Category Archives: Friendship

To a beautiful soul…

Tomorrow’s blog will be all whips and chains. You know, a kick in the ass before the weekend. I like those Kicks up the ass.. The harder you kick, the more I’ll fight. The bigger the challenge, the greater my enthusiasm. Some people want offers they can’t resist. Personally, I tend to go for challenges I can’t resist.

I’ve thought about that a lot lately. I like to be pushed out of my comfort zone. I thrive on challenges. I love discipline. The harder you hit me, the higher I rise.

I’m never gonna stop loving challenges I don’t think. They’re addictive. Adrenaline fueled adventures into the unknown. Or simply running as fast as I can until I get high on endorphins. Try talking to me after a run and a cup of coffee. I will be delirious with happiness and overcome by enthusiasm.

The thing is, how I treat people is greatly the same as my father did: I give practical tips and enforce discipline. Often, I just wanted him to hug me and say it’ll be OK. Now, I’m the one dishing out “for fuck’s sake (wo)man up and change your life.” I don’t lovingly support people. I tell them to wake the fuck up and sort their shit out.

That’s how I treat myself as well. And in some ways, it’s really effective. Holding a gun to my head and telling myself to move, to do something — anything — to sort out whatever problem at hand, or rise higher in life, works pretty well at times. It’s just, when I need a hug, a helping hand, a caress, a pat on the back…I don’t know what to do. I think I’ve gotten better at it. Better at self-care. Better at asking for help. Better at allowing people to hold me, without me simultaneously telling them what my failures are. What I can get better at.

It’s just…you’re a beautiful soul you know. You sparkle and glitter. You’ve got kindness and love twinkling away in your heart. Maybe you’ve fallen on the ground a couple of times. Maybe you’re still lying on the ground. Maybe you can’t get up…maybe you’re crawling. But you’re still beautiful. You have gold speckles covering your body. Divinity floating about you in a cloud. Maybe you can’t access that right now. Maybe your mind is broken. Maybe your body too. But your heart and soul are intact. They always will be. You just need to find your way back to them if your life currently isn’t true to them. If your life is not a reflection of who you truly are deep inside. Allow yourself to recognize that you are love. You are divine. You’re no less, no more, than the person next to you. Life shaped you one way or another. That’s all. Inside of you are still all the wonders of the world and some. You’re beautiful. And maybe I’m not great at telling you that, because, well, I’m more prone to kick your ass, but I still see you, you know. I see the miracle that is you. And that’s why I’m here. Not because you’re broken, but because you’re whole. Because you are a heart and a soul. All the rest is just the topping.

Yin and yang. We need discipline. We need structures that hold us accountable to our highest self. But we also need love. We need someone who recognizes the divine in us. The purity that can be found within our soul. The love that exists there, even if it’s buried under a hundred layers of sorrow or hatred. Underneath all that is a diamond waiting to shine. You are that diamond. So am I. We are all beautiful.

Beyond our failures and achievements is a person — a heart and a soul — waiting to be seen. Someone who just is. I usually find that person by the ocean. A girl with her feet in the sand, or sea. Just a woman standing there. Not a failure. Not an achievement. No, just a heart and a soul, with her toes in the ocean. And that, that is the woman I want to be seen for. And that, that heart and soul, is who I see in you.

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Filed under diary, Friendship, Heart, Love, Psychology, relationships, Soul, Uncategorized

My choice to shine…

I just tried to Google duck recipes, but ended up with dick instead of duck. Just the way to start a Monday morning. Oh, and the toddler got out of bed to pee in the toilet, but peed standing on the floor next to the bed instead. 

Frankly, I’ve had a wonderful morning. These are just little funny events. The sun is shining, Cape Town looks glorious and people have been nice to me this morning. 

I was thinking about this the other day. People being nice. I was feeling a bit sad and angry because of something. Like I’d imagined this perfect day that just wasn’t happening. And instead of making the moment great, I just felt disappointed. Just then I ended up talking to one friend of mine that showed me kindness. Simply by helping me with some car issues. Just hearing his voice I calmed down, because I knew I have people in my life who care about me. 

And it hit me how much kindness matters. Yesterday my business partner went on a rant about how as long as I don’t have a stable boyfriend in my life, he is going to make sure I’m OK with the things that, in his opinion, a man should handle because clearly I have to multitask too much. It was really sweet. 

My kid’s homeschooling teacher this morning asked me how I was doing. Left me a message asking questions. That perked me up as well. Just knowing people care. 

I think it’s important to acknowledge the people in your life who are showing up for you by showing up for them (as mentioned in a previous blog, it doesn’t come natural for me to check in on people, I’m learning to do that) and sometimes, by giving them a gift or something else to show you care. I don’t always take time for this, and sometimes I’m too shy to do it, but I must start doing it. Because it’s who I want to be. 

Also, remember focus. When I was upset I was focusing on something in my life that wasn’t working as I wanted it too. When I spoke to my friend, I started focusing on things in my life that were working, such as beautiful friendships. That shifted my mood.

The thing is, we often get stuck thinking about how to figure out what’s not working. How to solve problems. Or simply reveling in the problems. When we do, we feel like shit. I could have been very upset about the peeing episode this morning. I wasn’t. Because I didn’t waste any time thinking about it. It took three minutes to clean up. Big deal. But when we’re frustrated, or sad, any thing is a big deal. When, on the other hand, we think about what’s working, such as living in gloriously beautiful Cape Town, having amazing people in your life and making more money an hour than some make a week here, we see these small events as funny. OK, I was temporarily frustrated as I didn’t understand the logic of peeing by the bedside, but it didn’t take long to see the humor. 

