Forgive Yourself

Forgive yourself in the shower

In the car 

In all the spaces where you cry alone, smile alone and think of all the dreams that slipped away 

Forgive yourself for all you wish you had shared when you had plenty 

All the sunsets you didn’t lift your head to notice

All those days when you tried but fell flat on your face

And buried your tears under tons of fake smiles, makeup, noise and wine 

Forgive yourself for the jealous moments 

The ugly sessions of gossip and untruths 

Forgive yourself for not finishing what you started and not doing what you promised

Forgive yourself for staying 

And going 

And waiting 

And watching days turn into months turn into years of what ifs 

Forgive yourself for not taking a chance 

And for taking too many chances 

On the same old same old people and things that could-have/should-have/would-have but didn’t 

Forgive yourself for losing hope 

For looking outside for answers

For all the opportunities to grow and stretch and break free that offered you a ride you didn’t take

Forgive yourself for the seasons that went by in a flash 

For forgetting where you come from

For comparing yourself to people whose paths appear lighter than your own

Forgive yourself 

Forgive yourself 

Forgive yourself 

Forgive yourself for not forgiving yourself sooner

…and breathe! 

xoxo Lee

~Written on a cold, Joburg morning while sitting on my kitchen floor where I saw the perfect sunny spot. I crawled up to it, grabbed a piece of paper, and let the download come in. Just like the sun!

Photo by Sigrid Abalos

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

MENTAL HEALTH in KIDS

Last week South Africa could have been the setting for a horror movie.

I honestly never thought I would live to see my country like that and I pray that I never have to ever again. Scenes of factories burning, shopping centres being destroyed, looting and violence flashed across every TV screen and, try as I wanted to shield my children from it, I failed.

They felt the energy dipping as we checked our social media for updates. They heard the snippets of news on the short drives to the shops. They sensed the uncertainty and confusion as we tip-toed around the big issues.

Now I don’t know about you but if I remember anything about being little, things always seemed bigger when people whispered. So, we stopped whispering! Teachers were forced to do that too. My daughter’s English class via Zoom, for example, had to be put on ice for the teacher to field questions (and conspiracy theories) from learners. They wanted in on the conversation and it made me so proud to know that my kids have teachers in their lives who could hold space for such a tender dialogue.

We then received a notice from school advising of a MENTAL HEALTH DAY on Friday. A free day off school for kids to relax, de-stress, do a digital detox and reboot.

Whoooah, I thought. Perhaps this damn world really is waking up to the fact that we need to do things differently if we want to raise a generation of adults that don’t have to spend their whole lives recovering from their childhoods?

I’m hopeful. About South Africa. About the future of mental health and about Friday. I really think we’re on to something. Four-day work weeks are already totally in a thing in some parts of the world:-)

Lee

Here’s something to help you with that Green-Eyed Monster

It’s school award season and I’ve been watching something with interest.

On the one hand, you have the proud parents posing with their children and the congratulatory comments from happy friends. Then there’s the ugly flip-side as the parents whose children did not win the big awards, turn to their friend’s Inboxes to whisper their conspiracies.

Yip, the Green-eyed monster is alive and well!

I have not engaged: Neither to post about my children’s achievements, nor to throw shade where invited.

HOW?

Well, it’s easy for me: I have a little symbol to whack me back into line.

This little symbol has always brought me back in line, helping me to ground myself in humility and also to avoid the temptation to compare. Photo by Jumana Dakkur

The Evil-Eye is traditionally a symbol to guard against jealousy but I use it as a note to self.

The one I wear on my arm is my daily reminder:

  • Don’t boast – Nobody likes a show-off
  • Don’t draw unnecessary attention to your home/relationship/material bountyEnvy is a biatch
  • Run your race and let other people run theirs – It’s a win-win
  • Count your own blessings and there will be no time to focus on other people’sGratitude 101

I’ve also learned from watching with interest how my muslim friends respond to a compliment (whether it be about their looks or the talents of their children) with the response,  Masha’Allah, that is, “God has willed it”. Don’t you love that show of humility?

Perhaps this will inspire you the next time you find yourself edging towards the territory of the Green-eyed one again? It’s always good to remember that blowing out someone else’s candles never makes ours shine any brighter,

Lee

**If you’d like to learn more about The Evil Eye, I found this Wikipedia entry quite interesting:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evil_eye#:~:text=The%20evil%20eye%20is%20a,person%20when%20one%20is%20unaware.

I also love that there’s finally an evil-eye emoji!:-)

Gosh, my assignments have been getting tougher!

I completed a mammoth task this week! I’ve had my head down for months on this project, which I will tell you about soon enough. (I’m sure you can guess what it is *wink *wink).

And, just as I was about to breatheeeeeeee, put my feet up and relax, my next challenge arrived. What struck me that my assignments seem to be getting harder each time.

Take speaking for example. For some years now, I’ve been asked to speak at events about my work on Gratitude and I’ve embraced these opportunities wholeheartedly. But what always happens next is that people want more. A little more personal, a little more vulnerable, more of YOU please. That’s usually the point when I run!

But I’m working on it.

I’m easing into sharing a more vulnerable side, not about my personal life (that’s all dull and boring) but about the things that shape, crack, break, mould, transform and inspire me. I can write about them, sure. But, when it comes to TALKING about them…well, that’s a different ballgame entirely.

But I’m working on it.

And, just as I said !YES!, this massive world class speaking event called my name, asking me to put my money where my mouth is.

Because that’s the way the Laws of the Universe work and I could not be more grateful to be in the flow.

