Thursday, 27 April 2017

Big up a friend.

This morning I crossed paths with a friend doing the school run as I do almost every day. After we were done we continued to chat as we headed in the general directions of our homes we were deep in conversation so we decided to take the long way home and eventually ended up in a cafĂ© because I really needed an ear. First of all I just want to say thank you to Preye (check out her amazing talent  on instagram @cakesbypreye) for being such an amazing friend and woman, she doesn’t get much time to herself but what she does have she was willing to spend listening to me and my ramblings. Secondly, not only does she listen but she tells me the truth of what she is hearing from me and she reminds me that I ought to start practising what I preach. I think so much about what I should be doing and I plan what I want to do so much that I convince myself that I am actually doing these things but I am clearly not. 

It’s easy for us to believe that we are the only ones ‘going through it,’ sharing helps because you have the benefit of gaining a different perspective and maybe even realising that its really not a problem it’s just life. No one has answers to everything you just have to work things out as you go along, but we must choose to be happy as we journey along. One great outcome of our conversation was realising how much we as individuals and a collective have to offer in providing the community and experiences that we want for our kids, which has perhaps birthed a new project for us that fills me with excitement, hope and nerves, all of which are signs that I am alive and therefore winning. With the only certainty in life being death we really should reach for the stars and welcome new experiences people and opportunities.

Focussing on what you don’t want or what is not going so well will only bring you more of that thing. I have never thought of myself as a 9 – 5 worker as I am just not the conventional office type but because that was all I ever thought about as regards work, so that is all I had ever done. Now that I am accepting who and where I am, I am beginning to create opportunities for myself that allow me to work more creatively and flexibly, Preye inspires me in this as she stepped out in her truth with faith and natural talent to create a business for herself that is flexible and brings happiness to herself and others.

 Focus on who you are to become who you are meant to be. 

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Make time to make time.

Getting my priorities right has always been hit or miss. I have never been very big on order and for a long time this worked for me, I managed to get things done and convinced myself that I was better at doing things last minute as this somehow produced the best results for me. I was operating from a place of limited knowledge as I had never given planning and its associated benefits such as having extra time left to perfect projects a chance. As responsibilities in life increase so too does the need to organise, staying on top of bills, work, assignments, keeping relationships going and looking right all require planning. The most important resource, time, being unreplenishable is the most precious resource of them all so use it thoughtfully.

When my first child was born, I was so stuck on getting everything right for him and being his only source of everything which led to my chaotic world becoming even more chaotic.  I had a team of helpers that were for a while redundant because of my stubbornness. One afternoon as I wandered into the living room still in my pyjamas, hungry, exhausted and on the verge of tears, my mother offered me breakfast, but I declined as baby comes first and I was sure he needed another feed. My darling sweet as pie mother replied, ‘how are you going to feed the child when you are dead?’ Extreme but fair. Normally this would have sparked an argument but I could only muster a shadow of a smile, defeated chuckle and accept the food. As I ate the baby lay happily in grandma’s arms, the two of them were so lost in their bonding session that I was able to sneak away get clean and put myself together, and learn the lesson that prioritising my basic needs was necessary for me to be there for the little person I had brought into this world. In taking care of me I was also allowing someone else to help and develop a relationship, bonus and I woke up to the fact that mum was not going to be around forever so something needed to change.

Bringing a child up away from extended family is tough, being from an African family where normally the village that is needed to raise the child is readily available, be they hired or not, adopting a routine for mother and child did not come naturally but it came because it had to. When prioritising it may be necessary to delegate and assign tasks to others where possible and that is ok it does not take anything away from you. Sometimes we want to do everything to prove how strong or capable we are, there is strength in admitting weaknesses and the need for support. I appreciate that there are circumstances in which we are truly alone in this regard I would say do what’s most important first but remember what’s most important may not be what you think is most urgent. Identifying what is important to us and acknowledging that matters of importance are as unique as we are starts with considering your values and beliefs. Rather than being constraining mapping or planning (and writing it out) our life’s and goals frees not only mentally but it creates more time and space for other things too.  Once you have a plan commit to it, but make changes as needed no process starts off perfect. Committing to a process brings with it focus and improved quality when you know you have a limited amount of time to do something you make the best of it.

A perfectly timed one-liner from someone who cared changed an aspect of my life for the better, imagine what a quick call to check in and let someone know you care can do for their life, all it takes is making the time. 

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Chinese Whispers.

 “If your lips would keep from slips,
Five things observe with care;
To whom you speak, of whom you speak
And how, and when, and where.” William Edward Norris

The game Chinese Whispers teaches us an important lesson. For anyone who has not had the pleasure of playing this game: a group of people stands in a line or circle, the first person whispers a message into the second’s ear and so on to the last person who then delivers the message aloud to the group. 99.999% of the time the message that comes back is totally different to the original one, a perfect example of the waste of time gossip is and to illustrate the purpose of seeking truth in everything. I used to be a fan of gossip, I’ll hold my hands up, I’m not proud of it, I never gave it much thought I don’t think any of us really do we just get caught up in it. What we can do is choose whether we are going to pass on this information and to whom and to what end or stop the fake news in its tracks. My personal view is if we are not bothered enough to seek the truth then really what we heard need go no further and we must question why we are filling our time and minds with such useless information when we could be getting on with more important tasks like minding our own business and fixing our lives. That said I’ve realised I play Chinese whispers with myself and that can be the most damaging gossip we can ever hear.

