Thursday, 21 January 2021

THAT is Life!

It's a new year. 2021.  Everybody expected this year to be almost idyllic.  It was as if people thought that when the clock turned over at midnight, the world would be Covid free.  As if by magic the virus would just have disappeared.  However, spoiler alert, we all stepped into 2021 with this little complication called Covid-19 as well as its variants. Of course, most of us knew that it was not going to happen.  Yet, we felt slightly deflated at the realization that the virus was still here and would likely be with us for some time to come.

Most people have the expectation that life is, and should be, just plain sailing and straightforward.  We see the perfect life as problem free and easy, except for the pessimists out there, the Eeyore's of life.  The rest of us have hopes and expectations.  I am a great optimist myself.  However, I think I am an optimist with a streak of realism, but more about that just now.

The point I want to get to is that we, in general, expect our lives, our plans and ideas, our relationships and futures to have the green light of perfection all the way.  We live on a cloud of euphoria when we meet somebody new, when we enter into a new venture or change jobs.  And then one day...BOOM!  Life happens, yep, it hits the fan!  I discover my prince has feet of clay, my amazing job is making demands on me, my dream is not so perfect at all, or my exciting new venture does not meet all of my expectations.   This revelation catches us totally unaware and our chain is rattled.  That is when I want to divorce my partner, or quit my job.  I wallow in self-pity and declare the whole thing a mistake, a dead dodo!

Is this all true?  Was it really a mistake, did I make an error in judgement?  No. Life happened.  That is all.  Now what?  Do I throw my relationship away?  Do I resign my job or give up on my dream?  Of course you can.  It is your choice, after all, you probably have a good excuse.  Life happened, and you thought you were living in the land of eternal sunshine.  You see, that is the whole problem.  We think that life is supposed to be a fairytale, happy ever after.  The truth is that the fairytale authors neglected to add..."and with a lot of dedication, patience, forgiveness, selflessness and working on their communication skills, they lived happily ever after despite the difficulties and obstacles they faced almost daily."  THAT is life!

Life was never meant to be perfect.  What would the purpose of that be?  We would be so bored with nothing to strife for.  We would forever stay just as we  are without any opportunity for growth or gain.  Life will always have its challenges.  There will always be obstacles to navigate and problems to solve.  These are the things which develop our characters and it makes us strong and resilient.  Every difficulty becomes an opportunity to learn and expand our understanding of ourselves, of others and our purpose here on earth.  Every hurdle we face  takes us to a higher level of being alive.

Yes, we can take the easy way out.  We can quit.  We can run away.  We can take our dream and pack it away in some forgotten box.  However, that is a sure way to never reach your destination, and you will end up missing the journey altogether.

Life is what it is.  It comes with a whole set of complication and difficulties.  It has buckets full of heartache and tears,  truckloads of trials and temptations, but it also comes with joy, with abundance, with surprises and a bag full of magic.  Learning to cope and navigate and overcoming the detours is just part of it.  So put on your big girl panties.  Living life is glorious!!!


Monday, 18 January 2021

Be You

We've had the privilege to go on holiday with my daughter, her husband and their two girls.  What a blessing it was.  Our elder granddaughter is four years old and such a precious big sister to her nine month old sibling.  

Apart from all the laughter and the delightful antics of the two girls, it was also a learning experience.  How to be authentically you.  Children are so open and uncomplicated.  They take life at face-value and grab it with both hands.  The younger baby seems to look at everything with such expectation, looking for reasons to burst out laughing.  Life to the elder one is a constant source of wonder, delighting in even the tiniest piece of broken sea-shell.  

On our second last day of holiday, us girls had an art day.  We all painted butterflies.  When Rose's mom pointed out that her butterfly was pointing down, she simply said yes, of course, it is flying down to the flowers.  Simple.  Easy.  That is the way of it, and she added that it was exactly how she wanted it to be.  Period.  She said it with all the confidence of a four year old, which is more confidence than many grown-ups have.

You see, four year olds (the ones blessed with a nurturing and loving home) have not yet been conditioned and warped by an unforgiving society.  They are still untouched by the worlds rules, demands to conform and expectations.  They have not yet been tainted by self-doubt.  Little children are simply their authentic selves. 

This, sadly though, does not last long.  The world, life and society soon start pushing these free spirits into a mold, demanding them to conform and shape themselves into a more acceptable form.

Observing this confidence in my granddaughter made me think about the importance of authenticity.  I also realize that it is a very worthwhile attribute to pursue.  Being my own authentic self.  Yet, how?

I think it starts first of all with knowing yourself, who you are and what your self-worth is.  However, the problem with this is that over the years we have told ourselves so many untruths about ourselves.  Just like a child learns to talk by constantly hearing the word :"Mama, Mama, Mama", we become what we say to ourselves: "I can't, I am a failure, I am worthless."  This is not true.  We were not born to be failures and worthless.  We were born with limitless possibilities.  However, we started to listen more to the outside world, and less to the voice of our own authentic self.  It is vital to stop listening to other people's opinion about you and start paying attention to your Creator's truth about you.

