Dear Barbara Streisand: “People who need people are indeed the luckiest people in the world”

What could go wrong on a morning when all the traffic lights are out?

Well, I packed some hot dog rolls into a Woolies shopping bag together with some cheese grillers and set off to gym. Stay with me – the hot dogs and gym visual is true.

The plan was to give the food away before it expired without my husband finding out. Long story…

I never quite made it to the gym (no surprises there) but I decided to sit down for some scrambled eggs instead. Just before I picked a spot, I saw someone I could give the food away to. The man sells Homeless Talk, a newspaper that I have seen a million times but never bought.

As I sat down at the cafe for my breakfast, I reached for my wallet to put the parking ticket in the spot where I always put my parking ticket and that’s when I realised that my wallet was in the black hot dog bag! The plan had been to stick the empty shopping bag into my gym bag, that’s how my purse ended up inside. Note to self: forget gym.

When I related the story to my children later that afternoon, sure I added some drama but essentially:

I had no cash to get out of the parking lot and had to make some decisions quickly.

So I asked the parking lady for a free pass. Sure, she said.

The cafe owner said that I come could totally have stayed for a free breakfast.

I opened my banking app to see if there had been any transactions. Cancel Cards/Not? Pause, I decided.

As I drove up the road towards the Homeless Talk seller, I saw him holding out the Mykonos blue purse with a look that said, “………..!”

The kids screamed “Nice hot dog lady!” but the man’s face really screamed “dumb blonde!” I was guilty as charged on both counts.

But here’s what this story is really about: people people, people.

We are all just people who need people. And that’s how we all get by. By needing people and by allowing people to need us. Barbara Streisand was right.

Lee

P.S. I couldn’t find much info online re Homeless Talk but the lovely guy selling his is at the garage near St Davids in Inanda close to Summer place:-) Didn’t catch his name. Don’t tell him you know me.

Are YOU afraid to face your shadow?

If you suppress your pain and sadness deep enough, avoid your tears and hide your insecurities long enough… you will definitely achieve all your goals and master your life!  

Bull, right? This could not actually be further from the truth

When you suppress your hard moments you deny yourself something so, so vital. Doing this holds you back from moving in the direction of the light – the place where you flourish. Instead, the shadow takes up a bigger space in your life and begins to get to work right away. It sabotages your career, love life, health, and your sense of purpose. It robs you of achieving any of the stuff on your vision board. 

And the more you try and hide from your shadow, the more it thrives! Just like that yucky mould at the bottom of the veggie draw. The more you try and hide your feelings of inadequacy, disappointment, betrayal, and not being good enough, the more the monster thrives. 

I’ve got a doctorate in denying my feelings. (Not literally, you silly kids!) It is rooted in my difficult childhood. But I’ve been working on the unlearning for pretty much my entire adult life. There is a lot to get through! 

My unlearning has taught me a couple of things: 

  • You can’t break patterns you’re not willing to acknowledge 
  • Self-sabotage ruins relationships and stops us from growing 
  • You cannot escape your shadow 

Only when we finally step up to doing the work do we begin to break free of the cycles of victimhood, procrastination, and feeling like an imposter. That’s when we begin to LIVE! 

THANK YOU for listening without judgment and “holding space” for me while I continue my learning and unlearning.

I wish every success with breaking free from anything holding you back from living the life of your dreams.

Thank you again, 

Lee 

Are you scared to make JOB change? Maybe my story will give you some hope…

I had a really crap job as a dog’s body at an insurance company in Rosebank many years ago. It was right upstairs from Fournos — a fast-food-style deli and bakery. 

One of my jobs was to archive old claim files. From my spot on the dirty grey carpet, the faces of the happy people who had just bought their takeaway coffee and croissants were not really visible, but I saw the way they walked and that’s what I wanted! Freedom. 

I remembered this chapter of my life this morning while sitting at the very Fournos. I’d say it’s about 18 years later. I can still picture the unsure girl that used to hate her job and the grey carpet. 

