Teachers: The Good, the bad & the ugly

Some teachers will stay with you forever. 

Miss Brown was one such teacher for me. In a sea of unkind, cruel faces she smiled. That’s what I remember about her. That she smiled and sometimes all it takes is someone smiling at you when you are a little person overwhelmed by eczema, family conflict, and maths to know that the world is okay.  

My son may or may not remember his Grade 1 teacher but I will. She’s the kind that makes each child feel like they have their very own personal tutor and cheerleader. I have watched him grow and flourish under her covert strategy to “stretch” him.  Teachers like her are rare and we are the lucky few.  

Then there are those teachers who really should not be teachers and boy, oh boy, have I had some of those in my life. Back when corporal punishment was still allowed at school in South Africa (yes, I am giving away my age), one particular teacher who I still have the displeasure of seeing as an adult, took his role as “disciplinarian” so far, that many of the children that he beat up still have PTSD as adults. 

Another gremlin teacher was the one who in my last year of high school, when I called the home phone (again, I am giving away my age) of the young gentleman who I had romantic links to…took the phone away from him and spoke to me. Yes, she was at his home and she was not there to give him English lessons. She made that very clear to me.

It was World Teachers Day last week.  I wrote a couple of thank you notes. I also processed some of the old emotions related to teachers that were not so cool. That’s how these little memories came into story form now.  

It’s also the reason I need to give a shout out to my MOM friends who have to be teachers every day of their lives but have also had to formally become teachers this year because of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Girls, I see you.  I see you struggling to keep yourself sane.  I see you carrying the emotional load of your family.  I see you trying to create balance. I see you dying of loneliness.  I see you having to put your dreams on hold for another year. I see you watching as things fall apart.  I see you cooking endless meals, doing endless shopping, providing snack after snack.  I see you trying to limit screen time while seeing the need for technology. I see you having to deal with your judgy in-laws, neighbours, and the rest of the peanut gallery. I see it all.  

…and I salute YOU!  This Teachers Day and always because we are all in the shit together.  

May history judge us kindly.  

xoxo

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

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

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.

 

 

 

Do you have a heart-wound after a LOSS? If so, come listen to my story….

All this talk about Mother’s Day has me feeling anxious, I must admit. My heart-wound has only just begun to form a scab and I have been taking good care of it.

 

My approach to its healing has been quite simple, actually. Like a good mother, I have looked primarily at INFECTION PREVENTION.

 

For starters, I took a conscious decision that I needed to keep the environment sterile and germ free.  And while I am under no illusiions that one cannot engineer every social environment or interpersonal encounter completely (particularly with family), I knew that it was indeed possible to focus on “access control”. So, I did.  Quite intuitively, I have been terribly circumspect about who I engage with, what I share, and how I could avoid people with energies that felt harsh to my sensitive film. The daily “disinfectant” through meditation and “fresh dressing” through prayer have helped tremendously.

 

Secondly, I focused my attention on creating a HEALING ENVIRONMENT for the heart-wound. Once more, led purely by my instinct, I began to draw on my good memories of my mother and to allow that positive energy to flow into my home, into my work and into my relationship with my own children. I have also played, laugh, rationed screen time and increased my reading time.  I began to seek out real experiences, people, food and music that made me smile.  And sure enough, the smiles came.

 

I am, of course, always mindful that with this sort of wound, research tells us that there is no prescribed time frame for healing completely. In fact, research tells us that there isn’t really a “cure” at all.  Like diabetes perhaps, one simply learns to “manage” the beast and one learns to adapt one’s lifestyle in order to lead a productive life.

 

So, adapting I am.

And it would seem that the wound is indeed closing up.

And the scab will fall off.

And all that will remain is the scar. 

 

How I will relate to the scar, is of course another story entirely, but I will tell you this honestly:  there IS always light at the end of the proverbial tunnel after a loss. Yes, even when you think your entire world has gone black forever.

 

You will one day be able to reflect on your scar and know for sure that every single day is a GIFT. (After all, no scar is able to form on that which is not alive). And like me, you will also be able to CELEBRATE not only on Mothers Day, but every single day that you are alive.

 

Aluta continua, as they say.  May you never take a day for granted.

 

 

© A Heart Full of Stories, 2017

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The Call to Rip off the Band-Aid

Hardly 24 hours after my mother died, someone walked up to me with the soul (yes soul) purpose of telling me that they were “angry” with me.

 

They felt further entitled to pour out the details, as though I had any capacity whosoever to indulge such a “sharing” at that particular moment in my life.

 

The more I reflected on that emotional ambush in the days after the funeral, the more I tried to empathise, the more I tried to see it from their perspective, the more I rationalised that death brings “complex emotions”, I realised that I was asking the impossible of myself.

 

I had to STOP! stop

 

My job was to grieve.

To honour my own tears.

To sit with my own pain.

To validate my own loss.

 

Instead, I was diverted to a lower spectrum of emotions that sought to distract me. 

 

And, I indulged them. Sadly. 

 

Now that all that is in the past, my heart wants to go back there again. To that very point in my life.

