Tag Archives: life lessons

Dancing with the wind…

The wind was blowing and all that was unhinged broke into a wild dance; emotions not quite dealt with, lost lovers not quite forgotten, desires not quite buried and anything else a little bit loose around the edges. 

It was on nights like this you had the perfect opportunity to sit still and listen to what was rattling around in your mind, because you’d find out any unfinished business that you had. Things you maybe rather wouldn’t face, but would be better off if you did. 

Storm winds can be difficult to deal with, that’s true. It’s also true that sometimes in the most quiet of moments we hear our own thoughts. But storm winds have a way of unsettling us; of shaking up the dirt and making us look at it. All those loose ends we thought we’d tied down, but didn’t. Not really. 

Sometimes the thoughts are, truly, rather pleasant. The lover we thought we forgot, but didn’t. The dream we buried, but never let go of. They were nice things and we’re once again reminded of how much we love them. Only by seeing them we know we have to take action; fulfill our own desires. Hence, why we buried them in the first place. 

The symphony of the wind played; making leaves dance, curtains sway, doors moan and windows whistle.

To her it was a peaceful sound. It meant that change was in the air; things moved. It meant not only that people’s unfinished business, hidden beneath their own debris, moved to the forefront of their minds and gave them an opportunity to face it, but that tales from far, far away landed on her doorstep. She could smell the scent of Moroccan mint and warm cinnamon. She could sense laughter, adventure and a tinge of possibility. She could see another life. A life far, far away. 

This is another piece for my story, The Jester. You can find other snippets; some much longer and eventful than this one: https://confessionsofadizzyblonde.wordpress.com/2019/08/06/the-jester/

My poetry. For more, please look at www.instagram.com/CarnavalDuDesir

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Filed under fiction, life lessons, Magical Realism, poetry, short story, wisdom

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

An orgasmic experience…

No, I’m not talking about OM meditation. Though some of my friends in San Fran swear by it.

Nor am I talking about tantra, though I have attended workshops.

I’m not even talking about sex at all. I’m talking about you. Yes, YOU.

I love mornings. As the sun rises, I can feel the life force beating within me. The raw force of being alive. The hunger to live. Or, at the very least: the longing for a cup of coffee. 

I have desires awakening within me and it feels good.

There have been times when I haven’t had that. When I’ve needed a soak in an ice cold bathtub to even be able to feel my own soul. But the soul doesn’t die. It just goes to sleep sometimes. 

Anyway, I see mornings as a new beginning. A clean slate. A chance to start over. 

And this morning there were some particularly beautiful clouds in the sky and I was feeling excited about the day ahead. About life. About new beginnings. 

And what hit me is that new beginnings mean forgiving ourselves. To truly let go of our past. 

You are not your yesterday. Simply, because it’s not yesterday anymore. Today is a new day. So you can be whoever you like. 

Sure, you may have scars. Bleeding wounds, even. Some of us have no job, weigh fifteen pounds too much, have a horrible relationship, are a million dollars in debt, are complete sugar addicts, or some other such nuisance we have to deal with. Beause we do have have to deal with it, but we don’t have to be stuck with it. Bury ourselves in it. It can become the past too, if only we let it.

Look upon it this way: you can think about yourself as an unfit loser who prior to today hasn’t exercised in ten years, or you can think about yourself as someone who is now exercising. The two will bring about very different feelings and, therefore, very different actions. 

Most people make their problems, perceived flaws, past mistakes, and supposed undesirable sides, their main focus. Then they freak out and do something to try to resolve the tension they feel. Like downing a bottle of wine, exercising for ten hours straight, eating a cake, binge watching Netflix, or burying themselves in work. Which only creates more problems. So when you shift your focus to think about something else — something other than your problems or flaws — your life changes. Because you stop doing the stupid shit you’re doing to mentally have a break from your problems.

Face the problem/pain. Because you have to. Then move past it. Refocus your attention.

So, even if you haven’t exercised for ten years and are fifteen pounds overweight, think about yourself as someone who exercises. Even if it’s just walking around the block. Congratulate yourself on that. What you did the past ten years doesn’t matter. What you’re doing right now, which is walking around the block, is what matters. Soon, as someone who exercises, you’ll naturally walk two blocks. This will make you feel better, so you’ll start doing small sprints. Then you’ll…

You’re free you know. Free not to think about your past. Free to create your future. Free to do whatever the hell you like. So choose to do something that serves you. Something that fuels you. Something that lifts your spirits. It may take a while for you to really feel it. No one feels great when exercising for the first time in ten years. Nor does saving a dime when you owe a million feel like much. Most likely: you don’t feel it. May take three weeks to notice a difference in your state of mind after chaning your habits. But sure as hell you’ll notice. You’ll move forward. You’ll feel better. 