My dream was to move into my own office at the insurance company but life took me in another direction. One morning, I took the risk of meeting a recruiter at Fournos. She offered me a temp position at a new IT firm for triple the salary. The only catch was that it was not permanent. I would stand in for someone going on maternity leave. 

My instinct is always to say YES. So, I did. 

The next thing I had to do was talk to my boss. I was sure I could catch him before his “secret” (not so secret since she told everyone) lover closed the door for their daily meeting.  

“Can I be honest with you?”, he said.  Ah, those famous words I hate so much; usually a pre-cursor to some bullshit. 

“Sure,” I replied. 

“I would not hire you. You are too young and…well, you are not good enough.” 

I prepared a resignation letter the next day and asked HR to let me use my leave in lieu of notice. 

“That won’t be necessary,” HR told me. “Here are the calculations for your retrenchment package.” 

 I did not know it was coming. 

I used the cash to buy a new car and drove into my new job like a mother-bleep.

xoxo Lee

Sunday Nights used to give me anxiety

I used to work in an office that sucked the life out of me. Come Sunday, my tummy would start doing somersaults.

 
This went on for many years. Now that I look back, I feel sorry for that girl. She became a victim. Didn’t she know that she had options?  


There are many chapters that come before the one I’m about to tell you about but I eventually had to make a choice. I could remain a victim or I could go where my heart was urging me to go. Thank goodness I chose the more scary option!


Working as a creative writer, ghostwriter and editor is my calling.
I literally go to “work” every day and think “Mannnnn, how did I get so damn lucky?”


I’ve been working with a client based in California for the last 6 months. She started out looking for an editor and at the end of 6 months, we are both wondering how we are going to get by without our daily rapport. We developed a lovely friendship along the way. She’s into astrology and cannabis, I’m into storytelling and grammar and somewhere in the middle, we are both into mystery/magic/alchemy. Not one day of our work has felt like a slog! We have both grown through our collaboration.  


I edited her manuscript and her book will be published in just a few short days.  


My heart is full. My gratitude overflows. For “work”, for the opportunities that flow into my life, and mostly for my ability to recognise every one of my blessings.


May I never take them for granted,

Lee 


P.S. My special client is Cara Carozza and her website is: www.caracarozza.com 

Follow her for an injection of magic! 

This is the cover for her book. How amazing?





The courage to tell your story

Have you ever noticed that the people who behave the worst, are the ones who fancy themselves the hero/ine in the story?

I’ve been going through my notes from a recent Writing Course that I taught. It was a deep emotional kind of writing in the genre Memoir. What really interested me, was that when asked why they chose not to publish or share their writing, that a range of people all said the same thing : FEAR. (I remember saying that too when I first started publishing).

I took the time to really look at the profiles of the characters that they had written about that they most feared would react negatively. It wasn’t the public. It wasn’t Twitter trolls. It wasn’t some overly critical readers out there in Cyberspace. No, the characters in their TRUE stories who my writers feared most were those closest to them! It was parents, siblings, loved ones.

As a result, the writers I am talking about became immobilised.

They were terrified of being called gaslighters, drama kings and queens, liars or being told that they were bringing up old secrets that were best left under the dirty carpet.

Sound familiar? I thought you would say yes.

The issue is universal and it does not only relate to writing. It’s a people issue.

As a writing coach though, my job is really only to facilitate a process, to guide and mentor, to edit and teach technical aspects. I would never push anyone to write or share that which they are not ready to do BUT I will (and did) say this:

  • It is YOUR story
  • You decide how you write the characters
  • The ones that have a problem with their characteristics, should have behaved better
  • How your truth lands is something out of your control
  • But tell your story, YOU MUST

Perhaps my little pep talk has gotten you thinking? Do you have a story you want to write or share? I offer a range of writing and coaching services, which you can see on my website www.leemayimele.com

Remember, this is YOUR story and we all have a story that only we can tell. Truth is magic!

xoxo

Lee

Warning: Kindness is Dope

I met someone recently who thanked me for something I did for her 20 years ago.

