emotional battle with this.

I have been feeling so overwhelmed and I have been sharing with my friend about how tired I am. In a quest to regain my strength, I read through old notes as reminders that every situation eventually passes. Yesterday, I bumped into a note I had written, shared by a speaker at a conference I was attending. The note read, “people are not tired, they just uninspired”. As I read this I just thought to myself, ‘wow, what a timely word for me’. According to the vocabulary dictionary the word inspire comes from the Latin word that means to “inflame or to blow in to”. “When you inspire something, it is as if you are blowing air over a low flame to make it grow”. As I battle this feeling of lukewarmness, I realised that at the root of my feeling lukewarm is an existential crisis. I am at the brink of entering my thirties and I have placed pressure on myself to have certain things sorted.

I want my fire back because lukewarmness doesn’t feel like home and shouldn’t be home.  I guess part of the reason for writing this piece is my initial step towards finding healing and a resolute. I hate how lukewarmness feels on me because it undermines the beauty of the gift of life. I hate how lukewarmness feels on me because it makes me forget that I am divinity inside and I have a significant contribution to make in the world.

I am writing a love letter to myself, reminding me that it’s okay to take time out to breathe, to take it easy and to not give up on pursuing those things that set my soul on fire…

 

Article image courtesy:https://alukewarmmess.com

Big ups to people who are approachable!

I woke up this morning and added the words “be approachable” to my life development chart in my bedroom.  I was inspired to add these words based on a story I was listening to.

Someone was sharing a personal story about a pain point they experienced when they entered the corporate world. This person had landed their dream job at their dream company. One of the main reasons that attracted them to this organisation was because of the CEO. As a young person, they admired the CEO because on the various public platforms, he appeared to be a charismatic character, eloquent of speech, cutting edge business leader and extremely intelligent. After a couple of months of working there, they were assigned to a project in the CEO’s office. The project required that he meet the CEO to gather information. The day before the meeting he was so excited, finally he will meet this formidable leader, or so he thought. The morning came, he went to the executive floor, greeted the PA and was asked to wait a few minutes outside the office.

Finally the door opened, the PA looked over to him and signed with her hand that he may enter. The first thing he noticed when he entered was that the CEO had his head down and was busy writing, so he quietly sat down and waited for him to finish. When he finished, the young lad greeted cheerfully, the CEO responded in a nonchalant manner. During the course of the meeting the CEO was so rude, and kept shutting down the young man’s ideas. Post that meeting the CEO would not attend some meetings set up by the chap and if he did accept a meeting invite, the young man would lie awake the night before anxious about what the following day would bring.

This guy eventually resigned after a few months and went on to get other jobs. Years later he started his own enterprise and it became a success. What touched me most about the story, was the key principal he has built his business on, and that  is approachability. He learnt from the early years of his career that ideas are inhibited if we don’t have a culture of being approachable.

The Collins English dictionary defines the word approachable as:

“friendly and easy to talk”

I started reflecting about how I have faced my fair share of people in leadership positions who are just not approachable. As people, we generally have a desire to achieve and a desire to connect. It is the connection that sets alight ideas and brings life. I want to be an approachable person and I have penned the following questions as kick starters to help me:

  • How approachable am I?
  • Am I doing something or not doing something to be approachable?

Some ideas to answer the kick starters are:

  1. Being a listener…it truly starts here. I saw the below quote the other day and it really blessed my heart!

“Are you really listening…or are you just waiting for your turn to talk?” Robert Montgomery

  1. Being humble… Someone once said,“humility is not thinking less of yourself, its thinking of yourself  less…” We are not our titles, wealth and accomplishments.
  2. Being kind…I promise you one of the best ways to influence people is through kindness. When you live out your kindness, people will do absolutely anything for you joyfully.

Let me know your thoughts on how you think you rank on being approachable? 🙂

 

Image courtesy: https://www.superinterns.com/2015/09/approachable-boss/

 

Light cyber stalking- the unspoken thing we all do!

These days when you meet someone and there is an attraction from either one or both parties, there is bound to be some light cyber stalking involved. In my unresearched definition, light cyber stalking is:

“Going through someone’s social media platforms, sometimes saving their images without wanting the person to know. The aim is to satisfy your curiosity about the person.”

I purposely termed this ‘light cyber stalking’ because there is the unpleasant definition of cyber stalking in the Oxford English dictionary, which is described as:

“The repeated use of electronic communications to harass or frighten someone, for example by sending threatening emails.”

