Tag Archives: inspirational

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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When your butt gets in the way of romance…

Does your butt ever bother you? I know mine does. I mean my butt doesn’t bother you (at least I sincerely hope it doesn’t), my butt bothers me. I often call it my greatest asset BUT…

Do you ever make excuses? Like you know you want to ask someone out, eat a healthy meal, say sorry, launch a business, confess how you truly feel, work out, apply for a better job, get dressed up like you actually cared, go for creating what you’d truly love…BUT. But that big butt of yours just feels too heavy to move. In short, you can’t be bothered. Not that you’d put it that way, but there’s always a but. Either you’re too broke, too scared, too lazy, too busy, too ugly, too inferior, too…

You get the idea.

The problem? The problem is that half of the time we don’t even realize what we’re doing. We feed ourselves our own excuses and they’re so big the desire to do what we know is right can’t even be felt anymore. We can’t see our heart, for whatever it is our ego is doing to us, be it telling us we’re not good enough, or that we will certainly fail if we try.

Think about it this way. You want to sing karaoke, but you have a fear of singing badly and being humiliated. The thought of getting up on stage just to be humiliated isn’t a nice one. So your desire to sing doesn’t even feel like a desire anymore, because the fear of humiliation is blocking it.

The desire to sing is still there. You just can’t feel it, because your broken ego has gotten in the way of your heart. And just like that our egos destroy our joy. We don’t do what we’d truly love, because of fear.

90% of people who sing karaoke sing badly. It doesn’t stop them. Because they go there to have fun. Their focus is on having fun. Not on humiliation. No one will humiliate you if you sing badly. It’s just what your ego is telling you, because once upon a time you got humiliated doing something you loved.

Life is a lot like karaoke. We avoid doing a lot of things we’d love to do, because we have something holding us back. Or we do the things, but focus on the fear, or humiliation, and end up creating that instead. Like having the most amazing singing voice, but falling headfirst on stage all the same because we’re so nervous (i.e. fear of failure/humiliation) that we can’t keep track of our own feet. That’s how we prove our fears to be true.

Personally I used to have this kind of fear of humiliation when it came to showing I cared about guys, because as a kid I was humiliated in various ways when I liked them. Once someone I was in love with even stood up in front of people and said no one could fall in love with someone like me and that was the tip of the ice berg of humiliating situations. I was only a kid. A geeky kid who didn’t love herself very much, so I believed he might be right.

He was acting like a twat, but I also realized that he only said what he did because of the position he was in. I’m fairly sure he quite liked me. But his discomfort of being put on the spot in front of other people was greater than his desire to be nice to me. His butt got in his way of doing the right thing.

I was a teenager who felt I’d been humilated in front of an entire school. My coping mechanism? Showing I didn’t care so no one could get gratification from my broken heart.

What should I have done? Turned around and said it hurt. The only thing that would have affected that guy would have been speaking from my heart to show him that his actions weren’t right. I didn’t have to condemn him for them — you can’t really condemn people once you understand why they do what they do — but you can condemn their actions. You can honor them by showing them that their actions affect others and give them an opportunity to do the right thing.

I let my butt get in the way back then, just as much as he let his. I was way too scared to speak my truth. Instead I spent the next twenty years perfecting myself (removing the shy, inferior, geek) and pretending not to care when dating and proving every fear I ever had to be true.

Recently I realized that the only thing that stops two people who are a fit from being together, is either not sorting their own shit out, or not caring enough. If you aren’t a fit, you aren’t. Nothing you can do to change that, so you can’t really fuck up in that way. Nor is it humiliating finding out you aren’t a fit — you just aren’t a fit.

So you can’t fuck up with the wrong guy and the only way to fuck up with the right one is not caring enough.

For the first time in my life I’m more worried about not showing I care, than showing I care. All thanks to realizing I cared about a guy I was dating and I was OK with that. I felt hurt and I didn’t try to prove I wasn’t.

