Thursday, March 31, 2011

Ability is power

I've just realised this week that to have the ability to do many things is a great privilege.

We're all very busy with the demands and responsibilities that modern life, and life in a city entails, I've written about it a couple of times over the last few months.  However, I don't think we realise that our 'places to be and people to meet' approach inevitably implies that we have the ability to handle that which comes with this package - demands on our time and energy on the one hand, but opportunities to grow, learn and develop on the other hand.  And moreover, the ability to choose what we want to be involved with and what we can offer. 

It is true that the power is not always in our hands, in terms of the choices mentioned above.  But it's also true that, more often than not - the power is in our hands.  We can decide whether we want to attend that concertina performance our friends invited us to, or the weekly dinner date with that family member that still call you 'Jemma' instead of 'Patricia' after you've been married for eight years!

I'll agree that it's not easy to say no and to turn down invitations to events where we think our attendance is expected , but I also know that it's very necessary to do that sometimes  - I even have a sense of 'liberation' when I do manage to just say no!

Choices imply that one has to decide for or against a certain option - and that implies that we have the ability to think, to ask, to explore.  That is something to be grateful for. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

I love Tuesdays too! ;-)

How was this week's start to the week, a bit better than the previous Monday?

I hope so!  I had a great weekend, spent quality time with friends and family (how cliché this might sound, I know), and really doing nothing particular on Saturday.  I think I've mastered the act of 'just being', and not doing anything in particular.  And that has rejuvenated me to such an extent that I've loved this Monday!

And the plan is to continue with this attitude for the rest of the week.  So I'm not looking forward to the weekend, and thereby wishing four day to speed away - I'm looking forward to tomorrow.  It might just be one of the best days of my life!

What inspires you to face the week ahead?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I love Mondays!

All around me (okay, let's be more specific - on facebook and twitter) I see positive quotes and sayings, people trying to motivate one another which, of course, is a wonderful thing.  I get the idea that many of us are really in need of uplifting, inspiring stuff - be that thoughts, words or actions.  I know that I am.

So I'm trying to narrow things down for the moment - hoping (and believing, may I say) that a 'back to basics' approach is more often than not the solution to many real life dramas -  the search for fulfillment and  meaningful experiences (packed as positivity and inspiration in this case).  I'm therefore focusing on the small things - the break in a pattern or routine, a compliment, an unexpected smile or even being proud of myself for not getting angry about something that upsets me usually.

I think that I'm starting to sound like a 'nag queen' - pushing these thoughts on seeing the 'silver lining of every cloud' down people's throats.  That is not the idea at all.  I'm just realising that thoughts lead to words which lead to action, which then again, becomes behaviour patterns that are difficult to change.  And because I'm very much aware of this fact lately I'm trying to think like a 'little miss sunshine' and maybe be a 'little miss mentor' to someone in the mean time.

But I'm also saying that positivity and 'living a good life' is still a subjective perception and experience.  Having said that, let's shake things up a bit and dreads the thought that the weekend is nearly upon us - I'm looking forward to Monday already!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Season change - time for introspection?

I'm very much aware of autumn that's in the air, especially after this long weekend.  The air is crisp and cool and the sun is rising a bit later.  If you haven't noticed anything else you must have seen that leaves are all over the place, all of a sudden.

Or maybe this has not happened so suddenly, but forms part of a much bigger process or cycle of season change.

Many people might not agree but I think that the changing seasons can be related back to our minds and consciousness.  It's as if I'm more aware of my surroundings and circumstances the last couple of weeks - I'm definitely thinking more about life - my own life - and the good, the bad and ugly that it entails at this stage.

It might be pure coincidence or it might be Mother Nature that directs her children to look inwards, to do introspection and to thereby get rid of the unused or even harmful 'leaves' on our 'branches'.  This might sound very philosophical and 'airy fairy', but it does make sense to me. Shouldn't we do more, and act more according to the laws of nature?  Isn't that part of our internal make-up but something that we so often just ignore? 

Whether you are friend or foe,
Seasons and cycles come and go,
Much like the ocean's eb and flow,
So I'm turning inwards for internal grow(th)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Proudly South African - and counting my (South African) blessings

I came across this very interesting (or inspiring, rather) blog post by Liesel Eiselen yesterday.  We live in sunny South Africa and we do realise every now and then that we are very fortunate.  We are part of the rainbow nation and therefore exposed to a variety of diverse people and cultures.  We are a friendly, helpful nation (well, most of the time) - concerned about the wellbeing of not only our families and friends, but also our neighbours, colleagues and communities.  We are, and we should be - proudly South African.