For the purpose of this article, I humbly ask that we stick to my unresearched definition of light cyber stalking :-). And according to that one, I think most of us can agree that we have been light cyber stalked or we have light cyber stalked someone. I have had a couple of suitors go on a ‘research exercise’ by viewing my social media platforms as a means to satisfy their curiosity about who Bongeka is, some even to the extent of saving my photos on their phones…hmmmmm still not comfortable with the latter part!

I have also been on a social media expedition, seeking to satisfy my curiosity about my crush-lol yep and after disclosing this to a few friends, guess what I discovered? That we all in this together comrades! Hahaha… I have come to learn the comforting truth that a  couple of my friends also cyber stalk their ‘crushes’. For example, they look at photos dated 2010, investigate the females in these photos, interrogate dress codes, find out where they like hanging out, how they think and what they like.

Light cyber stalking is a new way of gathering information about someone in the digital age. Though this seems like an innocent exercise, my slight concern is that it may lead us to form inconclusive perceptions about people. A friend of mine shared an example of wrong perceptions being formed about people on social media. She echoed that, if you are a woman in her late twenties and your social media is flooded with images of your frequent fine dining visits, trips with the girls around the world, looking good and always posting about how glorious life is, you will be placed in a category of people called ‘abathanda izinto’ (loosely translated to mean those who love and consume the finer things in life). She continued to say some men will even go to the extent of being intimidated to approach you because they feel you will be high maintenance and ‘not’ wife material-whatever that means!

In my own light cyber stalking, I have also formed exaggerated conclusions about my crush’s photos and status updates, sometimes to a point of working myself up over nothing. Since most people are doing this already, I started this dialogue to say it’s OKAY! lol, and as we continue with our light cyber stalking journeys we need to employ self-control and do it in a manner that serves to appreciate the existence of another glorious being!

 

Image courtesy: http://marcellapurnama.com/by-the-way-stalking-is-fun/

Different valid forms of work- they all have a right to co-exist…

My friend and I have been engaging in dialogue about redefining work and creating a meaningful life in today’s world. We are both independent consultants with very different lives from our peers who work a 9-5 in corporations. More so, we are quite selective about the kind of projects that we choose to get involved in because we think differently about our quality of life. Work is not just about paying bills, but about choosing projects that we believe in and being in spaces where we feel we are able to make meaningful contributions. But even more importantly, it’s about getting projects that create room for flexibility so that we manage our time in a way that allows us to pursue our God given dreams and enjoy a fuller life.

As we explore projects that will fit well with our lives, most of our days look like this: We choose what time we wake up and go to bed; we choose where we have breakfast and where to work from. We plan our week according to our hearts desires and always slot in things we enjoy doing, such as going to book launches, doing research, reading and getting our nails done – This is the life right! 🙂

It is definitely going against the grain and as a result our way of life comes with scrutiny and confusion from people in our lives. When people know you don’t have a project, work a 9 to 5, or run a business, they struggle to understand what you do with your life. When I tell people I am working, I always get the confused response of ‘doing what?’, since I don’t fall in the normal parameters of what is considered ‘working’ or ‘having a job’. People would say to me  “You must have a lot of time in your hands, right?”  insinuating that I am less productive and don’t know what to do with my time. Sometimes they would even say, “wow, you probably have lots of money then.” Both of these assumptions are not a true reflection of my life. I can understand why people think this way because when I was in corporate I also thought in that same way. Our socialisation has taught us that ‘valid’ work is having a long-term job in a particular institution. Part of the reason I am writing this article is to challenge narrow perceptions of what productivity is and should look like. Often the assumption is that, you have a ‘proper’ job or are more productive if you wake up early, go to an institution and receive income end of the month. Whilst this is great, I challenge that it cannot be the only true voice in a society that is comprised with different kinds of people with various lifestyles.

I believe that we are moving into an era where more and more people are wanting to really do work that fulfills their divine purpose. My friend and I are not trying to go against the norm just because we can, no. Actually, this is a very divine journey for us because despite the opposition we face daily, we remain peaceful knowing that we are grounded spiritually. This journey has made us think differently about work, productivity and money. I say this because the things we do, don’t have immediate tangible pay off benefits. But we have a peace about that because we recognise that what we invest in today will pay out gigantically in future 🙂

I want to end with this note- friends, it’s okay for our lives to look different. We need to be more understanding of other valid forms of working and just appreciate that there are multiple views of what productivity is and should look like and guess what, they all have a right to co-exist!

