Category Archives: Thoughts

It’s time to pull the zipper down…

There are moments in life that undress you. One moment you stand there fully clothed and the next you’re stark naked.

I always liked when people got naked. Usually it’s when they run into trouble, face their demons and crack open. Their carefully crafted coping mechanisms fail. The ego driven patterns they’re hiding their flaws behind crack. And suddenly they find themselves naked. Usually uncomfortable for them, but nice for the onlookers, who suddenly see their heart.

Maybe they need to wash off some of the crap they’ve landed themselves in, but their heart is right there. And it’s beautiful.

I had one of those moments the other day. Someone asked me something along the lines of: “Wouldn’t your gran like to have had one more experience? Like if you’d asked her before she died, wasn’t there something she wished she’d done?” And my reply was: “No, she’d just have wanted to spend more time with her family.”

When I said it I didn’t think too much about it, but when I came home it made me teary-eyed. One, because that side of the family is gone save from my sister and I. Two, because I’ve been driven by so many other things than my gran was — she was driven by family and she was happy and content, save from when people started passing over. That was her downfall — she couldn’t deal with that and let new people enter her life.

I, on the other hand, have had many incredible experiences all over the world, but it wasn’t until the past five odd years I started feeling remotely happy being me. And it wasn’t until last year I started taking my social life seriously. Because even though I knew more people than most could dream of, I was so scared of rejection I never focused on actually stitching it all together. And while this blog can attest to my many epiphanies surrounding dating over the years, I never truly thought myself capable of finding a man who loved me that I loved. Until possibly earlier this year.

I know I’m a bit of an adrenaline and experience junkie. And I get high on breaking convention. I also get a sense of fulfillment from film and Magique, as well as Little Angels, that I don’t think my gran got from her work. But I also know that as a child I filled my life with stories because I felt lonely — I was bullied and unhappy around my step-mom so I hid in books.

Yesterday I went to the doctor as I’ve caught the latest Cape Town epidemic: a stomach bug. Nothing serious, just an upset tummy, but you know after a week you start feeling a tad drained. The kind doctor put me on a fast — rehydration drinks for 24 hrs followed by bread and potatoes only for 24 hrs.

Now, I’ve done a lot of juice fasts in my day and they’re fascinating, because food is one of those feel good things. Makes you happy when you taste yummy things. Also gives you energy. When you don’t have energy you get cranky and start facing your demons. Same thing if you’re bored and alone without distraction.

Today, I realized, while tired and grumpy, just how addicted I am to food. And get me right: I’m pro a certain level of food addiction. Life should be tasty, if you ask me. But I can also see how a good book and a glass of wine, or a treat and my favorite Netflix, is a substitute for going out there and meeting people. I think good books, food and Netflix are wonderful,  it’s just using one good thing to replace another isn’t a great strategy.

Co-incidentally (if there is such a thing) I’m reading Brand’s Recovery at the moment as I always wanted an excuse to attend an AA meeting so I could learn the darn steps. Now there’s a book for that. Not that I think it can substitute what you get from the group meetings, in fact I believe if you suffer from any kind of addiction AA should be your next stop (take it from one who has known and dated enough former addicts to break the rules of probability), but for us who don’t want to turn into addicts to join AA it’s a great book. At least if you’ve lived in London and are used to foul language.

Anyway, my point, dear readers, is that I realized I have my little addictions. I already knew I had patterns. Run from loneliness by creating loneliness is one of them (sounds counter-intuitive, but hey, constantly moving round the world and being a workaholic you’re too busy to get a stabile social life so you never need feel rejected). Using food and stories to combat loneliness is an addiction though. I always said that books were my drug as a kid. If it hadn’t been for stories I thought I’d ended up committing suicide or taking drugs. I never wanted to do either, but I figured that’s because I had something that gave me hope. People always look at me with incredulity when I say those things these days, because I’m no longer the shy kid hiding in my room, petrified of my step-sisters cool friends, but I still carry that child inside me. The child that couldn’t for the life of her understand why she didn’t have friends. Couldn’t figure out what was wrong with her, but figured she was seriously flawed somehow.

The truth is, I never fully opened up. I tried. Just as I tried liking myself. And it gets better all the time. I no longer want to run into walls because I hate myself so much and the experience in hospice was the latest thing that made me feel like I cracked open. And that comment about gran’s greatest desire brought it home even more — because there are few things more important than the people in our lives. I need to open myself up to those people. Unlike gran it isn’t just about family for me. I think everyone we love is family. And there are a whole bunchload of people I really love. I’d like to be fully present with them. And spend as much time with them as physically possible.

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The fairytale and I…

I was talking to someone yesterday about how some people make life seem like a fairy tale. You know the ones — they go above and beyond to make you feel treasured and make memories that last a lifetime.

