Monday, 11 January 2016

This New Year, Be the Change

What if, instead of asking myself, What do I want to do? I ask, Who do I want to be?

A hush descends on the earth when it snows. It's as if the fluffy white stuff that covers the ground and coats the trees and houses and cars also mutes the volume of the world. The rough edges are smoothed. The hard places soften. In the stillness, magic glitters. Untouched snow collects: fresh, like a blank canvas to be painted, like a story to be written, like a new year to be lived.

2016 sounded like science fiction when I was a child -- eons away. But in my 50s, the passage of time is accelerating at a spectacular pace. I am stunned to find myself, once again, on the brink of another year where change beckons and opportunities entice. Anything seems possible.

Yet, year after year, my lofty New Year's resolutions set me up for disappointment.

I can't help feeling excited to welcome new adventures, to shed old habits and create new ones. Customarily, I recap the events of the past year, analyzing what worked and what didn't; what I want to repeat and what I definitely do not. Using these conclusions, I look forward and set goals. I make "plans." As the list making, Type-A, get-it-done-now kind of girl I've always been, this appeals to my sense of control in the universe. The thing is, the longer I'm a mother, the more I evolve into a spontaneous, go-with-the-flow, get-it-done-whenever kind of girl.

And the older I get, the more I learn control is an illusion.

I set my goals anyway -- not so much written down as voiced in conversation or even just in the back of my mind. Exercise and good nutrition, organization at home and work, time management, stress reduction, quality relationships with family and friends. You know, the usual.

Fortunately for me, exercise isn't just a daily habit; it's my job. A healthy diet, on the other hand, is a work in progress. I wage my own battles with food, but even when I'm eating healthy, getting the kids onboard is tough. And undoubtedly the biggest endeavor I pursue every blasted year is to organize my home. But, as Erma Bombeck said, "Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing."

On the home front, I'm grateful for all we have -- really, we are blessed beyond belief -- but our abundance can be overwhelming. We have too much stuff. Which goes hand-in-hand with too much responsibility, too much work, too much on-the-go, too much, TOO much, TOO MUCH! I'm caught between the visions in my head of a simplified, balanced life, all gears well oiled and running smoothly, and the reality of my cluttered home and frenetic schedule. I feel like a rat running on a wheel, going nowhere.

Inevitably, the enormity of my new year ambition weighs down my momentum and I'm left wanting a life that seems out of reach. I've got less time when I wanted more, more stress where I needed less. The time I want to spend with family and friends is greedily sucked up meeting endless expectations.

This year, I finally comprehend that I am the one imposing those expectations, often based on what others want.

What I want are dates with my husband and special mommy-time with my girls. I want time to myself, to write and reflect and be still. I want music and theatre and art and creativity and spirituality. I want to experience joy every single day. I want to laugh. And cry, too. Frequently. I want to engage in meaningful exchange. I want to embody the essence of love.

As I sort through the to-do list of my resolutions, it dawns on me I'm doing it backwards. My whole life, I've tried to shove a square peg in a round hole. Rather than forcing change by manipulating circumstances and driving myself -- hard, I can allow a natural unfolding of what I desire, simply by shifting my focus. By seeking joy.

Throughout her development, my daughter, Sydney has hit many plateaus, not uncommon for kids with Down syndrome. Progress toward milestones like walking and potty-training, feeding herself, tying her shoes and writing her name, stalled out. For a long, long time. We got discouraged and compared her, cajoled her. We pushed, did extra therapy and used charts and reward systems. Sometimes we gave up. But, honestly, it was all for naught. When she was ready, she made the leap, every time. She would just... change. Patiently, and without pressure, she let go of the past and emerged into the newest version of herself.

What if instead of asking myself What do I want to do? as I tabulate the multitude of things to undertake this year, I ask, Who do I want to be? What version of myself? Positing the question this way elicits a discernible shift in energy. Already I feel lighter.

In 1994 Dr. Masaru Emoto from Japan studied water molecules frozen into ice crystals and photographed under a high-powered microscope, expecting to see structures similar to snow flakes. The images captured revealed that each crystal bore a unique design; no two were the same. Water samples taken from pristine rivers and lakes created beautifully formed geometric crystals while those gathered from polluted sources yielded chaotic asymmetry with no patterns. The research went further, exposing the water to music, prayer, spoken words and even typed words taped to the containers. It appeared that positive thoughts and kind words generated intricate and magnificent shapes while exposure to negativity -- harsh words and emotions -- propagated results similar to those from the polluted water; misshapen and distorted without aesthetic beauty. What's more, after prayers were offered on behalf of water from the toxic sample, the crystals branched into crystalline symmetry, just as those from pure water sources and those exposed to music, prayer and words like gratitude, peace and love.

