Am Changing My Story

​I’m trying to change my story. I’m trying to change my narrative. I’m trying to change the voices in my head.
I’m trying to tell the world another story about myself. I’m trying to make it a story of hope, faith and success rather than a story of struggle, despair and failure.
I’m trying not to paint myself as a victim anymore. I’m done blaming my parents, my school, my friends or my culture for all my setbacks. I’m working with what I’ve got. I’m finally figuring out the right path for me. I’m finally driving in the right direction. I’m finally learning that it doesn’t have to be a sad story with no destination. I’m finally learning that I can still change the ending. I can still make it a happy one.
I’m trying not to associate my age with everything.Why I’m not rich or why I haven’t traveled to all the places I wanted to visit. I’m changing my hopeless questions to one simple answer: faith. I’m changing my story from being hopeless to being faithful. I no longer think everything in my life was ‘delayed,’ everything was right on time, everything came exactly when it should have arrived — not sooner or later because now I have the wisdom to appreciate them, the strength to endure the obstacles on the way, the stamina to fight harder for what I believe in and the gratitude to be thankful for the whole journey.
I’m changing my story from loneliness and darkness to self-love and light. I’m changing the tone of negative self-talk, of feeling inadequate, of being afraid of missing out, of being too attached to the minor things in life, of being too concerned about what people think to simply letting go of perfection, of deadlines, of expiration dates and expectations.
I’m human. I’m still finding myself. I’m still trying to understand life. I’m still trying to define what happiness is. I’m still trying to understand what kind of love I’m looking for and I’m tired of feeling sorry for myself just because I don’t have all the answers.
I’m done trying to make my story all about answers, I just want to enjoy reading it, I just want to enjoy living it. I just want to try to make it a good one. Even if it means having more questions than answers, even if it means not getting everything I want.
I’m not going to change the essence of the story, I’m changing everything around it. I’m changing the way I tell it. I’m changing the way I write it. I’m changing my voice, my tone and my speech.
I’m taking my pain and heartbreak and turning them into something beautiful. I’m editing my story, sometimes we forget that it’s still a draft, not the final manuscript and we can always go back and change it. It’s not over yet

​It’s OK To Not Be OK

We are living in a generation that is obsessed with finding happiness. The self-help industry is larger than ever, with people searching for more meaning and a better quality of life. Mindfulness, meditation, and gratitude journals are the new cool.

But it also appears that people are becoming lonelier, sadder, and more depressed. What’s worse is that depression gets such bad press and so much stigma surrounding it.

There is no doubt that sadness or grief can be extremely uncomfortable and intense, but perhaps the idea of sadness that society has created makes it more unbearable to welcome than what it actually is to feel. We have no skills to deal with challenging times other than what we learn over time by experiencing life and gaining wisdom. There is a difference between sadness and depression, but if sadness is not dealt with in a healthy way, it can lead to depression. If you want a healthy self, then you need to heal thyself.

Society has taught us to believe that showing “negative emotions” such as sadness is a sign of weakness. It’s crazy to think how much stigma exists around the idea of being sad or depressed. It drives you to wonder if we all live on the same planet or not. The truth is nobody is exempt from suffering and nobody, no matter how rich or successful, is above depression.

Our world is a hectic place filled with connections, possibilities, ideas, and theories. Our world is also energizing and inspiring, but a lot of times it can be exhausting and confusing. It is our duty to equip ourselves with survival skills and to program our mindsets to complement a healthy way of living, thinking, and acting in order to thrive. We must gain the ability to release our thoughts and embrace stillness and conquer calmness in times of turmoil. This involves learning to recognize self-destructive thoughts and ideas and mentally organize them as to what is true and what is false.