If there’s a problem, deal with it. Man up to it. Take charge. Don’t get stuck thinking about it. Take action. Any action. Start moving beyond it. If one thing doesn’t work, try another until you find a solution. Just don’t bury yourself in the problem. Everyone goes through shit. It’s how you deal with it that determines if it sinks you or you conquer.

I can write you a long list of problems I have and that Cape Town has, but I live in a city filled with sunshine and star shine, glorious beaches and tall mountains, incredible city scapes and natural wonders, tasty foods and delicious treats, roaring fireplaces and beautiful gardens, laughing people and shining intelligence… I live in paradise. If only I choose to see it that way. It’s my choice. Mine alone. My choice to see the wonders in my life and my city. My choice.  

Funnily, when you start seeing the things in life that shine, you start to shine. You start to sparkle. You become a star in other people’s night sky.

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Filed under Awareness, conscious lifestyle, Conscious Living, diary, Friends, Friendship, friendships, Inspiration, Inspirational, kindness, Mindfulness, Motivation, Musings, relationships, self help, Self-help, The Mind, Uncategorized

The beauty of human connection…

People are wonderful, no? They’re who you get up for in the morning. Together with your passions, the beauty of sunbeams, running headfirst into playful winds and the taste of coffee and other delectables. Like chocolate. Oh la la. Pain au chocolat. 

I love the people in my life, yet I’m not particularly good at staying in touch with people. I know a lot of people. Like a LOT of people, because I’ve traveled the world and lived in seven different countries. Tends to foster friendships. But I’m great at isolating myself and terrible at staying in touch with people who aren’t in my immediate surroundings. 

There are many friends I have, in the four corners of the globe, that I’d love to see more of. But I just don’t generally message people regularly. No matter how close friends I consider them to be, or how much I value their presence in real life. 

In short, if you’re my best friend, or you’re dating me, I’ll probably message you fairly often. Otherwise, good luck. 

I talk to my business partner almost every day as well, but there’s a practical reason for that. I also call him when I’m beside myself about just about anything in South Africa. That also leads to a fair amount of phone calls.

Now, beyond that, you’re lucky if you get a message a year. Which is quite stupid, really. I was never good with small talk, so I guess it simply never occurred to me to message people. I’d prefer to write a ten-page letter. But now I have a blog, so those ten-page letters are usually posted there. Here, that is.

This year I became friends with someone who stubbornly left me voicemails. Daily. At first, I was annoyed as I’m a busy person and I think anyone who speaks with you daily is a stalker. To me, it was a completely foreign concept. Then I got really into it. Because, frankly, it’s quite nice to have someone check in on how you’re doing daily. Three-minute real-time phone conversations are even better. 

It’s about connection. You’re forging a human connection. And you’re creating a support structure — people who are there for you and you for them. Community. 

So now, I’m on a mission to connecting and reconnecting with people. Yesterday I blogged about how I want to share experiences with people; being appreciated for who I am. I’d like people to compliment my soul, while connecting with my heart. Wouldn’t we all? And that means, that I need to make an effort. I am. I have started texting people in the four corners of the world. I reach out to the people in my life where I am. I attend events to meet new people. And when I’m at home with the toddler I do my best to be present to the wonder that’s a three-year-old life. He’s a bundle of magical giggles and incredible tantrums.

Life is pretty epic when you’re connecting with beautiful souls. And drinking coffee. Don’t forget the coffee. And the pain au chocolats.

So meet me. By the Seine. With a pain au chocolat. And a cup of coffee. As the sun rises during my favorite hour of the day and we let our ideas dance along the water and spread, like mist into the morning sky.

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Filed under communication, Community, diary, Friendship, friendships, Inspiration, Inspirational, Motivation, relationships

I see me through you…

I always wanted to fall in love with an artist. I imaged we would sip wine while painting each other’s portraits and writing poetry about one another. I’m also pretty pro falling in love with anyone who’d look good in a beanie when showing up on my film sets (beacuse naturally he’d be wearing a beanie on set) and who’d, from time to time, be willing to travel the world and make movies with me. So long as we have a firm base somewhere. He’d also be adventure prone and love France.

Now, this wasn’t really about film sets and beanies (though I still imagine every man I date, wearing a beanie on a film set…I know, I’m so sane it’s frightening). No, what I wanted to blog about was the poetry and the art.

You see, love is a verb. An action. We experience ourselves through our interactions with others. When those interactions are loving, magic happens.

Someone can tell you they love you and that’s nice. They can tell you you’re beautiful and that’s nice (particularly if they’re referring to your soul). They can tell you that you make their world come alive and imaginary flowers blossom when you laugh and that’s nice. But there’s nothing quite like when they turn you into a piece of art, or show their love by doing things. Be it buying you a gift, showing up to take you out, cooking for you, rubbing your shoulders, leaving you a cute note, sending you an epic text, making love to you, or ironing your shirt.

Get me right: the spoken word is powerful. I love hearing how people adore me. But I only take it seriously once they start showing me how much they truly care by actively partaking in my life, looking out for me and being there when I need a hug, a helping hand, or just someone to talk to. And it’s through those interactions I experience myself.

