Friday, December 10, 2010

Happy holidays!

I've decided that there won't be any blogging during the next three weeks - I think it is quite important to really 'wind down' once you are on holiday, not doing the usual stuff and definitely not sticking to your everyday routine.

I'm wishing a wonderfully joyous festive season for you and your loved ones - do stuff that makes you feel good and that you don't ever find the time for during the year. 

My friend shared this story with us during our last book club get-together; I think it's quite special:

Recipe for Christmas all year long

Take a heap of child-like wonder
That opens up your eyes
To the enexpected gifts in life -
Each day a surprise.
Mix in fond appreciation
For the people whom we know;
Like festive Christmas candles,
Each one has a special glow.

Add some giggles and some laughter,
A dash of Christmas food,
(Amazing how a piece of pie improves your attitude ;-)
Stir it all with human kindness;
Wrap it up in love and peace,
Decorate with optimism, and
Our joy will never cease.

If we use this healthy recipe,
We know we will remember
To be in the Christmas spirit
Even when it's not December

Happy holidays everyone - chat again in January!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Wake up and smell the roses...or khaki-bush, but smell!

Why is it that we always count the days until the weekend, or our holiday, or to Christmas (like I did myself a while ago)?  It's good to look forward to special events in one's life, but doesn't that imply that we wish that the clock will just tick a bit faster so that we can experience the event sooner?

I try to live in the moment, to apply 'mindfulness' (at least when I actively think about it every now and then), but most of the time I fail miserably, because I'm already thinking (and wishing) for Friday to come, so that I can go on holiday.

But what if today is my very last day, what if this will be my last post, the last thought that I share with a few people?  If we knew when our last day will be (and I know there are many arguments stating that this is a bad idea, which is not necessarily untrue), will we live our life - today, differently?

This is my motto for the rest of December (at least) - to really experience moments in my life, and not only looking forward to the big events.  My dearest friend lost her dad over the weekend, very abruptly.  It seems as if it takes big events (such as the passing away of a loved one) to serve as a wake-up call, although we know so well that life can change in a split second.

It is just me that struggle with these very simple facts of life?  I'm going to make myself a cup of tea, smell the approaching rain outside and embrace what life brings to me today - the good, the bad and the ugly.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think it is a bad thing to look forward to special occasions, and to 'count the sleeps' until the day finally arrives, but I do think that this should not be what motivates us to get out of bed in the morning. 

Is this a silly resolution (and it's not even New Year yet)?  ;-)

Have a splendid Tuesday!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

World AIDS day: what does it mean to you?

We are commemorating World AIDS Day today, as you all will know (the media hype makes it hard to miss).  This hype is certainly a good thing since it is a health and social issue that cannot be ignored.  It's important for us in South Africa and throughout the whole world to take note of the risks and dangers, but also the stories of hope, care and compassion associated with this disease.
I'm thinking about the 'sub-text' underlying the commemoration of World Aids Day - what is it that we really should be thinking about when HIV and AIDS is at stake, apart from the obvious do's and don'ts surrounding AIDS?  

Respect is the first word that comes to my mind - no discriminating acts or behaviour towards any individual, HIV positive or negative. And with that respecting the rights of others - whether I think they are deserving of specific rights or not.  Tolerance is another value that correlates to respect - accepting other's ideas and behaviour, even when it differs completely from my own.  But with respect and tolerance comes accountability - really accepting responsibility for, and being accountable for my own actions - the good, the bad and ugly.

For me World AIDS Day is also about getting involved, not just today, but every other day of the year, and not only concerning HIV and AIDS, but getting involved with vulnerable people in my community - identifying (and hopefully addressing some of)the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of those around me.

My plan of action is therefore to Learn, Speak and Give -  maybe starting with the No Violence Against Women and Children campaign and World Aids Day, but not stopping there.

What does World Aids Day mean to you?

Want to read more?