The Love of Football

Originally posted on SAINT VIOLA - THE GREAT:

I’ve often found it quite baffling
People’s immense love for a sport
That’s nothing more than ball handling
And a thunderous crowd of rare support.
Male and female, old and young
The spirit takes over their hearts and souls
Holding them captive, and quite overhung
Until the scoring of the goals.

Have you noticed the deserted streets
On a day a match is to be played?
Have you observed the loud drumbeats
That accompanies a team-win parade?
I ask myself, is this love or is this obsession?
Is this fan sell-out without discretion?
That a ball-engage in a ninety minute session
Would elicit from so many, such weighty expression.

Football binds the country, they’re quick to say
Football is an antidote for dismay
Whether to watch or whether to play
Football reigns every day.
At this point, there’s nothing more that I can say
Other than pass the ball, and…

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Celebrate Life

Originally posted on SAINT VIOLA - THE GREAT:

Saint Viola

Birthdays are special times in our lives
To celebrate the gift of God that is called life
Birthdays are special moments in our lives
To recount with joy the goodness of this life
Not that it’s always been so full of roses
Or there’ve not been situations that get up our noses
But we’ve by grace sailed through life’s courses
And triumphed in glory over contending forces
So, we celebrate the fact that we’re alive
That we reign and rule, and more than survive
We celebrate the love, the care and all things sincere
Outpourings of our hearts that we happily share
And we celebrate the One who gives us strength
For every single day we’re on earth.
Happy Birthday!

© VIOLA AKHIGBE, March 2014
Educationalist & Word Artist

Viola’s Celebrate Life was also published in THE NATION Newspaper on Wednesday, March 12, 2014 (Pg. 48) –



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‘if’ by Rudyard Kipling

Originally posted on The 'Soopa' Blogger:

Dedicated to my beautiful son…..Kai


If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master,

If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

And stoop and build ‘em up with…

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What Does it Really Mean to Be In Love

IMG_3408Because the only love I experienced before being with A was the ‘unrequited love’ type, I can feel that I have something missing with him. I am not in pain with him, I do not think about him every second of the day, I do not crumble when he does not text me back. I know it sounds silly and I am clearly looking back with rose-tinted glasses because I also remember that it’s a genuinely awful feeling, too. All the same, my wounded self is shouting so loud that what I have with A is NOT what I want. It shouts saying ‘I want someone that makes me melt’ ‘I want to feel proud of his incredible handsome looks and show him off’ ‘I want a man that is on a pedestal that I can worship, and never fades’.

I know that this is an unhealthy part of me, one that I would really like to shed, but it’s persistent and assures me that this is what I want. My wounded self tells me that that is what it is to REALLY be in love.

- An email from a client, published with her permission

This is certainly what our culture tells us it means to really be in love. We learn at a tender, early age that being in love means drama, chase, and delicious, exquisite agony/ecstasy. It means worshipping the object of your desire, being inspired to write angst-ridden love poems about your cherished beloved, always feeling proud to be attached to this person as if it increases your worth or status in some way. It means you miss him desperately when he’s away; it means you feel almost painfully attracted to her every time you see her. In short, it means a feeling.

The truth, however, is that being in love has nothing to do with my client’s description above. What she described is an adolescent infatuation that seeks to find validation, aliveness, and connection through the gaze of the beloved. She’s describing a state of longing that is often misunderstood as being in love. This adolescent infatuation in ultimately a self-serving experience where the lover or pursuer seeks to fill her or himself up by receiving the approval of the beloved or distancer. There is nothing healthy about this state of what we call being in love. It has nothing to with giving and everything to do with taking.

So if this isn’t what it means to really be in love, what does it mean?

This is how I see being in healthy love:

  • Being in love means that you’re committed to the practice of learning about love.
  • Being in love isn’t exclusive to romantic relationships. We fall in love with our children, with new friends, with pets, with a stimulating dance or yoga class, with life itself.
  • When we talk about being in love, we’re referring to the strong feelings of joy, warmth, and sometimes ecstasy that bubble up from the heart in the presence of the beloved (again, not necessarily a romantic partner).

Like all feelings, these “in love” feelings are transitory. Every mother has had the experience of “falling out of love” with her child (a painful transition that deserves much more awareness and conversation in this culture). Likewise, if you had an in love phase with your romantic partner, you will inevitably fall out of love at some point. This is when the real work of learning about love begins.

Here’s my definition of being in love: The sweet and sometimes subtle joy that springs up from an open heart when the fear walls fall away and you connect to the warm current that runs inside your soul. You can experience this feeling when sitting in nature, gazing at your newborn, or holding hands with your partner. It’s an experience that is born from the fullness of your heart and leads to loving actions in service of others.

Where being infatuated comes from emptiness, truly being in love comes from fullness. Where infatuation is an immature state of being that seeks to take, truly being in love is a mature state of being that seeks, above all else, to give. When your fear walls and protection systems come down and you learn how to fill your well of Self, the state of love in which we are born naturally overflows toward others. We long for the feeling of being in love as proof that our relationship is valid, that it will withstand the test of time, and as a way to fill ourselves up and feel alive. But what we tragically and culturally fail to grasp is that it’s only when we learn to express love as genuine care and concern for another’s well-being do the feelings that we long for bubble to the surface.

And here’s the good news: Learning to soften your fear walls and fill yourself up so that you can experience being in love are skills that we can all learn! When it comes to intimate partnerships, there are certain Love Laws and Loving Actions that, when practiced daily, will open your heart and allow you to see yourself and others as you really are.