And remember: it’s not about an overnight overhaul. You don’t have to stop eating sugar entirely. You can just make sure you have one cake instead of two. Or eat a salad before the cake. Or go for a run before eating the cake. Set little goals. Tiny ones. If you can’t handle the big stuff, and most people can’t over night, do the little stuff. Don’t think about it as climbing Kilimanjaro. Think about it as stepping stones.

Can’t master that? Can’t save a dime a day, or go for a run before having cake? Then do something else that you CAN do. Smile at someone. Hug someone. Donate a dollar to a worthy cause. Plant a tree. Smile at the shy girl. (As someone who used to be shy I can tell you now that a smile…it can be life transforming. That’s the power you have.) Join a charity. Do an act of kindness.

Because, you see, the more you do worthy things, the more worthy you feel. The worthier you feel, the easier it will be to forgive your past and present woes and allow yourself to do the things that make you happy in the present. Because suddenly, you feel like you deserve them. And by doing them, you become an even better person.

Really, the solution for an orgasmic life is love. Because if you love yourself you automatically do things to create what you love and give love to others. Your life’s pleasure level will be on top. But most of us don’t love ourselves inside and out, so it helps with, you know giving a flower to a homeless person, even if you don’t feel like it. Because even if you messed everything else up that day, at least you know you did something good. And it’s that one good thing you need to hold onto.

So even if you don’t feel like getting out of bed in the morning for your own sake, do it for someone else. Do it for something beyond you. Something bigger than you. Failing that, hire someone to kick you out of bed every morning. Create a structure you can’t get out of.

Life is about two things: your thoughts and your habits; your structure. If you change your thoughts, you change your structure. If you change your structure, you change your thoughts. And if you change either, you change your life.

You’re free. Today is a new day. A clean slate. An orgasmic opportunity. So look upon yourself as a present opportunity, not a past mistake. Look upon yourself as someone who has the power to transform lives. If so, only with a smile. And I can tell you right now, that while a smile to a stranger may change their lives, or at the very least: make their day better, a smile to someone who loves you means the world to them.

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Filed under achievement, addiction, Goals, Inspiration, Motivation, Spirituality, success, Uncategorized

Taking charge…

This is one hell of an epic blog. No, it’s not because I’m such an epic writer (but I am). No, it’s not because it’s funny as F or because I have turned everything into a sexual metaphor that’ll make you laugh (for once it isn’t). No, this blog is epic, because every time I read it, I learn something. 

You see, this is actually an interview I did for Vigyaa a little while back. I interviewed someone I respect. Someone who has helped me endlessly. Someone who has changed my life for the better. Someone I have a lot of faith in. I interviewed my coach. 

We spoke about fate v.s. faith. Destiny v.s. being in charge of creating our lives. Maybe it was fate that I met Marc. Maybe it was fate that I got in touch with his partner when I woke up one day and decided I’d had enough of living my life the way I was living it. Maybe it was all fated. But since I started working with Marc, my life has changed because I worked for that. 

I started by asking Marc what the first thing he teaches his clients is (as when he started coaching me, I already knew some of the principles he was teaching, if not in the way he was applying them). 

His answer was that you have to start by accepting that you are responsible for everything you create in your life. Because of the agreements you’ve made with yourself (i.e. your beliefs) you are generating emotions that generate behaviors that, in turn, create patterns in your life.  

If we are unconscious (i.e. not aware of the thoughts in our conscious/subconscious) then we are unconscious to the behaviors that create these situations. I.e. we just can’t understand why we are always so lucky at work and always so unlucky in love. We think life just happens to us. 

Life, in reality, is a series of choices. If we’re unconscious, we don’t understand that we have a choice. Ca. 90% of the population have no experience of being fully conscious. Being unconscious is the same as saying you can’t see the label from inside the jam jar — you don’t have an experience outside the jar. You don’t know there’s a possibility to have it even. Basically, you’re trapped within your own point of view and you aren’t even aware of it.

We simply don’t realize that we’re creating our life and the choices we’re making to create it. We are creating unconsciously and must make a decision to become conscious, if that’s what we want. Once a client understands this, once they understand that they are creating a lot of what’s going on in their lives, Marc agrees to start coaching them. 

That’s not to say it’s someone’s fault what they’ve created — they aren’t aware of the things that motivated them to create it. 

If you want to consciously/awarely start creating your life, you need to know that there is only one creative structure: knowing where I am and where I want to get to. Then there are steps to take to get there. 

Creating something can be intuitive — by using our intuition we speed things up. It needs to be heart based for this to happen. If you intuitively get where you are and where you need to go, as well as the steps you need to take to get there, then you speed things up. 

If, on the other hand, you’re letting your beliefs run the show and approach something unconsciously, it becomes dysfunctional. By doing it consciously and intuitively, it becomes functional. 

Sometimes we go through life unconsciously, then have a glimmer of recognition about what it means to be conscious. 

Marc always used to date men who cheated on him. Then he dated one guy and his friends told him he was cheating on him. He said that could surely not be true, and asked the guy if he cheated on him. He denied it. But Marc started to have an inkling that something felt familiar. As if he was repeating a pattern. And sure enough, he found out that the guy was lying to him.