What you want from a person you date is the same that you want in your own life — someone who can be bothered to move their butt. Someone who doesn’t let their fears, or anything else get in the way of their desire to be with you. Someone who does the right thing, even when it’s uncomfortable. Because there will be discomfort in relationships — we all have baggage and we all fuck up. You need someone who is willing to go beyond their own comfort to fuck it right. You want someone who fights for you, the way you fight for your own dreams. And to have a healthy relationship, you first have to start caring about moving your butt in your own life.

We all know what the right thing to do is. We all know what we feel. We all know what we want to create. The question is if our our fears are making us feel like we don’t want to do what we truly want to do? Is our fear preventing us from creating a life we’d love? Are we sitting on our butts, or are we creating our dreams?

My gran is dying and I keep thinking she doesn’t have a chance to create anymore. I can. I can choose to create all the things I dreamed of when I was a kid sitting in her kitchen. I can tell her that my life is finally going somewhere because I ditched the excuses and the fears and started working from the heart.

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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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Beautiful you…

I love flowers

Dare to stick your neck out...into the flower field...

Knock, knock, who’s in there? Will you come out? Will you show me the beautiful you? Will you share your love and laughter with the world today? Hiding in the shadows doesn’t bring much light to your eyes. Walking in the sunshine makes your skin sparkle and your eyes twinkle with delight.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been a master at hiding. Since age nine, or so, I remember walking in roundabout ways to avoid people I thought would rather not see me. I remember locking myself into my room to avoid my step family. I remember looking down when a cute guy passed my path in fear of rejection. I remember feeling like a burden; an unwanted piece of something, that was better off hiding so as not to disturb others.

To this day I sometimes still retract; hide in a corner. Frightened that my company is unwanted; a burden on someone else. I don’t dare to open up and show the beauty that is me. I don’t dare to give.

If you aren’t sharing the light that is truly you. If you aren’t showing off your talents, your smile, your gorgeous, gorgeous laughter, you are doing the world, not to mention yourself, a disfavor.

The world is not here to judge you – the world is here to love you.  The world is not here to put you down – the world is here to enjoy you. The world is not here to punch you in the face – the world is here to fall in love with you. You see though, the tricky thing is for the world to enjoy you, they have to see you. For the world to receive your gifts, you have to give them. For the world to laugh at your jokes, you have to tell them. For the world to hear your stories, you have to share them. For the world to fall in love with you, you have to fall in love with the world.

And if you want for someone else to open, you have to love them open. Like a flower opens to the sun, humans open to love. That doesn’t mean there can’t be boundaries and discipline and telling someone right from wrong, that too is love, but without love all is empty. Without love we all close up. And so, you also have to love yourself open, so that you can see the beautiful you. So that the world gets a chance to enjoy you and you get a chance to enjoy the world.

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When all hell breaks out…murder with sex appeal…

Sex Appeal

Problem solving is sexy...

So you come home, bloody exhausted after a long day, longing to jump into bed and………sleep. After sitting down for five minutes though you manage to swallow down a slice of (raw) cheese and some fruit, put on your warmest clothes and…walk over to the neighbor’s to get the dog out. You are welcomed by wet kisses and paws that go everywhere they aren’t supposed to. Then you are taken for a walk (this dog has a mind of her own – you can try to walk her, but she will walk you. Or sit down on her ass and refuse to move). This time she dragged me along to a tiny little park (or empty lot of land). It was freezing cold (it actually snowed for five minutes that day!!!) and the wind was gently rustling around in the bushes. Looking up at the night sky it was beautifully lit by stars. It was like the perfect romantic moment…until a palm tree started making weird noises (I couldn’t decide whether it was the wind shaking it, or if someone was standing behind it and having a blast watching my face turning paler and paler…I naturally decided that it was the first, but a sense of…practicality, shall we say…made me consider other options…) and I decided we better go home (which I managed to pursue her Majesty to agree to).