We experience ourselves through others. We see ourselves through their actions. That’s why it’s so important that we choose the people we spend time with carefully. And it just so helps if they can turn you into art. And wear a beanie on film sets, just for you. So that you have someone to drool over.

Dizzy blonde, over and out.

i’d like to see me

through you

please turn me into words

whispers in the night

images you see

so that i know

what i look like

please touch me

so i know what i feel like

By Maria Montgomery

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Filed under diary, Friendship, Inspiration, Inspirational, Love, Motivation, poetry, relationships, Uncategorized

Mirror, mirror…

We’re all given time on this Earth. This is our gift, if you so like. We can do whatever we want with this time. Some of us are born into poverty, some into luxury, some into emotional wellness, others into abuse. As children, we are molded by our circumstance, as adults we have the option to choose whom we’d like to be by focusing our thoughts. 

Some people have a lot of time on this Earth, some have little time. The best any of us can do is love and cherish the people in our lives while we have them. At some point, we have to say goodbye to everyone we love. That’s part of this journey. It doesn’t mean we won’t see them again if there’s an afterlife, but it means that for now we have to say goodbye. 

Time is limited. This is a fact of life. We can either cherish the gift we’ve been given and the people in our life have been given, or we can be bitter about it.

In the past, I used to get very upset by life. I still do at times. But now I know I have choice. Choice how I look upon situations. 

Like death. 

I was picking up the little one yesterday after he spent the day with his biological parents. His mother was having a hissy fit because the little one’s older brother on the autism spectrum was misbehaving, so she was saying she’d like to send him away.

This is the same child I help raise, who I recently asked her to take care of for a while as I wasn’t coping at home and didn’t have the money to pay for 24/7 special trained staff to take care of him. Now I see him for outings until he is enough in control of his emotions that he doesn’t constitute a threat to anyone in the household. 

As far as I know, there is no government institution to send him to in this country that would benefit his condition, because I have been round the block with social workers, doctors, schools and even the police.

Now, if I start thinking about this, I panic. I want my boy to be safe and loved. I want him to have all the help available the world. I want him to have a shot at life. And I’d like him to be able to live the happy side of his personality — the one that doesn’t attack people when having anxiety. 

So if I start thinking about him being sent away or the fact that he’s living an unstable life with his mother at the moment, I get sad. I worry. In the past, that meant that I would happily ruin my own life to try to keep him safe. But I know that didn’t work. Not for any of us. It was the wrong way to go about it. If I could go back in time, I’d have done it differently. Set up structures one by one that actually worked. Instead I tried to do everything at once, and ended up drowning. 

The only thing I can do is work. Work to earn more money. And focus on the end result of him being happy and healthy.  

To be in a frame of mind to earn more money, I need to be inspired. Beating myself up because I feel like I’ve failed him, or sitting weeping because I’m sad for him, won’t help. So I choose to focus on the good things in my life. Like the fact that I picked up my bundle of joy and went home to cook a chicken roast for Sunday dinner. I always wanted to create traditions and show my love through cooking. With the little one I have a chance of doing it. Of creating family traditions filled with love and joy.

So I choose to focus on the fact that I’ve always done what I can to help the kids and still do and that I am creating a beautiful home life in the present. One filled with candle lights, frog song and looking at the stars at night. There’s also a lot of doggie love, food, time in the woods and play. Poetry, art, film, photography and dance also abound. 

Think about it this way: you should be thinking about what you want to create (my boy getting the help he needs to create a happy and healthy life), not revel in the fear of what you don’t want to create (my boy being sad, unhappy and not getting the help he needs to one day conquering his condition). Think about what you’re working towards; what you’d love to create, because that will help you come up with ideas for how to create it.

I choose to focus on what I can do, what I love, what I’d love to create and what’s working. That makes me happy. That makes me inspired. That makes me energized. That makes me take actions that serve myself and others.    

Once you’re in control of your state of mind, you’re in control of your actions. 

Today, someone close to me messaged me to say she might have breast cancer. Part of me wants to panic about it. The other part of me told her that she needs to focus on the fact that whether it’s breast cancer or not, she’ll get through it. She’s a beautiful soul. She’ll win. And I told her to focus on the good stuff in her life and in herself. She told me I was healing her soul, bless her. And by doing so, she healed me. 

Friendship and love constitute the actions we take to make others feel better and help them face life better. Sometimes, that involves temporarily making them feel bad. Not so they stay feeling bad, but because you have to have them face the truth to be able to deal with it. They have to face their fears, their pain, their demons and then release them and actively choose to focus on what’s working, what they love, what they’d love to create (end results) and their good qualities. That’s what’s going to transform their lives, together with putting the right structures in place and speaking from the heart, instead of saying what they think they need to say to get what they want. 

I’ve had to learn to control my own reactions, not just to my own personal stuff, but to how I react to others. Because how I react to others, affect how they feel. If I get furious with someone, or start crying about them, will it help them? Will I speak from my heart? Or am I just in reaction — doing something on autopilot based on my learned behavior? 

Focus creates reality. Choose your focus, choose your life. 

Image Source: https://za.pinterest.com/pin/507780926736213797/?nic=1

Your life is a reflection of your thoughts and the structures you put in place to uphold those thoughts. Change your structures, change your thoughts. Change your thoughts, change your structures. Either way, you change your life.

