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:-)
You know what guys? I’m sad about what’s happening in Israel and Palestine. I’m sad about the millions of people dying in India as the Corona virus continues to wreak havoc. I’m sad about the many divorces, suicides, mental health issues, drug addictions around me. I’m sad about the way people are struggling to eat, feed their families and survive. Their pain is everyone’s pain.
And yet, in the last couple of weeks,
My dad got his vaccine, my niece got married, the kids set a mouse-trap and my daughter wore hot pink shorts for a new dance class
I picked chillies from the garden and turned it into a home made peri-peri sauce which I bottled for some friends
My neighbour put a bottle of silver shampoo at the gate for me to try (without saying a word)
My favourite client launched her new website
I cut my hair, made rum and raisin ice-cream and ate it in bed with my hubs when the lights went out
I ran a little further, finished editing a 70,000 word manuscript for a client and I received the sweetest hand-written thank you note and some Turkish delight from a little boy.
Looking out for these moments and documenting them is part of my self-care.
It’s not so much about creating a false sense of happiness but rather choosing to note the little things.
These are the moments that help to lift my mood, change my focus and improve my overall feelings of health and wellbeing. The more I do it, the more I see little things to take note of.
So, I wanna know. What’s on YOUR list of things to be grateful for this week? If all you did was brush your teeth, that’s okay too. We are in the middle of a global pandemic. I say snap those pearlies and be grateful you still have them.
I always feel like laughing (I don’t!) when someone tells me I “inspire” them. It happened just yesterday.
Are you off your f$ing rocker? You really need to raise your standards, I always think. Here I am, with my overgrown under-arms, a dent in my car (shhhh, don’t tell the hubs – it literally just came back from the shop when I scratched it again) and a mountain of unopened bills. I haven’t had the time to clean out my daughter’s school bag this week and yes – you guessed it – the smell this morning led me straight to rotten pear. Yip, it was…you know….just hanging there in a little corner underneath the reading card.
We celebrated our anniversary recently, and I posted a sexy pic of us kids on a night out. “Inspired” were you? Well, I had my head buried in editing work the week leading up to that lovely picture and barely said boo to the man. So, I thought I’d surprise him with a lovely gift. When it didn’t arrive, I called to complain (in my best “Karen” voice). The tech guy’s slow “Uh…m’am” told me he knew I was grey. ‘turns out I forgot to click “check-out” and PAY! Who does that?
Someone blamed it on Mercury Retrograde. I blame it on life!
That said, I did remember to brush my teeth and to say THANK YOU this week:
Thank you for the gift of good health
Thank you that my son ate all the garnishes (read veggies) on his burger
thank you for the laughs over brekkie, the hummus, the WhatsApps of love, gossip and friendship
And most importantly, thank you because I feel loved, supported and accepted by those I share my life with.
So, I’ve decided: I’ll take the compliment the next time someone says that they are “inspired”. That’s how I will know that it’s okay to just be (messy) ME.
Perhaps you’ll do the same? I, for one, will be soooooo inspired!
P.S. My book is now available on Amazon Kindle. See the link below for more info:
Were you lost in the forest of someone else’s shadow or perhaps lost in the company of familiar people dancing to a beat you could no longer hear?
Have you ever had a brush with God?
Did it happen when you were at the top of a beautiful mountain, or did it happen when you came face to face with a rapist?
Have you ever been an addict?
Did your drug of choice soothe you, own you, control you and lift you all at once? Did your alliance seem unbreakable?
Have you ever been seduced?
Did it help you to escape your bad reality only later to return you changed and unsure of the way forward?
Have you ever been betrayed?
Did you stand in the doorway of broken trust with a gun iun your hand? Did you bleed and let the light into the parts where your heart was shattered by the glass of lies and deceipt.
Have you ever danced? Really danced?
Did the primal impulse to sway create waves of sexual energy that made you high? Did you forget all about the pot on the stove while you followed the pattern of stops and starts?
Have you ever eaten through your heart?