Sometimes we get stuck thinking these people are special. When we’re with them we just experience the most magical stuff. Usually because they make sure we do, but at other times just because. As if the Universe conspired to give us those moments when we are with those people. I’m guessing because we are in the mood for magic, so we seek it. We look for adventure and we find it.

The truth is, there are millions of people on this planet and millions of experiences you could be having right this moment. The experience you are having is because of the choices you’ve made. Some choices we make are great, other suck, but we are free to create whatever we like in this moment. We can choose where our focus is.

Last year I decided I wanted to enjoy life, no matter how impossible the visa-kids-work-finances-business situation looked. That hasn’t been an easy journey, because, well there’s still that situation to deal with. But I’m enjoying myself so much more, because I’ve given myself permission to do so. Even in the face of being away from the kids.

It’s also about responsibility. No matter what we fall victim for, no matter what unfairness we experience, we still choose whether we want to feel like victims, or take whatever we can into our own hands.

For the past three days I’ve been bitching about the novel I’m writing. I’m stoked to be writing a novel, but I don’t seem to find inspiration. I don’t feel the flow. I just write because I have to and sometimes I don’t even muster that. Copywriting is much easier — even when you get stuck you can quite easily unstuck yourself. Writing a novel is another matter entirely.

Since yesterday I’ve been thinking about how we can choose to take responsibility for turning our life into a fairy tale. Often when we go through a rough patch, or lose someone we love, we feel like there’s no happiness left inside of us. Not the kind we would have if only the situation we are in would resolve itself, or if we would get that person back in our lives. We feel like we need that thing for happiness. The funny thing is, once we decide that we can find happiness and go off to create it, something happens. Those magical moments start appearing. Life slowly turns round. And while we may not feel as much happiness as we used to and we may still struggle with a situation (I woke up from yet another epic dream about my kids at four am this morning, for example, certain I couldn’t take another moment of this anguish), that doesn’t mean that we can’t take responsibility for making the most of the now.

This is my life. I want to live it. And I wanna write that novel. I can. If I only decide to. Just like you can find inspiration in life, if you only decide to.

As my friend William Whitecloud would say: focus creates reality.

I’m now focusing on writing a book, instead of moping about writing a book. I’m focusing on the characters I love, instead of the fear of missing a deadline. I’m focusing on what I’d love to create, instead of what I fear to create if I don’t find the inspiration.

Most people who make a conscious decision to get what they want, get it. Because they put their focus on it. Sadly, most people focus on getting what they think they need to be happy, instead of deciding to focus on simply creating happiness. Others focus on what they fear will happen, instead of what they would love to create. Yet others focus on the problems (like I did at four am this morning, certain my life would fall to pieces if I couldn’t control the SA government when it comes to visas and adoption rights), instead of what they’d love to create (a visa and an adoption paper).

Still, even if you don’t get exactly what you want all the time, your happiness is not dependent on that.

You can make your life wonderful. You’ve got that power.

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A letter of no sense…

Dear So and So,

It is a great belief of mine that at least half of life is made up. We read novels set in other times and what people’s days and thoughts circled around were very different from those of modern times. There was a time when it was thought that you were born into a certain position in life and that is where you should stay. Today, it is people’s belief that you make your own fortune, yet, it cannot be objected that we are all born into a certain position in life; a position where we are surrounded by different people and events who influence our thoughts and, in turn, behavior. These influences often lead us to either make our own fortune or create our own misfortune. We believe ourselves to have free will and be dictated by all we know at the same time. We judge current situations based on past ones and we are often deluded as we do so. And at any one time we are biased by our own longings and desires, friendships and enemies.

Unless we use intuition to base our decisions upon, we are basing them on past experiences, or DNA (biology), whether consciously, or unconsciously. Mentalists have a rather fun time with this as they use common triggers to play with our minds. But even when another human is not controlling our mind, other influences likely are.

We may have free will, but can we use it?

It always perplexed me how a person could live but one meter from someone else, yet have a completely different experience of life. It is no secret that people tend to fall into patterns and suffer, or rejoice in the same victories and failures over and over again. Ones very different from their neighbor, yet it must be possible to experience something else if one just chooses to change. If one engages one’s will and opens one’s eyes, but does that require a trigger? An outside fctor? A manipulation, again, of one’s mind?

To break free from the influence of your past and believe that your life can be entirely different from what it has been is, indeed, quite remarkable. I do believe it to be true though. However, it requires that you distrust your own mind. That you silence the voice inside before you act. Before you make decisions. Before you judge the person in front of you. To survive we have to make assumptions on which we act, but we do well in being aware that our assumptions, our view of the world and, consequently, that the decisions we form, may not be true. In the same instant we do well in quieting our own ego, because the ego will insist that we are right and make us feel jolly ashamed if we are not. Once the ego has been silenced, there is only curiosity left. A curiosity to truly find out what is happening.