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Filed under Death, diary, emotions, Friendship, Grieving, Healing, Inspiration, Inspirational, Love, Motivation, Uncategorized

Catching a bullet for love…or catching the love bug???

I was speaking with someone the other night. Well, quite a few nights ago now, and he told me he thinks his definition of falling in love is “being willing to take a bullet for someone.” 

Personally, I always separated falling in love from love itself, as in Sweden when you say falling in love you use the word “kär” or “förälskad” and it’s neither the same as being in love, nor having a crush. I’d say it could go either way. It’s simply the person you have butterflies in your belly for (i.e. you’re on a rose colored high), be it that you love them, or not. So basically, falling in love, is not the same as loving someone to me. To me, loving someone is a lot more serious than falling in love. 

At the time we were chatting, I just thought about how we all have our unique definitions. But then, for some reason, this came back to me later as I started thinking about love itself. What is love? 

I, personally, have a penchant for wanting to help people. That means that if someone is sitting wounded on the roadside, I pick them up and care for them. Whether I have the time, the money and the resources, or not. This is often to my own detriment, but it also makes me feel good. Anyway, point being: to me it’s a gut reaction. Just like taking a bullet probably would be. And taking a bullet takes three-seconds. Being in a loving relationship is a lifetime commitment. 

I’ve often said that true love is wiping someone’s ass. Because if someone is old and sick and tired, that’s what you do for them if you love them. Love isn’t pretty. In fact, it’s pretty gruesome at times. But as I said when I was living with my grandmother in a hospice: the only thing worse than being here, is not being here. 

On the other hand, I don’t think love is about giving up your life for someone else. I didn’t — and still don’t — live in Sweden to please neither my grandparents, nor my dad or sister. Sometimes I feel guilty about that, but my father has always been really firm on the “you should live your life” thing. My gran wasn’t like that and I think he told her off quite a few times. He made it very clear that she had had her life, living as she wanted to live. Now my sister and I had our own lives and needed to live as we wanted to. We’re all responsible for our own lives and filling them with love — beyond the family. You can’t just rely on family to be happy.  

And it’s true. Your life is your own. It’s your gift from God/the Universe. Your gift. You can do whatever you want with it. And if you don’t cherish it, it’s like giving the middle finger to the powers above (God/the Universe that is). They gave you a gift. Use it in a way in which it serves you and therefore others. Happiness is contagious.  

Destroying your life for someone else isn’t love. And it leads to a lot of resentment towards the person. Sacrificing things along the road is part of loving someone. You have to give up few things, but you can’t give up your entire life. And if someone asks you to do that for them, they don’t love you. They want to control you so that you do what they want you to do. Since when is that love? In short, they’re selfish bastards, even if they think they love you and probably do to the extent they’re capable of doing so. 

I still remember this quote from a book I read in my teens. It was in Swedish but it was something along the lines of: “To love is to free the person frozen in cement and see them dance, even if they’re dancing away from you.” I agree. 

In romantic relationships though, the whole point is to find someone who wants the same things out of life as you do. As the saying goes: you’re not looking for someone to look you in the eye, but for someone who is looking in the same direction you are. You want to create your dreams together. That means you need to have similar goals, as well as values. 

As far as commitment goes, while you should never have to ruin your life for someone else, love is about having 39 degrees fever and still preparing a meal for your child. Love is about showing up when you really don’t feel like it. It’s about getting up in the morning to make someone breakfast in bed when you want to sleep in. Because you want to show them you love them. And I think that, in a weird way, makes you come alive more. It forces you to get out of your own way and actually do something worthwhile. 

That’s supposed to be a two-way stream. You can’t bust your butt for someone who isn’t willing to do anything in return. You can love them. You can love anyone. Love itself is unconditional and I personally think you can love anyone whom you understand. Because once you understand why they are the way they are and see the heart hidden beneath the learned behavior, it’s hard not to love them. But you can’t be in a relationship with someone who isn’t willing to sweat it for you. 

I believe anything in life worth doing requires commitment. Or, as Churchill would have said: “Blood, sweat and tears.” That might make it sound “difficult” but a good day’s work feels good if it’s done for a person you believe is worth it, who does things for you in return. Think about work in general — when you do work you love, or do work for a good cause, even if it’s difficult, it makes you feel good. Like a good workout. It takes effort getting out the door, but once you’re working out it feels effing amazing. 

In fact, I believe a life without commitment (whether to work, people, or even ourselves — it takes commitment to serve your own body for example, through exercise and a healthy lifestyle) is partly what makes people depressed. Firstly, they have no sense of direction. They don’t know where they’re going or why they should get up in the morning. Secondly, it becomes all about them. They don’t have anything else to engage their mind in, apart form their own thoughts. And constantly thinking about yourself doesn’t feel good. Like how good do you feel when you try to analyze non-stop who you are, what people think about you, if you made the right decision ten years ago, if you’re good enough, if your latest Facebook pic is epic enough, etc.? Different people ponder different things, but it tends to be ego focused. Once you start living for something beyond yourself, you forget to obsess about these things. 

It’s actually been proven that charity work makes people happier and increases longevity. A) people feel good about themselves doing good for others B) it leads to social connections. It leads to love. 