It’s time to accept that it’s OK to not be OK. Sadness serves a purpose. It brings excellent information about your life. It’s a natural response to an event or experience in your life. It’s nothing to fear.
The intention of sadness is to tell you something is not right and you need to make changes in your life or perhaps let someone you love go. The idea is to welcome the emotion like you would with any other feeling, invite it and ask it questions, like “what do I need to learn here” and “can I change something about this situation or not?” Breathe. Exhale. Let go.
Do not make the situation worse by torturing yourself with anger and shame for messing up or feeling not good enough. Under all your loud, crazy, false beliefs you are more than perfect.
We simply cannot control every event in the universe. We cannot control other people’s behavior, but we can control ourselves and how we respond to the situation, and the best way to respond is with compassion. Accept the feeling and forgive yourself for being a human being that feels too much and loves too much. Forgive yourself for not being a robot that can simply ignore undesirable moments and events. Being sad is part of life. Treat your feelings with respect and love yourself enough to not use alcohol, drugs, food, or people as therapy. This will make you feel worse. The yucky feelings will not magically disappear by burying them; they will only fester.
You can choose to share your thoughts and feelings with others but don’t expect others to totally understand, because people are all different and pain is incomparable, every situation is handled differently. The only person that truly understands the depths of your feelings is you, and for this reason you must express yourself as much as you like and don’t feel like you need to fight it, this will start a huge inner conflict.
The idea is to acknowledge sadness as a normal emotion just like happiness. Do the inner work and let it go. All of our emotions lead us to knowing understanding ourselves better.
Also, just like our emotions have a valuable purpose, crying also serves us. The emotional tears we shed help the body recover from stressful events by excreting excess hormones such as the old stress hormone and help you to detoxify emotionally. So crying makes you feel better. Now you have every reason to cry it out.

I hope this helped many of you.

Be Still My Soul

Nothing stays the same—this is what I’ve discovered in growing up. And of course I knew this, but I continually fight it. I want to understand. I want to make sense of what is happening around me. I want to know where I’m headed and see beyond the present. I want to go and go and go and rush and take everything in, taste it, spin it around in my mind until I get dizzy.

 

But something I’m learning is how to slow down.
Something I’m learning is how to be still.

I’m learning to quiet the rushing thoughts in my head. I’m learning to close my eyes and breathe deeply, smell the earth, the sky, the hint of flowery perfume, the bagel shop down the street, the cotton of clean clothes, the sticky-sweet fruit from the outdoor market.

I’m learning to let life happen—to me and around me—and smile, even through the storm. I’m learning that you cannot have answers held in the palm of your hand or written somewhere on a sheet of scrap paper, ready to be pulled from your pocket and read when life seems to stray from its path.

I’m learning that sometimes what you know will drastically change, and you will only exhaust yourself trying to keep up, trying to run when you’re only meant to walk, trying to make people love you when they’re meant to be set free.

I’m learning to be still.

I’m learning to close my eyes and slow down time, make a moment stay, instead of letting it so quickly fade into a memory. I’m learning to relish in the present, to hold onto it for as long as I can and quit looking ahead to the next adventure, next thing, next item on my list.

I’m learning that I cannot rush—my decisions, God’s plans, or the feelings written on someone else’s heart. I do not have control of this; I must trust, let go, and let life play out.

I am a character in the movie, not a director, not the one who can rewrite the script or know what’s coming, no matter how hard I try to. And I am learning to trust in this.

I’m learning to stand on solid ground and quit fighting the natural course of events, quit being so damn stubborn when what I think should happen doesn’t, or when what does doesn’t match up with my pre-written plan in the slightest.

I’m learning that stillness doesn’t mean a perfect life, but it does give me peace. And I’m learning that when I stop running wild, stop letting myself be pulled in three different directions, stop thinking I have to know everything—I am in-tune with the people around me, stronger in my faith, and more focused on the people and things that really matter.

I’m learning that when I am still I am not static, but strong. I am prepared. I am whole and have regained my sense of self. I’m learning that when I am still, I am not looking at what’s to come, but celebrating what is, and ready for whatever God has planned for me next.

I am learning that life is even more beautiful when I stop trying to have the answers, when I stop trying to write my own path, when I stop trying to continually be something, be somewhere, and instead just be.

I’m learning to be still. 

 

 

In the Words of Charlie Chaplin:

img_20170302_124739_285.jpgI’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor. That’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone if possible; Jew, Gentile, black man, white. We all want to help one another.

Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness, not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone, and the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone.
The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way. Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical; our cleverness, hard and unkind.
We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery, we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost. The airplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men; cries out for universal brotherhood; for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women, and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people.

To those who can hear me, I say, do not despair. The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress.
The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish. Soldiers! Don’t give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you, enslave you; who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel! Who drill you, diet you, treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder.

 

Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men – machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines, you are not cattle, you are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts! You don’t hate! Only the unloved hate; the unloved and the unnatural.

 

Soldiers! Don’t fight for slavery! Fight for liberty! In the seventeenth chapter of St. Luke, it is written that the kingdom of God is within man, not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you!
You, the people, have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure.

 

Then in the name of democracy, let us use that power. Let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfill that promise. They never will!

 

Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people. Now let us fight to fulfill that promise. Let us fight to free the world! To do away with national barriers! To do away with greed, with hate and intolerance! Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness. Soldiers, in the name of democracy, let us all unite!”

A Love Letter To The Non-Believer

Dear You,
I know what you’re thinking. I know you already have your guard up, your metaphorical blanket wrapped tight around your shoulders, your eyes a little squinted at the screen. I know you’re wondering who the hell I think I am writing to you—as if I know your life or what you’re going through, as if could even begin to understand the depths of your trials, or the aches in your heart.

I don’t. I’ll fully admit that.

But see, I’m not writing to you from a place of perfection. I’m not writing to you from a high horse, from a chair of confidence, from this all-knowing stance, or from any ground other than the one you’re standing on.

I’m not writing to you because I think I know who you are or where you’ve been, or because I think I could ‘fix you’ or that you’re even in need of fixing.

I’m writing to you in my brokenness, in my failure, in my fear and insecurity and sin and mistakes. I’m writing to you because I am you, in so many ways. I’m writing to you because I want you to know you’re not alone. You’re heard. You’re noticed. You’re loved.

See, there’s a big misconception about my faith—that we’re people who think we’re better, that we’re trying to ‘save’ people that need saving, as if you aren’t capable of helping yourselves. But that’s not what Christianity is about. It’s not about telling people that they’re damned and sinful. It’s not about trying to act like we’re better, just because we believe in the unseen.

I’m writing to you, not because I think you need help, or because I think I’m in a much better place, or because it’s some moral duty of mine—I’m writing to you because I care. I’m writing to you because I used to be you. The person who was fine on their own, or broken and alone, or just swimming through life, attempting to find my own direction.

And I want you to know you don’t have to be lost.

I want you to know that life is all ups and downs. Sometimes you’ll feel incredible. Sometimes you’ll wake up and know that you do this on your own. And sometimes you’ll be totally able to.

But then other mornings you’ll wakeup and stub your toe on the cabinet. You’ll be out of milk for the cereal you just poured. You’ll be late to work and have your new car rear-ended at the stoplight. You’ll strain your back lifting groceries from the trunk. Your significant other will break up with you. The list goes on—you know what I mean, don’t you?

Sometimes life just gets out of our control. One minute we’re fine, the next we’re flat on our faces on the concrete, wondering what the heck we slipped on. And that’s where faith comes in.

Faith is trusting in the unseen and knowing that there is a God, a God who loves you all the time. Not just when you’re ‘perfect’ or ‘good.’ But not just when you’re broken either.

Faith is knowing that this God gave His son, His everything for you. For me. For us. So that we don’t have to face this craziness alone. So that when we’re up, we can celebrate. So that when we’re down, we can hold onto Him to guide us through.

See, this is why I’m writing to you—because I want you to know that love, to feel that love soak into your pores, to understand that no matter what happens or where you wander or how many times you fall short, you are forgiven and loved.

I want you to know that even though you don’t believe in Him, God is here. He’s waiting for you, and He’s guiding your life. He’s sending you miracles and signs. He’s blessing you. He’s calling you to Him when nothing else in life is going according to your plan.

I hope you listen.

And I hope you understand that I’m writing this because I care, not because I want to shove my beliefs down your throat, not because I have biased intentions, not because I think you and your way of living is ‘wrong.’