 

The voice is gently asking me to lift off the Band-Aid I smacked on the emotional wound and to face what’s been festering there. 

 

And, again I will indulge. Gladly this time. 

 

You see, for me there is real therapy in dissecting the pieces, relooking the complexities with a view to disinfecting the wound in order to clear the inflammation.

 

I know, right? Whooooo volunteers to reopen their own wounds?

 

I do. And, I wish you the courage to do the same.

 

Rip off the Band-Aid! Sure it will hurt for one sick second, but once that initial rip is over, you’re on your way! Then, look at the wound, see it in all its gory complexity and then plot an enlightened way forward.

 

Hey, real healing is a great prospect and it may be just on the other side of your fear.

 

© A Heart Full of Stories, 2016

 

Aluta continua, as they say. This road is indeed still long…. (for me) but gosh am I ready!

 

 

 

 

I Believe in Rituals II

I believe in rituals.

I believe that our talents evolve, our fantasies change, our goals shift.

I believe that allowing ourselves the space to create freely is a great indulgence.

I believe in a vision, mission and life policy that allows for edits.

I believe in the smell of babies.

I believe that “I understand” are among the most beautiful, healing words.

I believe in filtering the news.

I believe in avoiding traffic and people who complain.

I believe in tv-less bedrooms.

I believe in taking sides.

I believe in potato chips with mayo.

I believe that you can’t un-spill the water.

I believe in overdrafts.

I believe in routine maintenance.

I believe in self investment.

I believe in self-promotion.

I believe in talk radio.

I believe that humility and prayer will always be fashionable.

I believe in soft light, soft music, soft perfumes.

I believe in mentorship.

I believe in surrender.

I believe in less sugar, less tv, less hair processing.

I believe in ginger chai.

I believe in instrospection.

I believe in Tobasco sauce.

I believe that scrolling on your smart phone during church is sad.

I believe in cupping and dry body brushing.

I believe that sometimes no one knows exactly what you are going through, and that’s okay.

© A Heart Full of Stories, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lee-Ann Mayimele and www.aheartfullofstories.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The 12 Year Old who melted my heart (and then broke it)

He was 12 years old. He had lost both his parents tragically.  His grandmother was looking after him but he was really the one looking after her. She was very old and very blind.

This kid was exhausted.  Mentally and psychologically drained. 

Each morning at 6am, he dressed himself for school and then walked one hour to the bus stop. The bus took another hour. School was very important to him.  His parents would have been so proud.  He missed his mom every day.  She wanted him to be a doctor.

I felt his warmth instantly.  He was so full of dreams. 

He did his sales pitch within 12 seconds in my presence. He offered to wash my car.  I suggested once a week and he suggested the price. I tripled it and we had a deal.

My heart melted.

The deal lasted one and he never missed a day.  We talked about his doctor dreams and laughed lots.  My car was never really clean, but I was happy.

Around the 1 year anniversary of the Sunday sessions, he did not turn up at our agreed time.  I knew something was wrong.  The next week I waited again but my car was desperate for a wash.  I took it to a professional car wash in the area.  I recognised one of the guys who worked there. I had seen him talking to my favourite 12 year old before.

The other washer told me exactly where to find the 12 year old and I rushed straight to the local soccer field.   I had to find out why he no longer wanted to clean my car. 

It was worse than I had imagined!  Much worse.

His grandmother had died.  There had been a fire in their home and everything had burnt to the ground. He had nothing left and was living on the streets.  He did not turn up because he was so distraught!  I felt sick.

My heart broke into a thousand tiny pieces.    

When I finally got home that evening, I realised that something was missing from my car.  My house keys!  Damn!  I went back to the car wash.  I met the same washer who had done such a good job earlier.  He said “So?  Did you talk to him?” and just as I was about to say “Isn’t it sad? What on earth can WE do for him?” he said “His mother and father have to be strict, you know.  He needs to focus more on his schoolwork and spend less time doing bad things. Next time he will go to jail!”

It turns out my little friend had played me.  His parents were still alive.  His grandmother too.  She was not blind either!  And, their family home was in perfect shape, just 3 minutes from the local school. 

I felt numb.  Just numb.

I did not confront him.  I did not need to.

To me, the story was tragic enough.  I did not need reasons.  I did not need explanations.

To understand his motives would be to open my heart up again.  Fortunately, that was not an option. 

I reckon my 12 year old is in his twenties now.  I wonder if he still dreams of healing and saving lives.

The end

© Lee-Ann Mayimele & A Heart Full of Stories, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lee-Ann Mayimele and www.aheartfullofstories.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

I Believe in Champagne

I believe in Champagne

I believe that lasagne has super powers

I believe in pink

I believe in angels

I believe that good hair makes you feel like a princess

I believe in photo albums, walks on the beach and being silly

I believe that travel is the best university

I believe that hard work, modesty, good manners and a black pencil skirt will never go out of fashion

I believe in saying thank you

I believe that life is simple and that intimacy heals

I believe in mascara, drinking water, immersing myself in my lover’s warmth

I believe in taking risks, asking for directions, accepting gifts

I believe in change

I believe in avocado

I believe that God is in my children

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