To sum it all up – I had a wonderful walk (minus the palm tree, but that is…a minor detail). Mainly because her Majesty had been home alone all day and was super excited to see me, which made me happy. And I got to have imaginary conversations with her and pet her head for an hour. I mean surely, we all know that it helps talking to yourself???… It’s the best ever remedy for solving problems. Especially when a dog listens and clearly understands every single word (not).

My point with all this rambling…I did have one and it wasn’t the palm tree you see…

“Murder me with sex appeal”….no that’s just something I heard on the radio…

So yeah, the point….hold your breaths, please…is that when I walked to get the dog out I didn’t do it for my sake – I was ready to pass out on the couch. I did it for her sake. And as I strotted along with her on this freezing cold night I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Why? Because I wasn’t thinking about my own problems. I was focused on what was making the doggy happy.

Often we get a bit caught up in the general mess of things (a.k.a. our lives). I know what it feels like. I do it all the time. That’s why I like friends and coaches as they will look at things from a different POV (point of view) and suddenly the “problems” have been re-framed into solutions. E.g. “I’m going through a divorce, it’s really hard with the lawyers, all the memories when we first got together, all the crushed dreams…!” ….re-frame… “I am so happy I am finally free to live life on my terms again, having learnt what I did about relationships and now being so much more ready for spending time with myself and finding my ultimate mate.”

I know, I know…it’s very tempting to sit and think about “the good old days” when you were having so much fun with your now ex, or your company was making a million more a year, or your house was ten times bigger… Yet, in this moments lies all the opportunities in the world. And if you have a look around, maybe you will discover that you, at least for a day, can take a break from your problems. How? You can live for someone else for a day. You can set your worries aside and worry for them instead. You can pour all your heart and mind into their lives You can try out what it feels like thinking about something else all day long. Oftentimes I don’t understand how people have the energy to keep up all their problems. And when you look at them from the outside you see how utterly ridiculous they are as well…because often they aren’t real. And even if they are, shouldn’t the question be: what can I do right now to make the most of my life? Not sitting blaming yourself, others and the world. Shit happens. Your attitude is your own.

A lot of my problems in the past have been ego. The need to be perfect. The need for success. So for me to focus on giving, instead of what others think of me is a huge thing. I always want to help others, but often, at least in the back of my mind, I have also worried about other peoples’ opinion of me. And it has, quite frankly, ruined my life. It has taken the joy out of so many things. (This is why I should go to a karaoke night and do a solo number. Then the worry will be gone. Ahem…)

As I see it, there are about four ways to solve a problem:

1) Face the fear so that the fear disappears. Imagine the worst ever that could happen. Imagine living through that with a positive attitude. (There’s a difference between the person dying saying: “I am so thankful for the life I have had. I am so thankful for the experience I was given and for these last few days to truly enjoy my life.” And the person saying: “This is unfair. This shouldn’t be me. There’s no point to life. I’m dying anyway.” I know that’s taking it to the extreme, but when I was facing my own fear of dying, I had to do just that.)

2) Re-frame it: From problem to opportunity.

3) Solve the problem. Some problems have to be solved. Ask for help if you need it. Don’t be ashamed you have a problem. We all have problems.

4) Leave it. We all want success in a ton of different ways. Yet, success may not be what we think it is. May not make us smile, laugh and love life. Instead of wanting to become a multi-millionaire…go volunteer at the local hospital, help a friend, donate your energy to giving… Invest your time in other peoples’ problems. Maybe you will discover yours don’t exist and maybe, just maybe you will find a new meaning to life.

5) (P.S. Remember: love is all there is.)

So ya know. Next problem that comes along: murder it with sex appeal. No one can resist you when you turn it on. When those long lashes of yours come this way…and that heart of yours is turned on…who can resist love? True heartfelt love? Not I… So turn it on and turn it up. I’m gonna go hide behind the couch before you drop by here….ah right, you don’t have my address anyway, so maybe I’ll be safe for another day???…

 

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