CHANGING

That feeling
That it is the end of an era
And your life is about to change
Every song you play
Is like a lullaby of life’s evening
With morning on the mountain-range
Once distant
Now descending like dawn‘s mist
The way it will constantly re-arrange
It‘s shape before you
And around you and within you
And make you feel new, open and strange.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije

ATTENTION TO DETAIL

Every shift in form takes a bit of attention away from content as the consciousness or subconscious seeks through a reappraisal of form, and an attempted understanding of the reason for the shift, to glimpse a hint at the current nature of content. So, the understanding of content – on its way from itself to itself – takes a detour via attention to and understanding of form.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije

THE CHANGING JOURNEY

I know how it feels to die, having done so twice in this earthlife. The third time, I guess, will be the last.

In everything, I’ve learned that life comes and goes, like the leaves of a tree, like the steps of a journey, like the chapters of a book, in phases, steps and stages. And the most important recognition of all was this: Don‘t live in the past.

You can never be again the person you once were, nor do you need to. When you wonder – „What happened to me?“ – you miss the point. You are on a journey, a journey of inner development; a journey of character and personality growth; a journey of spiritual maturing. This is the real journey of life.

On this journey, you will pass through many phases of personality, different characteristics of character, you will be different people at different times.

Have the courage to become the new – and when it has grown old, have the courage again to shed it, leave it behind and move seekingly towards the new New. Do not be enticed by outward gains to stay in the old; nor pressured by difficulties to abandon the present or the New. Go your way with integrity, dignity and trust, because Vanity and Indolence are the true enemies on the journey of life.

You will be born many times, and die many times. And the past will be as a Dream. Just like a new born baby cannot remember it’s former earth-lives, so will you even within one earth-life sometimes die and wonder „What happened to me?“

Life happened to you, my friend. Like a train going from station to station, you are journeying from one state of being to another. It might be an upward journey or a downward journey – the choice is yours.

Just remember, what ever you do: Do not live in the past – no matter how good or bad it was. Like a boxer in a fight, sitting in the corner between rounds, you cannot go back and correct a bad round, but you can get up and fight the next one better.

Like a boxer in a fight, sitting in the corner between rounds, you cannot go back and hold on to the last good round you fought. Then you were fresh, now you‘re tired. Then you were strong, now you‘re injured. But you‘ve grown too, in knowledge and experience. So, get up and go into the next round – and give your best.

One good thing about life: it is not boxing. It is greater. Your best rounds are the rounds in which you give not darkness, but Love.

Che Chi-di Chukwu-meri-je.

THE YOUNG SHALL GROW… INTO THE OLD.

My first experience with “partisan” politicking was when I was in junior secondary School. We had to separate out into different social groups and clubs, conduct elections, decide on and plan our first projects, and things like that. There were clubs like the “Junior Lieterary Society”, the “Dramatic and Cultural Soceity”, the “Red Cross Soceity”, the “UNICEF soceity”, and more. Some clubs were more popular than others, their members and leaders enjoying almost cult status and exuding an uncanny power of attraction on girls. Some people naturally wanted they and their friends to go enmasse into certain of these clubs and take over the structure and the leadership.

Spontaneously the political animal jumped out of little teenage boys; campaigns and clandestine signs, signals and meetings filled the corridors and classrooms for a few days; conspiracy theories and rumours abounded, and people cross-carpeted at will, sometimes multiple times in one day. Treachery, backstabbing, mockery, insinuation and slander were the rule of the day; it was gleeful fun; sweet-talking and arm-twisting; and efforts were made on all sides to influence people’s decisions to be loyal to one or betray another. The set was agog with negotiations and coalition-building and -undermining. Friends turned into spies; and one moment people were doing what they had condemned a moment before.

Promises of provisions, cornflakes, ice cream, invitations to certain parties, access to certain items of fashion like baffs, perfumes and designer shoes, assurances of cronje and copying, and even a share in one’s precious pocket money, could work wonders on the conscience and decision-making capacity of many a hitherto well-brought-up boy. Where cajoling and bribe proved ineffective, threats, intimidation and blackmail were applied. No-one wants to lose his friends or be left out of the group. Some people just followed out of insecurity, so as to belong. Some were more calculating and strategic in the way they aligned their support. Some others simply laughingly gave their vote to the highest bidder. Cash and carry junior politics.