But because I know my God is a good God, a wonderful God, an incredible God—and I want you to know Him.

So please, know that you are loved. Know that you are strong. Know that you are beautiful and wonderful and complex and made by a God who will never leave or forsake you, no matter how much you push Him away.

Know that you don’t have to face this world alone.

Know that someone is fighting for you.

Know that my God cares, and I care.

Know that it’s okay to be skeptical, it’s okay to be scared, it’s okay to wonder and ask questions and be angry. But know that the anger you feel in your chest can be released. Know that the pain pulled into a tight knot around your heart can be untied. Know that the bitterness can be let go of.

Know you can begin again in His love.

So I hope you let your guard down, just a little. I hope you read these words, and then re-read them, just to know His heart a bit more.

I hope you know my door is open to talk, as is any Christian’s. And I hope that if and when you’re ready, you’ll reach out—to us, to Him—and know that you’ll be welcomed with open arms.

All my love,

Cliff Ochomo . 

​What you don’t know about the Doctor’s Strike

Truth is, negotiations over compensation arrangements always involve legitimate self-interest. The seller of services (in this case a doctor) attempts to obtain as much compensation as possible, while the buyer (Government) attempts to obtain the service at the lowest possible cost.
That is why there needs to be an updated nation’s estimated fair market value for every profession at any point in time. But before we get to that, here’s a major problem we have as Kenyans:
Simple Math
In the new demands, the proposed minimum basic salary is Ksh.107,730 up from the current Ksh.35,910. That’s a 200% INCREMENT not 300%. The 300% reflects the proposed pay as a percentage of the current pay NOT THE INCREMENT! Including allowances, the proposed minimum gross pay is Ksh.325,730 over the current Ksh.127,910. That’s a 154.65% INCREMENT and NOT 300% INCREMENT with 254.65% being the proposed gross pay as a percentage of the current gross pay.
Since we’ve cleared the air on the math, basing our arguments around the 154.65% Total Pay increment is utterly misleading. The argument should instead be centered on whether the basic salary the physicians are asking for reflects their fair market value. We need to take note of the fact that the 154.65% basically indicates the deviation of the current pay from what the physicians perceive to be the current fair market value of the profession.
So do the pay demands reflect the fair market value of a Physician in Kenya? This should be the basis of the discussion.
The Fair market value in this case is determined by several factors but I’d like to bring one obvious one into the spotlight: The Patient Demand. According to a recent article on The Star on a recent study by KMPDU, the survey revealed that Kenya has 3,956 doctors in the public sector but the number drops by the month as more doctors resign, having already lost over 2,000 of them as a result of poor working conditions. 3,956 doctors in public sector means Kenya is a nation with an estimated doctor: patient ratio of 1:17,000 against WHO recommended ratio of 1:1,000.
A ratio of 1:17000 mathematically means that each physician does the work of relatively 17 physicians ceteris paribus. That’s a mathematical projection of the current patient overload on an average physician in Kenya. Cuba, on the other hand, with 70,000 trained physicians, currently leads the world with the lowest doctor to patient ratio of 1:155 as per 2012; it’s probably at 1:140 or less by now. Clearly the lowest patient overload in the world~ Just in case you were about to bring Cuba Physician pay into the picture.
India on the other end has doctor to patient ratio of 1:1,681 as per 2016. South Africa: 1: 1,298 against a minimum gross pay of about Ksh. 370,000 per month. Do not forget that the average Consumer Price Index of South Africa over the past 3 years has been around 120.5 while Kenya’s at around 161.
So what does this data show us? Kenyan Physicians are overworked. And more importantly, the market value for a physician in Kenya is approximately over 10 Times higher than a physician in South Africa or USA for instance. Sad story.
Ok…enough with the pay and the suffering of these poor doctors.
Money is a sensitive issue. Definitely why the other more important demands in the CBA are easily going unnoticed: Review of physician working conditions, job structures and criteria for promotions and training, addressing under-staffing of medical professionals in public hospitals, availing of appropriate Medical Equipment, Medical Research facilitation among others.
The truth is, the realities of public hospitals in Kenya are horrible. With the implementation of this agreement as it is, we can project improved services in public hospitals especially for the average Kenyan. We don’t need any more of us struggling with finances to get folks to India or South Africa.
A study of the confederation of Indian Industry in 2005 put the annual number of Medical Tourists at 151,000 and projected the figure to rise by 15% a year. Current estimates put the numbers at around 500,000. About 60% of Kenyans who travel for medical care go to India, with South Africa coming at a distant second with slightly above 15%.
Studying these two countries, their major Health Industry Strengths are: Better doctor to patient ratio, Better working conditions, Better medical equipment and Medical Research facilitation. These, among others, generally translate to better services in public hospitals.
The same is possible for Kenya with this agreement’s implementation. Besides access to quality Health Services for an average Kenyan, Kenya can become a hub of medical tourism in the East Africa Region. According to Pathway CEO in a recent article on Nation, every month we get up to 2,000 patients coming to Kenya Hospitals from the greater East Africa region. We can triple this numbers every year.
But our government simply wants to trade all that with a 40% pay rise just to silence the doctor’s strike.
This is a government that allocates only Ksh. 60.4 Billion to Health, 2.43% of the 2016/2017 budget. The same government has lost over Ksh. 600 Billion to CORRUPTION, 24.2% of the 2016/2017 budget. It’s a shame.