Was it your granny’s roast potatoes that transported the serotonin throughout your body or was it a hot curry shared with a hot body on a chilly day that stained your arteries with bliss?
Have you ever been touched?
Whether by the 80-year-old hand of a stranger, rough with callouses but warm with unspoken stories about abuse, slavery, loved ones that have never returned? Or, was it simply a simple line from a simple song that charged your soul’s batteries and flooded your bones with warmth?
Have you ever blessed someone with prayer?
Did your heart send vibrations across tall walls and rough seas; intercessions seasoned with grand visualisations of success, prosperity, abundance to people who you dreamed glorious dreams for?
Have you ever wanted a glimpse of your future?
Did you follow that need to seek guidance from soothsayers, Tarot cards, and horoscopes perhaps? Anything that promised the slightest secret fast forward to a life more grand?
I bet you have! …and, guess what? So have many spirits before you, many souls yet to come. These shared experiences give us the assurance that we are on unique paths on the same journey. The “answers” we seek already exist in the great cosmic consciousness and this planet’s memory.
I urge you to remember, friends. That’s how the dream of separation ends and our journey back to each other begins. I’m holding space for YOU.
Geez guys, what a year! Just to think, we have LIVED through a pandemic. Actually, we are still living through one, but still…WE DID IT!
Sadly, many people were not as lucky. So many lives have been lost and the cruelty that has swept over our lives, is something that we can’t escape. In my tradition, we say Eternal Rest Grant Unto Them & Let Perpetual Light Shine on Them. So tonight, instead of our usual glitz and glam celebration, my family and I will first light some candles to remember all those who have passed. Yip, this mama is starting a new tradition, which I hope will continue for many years into the future. Please let me know if I can make special mention of one of your loved ones tonight.
Then, we will pop the champagne and celebrate:
Cheers to the gift of life!
Cheers to the people and things who bring Light into our lives!
Cheers to the gifts of vitality & good health!
Cheers to the little things! Think sunrises and sunsets, cuddles with the kids and animals, starry skies, yummy home cooked meals, birthdays, technology, books, wine, gardens in bloom and all the times when Mother Nature puts on an extravaganza! (Remember the Great Conjunction? Exactly!)
I wish you and your families all the very best for 2021. May the coffee be good, may our collective journey be towards the light, may we have enough of everything we need and may the people, things and opportunities that we need most come onto our paths with ease to illuminate everything around us.
See you in 2021.
P.S. For those of you who have been commenting about my HAIR, this is not that kind of blog:-) but thank you!
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.
Well, it’s easy for me: I have a little symbol to whack me back into line.
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 bounty – Envy 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’s – Gratitude 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,
**If you’d like to learn more about The Evil Eye, I found this Wikipedia entry quite interesting:
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.
My mom’s sister who died quite suddenly. It was the first week of lockdown in South Africa when she passed.
We got news of her death around 9am and all we wanted to do was rush to the family home to be with her children and her 80 something year old husband, from who she really was inseperable. They were married for 60 years or so.
I was so sad but I could park that. All I really wanted was to see my loved ones and offer support. I remember when my own mom passed, those people who just turned up on the day and DID were a Godsend. I felt I could be that kind of person in this instance.
Being the absolute nerd that I am, I managed to convince my husband that we should pop into our local police station to ask them what we needed in terms of permission in order to make our way to the family home on the otherrrrrrr side of the world. We had seen visuals on TV and social media of the army, of cyclists being arrested and I must be honest, the general air of fear and tension was palpable.
“Good Morning” I said through my mask to the two policemen at the door. They were tense too, but they listened to my story and immediately decided that yes, I should definitely jump on the highway and make my way to the bereaved. “Family” the one guy said “Family”.
“So, I dont need a permit or anything to go there for a prayer service or for the funeral?…” I tried to add, knowing that my Catholic family would want to get started on the prayer asap, particularly for a woman like my aunty who loved her faith.
Screeeeeching from the other side of a room I did not even see someone flying towards us.
