Boitumelo Vero Rikhotso

Destined for greatness!

Big Magic by Liz Gilbert  August 1, 2017

Filed under: Book reviews,Life — Boitumelo Vero Rikhotso @ 6:49 am
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2016, Bloomsbury, Pages: 276

This book is fantastic!!!

It has been quite a long time since I’ve since read a book, especially a self-help one at that which has affected me like this one has. Creativity is frustrating territory and Liz Gilbert has managed to tackle the subject with so much ease while hitting the topic bulls-eye. You may recognize that name from her book, Eat, Pray Love unless you’re like me and only know the movie. She does not shy away from the grit, the excitement, the pain, passion, depression, joy and frustration etc of what creatives or artists go through in pursuit of their craft. This book has been pure bliss for me. It’s not a book I’d have ever thought of buying for myself, not in a million years. The title, subject matter, and the cover weren’t grabbing enough for me to even consider it. Thanks to my lovely friend, Denise Cook who bought this book for me as my farewell present. So many times over I’ve received words from various unrelated people telling me I have a story to tell. People saying God had given me, some dare say ‘talent’ and that I needed to write.

Well, writing has always been something I’ve always loved and wanted to do from as far back as I can remember and that I was going to do in future. I express myself in the written word far better than orally anyway. The seed for reading and writing was planted by my parents who are avid readers. As much as I agreed with the sentiments people had towards me about writing, somehow the way stories unfolded in my head didn’t translate as I had wanted them on paper. I’d read what I had written and then be discouraged by the flow / lack of and then completely abandon the idea because it was clear the book wouldn’t win a Pulitzer Prize. Liz addresses this pressure we put on ourselves so elaborately clear. This pressure can suppress our creativity and inspiration because when the goal is to write a number 1 New York best seller, although noble an ambition, the result can be that the process of writing offers no joy anymore which is why we do it in the first place. We create because it brings us joy and when we are joyful, we wish to share it with others. Another hot topic she challenges is one of leaning entirely on our creative abilities to create wealth. She says that if we expect to make a living out of our passions / areas of creativity, often times we put too much pressure on ourselves and our artistry and demand that it pay our bills and make us millionaires which can be a huge burden. I love how she practically shares how she got to write her first works while she worked as a waitress and other professions. It wasn’t after Eat, Pray, Love, her 4th book that she managed to be able to write full-time. If we become millionaires out of it, great, but sometimes it doesn’t happen that way. Unless it is something you love doing even without payment, maybe consider another profession. The journey of the creative artist is neither smooth nor easy. This book is honest and direct about this and is literally filled with many ‘Aha’ moments.

One of the reasons I have delayed to publish my first novel / anthology of short stories as planned is because as I grew older and read others’ work, I talked myself out of writing anything for public consumption. Instead of providing inspiration, others’ work brought torture and feelings of inadequacy. There was no way I could claim to write when the likes of Arundathi Royi, Fred Khumalo, Chinua Achebe, Nadine Gordimer and Liz Gilbert could write sentences that leave you literally gasping for air and questioning your own abilities, I thought. Needless to say, what this book did for me was give me permission to be free and to be me without the stress of wanting to be like another person or trying to emulate what another person has done. It has helped me embrace the uniqueness that is me and that just as one gets better by doing, I can’t hope to grow a muscle I refuse to exercise. Beyond talent comes discipline and the perseverance to continue to even during the dry spells.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to all creatives and artists. I am now finally going to finish my book and have it published – Finish and Klaar!

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Kimberely Bhunu for Wimbledon!  July 31, 2017

Filed under: Life — Boitumelo Vero Rikhotso @ 4:38 am

I met a young lady on Saturday, 29 July named Kimberely Bhunu as we were clearing customs at the Harare International Airport. She greeted me with a lovely smile and asked where I had come from. I informed her Gaborone and I enquired about her huge 4 bags. She proceeded to tell me about her schooling in a tennis academy in France. As we walked, her family waved from the upstairs glass viewpoint. She waved back and through that short encounter I witnesses how excited they all were to be reunited. She informed me that she had been away for about 3 years but had managed to come home once a year in that period. Kimberely preceded to tell me about her love for tennis. Actually she didn’t have to say it, her face practically lit up when our conversation moved to tennis. I asked if she dreamt of Wimbledon and she responded in the affirmative but not in a very convincing way, like she was too polite about it. She was playing in junior tournaments and had plans and dreams to play in the big leagues, she hoped and God willing she said. Serena Williams and Kimberely Clijsters were her top 2 tennis players, her role models.

Her big beautiful eyes and enormously passionate smile as she recounted the dreams forced a chuckle from me. I couldn’t at the time figure out whether I was laughing at the naivety of youth or the sheer audacity of her dreams. I was then transported back to a time I was also young with big dreams of conquering the world. So like Kimberely, we show up for practice, do the work and believe that we are capable of playing at Wimbledon. Then life happens a bit at a time, or for others, all at once and our dreams tarry, and slowly become eroded. Somehow others who’ve gone before tell us it can’t be done or we may have witnessed others fail at the same pursuits and are drawn to believe that we are also doomed to the same fate. So I said to Kimberely, “Girl, you have the right to dream as far and as wide as you wish. You go out there and have the audacity to dream impossible dreams. I don’t know you, but your scholarship says there’s something that was seen in you. So work hard, believe in yourself and leave the rest to your God. I wish to one day see you on great championships.” 
Will I one day see Kimberely Bhunu at Wimbledon? I don’t know, maybe. I sure hope I do. I loved her spirit and how she revived in me dreams long forgotten. 

 

Is happiness the real purpose of marriage?  April 24, 2017

Filed under: Life,Relationships — Boitumelo Vero Rikhotso @ 4:18 am
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We sometimes say we leave marriages because we are no longer happy and God wants us to be happy. How true is this statement though? Are we supposed to be getting married to be happy? Shouldn’t we be happy beings before getting married? Placing this much responsibility of your own happiness on another party is both unfair and unrealistic because people are fallible. We will disappoint them and they will disappoint us. So often times we get married for the purpose of being happy. This kind of thinking bothers me because it precludes that my happiness is dependent on another person doing something I want/like/agree with, an event or something outside of me, and something yet to come. So essentially until I acquire that, my happiness is on standby, and happiness is always in the future.  I am not happy because I don’t have a car I want, or I am not happy because I don’t have the job I want, I am not happy because I don’t have a bigger house, or I am not happy because I have no kids or because I’m still single. So in this context then, it’s like marriage becomes the end (happiness) and until then, a person kind of exists in a holding position.

I believe this is why people can sometimes feel stuck or bored after getting married for a certain period. Could this be because people put so much expectations on a marriage or on a partner than it / they are able to hold? How about we look at marriage perhaps as a means to an end instead of the end? In the beginning of time, God created man and put him in a garden before giving him a companion. So this teaches us a life principle. Perhaps one needs to tend to their own ‘garden’ call it purpose, assignment etc… ideally (as far possible as they can) before they get married. This way, marriage then becomes a vehicle through which God affords both of you the awesome privilege to experience someone coming along side you, in support of your bigger purpose. So I submit that we shouldn’t be getting married just to get married or to be happy, or even just because we love each other. Because when we are done saying we love each other, and are having all the sex we can have, what else do we do and talk about? What else connects us other than our physicality? In our quest to avoid sexual immorality, we sometimes get married for the wrong reasons. How about we then look at happiness as a by product of a good marriage instead of its purpose? How about we re-look the reasons we are getting married? Is it for ourselves and our own needs? The Bible encourages us to do all we do for His glory (1 Cor 10:31). So whether we are pursuing contentment in our single lives or faithfully trusting God for a marriage, it should all be for His glory.

I have no definitive proof but I believe unhappy singles make unhappy couples because all that’s changed would be your marital status. Otherwise you’re the same person, just with someone you’ve promised forever to and whether or not you’ll be able to live those vows is a matter of time. I like to say, be content where you are. Let God use you where you find yourself and be happy in your current season. If you are not enough without it (whatever the ‘it’ in your life represents), you will not be enough with it.

 

I have a new name… April 17, 2017

Upon a cross they hung a man who redefined who I am….

I have worn the label ‘divorcee’ with so much regret, shame, guilt, condemnation, and humiliation. I use the word ‘worn’ because that’s exactly what I feel I did. I woke up each morning and put on the label as one would wear a garment or shackles that are so weighty and often began my days with an outlook of defeat, being unwanted, unloved and shamed. Some of the feelings were real but some were only perceived. Oh the mind – so powerful. I could not see myself as anything else other than a divorcee shunned forever with no hope of ever finding her footing in the kingdom again. Maybe this may be difficult for others to comprehend, but I’m sure those who’ve walked the path will understand especially when you feel responsible for the act. Having been the one that walked away, I carried a lot of guilt over the decision and agonized for years over the responsibility I felt I had even before the marriage. Taking sole responsibility was of course misplaced but holding on to the label and torment felt right. It felt like punishment I deserved for my iniquitous actions. It’s like when you’ve sinned and you try in vain to wash it off from your flesh and mind. Futile exercise because none of us can wash sin away so the cycle continues.

For the first time in 4 years I can finally say I have forgiven myself. The past Christmas and the recent Passover were very significant in my rebirth. It is a journey I’ll continuously write about because I’m learning so much in the process that I want to share. But no longer am I going to sit in my ashes of guilt and shame when God offers love, forgiveness, peace and joy. So I wake up to my authority and identity in Him. A beloved daughter of the most high God. That is my new name. BELOVED! I have been reminding myself of all He’s spoken over my life from when I was still young, and I can still see His fingerprints at work. He confirms His covenant over my life daily and I’m learning to receive again from a God I thought wanted nothing to do with me anymore.

One thing is sure, the ishmaels and messes of my life will no longer define who I am. I will no longer give myself labels. I will no longer allow others to label me. I have surrendered all naming rights to the One who believed I was worthy enough to die for, even before I took my first breath. That for me is still hard to comprehend. In my excitement I called a friend to share what God had done for me. She quickly told me I was deceived and that I was finding ways to justify myself. Maybe I am, but a gospel that only works when I’ve behaved perfectly, but fails spectacularly when I’ve misbehaved is no gospel at all.

Today I leave my divorce at the cross, where it belongs, never to remove it again. It was nailed with Christ as He was bruised for my sake, and there I leave it. Healing may be a journey, but as far as forgiveness is concerned – all settled at the cross. It was for freedom that Christ set us free. Freedom is his standard. Enough torture, enough torment, enough accusations and enough condemnation. I am free!

Upon a cross they hung a man who redefined who I am….

 

When God doesn’t remove the cup… August 1, 2016

Filed under: Life — Boitumelo Vero Rikhotso @ 4:31 am


Pic source: http://www.123rf.com

As Christians we love to quote scripture but not so much to live them out. We love to proclaim bold scriptures such as “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” although we often skip the ‘in all these things’ part. I don’t know what we think we are more than conquerors in when we don’t embrace battles. We boldly declare or shout scriptures such as “Praise be to God who gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Victory from what? The very essence of victory suggests some form of friction, incongruence, battle or war. What do you do when you’re facing a mountain and commanding it to move and be thrown into the sea and it laughs back at you? What do you do when you’ve declared and decreed till you’re blue in the face and it all seems to reach the roof and bounce back? What do you do when your aim for goliath eludes you?

This may play itself out in various situations like a constant difficult work situation that has you thinking of faking your own death rather than showing up. Maybe it’s a marriage that is quite literally holding on by a thread, or waiting for marriage that might not come. What about a crippling financial situation with no end in sight or a child who’s so wayward it looks nonredeemable? Whatever it may be, it may look like God has forgotten your address and the situation remains despite your fervent prayers.

Jesus prayed in Matthew 26:39 “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass away from me. Yet, not as I will, but as you will.” Three times in His time of great distress, Christ implored His father to remove the obstacle but for a greater purpose, His loving Father looked away. Job’s sin was to be faithful and upright and calamity fell on him.

What I’ve learnt is that God will not always solve our problems by ensuring we avoid them or by taking us out of the situations. There will be times where we are rescued out, but in my experience, the way through seems to be the norm. So when I internalize the fact that some situations will not be quick-fixes, I remain at peace in the knowledge that He’s got my back. That somehow when I’ve done all to do and the situation remains, then all I can do is continue to stand. It’s in those moments when I’m going through the valley of the shadow of death, that the second part makes sense, “I shall fear no evil for thou art with me; Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”

Your breakthrough might tarry, but His love is sure. Some situations might take longer than we anticipate or appreciate but He will do His work in us. Still yet, some situations might not change at all. So then what do I do in the meantime? The below sums it up…

“Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” (2 Cor. 12:7-10)

Stay strong, keep the faith. His grace is sufficient for you.

 

MYTH #3 – This is how I am  January 14, 2016

Filed under: Life — Boitumelo Vero Rikhotso @ 5:30 am

If there was one thing that made boot camp difficult apart from the pressures of training and little sleep, it would have to be personalities. We were a group of about 100 trainees, from all walks of life and all women. What an interesting experience!

Sharing space isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do especially having to share bedrooms, bathrooms, mess, laundry room and classroom with diverse people (strangers) from diverse backgrounds with diverse ideas on how to speak, to clean, to eat and generally to live with others. Never in my life have I had to learn so much about myself and bite my tongue like when I was at bootcamp. Not even when I was married did I have to do that much soul searching and internalizing – maybe that was the problem lol. I digress…

When there were disagreements, most people resorted to the reason ‘that’s how I am.’ Perhaps so but when you’re not living on your own, in your own space with people who tolerate you, one needs to be more considerate and understanding. Some who were perhaps louder than others when told to perhaps reduce the volume would say ‘this is how I am, I speak loudly’ or ‘its my culture.’ 

Another would say ‘this is how I am, ndiyaphoxana mina’ (I’m snubby) and yet another would say ‘please don’t talk to me like that because I have a small heart and I get angry quickly.’ I also had my own issues of being impatient and I had to learn to be intentional in reciting patience in my head when dealing with a person whom I considered rather slow.

This showed me that I had pride because I thought of myself better than another one. Just because I was good at something, it didn’t mean someone struggling was stupid. Of course I wouldn’t call anyway stupid but in being impatient with someone struggling, I was subconsciously thinking better of myself. What an aha moment for me to practice more patience and more love. How God must look down on us and just shake His head sometimes…

When God reveals to us who we really are and chooses to love us anyway, it’s overwhelming. So overwhelming in fact you just want to repay Him by loving others. Never again will I say, ‘this is how I am, get used to it.’ When we say that, I believe we rob ourselves of an opportunity to become better people and be more pleasant. 

I remember one lady who was in her late 40’s and concerned about not having a life partner. When we just shared with her about how she came across as rude often times when speaking, perhaps not intentionally, she duely informed us that ‘that’s how I am and that man must just love me like that.’ Perhaps she’s right in that she should be loved as she is, however, it doesn’t mean we cannot improve in our communication skills more especially in dealing considerably with others. Granted, you have no control over how a person receives what you say, but you have full control of what you say and how you say it.

One of the things I was known to be a broken record as saying at bootcamp whenever someone said ‘this is how I am’ was ‘it is not a deformity, it is something that can be worked on.’ Everyone who knows me pretty well will tell you I’m a chatterbox. Yes I speak a lot, but no one at boot camp described me that way. In fact most people said I was reserved. I was conscious of my tendency to speak a lot and made a decision to be more careful about what I said, when and to whom. I proved to myself that ‘this is how I am’ is the easy way out, perhaps even a cop out. 

I stand by my words…

 

Myth #2 – Tall and slim = fit and healthy January 6, 2016

Filed under: In pursuit of a bikini,Life — Boitumelo Vero Rikhotso @ 8:45 am
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For the better part of my young school life I hated being tall. It was the ideal thing for nicknames. Giraffe was a favourite one. Having been skinny at the same time also didn’t help matters as I’d be called names like skinny legs, mosquito, motsetserepa etc.
For a long time I walked around with a notion that I was slim and therefore healthy. What a shock when a few years ago I was found out to have a very high cholesterol level. I couldn’t believe that a slim person could have such an issue. Granted, it was also genetically influenced but my diet also had a great contribution. This called for me to relook my nutrition and not think I was healthy just because I was slim.
When I was at boot camp recently and battled to do exercises that tall people were apparently supposed to easily do, I again realised that tall and slim is definitely not equal to fit. I performed poorly in most of the challenges at the beginning of the camp and felt so much pressure because some of those who were slightly heavier, or way shorter or even older were performing better. This gave me sleepless nights and propelled me to have additional running sessions in the mornings to build myself up.
There was a 2M wall that I was supposed to jump over which was supposedly easier for taller people. I’m 1.76m tall so I guess I get the logic. Unfortunately with no upper body strength, that wall beat me twice. Then I understood the need for push-ups. Push-ups were the main punishment and when I noticed their benefit, I incorporated more push-ups in my private time to improve my upper body strength for the wall and the monkey climb challenge (pics below). Again people who were shorter or even a little heavier than me could jump the wall because they were fitter and they couldn’t understand how I couldn’t do it.
Long story short, I eventually conquered the wall and went a couple of times more net for control lol and was also able to improve my running time. All these things took effort and practice. They didn’t just fall on my lap just because I was slim and tall. What should have been ‘easy’ for me wasn’t simply because I wasn’t fit, and people who were fit showed their strength. Do the work and see the results.