Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Valentine


Today is Valentine's Day and all over the world this day is celebrated by teenagers, lovers and married couples.  Love has its own universal language.  The concept of love is basically the same in all cultures although the living out of it could differ.  There are also many different types of love.  There is romantic love and the love between family members.  There is the love that is more duty bound, with a similar goal in mind and a playful love, which is a more casual love.  There is also self-love and the love between friends and then the love we should all strive for, Agape, a selfless love.  One thing that is universal of all people is our need for love.  It is part of our DNA.  Our Creator wove it into our souls. After the creation, God saw that it was not good for man to be alone.  Relationships are a God given gift.  Even the most reticent of us have a longing for the companionship of another human being.Very early in childhood children instinctively start reaching out to other children.  Just last week I watched in amazement how the face of an eight months old baby lit up as a little two year old girl walked into the room.  His eyes followed her everywhere and when she came close he tried to reach out to her.  Although very young children do not really start interacting actively with each other during play until they are a bit older, they enjoy the company of other children. All through our lives we come into contact with people and with some of these we forge friendships.  Some of these friendships are very short lived, but some are for life.  Others are "seasonal", lasting only through a phase or a similar situation which threw or drew us together.However long the lifespan of a friendship is, they all have something in common, we learn from them and grow through them, even the worst of friendships have an enriching effect on us, as we are taught valuable lessons through them about life, people and ourselves.Every friendship has something about them to celebrate, even if it is just to rejoice that you are now free from that friendship!!!  The sad thing is that we very often start to take friendships for granted, we forget to treasure them, and value them.  Each friendship is very unique, with their own unique challenges and joys.  Every friend we make reveals something new about ourselves.  Anais Nin said this about friendship: "Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born."  So true and worth pondering about.  I have had many wonderful friends in my lifetime and each one of them was so incredibly special, and everyone I have presently in my life I value and treasure.  They have helped form me, they've taught/ still teaching me, they've broadened my horizons, loved me, listened to me, comforted me and made me laugh.My most valued friendships I have are those within my family.  The saying goes that friends are the family we choose for ourselves, but if they weren't family I would have chosen them as my friends.  Nothing can ever take the place of my family, their friendship is indeed far above all the riches of the world.Each one of my friends is a flower in my bouquet.  There is the bright yellow daisy - my lifetime childhood friend, the delicate purple beauty of the violet - the one who has known me before I even knew myself, and named me, the cosmos , the rose, the fairy bluebell, the carnation, the forget-me-not's, the sturdy geraniums, lilies, poppies, tulips, honeysuckle and lavender.  The iris, marigold and pansies.  Each one adding their unique fragrance and beauty to my life.  Thank you, dear friends, for your gift of friendship!!!If you flutter by here, please share your thoughts on friendship with the readers here, and pay tribute to them.  I would love to hear from you.
x

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Restore...Renew Week 4, Day 7: Review


As the day draws to a close, so it is also the end of our four week Restore...Renew Program.  It is time to review these past four week and ask ourselves what the program has meant.  Is there anything that I might want to take with me into the rest of the year, a new habit I may want to cultivate or something new I want to implement in my life?  Most people dream of change, many people plan to make changes but real change only happens when we make a decision and then DO it.  Taking action is the only way to turn our hopes and dreams into reality.  Through the four weeks we have looked at challenges which have addressed seven key areas of our lives - Nutrition, Physical health, Our Environment, Intellect, Technology, Creativity and Spirituality.  It asked of us to make small changes.  What small changes have you made?  Remember, small changes made continually end with big results.  Go through the program tonight and write down which of the challenges spoke directly to you, the vision you have for your life and the dreams you have for yourself for 2018.  Now make the decision to take action right now to commit to one of these changes/challenges for the rest of the year.  Feel free to share with me what action you have committed yourself too.  I wish you all the best for 2018, may this be YOUR year of being AWESOME!

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Restore...Renew Week 4, Day 6: Try it!


