A few years back, I decided that I would stop making new year's resolutions and instead come up with a mantra for the year. Having an overarching intention to guide rather than unspecific goals built to fail.
Difficult lessons and timely interventions
A few days ago, I was reflecting on 2012 – the good stuff as well as the frustrating things that I didn't want to carry over in to the new year. 2012 was a great year in terms of growing my company, Asilia; moving back to London and; the several opportunities that came my way to exchange with new audiences – whether through my involvement with events such as the Southbank Centre's Women of the World Festival (WOW) or through features in Kenya's national newspaper, The Daily Nation, and other great on- and offline publications. However, through all of this, I was exhausted. I can't recall a year where I've experienced such low energy levels and I felt that this translated into lower productivity (i.e. than I usually expect of myself) and often, low motivation too. And this has also affected my personal life in terms of not feeling up to much play and social interaction; not nurturing my relationships adequately and; to be honest, being quite miserable. I know that the ultimate cause of all of this lies in the fact that I was not taking good care of myself.
Towards the end of last year, I took Marianne Elliot's 30 Days of Yoga course. I'd been toying with the idea of taking it for a long time and, I wanted to get back into a regular yoga practice. It was the most timely intervention that I could have created for myself. The reason being, as Marianne herself finally admits, that the course is not actually about doing yoga every day but about making the space, each day, to practice yoga. And that's what I needed – an active reminder of the importance of being kind to myself by making time and space for myself each day. As opposed to running and meeting the whims of others, at the expense of my own wellbeing. As opposed to letting my obsession with work, which I only came to properly accept as such, a few days ago, consume me.
The Year of Kindness
That is the short story about why my mantra this year is about welcoming more tenderness/gentleness/kindness in my life and injecting this spirit in everything that I do. I have come to appreciate just how crucial this is and I'm dedicating myself to the following:
- Kindness to self: acceptance and appreciation that I am already enough and that I don't have to prove myself to anybody, including myself! This is played out in many dimensions …
- … Kindness to body: not overworking myself and overdoing things; getting more rest; eating better, i.e. sticking to my primal objectives; prioritising yoga and exercise in general and; even as far as making sure to go for my regular dental check-ups!
- More kindness to others: less judgement; more understanding.
- More kindness to my community and environment: being more conscious of how my decisions and actions impact others and the world and thus making better decisions and acting in accordance with this.
Afri-love in 2013
As I embark on this journey of kindness, and as part of the effort to spend more time on Afri-love (which in many ways is where I 'play'), I'll be dedicating time to share my learning and experiences along the way, as well as interesting and useful resources that I come across or create. I've set myself some specific aims this year and you can expect:
- At least 1 inspiration post each week (curated art & design, music & entertainment, beauty & hair, interviews, and more)
- 1 longer post each week (commentaries, tips and more to do with creativity, entrepreneurship and growing a passion economy – making those passions pay!)
- 1 email per month with Afri-love highlights as well as other important/relevant things for you to check out; details on can't-miss events and; updates as Afri-love evolves with new value to add to your experience. If you haven't subscribed to the email updates already, you can do so very quickly here.
Over to you
I wish you all a Happy New Year, with plenty of time and space to create the things that you need and desire. I've love to hear from you. What will you be focusing on this year? What do you want more of on Afri-love this year?
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