I kid you not.

To be quite honest, I did not recall the detail or that act of apparent kindness at all. She tells me that it came at a time when she desperately needed a strong mother figure and that young-me stepped up.

I must say, our exchanges back then never did feel like “rescue” or “help” to me. In fact, I reckon I was the one who felt good. I was the one who felt useful. I was probably the one who felt high from the endorphins that make us drunk with purpose. That’s really all I remember about our interactions ~ how lovely I felt around her.

How cool?

Her testimony has since inspired me to write some random “Thank You” notes of my own. Because the stars know that there are plenty of people who have touched me over the years. And just like that, I’m part of an energy that keeps the magical vibration of GRATITUDE in motion.

Perhaps you feel inspired to hop on the train and thank someone today too? If so, I can tell you without a doubt that the wise ones were right: It is indeed GIVING that we RECEIVE.

Try it. Thank me (29 years later).

Lee Mayimele

Chief Storyteller

What makes YOU smile?

I throw salt in my orange juice

I eat the lemon garnishes in drinks

I purposely wear to my clothes back to front sometimes and have been known to cut the arms off brand new designer wear just because “I like it better that way”

 

I recite the rosary

I read erotica

I write random thank you notes to people

I prefer my red wine chilled

I wear a dress 363 days of the year

I quite dig my greying hair

I photograph churches, mosques, synagogues

I cry at the drop of a hat, both when I’m angry but moreso for kind words, a glimpse of the ocean, grilled prawns peri peri, the national anthem, memories. You know?

 

I love rap and Mozart, the opera and karaoke alike

My books are my fiends

I love to eat. I love to eat with my hands more

I keep my inner circle small

I am usually the first in any group to wake up and also usually the first to go to sleep

I don’t eat bread when I drink alcohol

I like to observe Lent and celebrate Eid too

I collect feathers and lavender, designer vintage handbags and boy, oh boy, do I collect random people

 

But hey, do you know why I’m telling YOU all this crap about myself this Monday morning? It’s very simple really.

It’s not to bore you with a million sentences starting with “I”. Nope!

It’s simply a public service announcement that goes:

I AM UNIQUE. Just like YOU.

The impact I make on this planet is one of a kind.  Just like YOU.

The story I have to tell is a story only I can tell. And guess what? Yip! The same goes for YOU.

 

Now that I have your attention, the CALL TO ACTION is really quite simple.

I encourage you to ask yourself, “What makes ME smile?”

Then chase that crap!

Because honestly, there is no one in this entire world exactly like YOU and we all need the magic that only YOU can bring.

 

Aluta continua, as they say. I wish you the courage to stand out.

 

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Dear Kids (A reflection from a greying Mama’s Heart)

Dear Kids

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Whilst no parent has all the answers and whilst this mama is constantly, still learning, know this for sure:

  1. You are never alone
  2. Travel is the best teacher
  3. “No” is a good word. Use it often. It’s particularly lovely when there’s a dead silence and you offer no explanations
  4. “Please” and “thank you” never goes out of fashion
  5. Water heals. Oceans. Tears. 2 litres a day
  6. You have a built-built in “people” radar. Please listen to its beep beep beep when something feels offish
  7. Sleep is medicine
  8. Play, play, play. Never stop playing
  9. Less sugar, less screen time, more grass, more laughs
  10. God is inside you and no one one has a special hotline that you need to go through
  11. Betrayal is painful. Nothing can prepare you for that kick in the groin
  12. Go out and explore. You can always come home to cry
  13. Try and remember who you were before the world started pinning its labels on you
  14. Your body is beautiful. Exactly as is. Explore it. Admire it. Treat it right and it will reward you so much
  15. No one knows it all
  16. Blood makes you related. Loyalty makes you family
  17. Believe in magic. Those who don’t, never find it
  18. Your word is your honour. Do what you say you will. Always
  19. A grateful heart is a magnet for miracles
  20. Give freely. Of what you have. Of your time. And quietly please
  21. No one likes a show-off
  22. Learn to listen. To God’s voice in the early morning. To yourself. Certainly to people who you trust
  23. Shortcuts never work
  24. People will forget what you say but they will never forget how you made them FEEL. Be kind
  25. Books, music, thunderstorms and tea are good for lonesome days when you need your mama
  26. Abundance and prosperity are your birth right
  27. Look beyond the labels of race and religion, gender and social standing. How people treat people from whom they need nothing is where you should focus your scoring and grading
  28. Jealousy is when you count other people’s blessings instead of your own
  29. Love does not need to hurt
  30. Speak your truth. Even when your voice shakes
  31. What sets your soul on fire? Go there
  32. Learning is constant
  33. Messing up is okay. Intentionally hurting someone never is
  34. You teach people how to treat you
  35. You may have one “true love” or many or even none. Remember that you are whole anyway
  36. You have a story that only YOU can tell