Dr. Emoto's work has been celebrated by many, but criticized, too, by skeptics who say his methods lack scientific controls and his claims are simply invalid. In answer to his critics, he has said, "the world is filled with wonders and mysteries ... there are so many incomprehensible things that we cannot understand it all." The photographing of crystals is neither science nor religion. He calls it art.

To me, their beauty is awe-inspiring and irrefutable, and the concept that human consciousness can have an effect on the molecular structure of water is not implausible. In fact, to me, it's downright fascinating to consider that every thought, feeling and intention carries its own signature and impact. Albert Einstein, the father of modern physics said, "Concerning matter, we have been all wrong. What we have called matter is energy, whose vibration has been so lowered as to be perceptible to the senses. There is no matter."

Einstein says we are living in an energy field, inextricably interwoven with everything around us, our cells taking in and letting off particles constantly. Everything is vibration: change the vibration and change the reality.

Based on this principal, if I change my thoughts and words, I change myself.

I need only observe my life in action to see the truth in this theory. The days I'm rushed and harried, I inexorably get in line behind the slowest customer checking out with the rudest cashier. The days I'm especially exhausted are marathon days full of appointments and impossible deadlines, countless texts, emails and phone calls, with no time for rest. My frustration mounts, tension creeps in and my mood and attitude reflect it. Those are the days negative energy culminates at home, when the girls fight and misbehave, when unkind words are spoken, tempers are short and we're all pulled in a downward spiral. It is interactive and exponential.

Then there are the days I step outside and feel the early morning air on my face, and see the moon, and feel grateful to be alive and in this body of mine. When I have a bounce in my step after teaching to an amazing group of people, the energy in the room positively electric. When my daily dealings are pleasant. I have a smile for everyone I meet, and the smiles coming back at me are sweet and genuine. When the nurturing compassion of my best friend far away reaches through the phone line and encircles me. When peace through me when listening to music. When I'm met at the end of the day with squeals of delight from my girls, "Mommy's home!" and my husband wraps me in a bear hug. Those are the days we dance in the kitchen.

I don't need a microscope to know that something inside me is altered -- not just metaphorically, but literally. Externally, things may not appear much different, but internally, I'm living in another universe.

Sydney lives there nearly all the time. Last night she came looking for me, just to give me a hug. Laying her head on my chest, she was still and quiet. Her gentleness permeated every cell of my body as I bathed in her innocence. "I love kisses with you," she whispered. Placing my cheek next to hers, I closed my eyes. This child, from birth, has slowed me down and opened me up. I can breathe when she's near me. She resonates the serenity I'm chasing.

I think this year I'll resolve to become a beautiful ice crystal.

By exposing myself to magnificence and kindness and grace, negativity dissolves; what no longer serves me is released. The almost imperceptible shift brings into alignment the person I am with the person I am becoming. Which affects everyone around me.

I am unique and part of the collective. Just like the newly fallen snow; when the sun breaks through the clouds and bright light reflects off billions of glinting snowflakes. Together, they make up the expanse of vivid white blanketing the earth. The individual brilliance of each of us on the planet comprises the world's consciousness: we are one.

When I change myself, I change the world.
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Wednesday, 16 December 2015

KISS DANIEL DESCRIBES OLAMIDE AS ‘OVER TALENTED’

One of the fasted-rising artistes in Nigeria, Kiss Daniel, has hailed top Nigerian rapper, Olamide, who he says he pays respect to.
The G-Worldwide act said the rapper has music in his veins, which is why he drops hit singles on a regular basis.
According to Kiss Daniel, who gain prominence in the Nigerian music industry in 2014, “To say the fact, Olamide, is over talented; too much music in his vein. ‘EyanMayWeather’, my favourite, don’t stop.”

7 Skills You Should Master Before You Turn 30

Set yourself up for success later in life by getting good at these things early.

Invest money thoughtfully in your 20s and the miracle of compound interest means a modest amount saved early will yield a much larger payout later. The same can be said of skills. Learn to be a better conversationalist early, for instance, and you might meet and charm just the right person to land the entry-level job of your dreams, which could lead to a another great career break, and so on ...
So what are the skills most likely to pay the greatest dividends over time if you master them before you hit 30? Several threads on question-and-answer site Quora have asked just this, soliciting advice from the more experienced for young professionals hoping to set themselves up for success later on. An examination of a host of answers reveals a few common themes. According to the wisdom of Quora, these are the skills you'd really benefit from acquiring in your 20s:

1. Coping with uncertainty

You might think that as you get older, the chaos of your life will go away and you'll get to live with more certainty about the future. Maybe a little, but many respondents caution that uncertainty never goes away, so you should get comfortable with it now.
"Accept that you will never have anything figured out," writes copywriter Joe Choi, as "it's near impossible to plan where you'll be a few years." Respondent Ayushi Aswal agrees. She puts "how to manage uncontrollable situations" at the top of her list of most necessary skills.