“Back home!” she spat. “What do you think this is? A party? Do you know what lockdown means? There is no travelling! No partying. No walking around and shopping….”
Everyone was stunned by the absurdity of the statements.
The two policemen looked down. I thought I was dreaming.
“Umm, no mam, I have just lost my aunt…literally a few hours ago and I am her next of kin, so I was asking about what I needed to…”
“I don’t care!” she said “No means no”
“L O C K D O W NNNNNNNN she said mockingly. “It means you go noooooooowhere, my dear”.
Now my tears were beginning to come. The floodgates really opened when I made eye contact with the two policeman. They were looking down and shaking their heads. I only realised then that they reported to her. She was their boss and they were not going to be able to do anything for me.
I was sobbing. I could not believe that another human being was speaking to me like that. In a room full of other people. When I had just been shot in the heart with grief.
My husband, who had said nothing up to this point had the look. I know it well. Gentle Giant was giving her the who the fck do you think you are talking to look, narrowing his eyes and tilting his head slightly. That look only comes out once every like 12 years.
“Umm, tell me something…” he said, towering at least 100m above her head. “Did you hear the part where my wife said she had just lost her mother?” (In his culture, my aunt WAS my mother. No lies there).
“I don’t care what story she has” the woman said.
“Ummm sorry, mam? We are just here to …”
“Wait, love” he said. It was a firm and gentle, but gosh it was full of conviction.
My husband looked at the two men. Heads bowed in shame. He looked at me. Put his hands on his hips.
There was a long silence.
“Are you feeling okay?” My husband said, looking the woman directly in the eye.
Two more officers arrived. The air changed from an emotional one to something that my intuition told me could easily escalate into something ugly, where we were perhaps thrown in a holding cell and handcuffed, or worse.
That’s when one of the two officers became human again and said to my husband “I think it’s better if you guys go, my brother…”
He didn’t mean that we should GO to the highway and GO to the funeral home and GO be with our loved ones (which is just what we did, masks and all). He was firing a warning shot to us, to say that if we did not get out of there, there would be trouble. I took my husband by the hand and pulled hard.
Heartbroken, disgusted and defeated we arrived at the funeral home. That’s when something magical happened. As I entered, I felt this incredible Light. I walked into the funeral home filled with a Spirit of compassion, love, strength, empathy and support.
That strength did not come from ME, and that’s really what this long story is about.
Friends tell me that strength is The Peace that Passes All Understanding. In my culture, the Holy Spirit. In yours, your Higher Self/God, perhaps?
Trust me it will come when you need it leaving you, the spiritual being here on earth to have a human experience, in awe. And, in my case filled with so much GRATITUDE.
These are the moments, friends. These are the moments!
Now, if any of you have ever been down this path, you will know that:
It’s warm and comfy
Pointing fingers is your life
Taking accountability is out of the question
Complacency (aka sheer laziness) is standard
Deflection is your go-to strategy for everything
It took me a run-in with someone who has been in victim mode for over 25 years to come to my senses! I noticed that I felt drained each time we met. At first, I tried not to judge and just to listen. But, listening also took too much energy, so I had to be careful.
The reasons she gave for her approach to life were full of excuses. The other thing that struck me was that she did a whole manner of naughty and ugly things, and that the victims of these antics, were often those closest to her. Because, you know, LIFE HAS BEEN HARD!
Hell no! The mirror she held up to me showed me who I definitely did not want to be.
Wake up, young lady! I caught myself saying. Smell that? It’s the smell of being POWERLESS. Not your vibe, girl!
So, I found myself some help and returned to the shore of accountability, taking little steps to get back into the driving seat. Ahhhh, that felt more ME! It hasn’t been easy. I’ve had to face up to little habits I’ve developed over the years, which needed to be checked (and no one in the history of human kind likes being poked and prodded like that). But hey, this is my work!
Perhaps I could interest you in a SELF-CHECK this week? Are you a victim or are you, like me, in recovery and working hard to stay healthy?