9 Acts of Kindness

In consciously exploring how to be kinder to myself, I observe again and again, how forgetful I can be when it comes to remembering what’s in my best interest. To help evade such unkind amnesia and to encourage you to share your experiences and ideas (and because I love making lists), I’ve decided to keep a running list.

So here are my Acts of Kindness, #1 – #9 (in no particular order):

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Interview with Make-up Artist and Entrepreneur, Muthoni Njoba

If you’re in need of a mid-week (or even mid-career or mid-life) pick-me-up, today’s interview with professional make-up artist, Muthoni Njoba, may do just the trick. It is possibly one of the most inspiring interviews I’ve posted on Afri-love yet.

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The Love Letter continues

As much as this blog has been a love letter to the continent I call home, it’s also been an outlet for me to explore how to better (and better love) myself.

Blogger Brigitte Lyons puts it so well when she says, “if you want to change the world, better yourself first.” That was the thinking behind this whole Afri-love idea. In order for us to inspire, encourage, demand and create the changes we want to see in our continent, we have to first know, be proud of and love who we are and then, act from that position.

Overcoming the madness
Last year was the busiest year I’ve experienced. Getting a business off the ground is no joke and all the learning, administration, establishing of relationships, bidding for projects, servicing clients and actually doing the core work was a lot to handle. On top of all that, I attempted to blog every weekday and pursue other personal projects. At the end of the year I was exhausted and overwhelmed yet hopeful that the Christmas break would give me an opportunity to work on the things that usually get attention last.

I had a wonderful holiday with my family, who I don’t get to see very often. Wonderful but, not productive in the way that I had planned. January rolled around and it wasn’t exactly the fresh start I’d expected. I found this post from Miss Modish and I could relate, almost down to the word, with how she’d felt before she decided she needed to change things up, for her sanity and health.

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This is not where I wanted to be: a reminder to stop running and be true

Be-yourself-inspiring-women-artists

I came across a video clip of Oprah sharing why she admires Lady Gaga and to sum it up – watching someone who is unabashedly being who they are inspires you to also be your true self.

And that's why I am so grateful to all the fabulous folks who have shared their stories, passion and inspiration in the Afri-love interview series. Reading about how others have followed their dreams, overcome barriers and put themselves first – above other people's expectations of them – reminds me of the value in following my own dreams.

It is way TOO easy to veer off the course of doing what's in your heart. It is way too easy to find yourself being carried away by the needs of other people (and convincing yourself that they are now your needs too). Even if you know where you're going, you might not end up where you're headed. Knowing is a crucial first step but what I'm learning is that constantly reminding yourself is just as important!

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There are many ways to get to Mombasa and so many stories to tell

Many-ways-to-Mombasa

Alternative stories – this has been a recurring theme for me in the past few days. After posting an interview with Ann, aka Afrolicious, whose passion lies ultimately in teaching people to listen and to be heard, I wanted to get some thoughts out in keeping with the spirit of this.

I've been ingesting Western culture all my life, despite growing up in Kenya, and starting this blog is just one reaction to that. One attempt to explore a different story. Being that I share my personal observations, experiences and thoughts – the exploration actually explores several different stories, informed by all aspects of my identity: 
Kenyan
Tanzanian
African
Female
Artist
Designer
Writer
Immigrant
Diasporan
Business owner
Blogger
Natural hair wearer
Perfectionist
Optimist
Idealist … and so on.

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In our own hands: an interview with Kesha Bruce for the 6×6 Summer Blog Tour

My exploration of Afri-love has tended to centre around creativity and the creative professions. Mainly because it’s what I do and what I love but, also because of a strong belief that creativity is a powerful way of inspiring and creating positive change. I’ve also been going on and on (and you may be sick of it by now) about how everything starts with the self. Any change we can hope to encourage on a large scale is likely to be futile if we haven’t also considered how to implement it for ourselves.

Enter artists and Baang+Burne directors, Kesha Bruce and Charlie Grosso, and their 6×6 project: their answer to the question “what if there were no more art galleries?” For 6 weeks starting in September this year, artists in New York City will take matters into their own hands and put on exhibitions to showcase their work. What an inspiring concept! What amazing potential such an idea could have in an African context, where the necessary infrastructure for a viable career as an artist is even more scarce …

I thought I’d get more wisdom from the source – the wonderful Kesha Bruce.

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Rethinking Prosperity: Why I’m not embracing a mall per mile in Nairobi

As Nakumatt malls pop up all over the place in Nairobi, large impersonal retailers in Western countries are hitting hard times. People in these countries are demanding experiences that: make communities vibrant; are architecturally harmonious with their surroundings; are small business friendly and; offer localised rather than one-size-fits-all solutions.

The late bird catches a break
Do we have to follow the same path that these countries have travelled to reach similar conclusions, decades from now? Can we learn from the experiences of the West and avoid this fate?

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One year doing nothing but working on myself (plus giving away a film!)

Reflection

Happy Monday everybody! I hope you're as charged for this new week as I am. This Saturday, Afri-love celebrates its one year anniversary! I can't believe it's arrived so quickly. I am so happy that I've maintained the momentum for this long – though there have been some busy times where I've posted less than I've wanted. I'm so grateful to all of you who read, take the time to comment, interact via Facebook or Twitter and sign up to the mailing list. 

I came across this poignant quote last night:

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3 ideas that have helped me abolish “should”

Reflection

I'm approaching two years of being self-employed and I find myself reflecting on what I've learned during this time. Or rather, all that I've had to unlearn.

In being the master of my own time, I have had to let go of a lot of my conditioning around how things "should" be done. In fact, I've tried to banish the word "should" from my vocabulary completely. In my experience, there is simply only what works for you and what doesn't work for you.

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