I am sure, just like me, you have often thought of trying a new hobby.  The desire to learn something new, to discover fresh ideas or be creative stirs within most people some or other time in their lives.  However, we often believe that we are too old, too busy,too financially disadvantaged or simply not talented enough.  These are all excuses we hide behind because we are afraid to try something new and then maybe not get it right.  Today I want you to write down a list of five things you have thought of  doing or learning, but have used some of these excuses not to do it.  Next to these five things I want you to write down the reason why you have not been doing them.  Now ask yourself which one of these things you would really like to do, if you did not hide behind this excuse.  Good.  Now I want you to go and gather as much information about this as you can and armed with this knowledge, I want you to commit to this one thing this year.  Maybe you have always wanted to do woodcarving, well now is the time to do it.  Crochet?  There are hundreds of internet sites that will teach a beginner the basic stitches, and there are usually clubs in most towns that will welcome a new comer with open arms.  Maybe you would love to do music, mosaic or learn to ride a horse.  Don't put it off any longer, now is THAT time!  The present time.  This is the time we have.  

Friday, 2 February 2018

Restore...Renew Week 4, Day 5: Unplug


We are so fortunate to be living in an age of  such convenience and technological wonders.  How easy it is to flip a switch and we have light or heat.  Almost every house in modern civilization has a cellular phone and computers.  We can connect to people all over the world.  We are so plugged in that it is easy to forget the real world out there.  Today's challenge is to take the time and get real.  Unplug from the world of technology for today.  No cellphones.  Do you want to talk to somebody, go visit them, look them in the eye and connect face to face. Switch off the TV.  Instead play a board game with your family or talk to them about their week, their friends, or the affairs of the world.  Unplug your computer and close your laptop, go outside and breathe in the evening air or walk in the rain.  Instead of using the stove, make a fresh salad and have a barbecue.  Enjoy a day disconnected from wires, free as a bird.

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Restore...Renew Week 4, Day 4: Reach Beyond


We are all creatures of habit.  We enjoy life in our own comfort zone.  We all have our very specific routines and habits.  Most people are quite happy living their lives within certain limits.  They enjoy eating the same food, wearing the same style of clothing, going the same places and surrounding themselves with familiar things.  In the process we become stuck in a rut and we become dissatisfied with life.  We start asking whether this is all life has to offer.  However, it is not life that is to blame.  We are just too scared to step out of the same-old-same-old routine, and thus we keep on doing the same things while expecting to feel differently.
  For today's challenge I want you to be brave.  I want you to take a step outside your comfort zone.  Instead of ordering your usual cup of coffee, try something with a delightful foreign name.  Are you always sleeping on the left side of the bed? How about being totally wild tonight and get in on the right side of the bed, after all, just imagine that surprised look on your spouse's face!  
Move beyond your own set up limits, and explore.  Watch a documentary on a completely unknown topic, listen to a different genre of music or sign up for a course that will stretch you in a totally different direction.  Dare to be brave.  Stop worrying what others might say or think. Do not be afraid that you might fail.  The only way we ever really fail is when we fail to try something new, when we are too scared to explore or discover new horizons and when we fail to live.  Reach beyond your own horizon, the world awaits you.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Restore...Renew Week 4, Day 3: Mindful