Naturally not everyone displayed these maverick political instincts. Some aligned themselves based on noble ideology, some made a pledge and kept their word, and things like that; and some just had no clue or no interest. But in the end, it was the politicaally astute and the politically aggressive that won and got their way. Verily, with time even the “ideological” started to rethink their stance and to quietly join the popular clubs, especially when enticed with the offer of leadership positions. In all this of course I was not just an observer – I was caught in the web of dynamics.

Prior to this occassion I had looked with disdain at the corrupt older generation, and with hope and certainty at my generation, sure that when it was our time we would do things differently and change the country for the better. This event was one of those important early turning points and awakening moments in my young life. I saw that we are all the same. I learned that generational change is an opportunity and, eventually, a necessity; but it is not a guarantee of spiritual renewal or character transformation of a group. It is a promise of change, but not in itself a fulfilment of it. Volition alone is the trigger of change. Old or Young, you have to want to change, or you will repeat – at best in different forms – the essence of the sins of villains past.

Another thing I learned is that kids are not innocent. They know early and they show early who they are and who they want to be, or are prepared to allow themselves to be.

So, now the Mantra: “Generational Change” is in the air again. But a young wolf and an old wolf are the same – with the difference, that a young wolf is probably even hungrier. The old of today were once the youth of yesterday; and the factors that sidelined the “good” yesterday and put the “bad” in power, those same factors will be at work again today; are at work again today – they don’t go on leave. So when you’re choosing the next generation, apply the filter of knowledge and experience gained from events and processes past. Because the young shall grow… into the old. So choose wisely, and follow those that will lead us not into temptation and corruption again.

It is the job of the old to set the right example for the youth. But where the old have failed to do this, then the youth must must set forth at dawn and set these examples for themselves, and for the youth of tomorrow. No more “same old, same old”. Once upon a time, Musical Youth sang “The Youth of Today”. What happened along the way? No wonder in the same song they also sang “Don’t blame the youth…” – as if they already knew what was coming next. Well, may the next “Generation Change” usher in at last the attitudinal Change and the orientation change that we so badly Need.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

RUNNING WATERS

The story you told in the west is not identical with the laughter you laughed in the north, nor with the song you sang in the south, nor the thoughts you expressed in the east…

The language you spoke on the mountain is very different from the tongue you adopted in the valley, and from the violins you played through the woods, and the ballad you composed upon the blue-green meadows…

The roar you let out as you charged past us has a different content from the groan the desert drew out of you; and the whisper which ye sighed in this grateful heart is not the same cry with which ye flow into the sea.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije

CHANGE

Today we play on these strings, tomorrow
We play on different strings…
Today we hang from these beads, tomorrow
We hang from different beads
Today man swings to these beats, tomorrow
He changes to the swing of different beats;
And the lutes we finger are the same
Yet different, for the strings they hold
Have become different with time
Because every new day a new thing brings
And different hearts at different points will beat
On different strings.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

YESTERDAY’S FACES

YESTERDAY, IT WAS as beautiful as the early morning sunlight dancing upon a rose. My heart was not my heart, but myself; and my face was not my face, but the shimmering reflection of my heart.

As I was striding once, I saw a figure hovering in the Air. But she had no wings, only the longest, most gleaming braids I ever saw, but gleaming not as bright as her eyes, eyes a-smiling straight into mine.

“Come, my friend,” called she to me in voice of purest gold, “Follow me awhile and I will show you distant places of light and harmony, yes indeed I will!”

I nodded and right there and then her words lifted me up into the magic-coloured sky where, I by her side, we flew over two crystal mountains and one silver lake and then hovered a while above a garden where children wiser than the wisest men were building beautiful castles not in the air or sand, but inside their own hearts.

And then we flew off once again and this time when we paused, a circle of beautiful winged horses with talking eyes came flying up to meet us. We mounted two and journeyed on… but where we went from there I know not anymore, for I have lost my memories of then…

Because now I wonder, like one blind, in the dark and earthly worlds of modern men. And ever, when the sun is a-dawning, or a-shinning but not burning, though it be noon, or a-setting down, I ever and again go on long, gentle strolls, as though I were trying to recapture that glorious journey which I barely remember…

And today as I wandered through dingy markets I saw a face… a woman selling decaying fish, eyes materialistic and cunning, impure seduction. Of course she was not that beautiful Maiden of my all but forgotten past.

So why then does she look so familiar? And what was it that startled her when our eyes touched? Unsettled her. But of course she cannot be that same beautiful female spirit of ancient days who I left up in glorious heights yesterday…

I hope.

– che chidi chukwumerije..