Maybe one should also separate romantic love from other loves as there are many different kinds of love. So let’s rewind. I need to summarize my thoughts here…

First, there’s the love you can feel for anyone, because you see the human in them. See the heart in them. The kind of unconditional love you can share freely. And it makes you committed to doing right by them. Acting in a way you believe serves them. It doesn’t mean you like them. It means you understand why they are the way they are and that by acting nicely, at the very least, you have a chance of influencing them for the better. It’s the kind of love you can feel for all of humanity (and the planet at large). 

Then there’s the love you feel for people (usually the ones you grew up with) who cared for you at one stage or another, even if they were completely different from you. They were committed to you. Like my grandmother. If she’d had her way, I’d live in Sweden with a stable nine to five job, 2.5 children and a husband. I’d have been dead inside, but she’d been happy. She cared for me. She was there for me whenever I needed her. She loved me as best as she could. She sacrificed things for me. But she did not understand me. And I loved her. So much. She was one of the best things in my childhood. She taught me a lot about commitment. About being there for someone. But she didn’t have a clue as to what it meant to let people be who they are. And she loved guilt tripping people about who she thought they should be. 

We cared for each other. We were committed to one another. And by caring and being committed we created something beautiful, even though we had little in common.

You may not love them more, but the people who cared for us at some point who also understood us, we felt/feel closer to. Because beyond the commitment to care for one another, we also understood/understand one another.  

Similarly, you love friends on different levels. Some friends are super close, because you gel on so many levels and you’re truly committed to looking after one another. Other friends are somewhat close, because while you do gel on most levels, you aren’t that committed to looking after one another. Yet others, you only have one or two things in common with, but you do have a sense of commitment. A sense of caring; of looking after one another. 

Like if you ask me who I love the most, the answer is without a doubt my best friend. But it doesn’t necessarily mean I love her the most. It’s just I’m the closest to her. She understands me. She is committed to my wellbeing, even when it’s uncomfortable (such as telling me I’m acting like an ass, or need to do something I’m not doing — love involves doing the right thing even when it feels uncomfortable). She shares hopes and dreams with me — we’re looking in the same direction. Always have.

What’s more, even though myself and my best friend are attached by the hip, we can live in different countries. We have our own lives. We are OK not speaking for a month. And while I have no fucking clue what I’d do in a world without her, I still know I have my own life. I have my own friends. I have my own goals. I do things that make me happy. And that’s vital in any relationship. You can’t expect someone else to bring you happiness.   

With romantic relationships, I believe you need to have physical (bodily) attraction, sexual attraction (liking similar things in the bedroom), mental/intellectual attraction, emotional attraction and spiritual attraction. You may not hit a ten in all the different areas, but you need to be pretty high up the scale in most of them. On top of that, on top of “gelling” with one another, you need to have similar goals and values (wanting to build your dreams together), as well as a willingness to commit to one another. To sweat for one another. To make small sacrifices for one another. Because you believe it’s worth it. Because your relationship is worth the work and the sacrifices.

Gelling with someone, being attracted to someone…to me, that’s falling in love. The more attracted you are to them, the more you understand one another and have things in common, the more you fall in love. And while you can love anyone unconditionally because you understand humanity at large and are committed to doing right by people, loving someone within a relationship, to me, is another form of commitment. It’s the act of giving of yourself on a day-to-day basis.

I think commitment is beautiful. And I think my grandparents are greatly responsible for teaching me that. They gave me a sense of security in an unstable childhood. They taught me a lot about the selfless act of loving. Of showing up when you don’t want to, without for that matter giving so much you ruin your own life. 

I think loving someone on a day-to-day basis requires a lot more work and is a lot harder than catching that one bullet. But I also think it’s a lot more rewarding. For starters, you now have a purpose. It gives you direction. It makes you feel you’re doing something worthwhile. By caring for someone else, you feel good about yourself. Secondly, you’re around to reap the rewards. Like, say, morning sex after that breakfast you prepared. But then, as my sister says: I got the caring gene. I’d prepare breakfast for just about anyone in return for a smile. I love looking after people. My sister, on the other hand, once tried to kick me out of her flat when I’d just returned to Sweden sick with the flu, because she was scared of catching a bug and couldn’t be fucked to make me breakfast. I refused to leave. She apologized and made me breakfast. That’s family 101. Personally, I’ve had homeless people living on my couch. My sister calls me in a panic if anyone in the family is in hospital, because I’m much better at caring for them. I know what to say. The joke in the family? She’s the doctor, I’m the filmmaker. 

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Filed under diary, Family, Friends, Friendship, friendships, Love, Love-life, Musings, relationships

Look at me…looking at you…looking at me…

Do you have precious people in your life? I do. Lots of them. 

I have a myriad of friends and family I admire for a wide variety of different reasons. Feel a connection with for a wide variety of different reasons. Enjoy spending time with for a wide variety of different reasons. 

Some of these people have been in my life for a while, others are fairly new additions. Yet, most of them have become part of the scenery. Part of the life I take for granted. 

By that I mean that when I spend time with them, I’m not always completely present. My mind is engaged in things that preoccupy me that day. Nor do I always make the most out of a meeting. I get lazy. I settle for coffee with someone when I could be having an adventure with them. 

Get me right — sometimes coffee is all you want. All you need. Or hot chocolate. Or wine. You know, sitting talking, looking someone in the eye. Really being there. Connecting with them. Exchanging ideas. Feeling their soul next to you. But there are times when you could go out there and experience life with someone. Partake in activities that blow your mind, or engage your creative spirit, or make you laugh till you topple over, or tickle your senses, or stir up your adventurous side, or let out the playful side of you, or…whatever it is you desire to experience with that person (what do you desire to experience?).  