Wish me luck!

xoxo Lee

FYI: My slot is only 5am on Monday (no surprises there). Here is a link if you want to join/watch it later. http://www.hit-talks-livestream.com/hit-talks-live-event?fbclid=IwAR0GeWSnRq5c3069B5gYJ8jCtlfMHeqIX2vplfsoFWbQs9UyJqCwjXo012k

People Fatigue – WTF? I know, I know!

It was my sister in law who famously described me by saying “She gets PEOPLE fatigue”.  

She was describing my lively social nature that has such a short battery life. What can I say?  It’s only taken me about 100 years to accept that The Natural Habitat of this beast really is the quiet mountain.  

Now, it’s one thing to know something about yourself. It’s entirely another to know that someone else GETS it! Not that you’re seeking some sort of validation. H3%ck no, we’re too old for that!  It’s just so lovely to feel that gentle voice mirroring back to us those beautiful words it’s okay,

Okay to be weird.

Okay to different.

Okay to go at a pace that isn’t exactly textbook, but a pace that feels right just for YOU? 

Photo by Josh Hild

Isn’t that what we all want!?   To shine our Weirdo Lights bright so that other weirdos feel empowered to let theirs shine bright too?


I’m sending you thoughts of love this week and I’ll be looking out for your special light. Okay?

Lee

People will always SHOW you who they are

Some weeks back, I got into an altercation with a dodgy auctioneer. The joke’s on me, because I have known him for years and let’s just say he has never claimed to be a saint.   


I think human nature is always to HOPE. I have certainly fallen into the trap of thinking that if I am nice enough, if I perform better, if I say/do all the right things that I will be the lucky one who escapes the slaughter of the bullies and narcissists.  

pic by Josu00e9 Barbosa


But it never works out that way because people do the things they do because of who THEY are, not because of who WE are!  


I think I had forgotten this for a moment, as one lesson after the other in this vein kept popping up as though the Universe was saying “Hey Lee, I don’t think you got that lesson girl, let’s give you a double-dose next time bam $%*£!”


Now I can say with certainty, I GET IT! I GET IT!   


Take a leaf out of Maya Angelou’s book, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them; the first time”.


And stay woke,  

Lee 

P.S. The pic I chose today is just something that I love because her face is so full of stories. Don’t you think? Wouldn’t you love to meet her and just listen for while?

Two Kinds of People in This World

There are two kinds of people in this world.

The first are TAKERS. They walk into a room and you feel the energy drain. They are suckers of information, time, energy, resources and will leave you feeling depleted and frazzled if you let them in. Ask the kids. They will tell you who these people are.

The other are GIVERS and it is these people who I have plenty of in my life. This week, the givers were in top form. Compliments, free dresses, information pertaining to a legal matter, girlfriends calling just to say thanks, logistical help with the kids, a cleaner with a thing for sneakers. Gosh, I even saw a fresh hot cake come into the front door, fresh out of the oven of another and straight into my heart for no reason but kindness,

I’m rooting for my GIVERS all over the world. I think we’re going to find each other and I think we’re going to beat the takers to the finish line.

…besides, they’ll be so busy causing their own storms they won’t even notice the rainbow when we bank it.

Love you my Givers and and I never ever take a moment for granted!

Grateful always,

Lee

I had to dig DEEP this week

I had to dig deep this week. So bloody deep this week. For patience. For strength. For resources. …and it was my little people who held me with their warm apple pie, fresh out of the oven, as I put my feet up after having held a sacred space for friends who lost their mother and had to bury her within 24 hours, in keeping with Islamic protocol. Apple pie, warm apple pie and my people saved me on Monday.  


I had to dig deep this week. So bloody deep this week. For restraint  For compassion. For calm.
As I witnessed one human being abuse their power over another …and again, it was my people that brought me back, reminding me that my dear Aunt who passed on (a few months back) had her birthday this week and how she made the world’s meanest chicken pie. So, I made a chicken pie, said the rosary and we celebrated her life, with cake and all!


I had to dig deep this week. So bloody deep this week. To accept the many many wonderful doors of opportunity flying open in my face; To find the words to acknowledge the phenomenal teacher my son got as a gift for his Grade 1 year on World Teachers Day; To salute my daughter for standing up for a friend who was in trouble at school; To contain the love in my heart for the beautiful bottle of red wine my husband came bearing. 

The best gift we can give to those we have passed on is to LIVE!


…But here I am this Friday, having just heard of the passing of one of my best friend’s dads.

And, so I dig deep again, to find that well of love inside me.   It’s hard at first… But sure enough it springs up!  Springs up! Springs up! Offering glimpses of light. 

Don’t you love that!? That we are able to receive the gift of LIGHT when we need it most? Do you have a name for that which is always available, which is infinite, which is always accessible?

I’m just so grateful and I wish you that and so much more, my friends!


Grateful always,

Lee

Burn, Baby Burn!? – I need your suggestions

Hey Friends

As you know, I practice GRATITUDE daily but I also have a weekly practice that I want to share with you.  I’ve been practicing this for over 15 years now.  


Every Monday morning, I wake up just a little earlier than 5am (which is my usual prayer and meditation hour).  The extra 15 minutes gives me time to time to write down stuff some.  

I look to the week ahead and ask for special help with all “challenges” that are imminent.  Deadlines, people, …things that I know are going to be hard!  I write them down and I BURN that piece of paper.  


The act of burning doesn’t make the challenges magically vanish! Don’t be silly.  It simply empowers me to see them for what they are. Things that can be sorted. Some by me, some by others, some in the skies in ways I may never understand.  Right?!

A Monday “ritual”

Here’s where I need your help, friends:
I’m looking for a NAME for this practice of burning the piece of paper.  
Let me know if you have any ideas.


And do let me know if you are going to try it too.  I would be so honoured! 

xoxo


Lee