In the past, Marc would deny any recognition that someone was cheating on him until it became blatantly obvious. This time, he took the time to find out; started noticing that something seemed similar to other cheating guys when he denied he was cheating. 

Marc, in the past, was acting from his ego. Once he started becoming conscious, he started acting form his heart. He would feel into a situation and ask himself if what was going on truly felt right. Did he really think the guy was telling the truth? Once he started feeling into it intuitively, he knew the answer. He no longer let himself be blinded by his own desires, which, in the end, always led him to disappointment. 

This is mine, Maria’s metaphor: Think about it as a ship taking you to America. You really want to go to America. Somewhere deep down inside, you also think life’s hard. Filled with difficulties. Bad things happen to you. But you have decided once you get to America, everything will change. So you buy a ticket to a ship that’s leaking. It’s just a small leak. The captain says it will be fine. You can’t afford another ticket (or at least you don’t think so), so you go ahead with it. You fill your mind with dreams of America. You push aside the little nudge of worry that you can feel inside. The captain says it’ll be fine. Surely it will be fine. And America — you’re finally going to America! 

You’re listening to your ego and your ego has decided everything will be OK once you get to America. So you board the ship and half way there, the ship starts leaking badly and everyone’s evacuated and taken home to where they came from. You didn’t get to America and you lost your money for the ticket as you had no insurance. Something bad happened to you, because life’s hard. Just like you have always thought.

When we listen to our ego, we create things to prove our beliefs to be true; we do not create our dreams. When we create from our heart, we start creating what we’d truly love. When you listen to that voice telling you that the ship isn’t safe, you stop. You don’t buy the ticket. Even if it would have taken one month longer to save up the money for the better ticket to America, you would have gotten to America. 

Ask yourself which vibration you are coming from? What lens are you seeing things through? What stories are you telling yourself? Are you telling yourself things that are defeatist in nature (such as: I can’t afford a better ticket)? Are you giving away your power? Not exploring something you’d love to explore because you’re scared? Some people never board the ship at all, because they’re too scared to actually get to America. Or, they board the ship that will sink so that they can say they tried, but it never worked out. It wasn’t right for them. Fate got in the way.

Whatever you’re thinking creates an emotion in you and it’s from that emotion, that vibration, that you’re creating things. If you believe Mercury in retrograde is going to cause problems, then it will. Because you will act in such a way that it does.

When we feel fear and anxiety, such as fearing what will happen when we get to America, then we try to resolve that fear/anxiety; that psychological tension. 

Some people solve tension by drinking too much. Some by sitting frozen in front of Netflix, or procrastinating in other ways. Some by speaking to their friends for hours on end. 

Will having a drink, watching Netflix or talking to a friend really take you closer to your goal? Or are you just using it to get a temporary fix where you feel better (but truly wasted time that could have been used to actually work towards your goals)?

If you know how you behave when feeling any given emotion, then you can predict what you will do. There’s a structure to everything, including your behavior. 

For example, if every time you get stressed at work and feel overwhelmed, you resolve tension by going to the pub after work and getting drunk, instead of staying late and working over time, then you know how you tend to resolve tension (and make the situation worse; because the next day you’ll have even more work to deal with and a hangover to boot).

If you know the story you tell yourself, such as “I had a really long day at work, I deserve a beer”  then you also know how to change it. For example, you could tell yourself: “I am feeling stressed, but if I stay at work for two hours longer today, then I will have made headway for tomorrow and I really want to knock my boss’ socks off, so I’ll do that.” 

Funnily enough, by not resolving your tension, you tend to become less stressed/anxious/fearful, than if you do. 

Resolving tension is really just people’s way of coping. It’s a pattern they’ve developed as a coping mechanism. At some point the person who goes to get drunk after work really thought that was the only way of coping with the stress. No matter how illogical it is, because it is only providing temporary relief and in the end, making the situation worse than it was to start with.

People have different patterns for different things. Some people when they are anxious eat, when they are lonely drink, when they have stress shop, when they get overwhelmed binge watch television and so forth.

Work out your dysfunctional stories and overwrite them with functional ones.

It’s a lot more functional to sit down and fill your diary with social engagements, rather than drink when you feel lonely. It won’t create an immediate release, but it will cure loneliness in the long run. Having a drink might make you feel great in the present, but you’ll be just as lonely the next night. 

Resolving psychological tension is often like taking a flu tablet — it temporarily gets rid of the symptoms, but it doesn’t cure the flu. It might even have gotten worse by the time the effects of the tablet wears off as you used the time in the wrong way; feeling great when in fact you still had a high fever temporarily relieved by the tablet. You didn’t rest and heal. You over exerted yourself. 

A real life example would be feeling stressed about finances, drinking to resolve the tension, getting caught for a DUI, then having no transport and having to spend more money getting to work using Uber. 

