This morning, I woke with a terrible headache. M and I have been sick for the past couple of days. That happens when we do not manage to get enough sleep for an extended amount of time, which was the case with our latest travels.
So my Beloved, as he does every morning, prepared us breakfast as I went to the living room to lounge on the couch trying to calm my headache.
But I could not relax because of the many things I have to do and take care of. I felt so overwhelmed that my headache got worse. And from my to-do list, I started thinking about all the things I want to accomplish in my life and how this stupid headache is taking seconds, minutes and hours of productivity away from me, and ultimately away from my dreams. The frustration amplified the pain even more. And then I started thinking about my three little kids in Senegal (not mine but I love them as such), for whom I cannot wait to start the most wonderful schools ever, inspiration behind Tiossano’s “The Purpose of Our Profits” mission. And from there, I went on thinking of all the children of Senegal that Tiossano will be able to give fresh opportunities to as well as all the adults that we will be able to provide jobs to. How the whole country could change if only our model could inspire others to jump in. It was all thoughts of “I am not going fast enough, I am not doing enough! Everything is being delayed. My little namesake is already 2 years old and I would have liked to have his school started already!”. Then I went on thinking about how many more young men were planning trips to Europe in little fishermen’s boats and would not make it. I was thinking of how every single minute, the best aspects of my indigenous culture were at risk of being corrupt by the nastiest sides of western civilization through TV and the Internet, mainly . Which all brought me back to “I need to move faster, better, there are problems there that are getting worse by the minute!!!”. Needless to say that at this point, I was simply a pure mess of emotion with a head that was about to explode.
In moments like this, I turn to Michael for wisdom. He is one of the most determined and patient people I know in this world. His goal and purpose, he knows very well and never looses sight of. He has also accepted that anything worth anything in this life takes time to build. Anything else is smokescreen. I know that, but I still do not have the required discipline in life to exercise those virtues all of the time.
But in moments like this, I also often turn to my Sufi guide who lives in Senegal. So I called him, and we talked for an hour. He reminded me of how far I have come. I asked him again if it was all my vanity and ego urging me to do more and more, all the time. He replied that everything in me longs to make other people’s lives better of. That all I ever talk about are the jobs I want to create, the schools for a new breed of citizen, and giving my culture the spotlight it deserves in this world.
He reminded me to avoid comparing myself to others. Their paths are theirs, whatever they do with it, and that mine is mine. He reminded me that I have everything I could possibly hope for in this world: a husband that would give his life for me, people who, like him, respect and admire me so much he named his little boy after me, and that I have people rooting for me out there. Some I will never know, but they are there. He said that for some people I am doing and being what they always wished to do and be. Some will love me for it, but some will hate me for it. But he reminded me not to care. He reminded me that no one owns my life or destiny except for God. And that even Him will only help me if I prove that I am worthy of it by waking up everyday and working hard at what I want.
He said it was okay to feel overwhelmed sometimes, but he also reminded me that it is the best time to express gratitude for all that I am and all that I have and those who care about me, even if it is only one person (and as he said I can at least count two such people in my life for sure :)).
Then we talked about the children, he told me that my little namesake is all about soccer these days and the first thing he does when he rolls out of bed is go get his ball and say “Papa, do you want to play soccer with me?” or anyone else he comes across as a matter of fact. He told me that everyone is fine, the children are fine, talk of and ask for us often.
He reminded me that all is good and to keep on pushing ahead. He reminded me that he is rooting for me, and that he knew that Michael was too, and that people like him and Michael don’t do that for everyone.
The whole conversation, as usual put such balm on my heart and my headache vanished. At that point, I became very clear again about who I am, what my purpose is and that focused hard work is the only way forward.
So I got up, went to shower, and while the tasty meal I concocted for M and I is cooking on the stove, I am sitting here, writing this blog post, before charging forward with what I have to do. I now have a big, bright smile on my face, and the confidence in my heart that I will create those jobs, build those schools and turn Dakar and Senegal into a hot cultural leader around the world.