Make a list of your attributes, your strengths and your current abilities.  Write down the possibilities about yourself and where you would like to go.  Think about your core values and what things are important to you.  Write them down. Once you are honest about yourself and who you want to be, start finding people who will be on your side, find your tribe.  Surround yourself with positive and like-minded people. 

Knowing your worth and your values are important when it comes to making decisions as well as living true to your authentic self.  Our actions are a reflection of our core beliefs and values. When we know who we are it is much easier to also be who we are.  We no longer fear what other people say about us, because we are free to be our own authentic selves, to be the unique and wonderful person you have been created to be all along.


Friday, 8 January 2021


So, how many of you have made some new year resolutions?  I know that I have not really made any this year.  I actually am not a great believer in new year resolutions, because they are normally not even worth the paper they are written on.  I mean, honestly, how many of us ever stick to them beyond the first week of January.  If 2020 taught us anything, then it is how absolutely unpredictable life really is.  We can make all the plans, and all the resolutions we want, but life has its own ways and plans with us.  If we are not flexible in our ideas and hopes it can really throw a person for a loop.  We simply cannot even imagine what the future could be like.  However, that does not mean we should not make plans.  It is very important to make plans, because the saying goes : he who fails to plan, plans to fail.  But planning and making new year resolutions are actually two very different concepts.

First of all, resolutions tend to be ill-defined and often a spur-of-the-moment idea.  Secondly, they are often set impossibly high and lack thought as well as a time frame except for the words "this year".  This sets it immediately up for failure.  By the time the novelty of the new year, normally by the second week of January, has worn off, we can hardly remember the resolutions we have made.  So what is the alternative?

Goal setting and planning.  When we write down our goals we immediately set an intention.  It tells your sub-conscious mind to sit up and pay attention.  Having written out your goals, it is then important to formulate a plan of action.  How am I going to tackle this goal, what action will I have to take and what sort of time-line do I look at.  You see, for a goal to become real a person needs to have a clear idea of when do you want the goal to be achieved.

Last year my friend and I took on a major venture, and as we went along we put our plans and goals down on paper every day with a time line and we achieved each one of those.  However, when it got to the launching stage we faltered.  We had a vague idea of when it should be, but every time we shifted the goalposts.  However, once we put the date to paper and we spread the word, it became real.  There was no turning back.  We were committed.  If we did not do that we would still have been waiting to launch.

This year I decided to make a vision board for my goals.  The photo above is my vision board for 2021.  It is an invaluable tool to help make your dreams, hopes and desires a tangible, visible reality.  When you place it where it is visible to you on a daily basis it serves as a reminder of where you are headed.  It helps to manifest those things which are important for you to achieve.  The action of making a vision board helps to release your creative juices and it also helps you to really think about your goals.  Often you will find, that while you are searching for images for your board, you discover other ideas or goals that speak to your heart.

That is exactly how I found my word for the year. "Limitless".  I have so many limiting ideas about myself, my abilities and talents that they seem to keep me firmly tied down to the ground, and prevent me from soaring.  No more, I want to spread my wings and fly.  When we let go of our limiting beliefs, our lives become limitless.  Then not even the sky sets a limit to what we could potentially achieve.  We take the focus off ourselves and our focus becomes Phillipians 4:13 " I can do all things through Christ who gives me the strength.  Limitless.

Friday, 1 January 2021

Happy New Year


And so, midnight came, accompanied by the loud booms and flashes of (illegal) fireworks.  The New Year has arrived.  It's a brand new year, a year many people have been impatient to get to, their hopes focused on the idea that 2020 can now be left behind with everything which made it less pleasant.  Bright sparks and colourful smoke filled the night sky and down our street shouts of merriment could be heard intermingled with the sounds of barking.  A New Year is always a festive occasion and not even the lockdown could totally damped the people's spirit.

This reminds me of Christmas.  My granddaughter is now at the age where she can really start to enjoy this special time.  Her eyes sparkled as she waited for the moment she could start opening her gifts.  However, it was not the toys with the buzzing sounds and bright twirling lights that excited her.  She adored the little bug cage which her aunt and uncle got her.  She could hardly wait for the next morning to go out to the veld to look for butterflies.  As soon as it was light enough she dragged her uncle off in search of the insects.  A while later they returned and with great excitement she proudly showed off her find.  It was a Brown-Veined White Butterfly.  She was fascinated by the tiny creature with its delicate wings.  After studying it for a while, they set it free again.  A lepidopterist has been born.

The new year may have started with a bang and a burst of fireworks, but my wish for us this year is that we will find joy in the little things.  That we will take time to discover the wonder in the ordinary and in those things we hardly take the time to notice.  May we look at everything around us with the sense of wonder that children have. May we appreciate the simple wonder of waking up to a new day and find delight in the smiles on our loved ones' faces.  Let us be ready to look for beauty around us, and the beauty within others.  The bright flashes of fireworks last for a few seconds only, but true happiness is never found in material things.  It is experienced with the heart and an open mind ready to discover beauty and joy.

May you be blessed with a spirit of wonder this year. Happy 2021.