This is what happens when we react to emotional triggers in ways that are not beneficial (our negative set of core beliefs start acting out). And often we have well established patterns for how we react in different situations. If we keep reacting in the same way, keep resolving tension in the same way, then we keep repeating the same patterns over and over again. Because sooner or later we will experience the same kind of tension (same trigger) and act in a similar way. 

There will always be tension when you’re working to create something. The goal is to resolve the tension a) by taking steps to get you closer to the goal b) by reaching the goal. That’s the functional way of resolving tension — taking steps to reach your goal and then reaching it. 

Most people are in a reactive cycle their entire life — working to resolve tension and proving their beliefs to be true. Every time a belief gets proven to be true it carves a deeper pathway in the brain. Imagine it as the wrinkles in the brain that get deeper and deeper (this is obviously not a scientific explanation, but a metaphor). As the grooves, or wrinkles, get deeper over time, it’s harder to undo them. If someone taught you how to make conscious decisions at the age of ten, it would be a lot easier to learn than at the age of 45. The pathway would have been a lot less shallow at age ten and there’d be a lot less resistance. 

Of course, once you learn you’re on autopilot — that you’re just automatically reacting to life — then you can change it. 

Sometimes you look around you see some people who, quite frankly, you think are assholes. Ever wondered how a world leader can behave as appallingly as they do? But they’re on autopilot like the rest of the world. If they think the only way to get somewhere in life is to manipulate, then they will do that. They aren’t even conscious of doing it. This is why you mustn’t take things personally. People do most things as a reflex reaction. People are slaves to their own unconscious unless they have the option of becoming aware presented to them. 

Jung said: Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will drive your life and you will call it fate. 

You think it’s fate that creates the same things for you over and over again, but it’s actually you creating them as you have an automatic behavior pattern when presented with different situations. 

It’s like when Marc’s friends told him his partner was cheating and he just wouldn’t listen. He chose to think they were lying, rather than thinking his partner was lying. If he would have listened immediately, he would have had the option to end the relationship and creating a better one, going into it aware of his own patterns. But as so many others, he didn’t want to admit to what he didn’t want to be true. Which is ironic as it only creates even worse problems. 

The thing is, we can’t blame ourselves, or others, for being unconscious. Until we become aware we don’t really have a choice for how we react. We first have to realize that we have that choice. It’s like waking up one day and realizing you’ve been drunk for your entire life. 

In fact, most conscious people don’t get drunk, or use drugs, as they are enjoying the life they’re living. They don’t need drugs, or alcohol, to relieve their tension. Because they make conscious choices, they have less tension to resolve. 

Marc’s father, during WWII, had to dive into a latrine during a fight and was in there for seven days until he could get out again. He got malaria, shock, rat bites, etc. but as soon as he was physically sound, he was discharged from hospital. 

From then on, when he heard a loud noise, such as his children screaming, he’d pick up the first thing in sight that could be used as a weapon, and lash out. This kept going until he got MS at the age of 63 and was hospitalized. At the hospital they figured out he has PTSD. They treated him for that too. After that, he never hit anyone, or anything, again. 

Marc’s father was acting unconsciously, until the day they treated him for PTSD. And in the same way, most people are simply reacting to life in a set pattern. They don’t even realize they have a choice to react differently. 

But even at the age of 63 change is possible. And as seen with Marc’s father, some change can happen over night. 

In Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl, he explains that there were two types of survivors coming out of the concentration camps after WWII. There were those who felt like survivors; like their psyche had been damaged, but their soul was intact. Then there were those who felt that their soul had been damaged and that they were tarnished. They felt like victims for life. 

In a similar manner, you choose whether to see yourself as a survivor, or as a victim. 

Heaven isn’t a place where you go, but where you’re reunited with God, but you can be now as well. You can connect to God. You’re just living the illusion of separation. Of an individual experience. God is everything. We were just created so that s/he could experience themselves. Thus, your soul cannot be damaged. 

Marc’s belief is that we are brought here to experience what we want. However, until you become conscious, you’re just experiencing what you’ve been programmed to experience. You just keep experiencing your beliefs. 

To feel separate from God we have to be wounded (psychologically/by our ego). You have the permission to create whatever you want. If you’re living from your wound, then you’re living unconsciously. It will direct your life and you’ll call it fate. The more conscious you become, the more life will feel like it’s worth living. You’ll get the freedom to start dreaming. It’s the reward of consciousness. Humans have to also take steps to create things.

Basically, you’re responsible for what you create. God has given you permission to create on Earth. In a sense, you are God on Earth — that’s the gift you were given from up yonder: the ability to create. And the stories you tell yourself, consciously and unconsciously, are responsible for what you create on Earth. If you start telling yourself different stories, you’ll take different actions and that will create different results. All you have to do to create something is take steps. 