2. Communicating with grace

You've been using words since you were a toddler, but that doesn't mean you will master the art of communication by the time you turn 20. Most of us don't. But don't let yourself enter your fourth decade without getting a handle on clear, compelling, and polite communication, insist a number of answers.
"Think about ways to challenge yourself, and tweak how you write an email or behave in a meeting," suggests one anonymous but extremely popular answer. It offers a few more specific ideas: "Don't hit 'send' immediately after composing a note. Instead, give yourself a beat or two, then reread the email, make edits, and then hit 'send.' Or, during your next team meeting, resist talking about your idea or opinion right off the bat. Instead, count to five, and if you still feel like you have something relevant to contribute, speak up."
Entrepreneur Brian Bain agrees. "How to communicate and interact professionally," tops his list of skills you should master in your 20s. "Look around and notice how the ability to freely and easily talk to people helps those who have already crossed their 20s, and how the lack thereof makes things unnecessarily difficult for some," cautions technologist Sugandha Banga. "No matter how knowledgeable you are, people are not going to take your work seriously unless you know at least the basics of holding up a decent conversation."

3. Respecting those who are different from you

"I think it's easy to judge people based on your own definitions of success and a meaningful life, without recognizing that everybody has their own definition," warns designer Francis Chen. "Everybody is different, and has different pathways to life. Respect that, and respect yourself."
Consultant Michael Hoffman concurs: "Put yourself in the other person's shoes," he instructs. "Think about how they will perceive what you are communicating or doing. Without understanding context and perspective, we run the risk of ... creating problems rather than solving them; and appearing blunt and unsympathetic." Several responses make a special point of noting the need to learn to respect the opposite sex.

4. Asking for what you want

You need to respect others, but you need to respect yourself and your own potential as well. To do that fully, you need to get comfortable asking for the things you want in life. "The ability to ask is the easiest, most underutilized skill to catapult your career," says the same much up-voted anonymous answer. "The old adage is true: 'If you don't ask, you don't receive.' Many careerists don't ask to pitch their idea, for a raise or promotion, a bigger sales deal, or to take on more responsibility. When this happens--or doesn't happen, rather--you're far less likely to find challenge, meaning, and reward in your work."
Copywriter Joe Cassandra writes something similar: "Learn to negotiate now. Earnings compound over time." How do you learn to ask? Start small, the anonymous answer suggests: "Try practicing in non-work related contexts. At the farmer's market, you could ask a vendor for a lower price on the asparagus; at home, you could ask your partner to attend dance lessons; on the street, you could ask a stranger, 'How are you?'"

5. Being resilient

No matter how smart, talented, and ambitious you are, things won't always go your way (especially once you've left the cocoon of school and your parents' protection). Learn how to cope with setbacks early and they'll discourage you less.
"Your 20s is a time when most are relatively free of the responsibilities that will increase into your 30s and 40s," writes recruiter Carolyn Cho. "This is a great time to experiment, fail, and bounce back. Learn how to ride out failure and persevere. Life is full of challenges. The 20s are a great time to toughen up and start teaching yourself how to be emotionally and mentally resilient enough to weather both the joys and hardships to come."

6. Spending your time and money wisely

You may be relatively footloose and fancy-free in your 20s, but that doesn't mean you should squander the decade. It's a truth that applies to both time and money. "Time is a precious commodity, and you start to realize that increasingly into your mid- to late 20s," Cho also writes. So learn to choose the people and activities you spend your time on carefully. "Focus your time and energy on things that will help you grow and give," agrees Chen.
Many respondents also noted that while spending on mind-expanding travel or education is great if you can swing it, you also need to at least start to get a handle on your finances. Bain includes "how to create and stick to a budget," on his list of most important skills for young people, for instance.

7. Cooking

Looking for something a little more focused and practical? You'd be surprised how many people suggested learning to cook. These respondents claim it's a great skill to master that will greatly improve your life for decades. (If you like to eat good food and don't have an unlimited budget, I personally can't agree with this one enough.)
"Most people live solo or away from families, so knowing how to cook becomes critical to maintain a balanced and healthy lifestyle," writes engineer Gurvinder Arora. "I have developed a lot of patience thanks to cooking. It also helps to impress the ladies."
What skills would you add to this list?

Wizkid share with Ebenezer Obey at this year’s Ovation Red Carol.

Wizkid will share the stage with Ebenezer Obey at this year’s Ovation Red Carol.

Another edition of the annual Ovation Christmas Carol is set to hold this weekend in Lagos.

The headlining acts for this year’s edition include pop star Wizkid, Omawumi and veteran musician Chief Ebenezer Obey.