 

xoxo

Mama

 

© Aluta continua, as they say.  A Heart Full of Stories, 2017

A Loaf of Bread (Yes, another story about Gratitude & Magic)

It was the kind of morning when my coffee was medicinal rather than recreational.

 

My son had been up most of the night with an ear ache. So, he alternated between my chest, the kitchen floor and my husband’s forehead. Basically sitting (because he couldn’t lie flat) wherever he felt most comfortable and making damn sure that the whole neighbourhood knew that we had a sick patient in our home.

 

The following morning he was 100% fine and had me wondering whether the whole night was a dream. Just then, his nanny arrived and I could have kissed her, I was so happy!  But, the first thing she said was “there’s no bread?” with a look of shock- horror that bolted me out of the door, medicinal coffee in hand.

 

I zombie-d down to the shops where I stood in the longest queue, with the biggest headache for eternity.

Apples? Check.

Fabric softener? Check.

Lemons? Check.

 

I noticed that the guy standing in front of me in the queue was buying 100 loaves of bread. “Damn!” I thought, “bread! I forgot the #%*ing bread!”

 

Just then, my phone beeped and I dipped my head down. When I looked up again, the guy in front of me had disappeared.

 

And, guess what HE left behind? Yes, you guessed it.

Bread.

The very kind I intended to buy.  Paid for.

 

There are no words. No explanations. Certainly no coincidences.

Just gratitude….

 

magic

 

© Aluta continua, as they say.  A Heart Full of Stories, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

Looking for GOD? (A short “Soul Sunday” reflection)

 

Don’t look for me in holy books or so-called holy people.

That’s not where you’ll find ME.

 

Don’t hurriedly hunt me in secret places, special buildings, strings of beads, ancient scripts, in potions or in star alignments.

 

Get quiet!

 

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Then,

Look at the fire coloured sun, rising and setting without you having to do a thing;
See the butterfly, the migrating birds pulsing to a vibration of pure precision;

Listen to the waves crashing, a choir singing, the cry of a newborn baby;

Smell the fresh earth after a thunderstorm;

Feel the high of a meditation, the warmth of a touch, the tears that run when the soft smell of a deceased loved one wafts through your home;

Tune in, and you’re getting close.

 

Don’t chase after me in holy water, special foods or men who claim to “know”.

 

NO,

I’m more likely to be in the eyes of your lover, a generous stranger, a homeless man;

I’m more likely to be the laughter of children, the gentle push of a teacher, your gran’s dusty kitchen floor;

I’m more likely to be in the tingle of strawberries, the soft rain playing jazzy tunes on your rooftop;

 

YES,

That’s more my style.

 

For I am GOD, my child,

The creator, narrator, the connector of the dots.

The beginning;

The end;

Foremost an artist! Second to none.

 

All light comes from me, and all light flows through you.

 

AND,

How will you know when you’ve found ME?

Ah, that’s the easy part: You’ll just know!

I designed you that way.

 

© Aluta continua, as they say.  A Heart Full of Stories, 2017

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APOLOGY:

It seems there were some gremlins in yesterday’s post, trying to scramble text and give me more grey air. Luckily, we’ve now sorted them out.