Now that you know how to create, will you employ that and start creating consciously? Will you choose the stories you tell yourself every day? Will you choose to take action on your dreams? Or will you continue to conjure up stories in your mind, that make you react in unfavorable ways? Everything is structural and you choose your structure — aware, or unaware. You have to ask yourself: do I want to explore this thing called awareness, or do I want to stick my head back in the sand?

Being aware, being conscious, is like that shiny new boyfriend. But you can also choose to go back and being cheated on. Like Marc used to do — go back to the cheating boyfriend. He didn’t take in what people were saying. Normally we don’t. We scan when listening and only take in what we are capable of; what suits our beliefs. He had a thought men can’t be trusted and his unconscious agenda was to prove that thought true. Until he figured out what he was doing. Then everything changed. Then the battle became to stay conscious of his choices; realizing he had a world of choices open to him. 

For him it was realizing that a lot of men can’t be trusted, but some can. The ones that can behaved differently. The ones who cheated had a certain MO (modus operandi). Once he met his current partner, the question of cheating never even came up in nine years. His partner loves him. He’s not someone manipulating him into trusting him. 

No one is 100% conscious all the time. If you are tying your shoelaces, for example, you’re probably not even aware of what you’re doing. You don’t have to be. You can be on autopilot for that task. 

When it comes to being aware of what you’re thinking, if you’re 30-40% conscious you’re close to proficient. If you’re over 50% you’re very proficient. Anything more than that, it’s a bonus. 

Once you become conscious, you start thinking about being of service to others. Not necessarily changing the world, just serving others through your heart and the resources you have available. When you do, your life shifts. But when you’re unconscious, you’re usually struggling so much, you can’t even think about being of service to others. If you don’t have a roof over your head, or you’re not comfortable with some aspect of your life, you’re struggling. 

If you choose to be of service, you start seeing people through a different lens. You start asking yourself how you can serve them, rather than vice versa. 

When you become aware/conscious you also start having faith. Faith things will work out. Faith you’ll reach your goals. That removes stress and worry and changes your vibration. You don’t need to know how something will happen, you just know it will happen. Coming at it from that angle, you are acting from a functional state of mind. You’re relaxed, happy and eager to find solutions and move forward. This means you’ll be creating what you want. 

Having faith also means you’re no longer in reaction. You have faith things will turn out well, so you don’t need to go and get drunk, because you want to relieve your tension. You don’t get very stressed, so you don’t need to resolve the tension. You have faith you’ll meet your deadlines, earn your money, find friendship, find love, solve this or that problem, etc. In turn, this means you’ve broken your dysfunctional patterns. You’re taking steps to create your goals, instead of steps to resolve your current tension.

You’ve become a powerful creator, focusing on what you want to create and having faith you’ll achieve it. 

Maybe meeting Marc was my fate, but I would never have been coached by him, unless I had messaged his partner saying “I’m looking for a coach.” I was thinking about that today. How a single “hello” can save our life, or at the very least: change it. But we have to be willing to do it. Marc coaches me, but without me taking action, nothing changes. I have to move my feet. 

I think destiny is a funny thing. It’s like a knock on the door. Maybe the knock was orchestrated by God, but you choose if you answer the door. Then you choose, once opening it, if you let what’s out there inside. 

Opening the door does not mean letting someone, or something, in. It means we’re willing to explore. It means we’ve got an open mind. And if we like what we see, we can let change inside. 

You’re in charge. Maybe fate plays a role in what happens, but you’re the one responding to it. You’re the one opening and closing doors. Fate may have brought you a door, but you’re the door’s master. You’re not fated. But you might wanna have faith…

This is Marc’s website, should you want to stalk the man online.

To round it off, here’s the poem Nelson Mandela read to himself every day in prison. We’re all in our own mental prison. So maybe this poem is a good reminder that only we can change our lives. 

Out of the night that covers me, 

      Black as the pit from pole to pole, 

I thank whatever gods may be 

      For my unconquerable soul. 

In the fell clutch of circumstance 

      I have not winced nor cried aloud. 

Under the bludgeonings of chance 

      My head is bloody, but unbowed. 

Beyond this place of wrath and tears 

      Looms but the Horror of the shade, 

And yet the menace of the years 

      Finds and shall find me unafraid. 

It matters not how strait the gate, 

      How charged with punishments the scroll, 

I am the master of my fate, 

      I am the captain of my soul. 

Invictus, by William Ernest Henley

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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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Not tonight, darling…

Ever heard that one? I have a headache. I am tired. I’d rather watch Netflix. My pinkie hurts. My boss is doing my head in, so I can’t relax. Take your pick.

In real life, it’s usually more along the lines of: “I don’t feel like it.” Or: “I can’t be bothered.” Or: “I have no inspiration.”