The event will hold on Sunday, December 20, 2015 at the Eko Hotel Convention Center,Victoria Island,Lagos.

This will be the first time Wizkid will share the same stage with Ebenezer Obey. He has already shared a stage with his contemporary, King Sunny Ade and performed with the legend.

2face Idibia to perform at KADAMFEST 2015.

General Pype, KSB and 2face Idibia at KADAMFEST.

Over the weekend, the maiden edition of the Kaduna Music Festival (KADAMFEST) took place.

The two-day event was declared open by President Muhamadu Buhari on Saturday December 12, 2015 with Ebuka Obi and comedian, Chi Gurl as hosts.

The festival witnessed performances by top Nigerian pop stars including 2face Idibia, MI Abaga, Ice Prince, Reminisce, D’ija, KSB, General Pype and others.

Jay Z visited the St. Louis Rams in their locker room.

Jay Z visited the St. Louis Rams in their locker room.

Jay Z visited the St. Louis Rams in their locker room after the team won against the Detroit Lions.

According to HotNewHipHop.com, Jay Z joined the St. Louis Rams as they celebrated the end to their losing streak with the team’s win against the Detroit Lions.

The final score for the game was 21-14, with Roc Nation Sports signee Todd Gurley who played the running back scored two of the teams touchdowns.

During the locker room pow wow, the official Twitter account for the Rams shared a handful of photos with Jay Z and the team.

In addition to Gurley, other athletes on the Roc Nation Sports roster include Robinson Cano, Skylar Diggins, Kevin Durant, Geno Smith, and Victor Cruz.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Police invade Lil Wayne’s Miami Beach mansion

American superstar rapper, Lil Wayne’s Miami Beach mansion was invaded by the police on November 3 to seize properties in order to pay off debts he owes a private jet company.

Life & Style magazine reports that when the policemen arrived, Wayne’s security refused to let them in.

The Miami Beach Police explained to reporters that they were there to seize certain assets inside the house because Wayne had not paid a $2 million judgment to Signature Group, a jet leasing company.

Wayne also owes the company $200k in lawyer’s fees.

According to the court order, obtained by the mag, the Miami-Dade County Sheriff’s deputies were allowed to break the locks of the house and doors if necessary to gain entry and confiscate sizable assets.

Reports say, Wayne wasn’t home, he was in Los Angeles to attend Ace of Diamonds strip club Monday night.

Wayne reportedly has $30 million worth of art in the mansion, and cops took some of the pieces.

Sources also say cops brought along someone who valued the items inside the house so they could figure out what to seize.

Deputies also seized several plaques but it’s unclear if they took a prized plaque he got for “Tha Carter” albums.

Flavour to get married soon.

Famous Highlife singer, Flavour has revealed that he will be getting married soon.

Flavour who has two children from two different beauty queens said this during an interview with Hip TV.

When asked about marriage, he said “I’m getting married soon” after laughing.

Flavour might be singing a different tune about marriage now, but only last month he explained why settling down now will be a bad idea for him.
“Marriage is a serious thing” he said, “it’s a decision that when you make it’s like you are in it or you are not so you don’t need to make the wrong decision. That’s the most important thing” he told My Joy Online.
“If you want to marry, for marrying sake then it doesn’t make sense. You are not defining marriage and because of the kind of job we do, I hardly stay at home so where am I going to have the time to give my family? So it is very difficult” he further stated.

I’m still always going to be a diva - Mariah Carey

Veteran R&B star, Mariah Carey has bragged that she won’t change her ways and that she’ll remain a diva just like she’s often associated with the word.

“I’m still always going to be a diva in certain ways, and I don’t mean that in the bad sense of the word,” the 45-year-old, who is directing and starring in the new Hallmark Channel Movie ‘A Christmas Melody’, told Entertainment Tonight.
“I just mean, like, if there’s a makeup artist there and they don’t mind touching me up while I’m directing,” she explained.

Although this may be her official directorial debut, the mother-of-two revealed, “I’ve been directing so much of my own work for a really long time. A lot of music videos that I didn’t take credit for.”

But though she’s often called out for being high-maintenance, Mariah doesn’t seem to care. “Why not just be yourself?” she told the site.

Monday, 26 October 2015

How to succeed in entertainment -Jenny O

Broadcaster and musician, Jenny O, has adviced entertainers who are yet to succeed on how to become success­ful.
When E-News asked her what she feels are the determinants that can make an artist successful in Nige­ria, she said, “First is the proper ap­proach to people. Some care little how they relate with people and tend to come off very annoying and rude. Well, it’s not a good idea if you wish to stay relevant and successful in the music industry.

“Another factor that should be considered also is what you’re putting out, whether a song or video. Ensure it’s something the audience would find appealing. Having faith and trusting God go a long way too.”