If you want to learn to dismantle the unrealistic blueprints and expectations you’ve absorbed about love, sex, and attraction – expectations that are quite possibly creating a barrier between you and the loving partner in your life – and learn the Love Laws and Loving Actions that will soften your fear walls, I would love for you to join me in my next round of Open Your Heart: A 30 day program to feel more love and attraction for your partner.

For Women Only: Knowing What Matters Most to Your Husband

lyskyIt’s no secret that it feels like women and men speak different languages sometimes. And, as a relationship therapist, often couples will come in with one goal in mind: FIX HIM! (Or, HER!)

We hardly take a step back to see how to take personal responsibility for our own actions in our marriages. Yet when we do, the outcome is incredibly rewarding.

When each of us, men and women, decide to look beyond our own needs momentarily to see what our spouse needs, the value is almost instantly realized. Sure, taking care of ourselves is paramount, but marriage is a challenge because we have a constant companion by which we interact with more than any other person on the planet (usually).

Recently, I wrote about the secret lives of women. Husbands took note of the most important aspects of the inner lives of their wives.

Now, women take note: what you don’t know about the inner workings of your husband can be hurting your marriage – bigtime! And, as Shaunti Feldhahn shows us in her book, For Women Only, just a few simple strategies can reap great rewards.

Key #1: Respect versus Love

Ladies, this may come as a shock: research shows that men would rather be unloved than disrespected. Stop for a moment and think about how it would feel if you felt your spouse didn’t love you. Pretty horrible, right? The same is true for men who feel disrespected!

What to do: In his judgment, abilities, and capabilities and in communication, show your husband you respect him and believe in him as often as you can. The difference in love and respect are slight, and when your husband hears, “I’m proud of you” this is a show of love for him. Believe in the best from your spouse, and chances are, he’ll have more confidence to give you his very best.

Key #2: Security and Supply

Both men and women often feel a deep sense of insecurity. We fear being “found out” or that we’re always just slightly above our optimal working level. Husbands also feel a deep need to provide for his family, both financially and in security. Your husband wants to know he is the “protector,” even if his wife supplies more monetary support to the family.

What to do: The truth is, we all want to be affirmed in our abilities as humans. And, when we don’t get the “at-a-boys” at home, we seek them elsewhere. From working too many hours, to immersing himself in sports and outside activities at the expense of family time, to crossing the boundaries with female coworkers, husbands will figure out a way to feel admired for what he brings to the table. Therefore, our job as wives is to show confidence in our spouse! Affirm him, encourage him, and support him (just as we would want, right?).

Key #3: Sex and Emotions

Sounds like an oxymoron to some women, but despite popular belief, your husband IS an emotional being! And, while it may seem like sex and emotions don’t go hand-in-hand, they do. However, men feel more connected to their wives through the act of sex, and your husband wants to know you want him. He feels loved to his core when you crave him sexually.

What to do: Imagine what it feels like to feel emotionally disconnected from your spouse, as if he doesn’t understand you and you’re on two different planes. That doesn’t feel good at all! That’s exactly how your husband feels when he isn’t sexually connected. The mere act alone helps him feel loved, secure, respected and confident. Women, make sex a priority in your marriage. Instead of seeing the act as a “duty” or a job, see it for what it is: an emotional connection. Just as women want emotional connection, men do as well, and it can often come in the form of sex.

Key #4: Romance

This may come as a shock, but your husband wants romance, too! However, it’s important to note that men not only view romance differently, but they also feel somewhat insecure about romancing you the way you want to be romanced (I mean, it does make a man step out of his comfort zone when he’s doing what YOU want rather than what HE wants, right?)

What to do: Understand that when your husband wants to go to a sporting event with you, “hang out” with you, or have you on his arm in various social situations, this very well could be romance for him. He enjoys being able to show you off and be proud of you with his friends. Also, encourage your husband through the “rough” spots of romance: encourage him when he steps out of his comfort zone, show him you appreciate his efforts, and let him know he’s your number one. And remember this from Key #3 above, for some men, romance may not feel complete without sex. Understanding why is key: men see the act of sex as the connection itself, whereas women see the connection as a stand-alone. When your husband steps out of his comfort zone to romance you the way you want to be romanced (and yes, some even enjoy it!), he may feel discouraged not getting his “connection” (through sex).

Key #5: Appearance

Yes, your spouse cares about your appearance, but perhaps not in the way you think. Your appearance is more about how you take care of and carry yourself, not your size. Yes, size does matter, but it matters less when you are clean, tidy, smelling good, and have confidence to boot! Your husband wants to feel proud of you, because you help him look good.

What to do: Examine all parts of your appearance: size, physical exercise, overall cleanliness and tidiness. If you feel MOSTLY bad about your appearance overall, chances are your husband does, too. He won’t admit it, but he does want you to fix yourself up and show more confidence in the way you look and feel about yourself.

(Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Jennifer Ryan of I Choose Change.)

Alone in christmas time

Originally posted on arteculchure's Blog:

It’s like happiness is staring you in the face
But its still the same ol’ empty feeling in your heart.
Everyone seems happy
but you’re wallowing in loneliness

You’re crossing the street but you can’t see
The christmas joy radiating from each angle
Your heart, mind and soul is blank
Void of any emotion

People in love pass you by
Your heart bleeds!
Cause you could have been like them
But you messed everything up!

With shoulders slumped and eyes down,
You carry about your own loneliness
though her face still haunts you
Every night in your dreams

Maybe, one day, you’ll understand why
Everyone you love surely leaves
But for now, dear one
You are alone in christmas time.

*Seasons greetings*

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