We hear what we want to hear and this is normally dictated by what we are feeling, suppressing, or fear. Many moons ago a helpful person told me that it was so much fun to hang out with me because “you are so much fun when you’ve had a few.” …I heard, “the only time you are worth being around is when you are in party mode.” Not wanting to be out of favour I obliged and partied hard even when I didn’t really want to and even long after I lost touch with her. I don’t blame her one bit for my partying habits, she couldn’t have known what was going on in my insecure mind but that stayed with me for years even after the parties were over because in my mind I just was not interesting enough. Taking care of ourselves includes auditing and processing messages we receive, thoughtfully. But be careful not to overthink, just listen to what you are saying to yourself and turn on your truth-o-meter. As we hear what we WANT, changing what we want can also have an immediate effect on what we hear. With my truth-o-meter in check, I came to know that the truth about fun is that it is safe, non-toxic, and free and sure enough out clubbing one night a more helpful person said to me, “I’m so jealous, to dance and have fun like that I need at least three drinks!” Transcendence achieved and still being perfected, it was a long process with relapses but I see those for what they were, lessons pushing me towards what truth told me I not only wanted but needed as well.

While we can’t take responsibility for the way messages we send out are received by others we have a duty of care to humanity to watch what we say about and to others. We talk about people we know little to nothing about to make us feel better about ourselves, to detract from our own shambolic lives and maybe to feel like we are part of a group. Often the more negative and inaccurate the messages we pass on about and to others the more mess we are refusing to deal with. You fix nothing, least of all yourself, by being so concerned about another person’s life, while you’re so busy talking about them they are probably busy getting things done achieving goals and living life in the meantime your dirty laundry bin runneth over. As a parent and former child, I have experienced the power of words in their ability to empower, deflate, encourage, influence, and confuse. Kids can bounce back and move on from many things but there comes a time when words stick. If they repeatedly hear ugly words they will have ugly thoughts about themselves and the world and may carry this through to adulthood. I endeavour to build my kids up with the appropriate truth and words so that they have strong foundations, it’s a tricky game this thing called life but if we simply learn our lessons and enact the good we’re one step closer to a life less misunderstood.

Speak life and truth to all you encounter, beginning with you.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

The one I was waiting for was me.

For as long as I can remember I have been looking for someone to make things right for me. To open doors, hold my hand, tell me I was loved, tell me what to do and how to be fulfilled. Life provided some people to fulfil what I thought I wanted, I can attest to the fact that you do find what it is you are looking for, but I never felt quite complete and would keep searching without adapting my search technique. I was truly the mad woman who did the same thing expecting different outcomes, as I look back on my life I see repeat behaviours and experiences that sometimes brought me back to full circle, knocked me back but thankfully not out. Life has been kind enough to allow me my mistakes, and there have been many, until I learned (I continue to learn) the lessons I need to be my best self. When you look to someone else to complete you what we normally don’t consider is that they too are looking for something, while you are looking for someone to take care of you and protect you from the world they may be looking for someone to control or my need protecting as well.  As I am the only one who knows what I really need to feel complete it follows that I should complete me and anyone else coming to the table is to add value, a different dynamic and for expansion purposes.

Comfort zones are very comfortable. My comfort zone was created to protect me from potential disappointment which has its roots in comparison, my go to reasoning is I will never be as talented/rich/slim as whoever so why even try. Instead of comparing myself to people it has been more helpful to understand that everyone has their own journey and talents, by appreciating traits and habits of people we admire we can change our lives. In a comfort zone, you know what to expect and know what you need to do to stay safe but I believe we are designed to want more out of life and at some point, we always want more or something different be it from work or play.  Fighting to stay in a comfort zone can become so uncomfortable we are forced out, we can be bolder and kinder to ourselves and not fight just step out into perceived danger zones which are thrilling and teach us much more keeping us growing. Comfort zones are identifiers of the limiting beliefs we hold about ourselves, mine was chaotic and dramatic, I believed that was just who I was and I didn’t deserve any peace and even in seeking peace by withdrawing, drama followed because I held on to the limiting belief of myself as chaotic. The minute I allowed myself to live drama free by changing my perspective and becoming more organised and purposeful things became calmer, simpler, and more focused.

I used to think wanting more and not being satisfied with what I had made me an ungrateful and covetous green-eyed monster.  Not wanting to be a monster I remained in a comfort zone with an unhealthy relationship with a lot of things in my life most significantly people, money, and myself this did not, however, stop me from wanting more and hating myself for not being able to lay my hands on more although I never gave much thought to what exactly what I wanted.  Understanding that in order to enjoy life more we have to be satisfied with and thankful for what we have did not come easily and it began with being accepting of the fact that I not only wanted more out of life but was deserving of more, I had to give thought to what it is I want out of life and why. I am grateful for all the people in my life and I am no longer in silent competition with anyone, the only person I compete with is me. I am being more open and honest in my relationship with money which I now see as an abundantly accessible tool for good.

Life is much more fun when you show up to your own party and are the best dance partner for you. When you are ready allow others to dance along with you.