You know what? To get inspired you first have to start. It’s not like anything turns itself on by itself. Right…

One of the rules of magic, according to William Whitecloud and co. is “Engage your will.” If you don’t engage your will, you’ll sit on your ass doing nothing. Hence, life will be pretty boring. Not to mention: depressing. If you sit alone all day wiggling your toes, sooner or later, you’ll end up thinking miserable thoughts. It’s like ahving a one-on-one with your inner demons. Which is why Jesus spent 40 days and nights in the desert. But that’s 40 days and nights to face yourself and move through and beyond your pain and demons. After that, you need physical and intellectual stimulation. Love. Companionship. Joy. Laughter.

Sometimes, it’s not because we’re lazy we don’t move our butts. It’s because we’re scared.

Imagine someone scared of heights living in a place like Australia. To get to another country, they’d have to use a boat, or a plane. Let’s say they get seasick. A plane is the only option. Unless they get over themselves, they’ll never see the rest of the world. They’ll never sip coffees in Paris, have tantra classes with the hippies in San Francisco, party in LA, check out the jungle in Mexico, see the Northern lights in Finland, or do any of those other cool things one can only do in certain places.

To someone not scared of heights, this doesn’t make sense. But fear is a very real thing, even if it’s completely imaginary.

Let’s say you know that it’s possible to overcome fear though, because you’ve done it. You’ve done it and you know how amazing it is to be on the other side. So you try to convince the other person to try it.

The problem? Most people also fear change. Or they fear the pain they may encounter overcoming their fear. Or they fear the effort it will take to overcome the fear. Or they fear they can’t do it and if they try they will prove that. Or they fear the happiness they may encounter as they don’t think they deserve it (see Your inner dominatrix… for more on that). Or they don’t want to face the emotions they’ll have once they get to the other side of the fear and realize they’ve wasted 30 years being afraid of something. Of course, that’s silly as they can just focus on the next 30 years and be grateful. But our minds work in silly ways.

Let’s have a look at an example of fear. I used to be scared of rejection. So let’s have a look at rejection. 

If you fear rejection, you won’t go on a date, because you’re too scared being rejected. Or you won’t talk to people, because you’re too scared being rejected. Or you won’t say what you want, because you’re too scared of rejection. Or you won’t apply for a job, because you’re too scared being rejected. It depends on your type of rejection fear. 

Now, rejection happens to everyone. Sadly, no one in kindergarten informed us that five out of ten people will give us a hard time. If you want to make friends with five people, prepare to be rejected by another five. Sometimes even more. 

Because no one told us about this, we take rejection personally. We end up thinking we’re not good enough, or some other such thing. We get wounded. It hurts. We don’t want to hurt. So we hide away, or become bullies, or we become aloof, or sit alone and eat lots of candy, or do some other such thing, depending on what strikes us as a good idea at the time. 

Basically, we put a plaster on top. But the plaster a) doesn’t allow for the wound to heal b) keep other people at bay — it’s a defense. Now, because we have a wound, every time someone as much as hints at rejecting us, it hurts more than if we didn’t have a wound. And with every hurt, the wound becomes bigger. 

The plaster (defense) will further add to our sense of rejection because other people, or at least the right kind of people, usually don’t get close to those who are shy, bullies, or aloof. So we become a self-fulfilling prophecy on top of everything else.

To find friends, lovers, great work opportunities, etc. we will need to handle rejection. It will hurt a little bit, but the treasure is worth it. 

It’s kind of like getting off our asses and going for that run, cleaning the house, or showing up for work: it will take some effort (pain) but it’s worth it. Because it makes us feel good. 

I don’t know what it is you’re avoiding doing in your life that’d make you feel good. Maybe you’re avoiding it because of fear. Maybe you’re avoiding it because you don’t think you’re worth it (you need to suffer to atone to some past mistake of yours). Maybe you’re avoiding it because you think the effort is too much. 

I’m here to tell you it’s worth it. Because whoever said life begins outside your comfort zone was damn right. It does. The real life. The one worth the effort. The one that will make you see stars. 

I mean just think about first time sex. The fear. The panic about getting it wrong. The knowledge that you don’t have a clue about what you’re doing. The fear of asking for what you want and doing what you want because of the possible embarrassment if the other person disagrees. The potential rejection. And then think about getting over yourself. And practicing. And doing what you want. Asking for what you want. Little, by litte. And in the end actually having good sex. And you’re worth it. You just have to claim it.

So, darlings, I’m telling you: orgasms are on the other side of your comfort zone. Enjoy.

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Filed under depression, diary, emotions, Fear, Inspiration, life lessons, Love, Motivation, Musings, overcoming fears, relationships, Self-confidence, Self-esteem, self-worth, Thoughts

Go a little wild already — why anger can save your life…

I read a book many moons ago that practically saved my life. Yes, I know, lots of people say shit like that, but I pretty much literally mean it. Because it saved my hands.

Many years ago, I bought a book called Curing Back Pain: the Mind Body Connection by Dr. John Sarno. I never read it. When I left LA I gave it away, or packed it away somewhere never to retrieve it.