Looking back in time there are some things that are, of course, very much like they are today. People appear as led astray by their egos as always. What people think of them matters. Their pursuits are often egotistical. And when their ego is broken they try to break others, or simply control them by gaining their like, somehow else feel valued, overpower them, or degrade them. We love people who love us and dislike us when they do not.

People condemn what they do not feel part of. Different religions have ruled lives for centuries, one often condemning another. Yet looking back it all seems a rather big folly. Everyone is judging everyone who doesn’t think like them a hedonist. This fury in turn is transfered to politics, which affects re day-to-day lives a great deal more. Yet in  few years time, the tides will have turned again. Not unlike people fallin into attraction and realizing it had nothing to do with love; sentiments change unless they’re founded in true respect.

Maybe the most bewildering thing about life is that no one knows much at all. Atoms came together to form life. We’re all stardust. But how did it start, why did it start, what is our purpose, if any, and can something have existed forever? Who knows. Not I.

I believe though, when we always search for the good in life and the good in a situation, life, quite drastically, changes.

Yours Truly, etc.,

M

P.S. I happened to read a Jane Austen novel. I was then siezed by the desire to write a letter as I saw a pen and paper in front of me, but didn’t know whom to pen it for, so I wrote a blog instead. Hence why the writing style is partially different from the rest of my blogs. I may also have been inspired by a certain Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, my coach and The Four Agreements. My free will might not have been entirely free.

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Anyone ever been led astray from the heart by desire?

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A little bit of miracles and sex appeal…

The other day I met a former racing driver. He’d retired from that career at age thirty-three. He had procured two masters and worked as head of sales for some corporation. Then the crisis hit Greece and he was over-qualified for most jobs as they couldn’t afford him. He became unemployed for two years. Then he decided he’d had his time moping, signed up for Uber and became a driver once more. As sales and marketing is his thing he keeps popcorn, crisps, the lot in his car on Saturdays to treat his clients.

If I’d owned a corporation I’d hired him for sales right there.

A few days ago when out shopping food I stopped in the street when I saw a kitten. As I kneeled down, the kitten ran up to me and jumped into my lap. Consequently I was sat there for twenty minutes with a cuddly kitten in my lap. The kitten was quite big – I’d guess a couple of months old – but he had a cold and winter is coming.

This kitten was adorable. It stood on its back legs to be able to “kiss” my neck, it played with my hands, it curled up in my lap, purred and sneezed. I was at the point where I was ready to adopt a kitten which I was dreadfully allergic to, just to ensure it wouldn’t die from a cold.

Just then a man came. He’d passed by earlier, carrying stuff from Royal Canin. I could see a cat carrier and some food. He told me that I was holding the kitten he’d been looking for; he’d take it to his mother’s place in the countryside when going there as she looked after a large number of cats.

As I left the kitten to its fate I was happy because I knew it’d be cared for. I was sad because there was another kitten sneezing in the street too.

Life is filled with good and bad. The people with sex appeal do something about the bad, but focus on the good. They see the miracles and fight the hardships. They enjoy each precious smile and laugh; they live for the good things, because they believe time on Earth is precious and they deserve to enjoy their lives. They unapologetically go for what they enjoy in life. But they also stand up to the bad. They have a spine. Courage. And an incrediblly sexy desire to live life to the full.

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The seduction of the ego…

The other day I said something to a friend about someone thinking something about something I’d done/said. And I didn’t want this person to get the wrong impression. Then I stopped. Wondered if I actually gave a hoot about what they were thinking, or if it was just my ego that cared?

While it’s never nice to have your words, or actions, misunderstood, they will be so until the day you die. You can never completely control how people react to what you do. You can improve people and communication skills and I’m very much pro that, but people have their own stories going round in their heads. When you walk into their lives, they’ll interpret what you do based on the information they have (the stories in their head).

If you truly care about someone, or whatever they think about you is crucial for some reason or another, then by all means take the time to explain. But if it doesn’t matter to you, is it worth spending time feeling antagonized, or clearing up some minor thing?

I made a decision as I caught myself uttering those words to my friend; a decision to divorce my ego. The ego is seductive because it rattles you. It makes you feel uncomfortable when you think of certain things and as a result you feel you need to take action, or you simply walk around feeling miserable. But instead of buying into the misery and start plotting how to save your face (or be the face), have a think if it truly matters to your heart. I know now that whenever I care about something that is of no relevance, it’s time to step away. Just as I decided last week to step away from negative thoughts (or you know, do anything to distract myself – like what I do when the boy I’m raising throws a tantrum: perform a number from a musical…it works! Well, half of the time at least…).

Let yourself be seduced by your heart, not your ego.