In short, I think there are times when we forget to live and times when we forget to truly connect with the person next to us. See them. Feel them.

When we go new places, or meet new people, they awaken our senses, but it’s temporary. Soon we become used to the landscape and the people. The temporary high fades away. We become complacent. Settle into routines, that aren’t as much healthy routines as they are lazy habits. It’s not the routines we desire, but the ones we ended up with. That exciting new bar is now our local bar. That exciting new restaurant is now the only restaurant we go to. That exciting new person is now just another friend of ours.

As the landscape and people become familiar, we forget to truly see them and feel them — experience them — because we’ve become used to them. We make the assumption we already know what they look and feel like. We grow numb. What’s worse: we no longer seek new people and experiences. We’ve become lazy. Forgotten we even can seek out new experiences in a familiar landscape. 

I wrote a whole feature film script about this and, still, sometimes I forget to live. What’s worse, I forget to experience those around me. 

For example, I get so caught up in worry about my child that I talk non-stop about her doing her homework, cleaning her bedroom, being nice to people, etc. I don’t truly experience her. I don’t really sit with her and feel into what she’s feeling. Instead, I’m caught up in trying to control her because I fear being raised in a township has left her with little morals and no drive. Control is my go-to habit. My autopilot switching on. I’m no longer present. I’m caught in fear. And I act in ways to try to resolve that fear. My way of resolving it is by enforcing control. But it’s not getting me the results I desire. Instead, it’s disrupting my life. 

When fear, nervousness, panic…whatever you like to call it, kicks in, we’re rarely present to life, or the people in it. We just act in ways we think we should act, or whatever way resolves our tension (fear/discomfort/pain) the fastest. Be that swallowing a painkiller, acting clown, hiding away, eating candy, or enforcing control. 

You don’t know what makes another person feel loved until you ask them. You don’t know what will help them until you ask them. You don’t know what adventures they want to go on with you until you ask them. Until you’re present with them. Feel them. Truly feel them.

We make assumptions. We make assumptions about how to handle people and situations. We even make assumptions about how we will feel when entering a certain situation instead of asking ourselves how we’d like to feel and what we need to do to feel that way? We make assumptions about how to handle our own life. We make assumptions about how the day will be and how people will react. We make assumptions about how the coffee will taste, so we don’t even bother tasting it. We’ve had it before. So we just drink it. On autopilot. We make so many assumptions about life we forget to live.  

Be present. Experience your day. Experience yourself. Experience people.

Ask yourself what you’d like to feel and experience, instead of making assumptions about how you will feel and what you’ll experience. See the opportunities instead of hiding in the habits. 

Experience the people in your life. Ask them questions instead of making the assumption that you know them. People change. People need to be experienced daily. Even just reminding yourself that the time you have with every single person is limited, will help you remember to experience them. To be fully present with them. 

I bet if you know me, you make assumptions about what I feel. You make assumptions about what I think about you. You make assumptions about what I want to experience with you. Don’t. Ask me. And don’t assume that I know what you want to experience with me. What you like about me. I don’t. Because you’re constantly changing. I’m constantly changing. And we need to get to know each other every time we meet. Experience each other every time we meet. Get naked with one another every time we meet. Metaphorically speaking. 

Life’s an experience, but to experience it, you have to become present to it.   

Dizzy blonde, over and out.

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Solar alignment and soul connections…

I hung out with someone today. Someone I met nine years ago. At the time I lived in Los Angeles, but my dad gave me the gift of Easter with the family in Sweden and I decided it was the perfect excuse to stop by London to talk to someone there. That someone dragged me to a seminar as his “moral support.” And there was this other guy who was on stage that day and I guess we exchanged a few words. 

Fast forward nine years. We’re chasing each other around an ice rink in Athens, laughing and sharing memories of how we ended up where we are. Today I texted him saying “You know, there was once a boy who used to say “it’s magical Maria, it’s magical.” That boy dragged me along to a seminar. That boy, in a way, is the reason I was ice skating the other day. And you know what? It’s magical. It’s absolutely fucking magical. The people we meet. The memories we make. The crazy and absurd. The wonderful and weird. Friends. Magical, indeed. 

There are people we create beautiful memories with. Beyond that, there are people who have our back. When you combine the two, that’s when you know you’ve created something amazing. 

As I look at my phone I see messages from a friend from around the same time. He also lives in Athens. It’s really his fault we’re all here, because he set off a chain reaction when my best friend went to visit him. I see like five hundred calls to my best friend. I see messages from mine and my best friend’s best friend from back then. One of the three musketeers. She’s in Africa, helping me with some movies and working to convince us the three of us will be in Senegal together for Christmas this year. I’m voting for Cape Town, but hey! It’s been ten years since our last Christmas together. And I get happy. Because those people, those people are magical. 

And this blog, this blog that I rarely have time to write these days. This blog filled with sexual innuendo, swear words and all those things the woman who’s raising three kids in Cape Town really shouldn’t say out loud, this blog was started back then. 

I do, indeed, help raise three kids today. I have responsibilities I didn’t back then. I still love the movies, my friends and driving down Mulholland. I still have a potty mouth and a dirty sense of humor. Some things change, some don’t. And I’d like to create more of the things that I truly love. The things that never changed. The stuff that make me come alive.