De-clutter is a bit of a buzz word this century and when you look on the internet you will find many programs and ideas to help people de-clutter their homes.  Many books have been written on this topic.  Those who have watched Oprah will remember her introducing us to De-Cluttering Guru, Peter Walsh.  He is known for saying that "clutter is not just the stuff in your closet".  This is so true.  Most often clutter is merely the symptom of something else happening in our lives and in our minds.  Today's challenge is therefore not de-cluttering your desk, a drawer or a room, but about de-cluttering your mind.
It is estimated that the average person has approximately 2000 thoughts running through his/her mind an hour.  Imagine it being like an internal radio, and the speed with which those thoughts would come on the airwaves.  Imagine the noise it would make.  That is what we are dealing with, mind noise.
Most of these thoughts are repetitive in nature and a vast amount of them are filled with negativity.  Most of us are totally unaware that our minds are so busy, but the result of all this noise going on in our heads is that we are unable to focus as clearly as we should be, we become restless and at the end of the day we feel drained of all energy.
So, how do we de-clutter our minds?  Five steps.
Firstly, the one thing which causes a lot of mental clutter is our issues with the past.  Often our minds are so cluttered with every emotion, every insult and wound from the past that there is no space for anything new.  Now is the time to deal with the past.  Face it, acknowledge it and then let it go.  The past can only continue hurting us if we hold onto it for dear life.  Take the good with you, but as for the rest, let it go!
Secondly, write it down.  Make to-do lists, schedule it on your phone's reminders or write it on post-its.  This way you clear up space in your mind for more important matters.  You don't have to think twenty times a day "remember to buy dog food, remember to buy dog food".
Thirdly, get yourself a journal.  Write down your multitude of thoughts.  It is an excellent way to clear your thoughts, deal with your emotions and it can be a great tool to help you to let go of the past.  Once it is out on paper it no longer takes up mental space in your mind.
The fourth step, teach yourself to focus on one thing at a time.  Set aside a specific block of time to do one important project or task.  Focus all your time and energy on that, do not allow other thoughts to interfere or demand your attention.  This way you will get more done in a shorter amount of time.  Once your allocated time has passed for this task, it is time to move onto the next project, again focusing all your effort on this one.
Lastly, meditate.  Contrary to what most people believe about meditation, meditation is not learning how to focus on one specific thing, but rather about learning to clear your mind of all thoughts.  Sounds easy?  No, it is very difficult to not think about anything.  It is like trying to stop a herd of stampeding buffalo from crossing the river.  Yet, when we master this technique it will lead us to greater clarity and calmness.  It will help us to concentrate better and to become mentally stronger.
Now, get on with it, time to de-clutter that crowded space up top.


Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Restore...Renew Week 4, Day 2: Rejoice!


Today I want you to rejoice!  Rejoice in life, rejoice in BEING alive!  Rejoice in being healthy!
One of our challenges has been to join a gym, well, today I want you to go outside and breathe in the air, feel the sun on your skin and the wind in your hair.  let the sunset filter into your eyes.  Take your exercise outside.  Go for a thirty minute brisk walk or an easy run.  dust off your bicycle and go for a ride.  Feel the blood pumping through your veins and rejoice!  If you cannot walk or cycle, the go for a swim, feel the cool clear water wrapping around you, dripping from your fingers with each stroke.  We take life so for granted, yet every breath we take is a miracle, a wondrous blessing.  Become aware of your heartbeat, take in every beautiful detail of life around you.  When you have done your thirty minutes of exercise, sit down on the grass or spread yourself out among the little veld flowers, look up at the sky and rejoice!

Monday, 29 January 2018

Restore...Renew Week 4, Day 1(Again): Freshen Up


Due to some personal circumstances week 4 of my Restore...Renew Program has been postponed.  But, I am back on the internet.  Today's challenge then is to limit your food intake for today to only fruit and vegetables.  You may ask why?  Fruit and vegetables are filled with essential nutrients and antioxidants. These antioxidants help the liver and kidneys to clear our systems of free radicals.  A diet rich in fruit and vegetables can help with weight loss and digestion problems.  It can help reduce blood pressure and lower the risk of heart related problems. The addition of green leafy vegetables and fruit to the diet can lower the risk of  Type 2 diabetes. However, it is important to note that fruit juices contain much more sugar which makes it less advisable for diabetics.  Replacing your regular meals with fruit and vegetables for a day can help with bloating and water retention, but it is important to remember that our bodies need a variety of nutrients, vitamins and minerals to work efficiently, therefore it is not recommended to only eat fruit and vegetables for extended periods of time.  However, eating only fruits and veggies for a day or two every so often might just have an invigorating effect on our bodies, helping us feel fresh, light and healthy.  Enjoy!

Monday, 22 January 2018

Restore. ..Renew Week 4, Day 1:An Apple a Day

Good morning! Welcome to week  4,day 1 of my four week Restore. ..Renew programme. Today's challenge is to only eat fruit and vegetables for the entire day. Fruit and vegetables are filled with essential vitamins as well as the necessary fibre our bodies need.  How much you eat today is up to you. Enjoy!