Think about it. And don’t stop.

A Prayer For The Days You Feel Broken Beyond Repair

Dear God,

I come to you with every part of myself shattered. I come to you with the person I used to be so far gone, I can hardly remember him. I come to you with honestly, nothing.

Because I not only have lost my way, but I’ve lost myself.

Today I looked in the mirror and I didn’t recognize the reflection. There is an ache that I can see in my face, in the lines around what used to be my smile, in the hollowness of my eyes.

Father, I’m sad. I’ve been betrayed. I’ve been hurt. I’ve been hard on myself. I used to be so strong. I used to be so happy. Life used to bring me down, but never this far. I always had the strength to rise again.

But now, I don’t know what happened.

Maybe I’ve strayed too far from your light. Maybe I let people pull me away from your mercy. Maybe I’ve trusted my own feet to guide me, when I should have been following your footsteps all along.

Maybe I’ve been trying to do this all alone, when what I really need to do is let go and give this pain to you.

See, God, I’ve been aching for too long now. My heart feels broken. My eyes feel heavy. My legs are like dead weight, dragging behind me with every step. I’ve started to see the world differently. I don’t open my eyes and smile into the sunshine. I don’t laugh easily at the silly jokes of life. I don’t look at strangers, or listen to the birds, or pet puppies when they pass by me on the street.

I’ve just been ho-humming through my days. I’ve just been wishing every second away. I’ve just been dreading, and plugging, and existing. I haven’t been living. And I want this to change.

Lord, I need you. I need your grace. I need your forgiveness. I need your love to lift this heavy weight from my shoulders and help me begin again.

For too long I’ve been carrying this burden. For too long I’ve been letting my heartache determine my fate. For too long I’ve been looking in this mirror and only seeing the cracks, the brokenness, the faults, the flaws.

And I need to see you again.

Lord, I ask that you come back into my life, that you flood me with your holiness and happiness. I ask that you come to me in my brokenness, in my undeserving, sinful nature, and remind me that I am always forgiven, always loved.

Please remind me who I am. Please remind me I am yours.

Please take these shattered pieces of my heart, these tired hands, these crying eyes, this lonely heart and turn my face to you, Lord. Show me how your forgiveness has healed me, and will continue to heal me, every single day. Show me how your mercy will lift me from this place of despair.

Show me that I do not have to live like this anymore.

And brighten my days, bring a smile to my face. Teach me that when I feel irreparably broken, I can always turn to you and you will make me whole again.

Remind me that I am never alone.

And remind me, when I look in the mirror, that I need not look for negativity, for faults, for all the pieces of me that are imperfect. Help me to see happiness again. Help me to see a Son of Christ, beautiful because of His love for me.

Amen.