Moral of the story? People are fucking beautiful. They make our world. But they also form part of a chain reaction. Whoever you meet, whatever you do, it sets off repercussions that echo back to you, and sometimes lead to events years later. It’s as if we form melodies when our universes collide and the notes dance in the ether long after the music played, leading to encores and events a long, long time later.

Want to read something a little more poetic? Want more frequent updates? Check out my Instagram: www.Instagram.com/CarnavalDuDesir

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Pieces of our soul…

I believe there are many people in our lives whom we meet and form bonds with so strong that those people come to live within us. Sometimes our meetings are brief, but powerful. Other times, people become part of us due to the sheer amount of time they spend in our presence. It’s as if these people become part of the canvas that make us who we are; part of our portrait. 

Some of these people leave our lives, for one reason or another, but I still believe they somehow nurture our life force; our heart. We may not think of them, we may not cross paths with them, but they somehow form part of who we are. I believe when these people die, so does a part of us. That part of them that lived inside of us die with them. That force that nurtured us, disappears. It crumbles and dies; turns to ash and earth and in it a seed is planted and a flower blooms. That flower is the memory of what that person brought us; the lessons they taught us and the love they gave us. 

Sometimes these days, as I do something, a scent wafts through the air that reminds me of the scent of death. A note, or two, is similar to the scent that emanated from my gran as she was dying. It’s a horrible scent. 

In the last few days of my gran’s life, I lived with her in a hospice. My bed was next to hers. My mind was attuned to her — I woke when she moaned, when she stirred, when her breathing went funny and, eventually, when her breathing seized. I flew up to hold her hand as she took her last breath. I called the nurse, then I went to open the window to let her spirit fly, breathe in the fresh air and see the snow dance outside in a beautiful farewell ceremony. 

The week and a bit I spent in that hospice changed me. Or maybe it was the following weeks when I was trying to absorb it all that changed me. There was one night when my father and sister left for the day when I thought: “I can’t do this.” I can’t take another night of little sleep, only to wake time and time again to her suffering. The night before I’d argued with the nurse in charge about giving her more “calming” medication to take away her distress. The nurse thought I was the one who was upset as she didn’t hear the moans coming from my gran when she left the room. Finally the day team arrived, heard the moans and gave her the meds. In hospice they generally give you as much meds as you like — their main duty is to relieve the suffering. 

That night, when I thought I couldn’t take anymore, was better. Someone must have told the nurse to give out the meds. Maybe because I had complained, or maybe because she’d realized I wasn’t a loony bin. Yet, that moment when my dad left me, an apologetic and pained look on his face, I thought I might break. I felt like I had barbwire running inside of me – the barbwire being my gran’s suffering. At least I knew I was there for my grandmother. The knowledge that there must be others, as weak as my grandmother — too weak to press any button to get help when needed — alone in their beds at night made me feel sick. No one would give them water, or wipe them down when they coughed things up all over themselves. It was a horrible thought. 

One morning, I believe it was after the horrible night, gran suddenly started saying: “Hold my hand, hold my hand.” And I could do that. 

I was a shy kid. I was bullied. I became scared of what others thought of me. I responded to it all by closing off; withdrawing. Too frightened of rejection to expose my heart. And I’ve spent many infuriating years trying to undo the wounds of my childhood; years of trying to open up. 

Spending that week in hospice I had one thing clear as daylight in my mind when I walked out: I would love as much as possible and for all the world to see. 

My gran was no saint. Truth be told, for all her kindness and propriety she could also be a right bitch to people, family included. Not out of any desire to do harm, but simply because she lacked all sense of tact and often got things completely wrong and reacted to imaginary hurt. But she loved me and I her. The part of her that used to sustain me — her heartbeat in mine — has wilted and died, only to be replaced by a blossom of love and memories. 

Relationships are never perfect. At some point or another we hurt one another, or get annoyed because we’re pulling in different directions. What my grandparents taught me is that if you love enough, you don’t feel the hurt when there are misunderstandings. Because you know the misunderstandings, the arguments, the whatever won’t break you. There is no real harm intended — only pain caused by confusion. And you will work it out, because you are family and family is there for each other. If you don’t have love as the main essence, if you don’t try to understand, if you don’t know that you want to be together, but actively go out to hurt one another, then it’s another story entirely.  

There was a leaflet in the hospice that said that when someone dies they sail off on a ship into the horizon; disappearing out of sight. We no longer know what journey they are on. And so it can be said for many of the people we meet — they cross our path and then sail off to new shores. They live in our hearts in one way or another. As a child this petrified me as mom died and I felt like I was left with a gaping hole inside of me — a pain that could never be cured — but I realize now that while I will never see my mother again the way she was (though I may see her in another form), I have a flower inside my heart. That’s something her mother finally came to teach me by dying holding my hand. And I still cry, but I don’t feel pain. Not that kind of pain. I feel like I have something incredibly beautiful in my heart, which no one can ever take away. 

I was miserable as a child — my grandparents, summers on the boat and the books I read that made me believe in a future different from my present, are what kept me alive. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be here today without those. And now, when all of my grandparents have left, I received another gift. The gift of loving more. 