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Ego: a knight in shining armor…

I’m a writer and director. That means I’ve learned how to entertain an audience and pack a punch. That’s why when I blog I often frame things up. So as to make a regular insight/life lesson more interesting I use humor and (humorous) sexual metaphors to make it entertaining. I get the point across in an entertaining way, basically. The sex and humor are add ons though: they have nothing to do with my life. It just makes it funnier to process my thoughts that way.

I just spent one and half hours listening to my coach yelling at me, telling me off and lecturing me on my poor communication skills. Apparently trying to make things entertaining, giving people a way out, softening a blow, cracking jokes, etc. isn’t a good idea when being vulnerable in real life.

Let me give you an example.

I meet Richard Branson. We chat. We get to know each other over a couple of weeks. I have a business idea I’d love to chat to him about, but I don’t want to make him think I’m only friends with him for the sake of business. So I tell him I’d love to have a chat about a business idea, but I say it in a round about sort of way and also make it clear that whether or not he wants to have a look at my business, it’s OK. In fact, if it would be of any inconvenience to him, then maybe he should’t look at it at all.

Apparently this isn’t clear communication. Instead of being vulnerable and speaking from my heart, sharing that I have this precious idea I’d love to speak to him about, I’ve muddled up the communication and sent a signal to him that he should opt not to speak to me about it. Because my ego couldn’t stand being rejected by Richard Branson.

Also, just as apparently, I do this everywhere in my life, though I’m fairly certain I’d say just that to Richard Branson.

I always say you have to step out of your comfort zone and “break” your ego. Because your ego is trying to shield your heart by acting knight in shining armor, but in actual fact what you want in your life are things that are a reflection of your heart. Your ego’s way of protecting you is only harming you.

Why do I have to be so clever about these things? Because now I have to stick by my own word and go break my ego, instead of punching my coach. Sigh. Double sigh.

So this is your favorite ego maniac. Over and out.

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Fulfilling your needs…

The first step to fulfilling someone’s needs is figuring out what they are. I’m fairly sure most us are pretty keen to do so when we meet someone we like. Why? Becuse we’ve got at least 5,000 hormones telling us that the person in front of us is the answer to our happiness. Getting his/her jeans off is just part of it…

The hilarious thing is, we don’t have 5,000 hormones activated when it comes to fulfilling our own needs. We want to be happy and when we hit on something that makes us happy, we tend to do it again. However, in this maze called life we often get lost and confused and end up utterly miserable from time to time. The things we don’t love tend to have as much hold on us as the things we love; the things which make us happy.

Last week, I went on a happiness mission. I’ve been miserable for three years about the situation I’ve found myself stuck in with my life; the visa-career-adopt kids situation (a long story for a rainy day). As I am Miss Solutions and used to finding a road out, this feeling of being stuck did not suit me. In fact, it did a number on my head, becasue I was stuck feeling stuck and on the brink of a breakdown from exhaustion from the situation with the kids. While I still couldn’t find an immediate road out, I decided this year to take charge of what I can take charge of and enjoy the now as much as possible.

As the story goes I really kicked some butt in the beginning of the year, but when I had visa setback no. 303 all the nightmares, fears, feeling like living life in limbo, etc. came back. I was still doing better than the past two years, but I had ups and downs and after visa setback no. 304 a few weeks ago the demons inside my head were doing a dance.

This week I decided that whenever my thoughts go down the wrong path, I need to stop and do something which takes me away from any slippery slope I’m going down (see this blog). I need my strength, or I’ll never get to the point where I can sign those adoption papers. Happiness is part of that strength. Frankly, I also just need to be happy because I’m a human being who deserves it, like everyone else.

Secondly, I realized that while I can’t overhaul my entire life, because I am stuck in a visa-career-adoption situation, I can still do what I love. Maybe it won’t be my fulltime career, maybe it won’t pay me, but I can do it. No more excuses that I don’t have the funds to do it, I don’t have the time to do it, or I have to travel so much it’s not worth trying to do something because I soon have to leave anyway. No more excuses.

I am currently busy doing an inventory of what I feel I need to be happy, from mental stimulation (intellectual challenges), to spending time in nature. Then I’m finding ways of fulfilling those needs. Every single one of them.

In the past I tried turning every need into a business, or some gigantic thing or another. Like in my teens when I had hell because I couldn’t decide whether to become a doctor or a filmmaker. In between those two I also contemplated at least ten other careers. Today I was making my housemate soup and brewing some herbs as she’s sick. I like looking after people, I enjoy herbal medicine and health in general. That doesn’t mean I have to be a doctor to fulfill this particular need, or interest of mine.

I always used to feel torn between the many things I love in life and, as a result, miserable. I wanted to be a doctor, a filmmaker and an entrepreneur. One without the other seemed unfulfilling, but maybe it doesn’t have to be. Maybe it’s, in fact, quite possible to fulfill our every need…just not in the way we always expect to.

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Happiness is…road trips with my best friend!

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