Something that we very often take for granted is that we're one of Mother Nature's most loved children ;-). We are not confronted with human tragedy and the loss of lives due to natural disasters.  We are exposed to mild weather conditions (the Karoo might be the exception here) and our winters generally only lasts for four months (especially if you're living in the Northern regions of our country).

Point is - we have a lot to be grateful for and Liesel highlighted this fact so beautifully.  So do yourself a favour and read her blog post.  She made me realise once again that it's a privilege to say and to, more importantly, be - proudly South African!
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Monday, March 14, 2011

Monday blues? Not any more!

If little miss sunshine doesn't make you smile, I don't know who will!

Have a good week! 

P.S.  Everyone has their own 'little miss sunshine' - express your appreciation for them every now and then.  And try to be someone else's 'little miss sunshine' once in a while ;-) 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Some more thoughts on being and living in the moment

With Monday's post about the importance of letting go and to just 'be' still fresh in my mind I came across this interesting article by Jay Dixit on Psychology Today's website about mindfulness and really living (or trying to live, at least) in the present.

You Are Not Your Thoughts

Life unfolds in the present. But so often, we let the present slip away, allowing time to rush past unobserved and unseized, and squandering the precious seconds of our lives as we worry about the future and ruminate about what's past. "We're living in a world that contributes in a major way to mental fragmentation, disintegration, distraction, decoherence," says Buddhist scholar B. Alan Wallace. We're always doing something, and we allow little time to practice stillness and calm.

When we're at work, we fantasize about being on vacation; on vacation, we worry about the work piling up on our desks. We dwell on intrusive memories of the past or fret about what may or may not happen in the future. We don't appreciate the living present because our "monkey minds," as Buddhists call them, vault from thought to thought like monkeys swinging from tree to tree.

Most of us don't undertake our thoughts in awareness. Rather, our thoughts control us. "Ordinary thoughts course through our mind like a deafening waterfall," writes Jon Kabat-Zinn, the biomedical scientist who introduced meditation into mainstream medicine. In order to feel more in control of our minds and our lives, to find the sense of balance that eludes us, we need to step out of this current, to pause, and, as Kabat-Zinn puts it, to "rest in stillness—to stop doing and focus on just being."

Living in the moment involves a profound paradox: You can't pursue it for its benefits. That's because the expectation of reward launches a future-oriented mindset, which subverts the entire process. Instead, you just have to trust that the rewards will come. There are many paths to mindfulness—and at the core of each is a paradox. Ironically, letting go of what you want is the only way to get it.

Click here for the full article and a few tricks on letting go.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Number one on my 'to do list': let it be!

Have you ever thought about the concept 'human being', and why we are called 'beings' and not 'doings'?

I've read a very interesting article in the Feb/March issue of Psychologies the other day - suggesting that we are meant to 'just be' sometimes.   I find it very difficult not to be busy with a specific act or task.  When I'm not 'caught in the act' I'm probably thinking about that never-ending list of things that still need to be done - and I'm sure I'm not the only one struggling with this

Our construct of our world is in many respects made up of our perception of being busy with certain tasks - doing something at at specific place and in a certain time frame.  Listen to an ordinary conversation in any given context - the second sentence after "how are you" will most probably be "very busy - I don't know where I'll find the time to do this or that".  We (like to) think of ourselves as being 'do-ers' - always busy with the next thing on our list.  But it is okay to 'just be' sometimes - not chasing to the next event or appointment (and very often creating something new if there is nothing to attend to).  

We are human beings, not 'doings' - we are supposed to live in and enjoy the moment - not always attending to the next 'do' on our list. 

What did the Beatles say?  Let it be....

I'm going to try to apply this during this week; do you think it's possible at all?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Girls should have fun - it's National Cleavage Day!

Celebrating womanhood and all the emporing things that goes with that is what today is all about! Many people are of the opinion that a woman's body should never be used as a 'marketing tool' - but I think today can be an exception to that rule! If you have it, flaunt it sister!

National Cleavage Day was started in 2002 and held at the beginning of April every year (or March, in 2011). According to Samantha Paterson, the brand manager for Wonderbra, the National Cleavage Day is started according to a design to solemnise women's independence and power in all facets of life, from their careers to their relationships to their own destiny (Refer to Wikipedia for more information).

Let's celebrate contributing, sharing and giving in our families, work environments and communities - being caretakers, wife's, mothers, sisters, colleagues - wonderful women!

Share this with the remarkable women you know and show that cleavage - it's the right thing to do today!