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For all those times you stood by me

For all the truth that you made me see

For all the joy you brought to my life

For all the wrong that you made right

For every dream you made come true

For all the love I found in you

I’ll be forever thankful guys

You’re the one who held me up

Never let me fall

You’re the one who saw me through through it all

You were my strength when I was weak

You were my voice when I couldn’t speak

You were my eyes when I couldn’t see

You saw the best there was in me

Lifted me up when I couldn’t reach

You gave me faith ’cause you believed

I’m everything I am

Because you loved me

You gave me wings and made me fly

You touched my hand I could touch the sky

I lost my faith, you gave it back to me

You said no star was out of reach

You stood by me and I stood tall

I had your love I had it all

I’m grateful for each day you gave me

Maybe I don’t know that much

But I know this much is true

I was blessed because I was loved by you

You were my strength when I was weak

You were my voice when I couldn’t speak

You were my eyes when I couldn’t see

You saw the best there was in me

Lifted me up when I couldn’t reach

You gave me faith ’cause you believed

I’m everything I am

Because you loved me

You were always there for me

The tender wind that carried me

A light in the dark shining your love into my life

You’ve been my inspiration

Through the lies you were the truth

My world is a better place because of you

You were my strength when I was weak

You were my voice when I couldn’t speak

You were my eyes when I couldn’t see

You saw the best there was in me

Lifted me up when I couldn’t reach

You gave me faith ’cause you believed

I’m everything I am

Because you loved me

You were my strength when I was weak

You were my voice when I couldn’t speak

You were my eyes when I couldn’t see

You saw the best there was in me

Lifted me up when I couldn’t reach

You gave me faith ’cause you believed

I’m everything I am

Because you loved me

I’m everything I am

Because you loved me

– Celine Dion

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Final goodbyes…

Friday I got the message I’ve been waiting for: “It’s time to come home to say goodbye to grandma.” I’ve been waiting for that message and yet it took me an hour to book the ticket because it freaked me out so much that once it’s booked that’s it. That’s the final goodbye.

A few months back, Liezl’s sister, Jess, died and I wrote a letter to Jess that I gave to Liezl. I wrote that letter because I wanted to help Liezl and I wanted to say goodbye to Jess in my own way. Below you can see an excerpt.

Liezl always tells me that she knows when I’m hurting, because she can feel it. Well, I know Liezl is hurting now, because I can feel it. So please, let her see life as a puzzle of moments made up of experiences with those we love. We only get so many puzzle pieces with each person. We never know when they will leave for another world. It feels so unfair when they do, especially when they are young, or when we have lost many people we love, but that’s life. We can’t change it. All we can do is treasure the moments we have with those we love. The ones who are here. And carry the wisdom and love of those we have lost in our hearts.

In a few months I may have to write another letter to my extra nieces in Cape Town, as their father, Tony, is dying. And I promised him I’d be there for them when that happened. Liezl and I plan to take them to see the stars — to look at their dad.

About a year ago Tony had one of his bad spells and he took the time then that he was entitled to live in a hospice for a few weeks. That he has survived till now is a miracle, but when he was in hospice I sat with Liezl and another friend of ours in the little chapel they have there. We were talking about grief. About mourning. And I felt so happy that I had those two women next to me. I knew I wasn’t alone.

I think when people die, what we need is something that anchors us to life. We need to feel love. We need to feel the joy of life. We cannot allow ourselves to be bitter about what life is: a limited period of time. Instead we need to cherish what little time we have and make every moment with those we love special. Because it is special. Every single moment you share with the people you love and care about is special.

Yesterday I was speaking with Liezl on the phone and at first I was rambling on about how this just wasn’t happening, because I needed someone to hug at night. My gran couldn’t die, if I didn’t have a man whose heartbeat I could hear through the night. I needed to know I had life next to me. But as I spoke to Liezl we spoke about the kids I raise, about the kids I mentor, about our friends in the township, about Liezl’s family and about all the plans we have for Little Angels and Malaika. And somewhere I started smiling and I didn’t stop.

My phonecall with Liezl anchored me to life; to what I love. The kids I help raise are the most important part of my life and Little Angels is the part that’s brought me the most joy.

When I got that message Friday I was overwhelmed by memories from my childhood. I was petrified of losing the one home that’s always been my safe haven — my grandparents’ flat. It’s where I lived for part of my childhood. It’s where I ran to away from my stepmom. It was my haven. It was where I built the dreams of the future.

My grandparents taught me that love is real and that the reality of it is commitment. In a family you don’t always see eye to eye, you don’t always understand each other, but you are always there for each other. You take care of each other.

My grandparents also taught me to look after what you have. You take pride in your home. In your clothes. In your being. You look after what’s yours.

When my mom died my grandparents on both sides became substitute parents. They were always there. It made me realize that family, really, is just simply the people who show up. When I moved to South Africa and started looking after children I did that because I believed all children should have what I had as a kid — someone who’s there for them. A rock.

I am coming to terms with now having to create my own haven. I need to find my own footing. I need to be my own rock. But the truth is that none of us are a very good rock on our own. We need each other. We need life. We need the sound of the heartbeats that we love.

Cherish those hearts. And commit to look after them, because that’s what family does. I’m a firm believer, as my life is a testament to, that family is the people you care about, not the people whose blood you share. My family is part South African.

I feel like I’m losing a part of myself right now. A part that’s always been there. And I keep bursting into tears. But I also know that there will be many more parts to my life; many more blessings in the shape of human beings; in the shape of beautiful souls. And together we will go on adventures and create moments filled with love and laughter.

It’s all an adventure that comes with a breathtaking view. – The Greatest Showman

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