Fast forward a few years, and I found myself getting shooting pains in my hands and arms. I was told I had repetitive strain injury and it was incurable. While it supposedly stemmed from typing, working as a writer, it affected everything I did. It got so bad I feared I couldn’t drive anymore.

I tried healing, I tried acupuncture, I tried using a chiropractor who also put needles in pain points, I tried massage, I tried raw foods, I tried medication, I tried Chinese medicine… The massage and needles into pain points helped for a short period, but then the pain returned with a vengance. People said it could have been triggered by stress. I went through all the stressors in my life. All the potential causes.

When I asked friends on Facebook about tips and recommendations, someone mentioned Sarno’s book. I dismissed it, thinking something stemming from “repetitive” movements couldn’t be caused by the mind. Stress can lead to a lowered immune system and general malfunctioning, but I had a physical condition that needed a physical solution. Or so I thought.

Back in LA and on a trip to Vegas I one night, in a bout of desperation, googled help once more and once again came across Sarno’s book for the purpose of repetitive strain injury. I was desperate. So I read some of the reviews. And I got the book.

A few days later I was typing again.

Sarno talks about how pain can be caused by the brain by a physical condition he calls TMS. This syndrome comes from the brain signaling the body to narrow the blood vessels and thereby causing pain from mild oxygen depravation.

His theory is that most of us repress anger. Usually we get angry with the people we love the most. We’re angry with our parents for fucking us up. With our children for throwing tantrums. With our boss for making us do things we don’t want to do. With our partner for not loving us the way we want to be loved. With our friends for acting in ways we don’t agree with. Then we feel ashamed. Because we know these are the very people who love us, or at the very least help us, or support us. So we bottle up our emotions instead of facing them, or discussing them.

Sometimes we suppress the anger because we’re scared of losing people if we confront them. Sometimes it’s because we feel ungrateful because the person is doing so much good for us, or love us, so why can’t we just let that one thing we’re angry with go?

I think we bottle up a lot more emotions than anger, but think about it: is there any one person in your life that you haven’t been angry with? And have you dealt with that anger? Discussed it with them? Have you even faced your own anger?

Sometimes it’s really simple as well — something we would face in a heartbeat if we only knew we were suppressing it. But we suppress without thinking. For example, we feel anger towards our baby for keeping us up at night, then ashamed as that’s what babies do. We’re the parent. We’re supposed to love them. So the brain, without us as much as realizing, suppresses the anger and distracts us from it with pain. If we think about the pain, we don’t think about the anger.

Some wounds cut deeper. The parents who loved us, but fucked us up. The friends in school we never stood up to, who semi-bullied us for what felt like an eternity, but were our “friends.” The partner who was constantly working to provide for us, but never spent time with us and who we didn’t want to pressurize too much, because, well, they were working. Guilt often stops us from dealing with anger. We could just express a want to spend a little bit more time with them, while also acknowledging the importance of their work, but we don’t. Or we could tell our well-meaning parents that we really don’t want to live as they want us to, no matter how much we love them. But we don’t. Because guilt, or fear of losing them, or simply fear of conflict in general, stands in the way.

If you don’t stand up for what you want, you’re constantly angry even if on the outside, you’re cool as a cucumber.

Learning to communicate your feelings, without for that matter blaming someone else for you having them, can help you overcome anger. Standing up for what you want, without for that matter putting someone else down, can help you overcome anger. Acknowledging that you get upset and it’s alright (even if you’re upset with a baby keeping you up at night) can help you overcome anger.

I believe, the closer we are to someone, the angrier we will be with them. That doesn’t mean we don’t love them. That doesn’t mean we can’t look upon them through the eyes of understanding. It simply means we have needs and those close to us are the ones that most often don’t provide us with what we need. Usually not because they don’t want to, but because they’re either incapable of doing so, or don’t know what we want in the first place. Chances are half the time we don’t either, we just feel something’s wrong. We’re dissatisfied. It took me reading The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman to figure out we have different ways in which we need to be loved to actually feel loved. Relationships are a science in their own right. And it took me reading that book to figure out why people who love each other can still be in a bad relationship.

People try to love us by telling us what to do. By not telling us what to do. By forcing their religion upon us. By forcing their beliefs upon us. By punishing us. By staying away from us. By giving us gifts. By not buying us anything. By showing they love us so much we suffocate. By refraining from showing love at all.

People do all sorts of things in the name of love without asking us what we need, or sharing how they feel. And as a parent I’m guilty as hell of this. And when it comes to our own childhood, the truth is, not a single person in our childhood didn’t fuck us up in some way, because they tried to impose some idea or other on us that wasn’t right. Because that’s what they’d been taught to do. That’s how their life had shaped them. And we know they loved us, so we feel guilty about being angry, but love doesn’t prevent people from making mistakes. And just because we love someone, doesn’t mean we have to agree with them.