A glimpse of how God feels…

Thank You, two of the most powerful words in any language. Did you know that there are about 7000 languages spoken in the world today? (https://www.ted.com/talks/lera_boroditsky_how_language_shapes_the_way_we_think?). In all these languages a significant percentage has the dialect of thank you or some way of showing gratitude through speech.

Why am I mentioning this? Well, let me share where this came from. I recently assisted someone with something that they needed. In my conversations with this person, they seemed to talk about everything else, even offering their unsolicited advice about my life. But I noticed that this major thing I had done, was not acknowledged at all. Now, I am aware that some people may question why am even I raising this as an issue. I know we have been socialized to believe that when we do things for people, we are EXPECTED not to want any sort of acknowledgement in return. I have the words “EXPECTED” in capital letters because I want to zoom into this a bit more.

The reason I raise the person’s lack of acknowledgement is because I strongly felt the emotion of not being appreciated. To a point that as I drove after seeing them, I actually broke down in the car and cried. It was in that moment that it hit me, perhaps this is how God feels when we ask Him for things and we don’t go back to say, “Thank You”. In a book I was reading recently the author wrote the words, “God has emotions”. I can’t tell you how liberating it was for me to hear that. We often think feeling certain strong emotions is ungodly and that we should contain them. I realized that wanting a sense of acknowledgement was actually a very Godly thing.

When we desire to hear the words “Thank You”, It is not because we want someone to stroke our ego’s, but that we would like to a feel a sense that someone values the contributions we make in their lives, however big or minuscule. I think this is a very powerful thing that makes our human connections even more meaningful.

I was sharing with one of my friend’s that my default mode in life is peace and joy. Part of the reason why that is so, is that I have cultivated a habit of saying “Thank you”. Most mornings when I wake up, I write down three things I am grateful for and that really helps my positive outlook on life.

Back to the short story, the person eventually said the words “Thank You” and other encouraging words, and we are now living our best life 🙂

Image courtesy of: https://www.deviantart.com/ashpnx/art/7000-Views-THANK-YOU-195048412

It’s not just words, it’s your whole life…

I was having a conversation with a friend of mine about relationships and I said to him, “You know, I really don’t like clingy friends”. But let me explain myself. My dislike of clingy friends is born from personal experience. A clingy friend will make it seem like it’s wrong to have other friends in your life.  I am blessed with the ability to connect with various people and have long lasting friendships and I struggle when I have a person in my life who wants me to give them my undivided attention.

When I explained to my friend my predicament with clingy friends, his response was, “Bongs, maybe you should rather say, I love secure friends”. I smiled and looked at him, admiring his use of words. What he said resonated with me because of its profoundness and the fact that I had not looked at it that way before.

I love friends who live their lives to the fullest and who understand that even when we don’t talk every day, we still love and care deeply for each other. When my friend said, “rather say, I love secure friends”, I reflected on that, and there was an incredible shift in my mental and belief system. I am learning that language is not just about the words we use but it is a cornerstone of our whole life! Though reshaping how I see and engage with the world is a life long journey, I am happy with the progress I am making. There are some days I get it wrong, and some, right. But I have made a conscious decision that I will be intentional about how I shape my words daily.

In another personal example, I remember growing up in an isiZulu speaking church and reading the isiZulu bible. The way I perceived God then and how I perceive Him now is completely different. In the isiZulu church, I experienced God as this no nonsense, ready to punish, quickly angered character. Whereas in the English church, God is presented as a loving father, still no nonsense but always ready to forgive and who wants us to love the world like he does. What a difference! My relationship with God in my isiZulu church was always filled with fear and feeling inadequate. Whereas in my English church, it was filled with an understanding of God’s unconditional love.

Obviously, I am not saying that English churches are better than isiZulu churches because there are many English churches that still preach the ‘law message’ rather than the ‘grace message’. There are also many isiZulu churches who preach more of the ‘grace message’.  I would advocate that it is perhaps a combination of different things, i.e. doctrine, revelation and language.

Scientifically there is also much to be said about this idea. I am reminded of a Ted Talk where the speaker beautifully detailed how language shapes our thinking-(https://www.ted.com/talks/lera_boroditsky_how_language_shapes_the_way_we_think). The speaker had conducted research on how language has deep effects on our cognitive and reasoning abilities.

She then posed three questions to the audience which I would love to also leave you with. Please ask yourself:

  • Why do I think the way I do?
  • Could I think differently?
  • What thoughts do I wish to create?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this article, please share them at Bongeka@penthevision.co.za

 

Image- http://www.ethann.com

 
%d bloggers like this: