Yesterday, after close to three months, I finally managed to be in the right frame of mind to listen to a podcast. I don’t know about you, but I have realised that the more responsibilities I have, particularly those that need decisions to be made in realtime, the harder I find it to still my mind. Usually I listen to podcasts when I do my long walks, or when driving solo. The fact that I haven’t taken time to walk in almost two months has not helped the situation. And driving? That has inadvertently become my thinking time.
You know how I figured to stop fighting with the forces of nature? I would be driving say from home going to Westlands to look for lighting fixtures (Btw last month I discovered Westlands is the hub of lighting stores..from Creative Solutions, to Vish Electrics, to Kenya Lampshades, to Power Innovations…the list is endless, and all these are within a radius of 500m from each other!) or to Sarit Centre to do house shopping, buy books, or even just grab a cup of yogurt from Planet Yogurt because my patience would be running low from all the demands of the myriad of fundis at my construction site, and a sugar high would be just the perfect remedy.
I would settle in the car, launch the podcast app and quickly browse through the only two platforms whose content I have the capacity to consume at the moment, and which also makes sense for the season I am in my life: Oprah’s Super Soul or The Mel Robbins Podcast. It would not even take me a minute before I find a topic that strikes a chord, for instance, “Super Soul Special: Daniel H. Pink: A New Mind.”
I would then click on the episode to get more details about the show, and I would be immediately seduced by the intro, which would go something like this:
“Is there one sentence that sums up your life? New York Times best-selling author of several provocative books about business, work and behaviour Daniel H. Pink says a great person can be summed up in just a few words.”
So I press play and off I drive.
I would be all still for the first two minutes where I catch the intro. Daniel would be explaining the six senses he believes can help one learn to be more creative, successful, and live up to one’s full potential. I would marvel at how much the universe has my back, because what are the odds I bump into such a conversation when I actually have been racking my brain on how to be more creative?
Three minutes in and my attention subconsciously moves to my environment. Suddenly I would be spotting things that my brain previously had no interest in processing. There’s a green hessian fence that rises above a stone wall on a property just before The Wineshop in Loresho. It’s been so meticulously done, and I wonder how I can get the contacts of the person who installed it. A few metres ahead right after crossing over to the Kyuna side, I notice a beautifully done signage placed on a striking stone wall that frames this huge and lush property, advertising a salon and coffee shop. I have half a mind to drive in but then I remember I had an agenda to tick, and I could always come back later. My mind then goes still and I catch Oprah in her deep voice, interrogating Daniel.
“Let’s talk about abundance and how that has affected us in the conceptual age.”
Whoa, slow down Oprah! What is conceptual age? Why are we talking about abundance? What happened to the six senses Daniel had hinted about? Argggghhhh. I look at the dashboard, and I notice the podcast is 8 minutes in! I rewind all the way back to the intro, summon all the zen to pay attention, and shortly after, thoughts of all the pending work, how we might not meet the intended opening date, how I can’t wait for all the fundis to be done and I can finally have the entire space to myself for a day…all these thoughts would come rushing into my head like an inexorable volcano. At this point, I would accept my fate, hit pause on the podcast and launch a radio station.
That has been my relationship with podcasts, as well as books, for the last three months. I have been struggling to finish Teacher Man since mid December, a great story by Pulitzer Award winning author Franc McCourt. I would carry it with me everywhere I went, and when I had the chance to pull it out of my handbag at the salon or restaurant, I would flip the few pages covered until I got to the bookmark, dig into the last paragraph and two sentences in, my mind would wander. It is a big book, that one. The size of an A5 paper, and quite voluminous. So I once called myself into a meeting (as Kenyans would say) and wondered what was the point of carrying this cross of a book with me everywhere I went, yet Jesus already did the hard and painful work for us. l was in my office the other day when I had this deep introspection, so I pulled it out of my handbag and placed it on the console, right next to a bunch of other books that I excitedly bought last December, but I am yet to figure out the algorithm I need to see me through even one of them.
There is hope though. Yesterday I made some progress.
You see, we finally opened KIDS’ Nook on 13th of Jan, and the place is picking up some semblance of shape and structure. The first few days were super quiet. Some days two clients would stream in, other days five clients. But then last weekend, exactly a week later, the place was flooded with kids, and it felt like I was suddenly running a kindergarten! All the way from Friday to Sunday, I had no time to even grab a meal during the day. And as our last client left the premises on Sunday at 6:30pm, my feet felt like stilts, my lower back stiff and numb. I could not be happier with my decision for KIDS’ Nook to remain closed on Mondays, a dream I had forever held while in the corporate world, that one day Monday would officially be my off day.
And so yesterday, as the rest of my household rose earlier than the sun to get ready for school and work, I pulled the duvet over my head and picked up from where I left in my dream, one about these six senses that were written on a black board in Times New Roman calligraphy that was so faded I could not make out any of the words. Daniel H. Pink was haunting me, six weeks since I abandoned the podcast. And when I finally woke up at 11am, I did not need any other sign to figure out what I needed to do on my off day. I went to Karura Forest, refreshed the Super Soul Special Podcast “A New Mind” and listened to it from scratch.