We’re all guilty of doing things in the name of love, that have nothing to do with love. They’re just things we’re hardwired into believing we should do. Just as we’re guilty of being angry with every single person who ever crossed our path for longer than a minute.

Understanding dissolves anger. It’s hard being angry with a person once you understand them. And once you look upon someone’s past, you understand them. You understand why they became who they are and why they act as they do. However, you still have to stand up for yourself. Just because you understand how someone is acting doesn’t mean you can let them act in ways that ruin your life, or dissatisfy you. It just means that when you approach them about it, you can do so from a place of love, instead of a place of blame.

Suppressed anger doesn’t just cause physical pain; it causes psychological pain too. I don’t necessarily think that repressed anger is the only emotion that can cause both physical and mental pain either. However, I do believe most unpleasant emotions lead to anger in one form, or another.

So who are the people you’re angry with? (Or should I ask: who are the people you love the most?)

And what book is it that you know would change your life, that you’re not reading? I guess I finally have to pick up Seven Habits of Highly Effective People…and then regret I didn’t do so ten years ago. But as my post Your inner dominatrix… can attest to, regret and punishment doesn’t take your life forward. Encouragement and praise do. So when you pick up that book you know you should be reading, do that thing you know you should be doing, take that course you know you should be taking…don’t regret you didn’t do so sooner. Congratulate yourself upon finally doing it instead. Finally doing what you know you really must to get the life you’d truly love.

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Filed under Healing, life lessons, Personal Development, personal growth, Personal Journeys, personal stories, self help, Self-esteem, self-worth, Uncategorized

What’s going on in that beautiful mind…

It’s hard, isn’t it? Getting to the bottom of an issue. We all have these defense mechanisms. We start thinking certain thoughts as if by default. Thoughts that have nothing to do with what the real issue is. 

Personally, in personal relationships, my personality goes wacko (you see what I did there? Couldn’t resist. Apologies…). I micromanage. I manipulate. I demand. I provoke. I tease. I do everything but facing the fear that I might get hurt. This can be with the kids I raise, the men I date, the people I work with, or close friendships. 

First, I think I’m doing the right thing. I’m planning. I’m thinking ahead. I’m setting boundaries. I’m enforcing rules. I’m managing. Call it what you like. I’m caught up in solving one problem, or another, using one tactic or another, refusing to face my main fear: that I’m not good enough. That I’ll lose all the people I love, or projects I care about, because I’m not good enough. 

Yesterday (now the day before yesterday), I said something so incredibly stupid to one of the kids I raise I’ve spent 24-hours beating myself up about it. She wanted to stay with her grandmother, like her brother, just coming home here and there when she feels like it. I told her that was not acceptable and she needed to come home to do homework. Of all the idiotic things I could say. Homework. Really? 

I’m worried about her attitude, her friends, that the township has done a number on her, but as my head has been stuck in “if I only had the money to get her out of there…or hadn’t spent all my money on her brother, we wouldn’t have these problems as we’d live a nice life in a nice house and she’d be in a nice school.” In short, had I at least gotten her into a better school, she’d be better off and we wouldn’t have half the problems we now have. 

In my mind, the future scenario of her tanking school and ending up miserable using drugs, played out. The scenario everyone around her have been fretting about. In my head another scenario was playing out as well: the past couple of years of visa problems and issues with her brother and feeling inept as a mother because of it. 

She wants to be loved, not lectured. She has over and over again said she wants to stay with me, but I’m “too strict.” And hearing those words on the phone yesterday I flipped. Fear. Panic. A sense of failure. 

I understand she wants to be with her biological family too. I have never prevented that. She has always been allowed to stay in Hangberg for that reason, but in the past I didn’t like it because of her carer’s adult sons being drug addicts and she never having any rules, resulting in hanging out with the wrong people in the middle of the night. So I enforced rules. 

Staying with her gran is different. There are no crazy drug addicts there. They still live in the thick of gangsters, addicts and thieves, but the house is relatively safe. And as there are so many of them, her brother can’t cause much harm. 

Parenting kids born into a drug den, one of them being on the autism spectrum with severe behavioral problems and aggression, without the financial structure to support it has been hell, frankly. I’ve done everything I can and usually it hasn’t felt like enough. I’ve been stuck in other countries swearing and panicking about losing the children. I’ve awoken at night hearing them scream my name. I’ve cursed the fact that I couldn’t afford enough therapists and special needs schools/better schools. I’ve cursed not having enough money to take them on stunning adventures. I’ve cursed the fact that I have to work twelve hour days to survive instead of spending time with them. I’ve cursed the fact that I couldn’t afford investing five million rand straight away to get a permanent residency. I think I cursed the whole of South Africa in the process. But somewhere along that road I woke up. I decided to take charge of my life and do what I can. And ever since that day it’s been a journey up a mountain instead of falling down a mountain. It’s been hard. It’s been so fucking hard I’ve wanted to kick down walls and sometimes I’ve felt so overwhelmed I didn’t want to live. Not like I wanted to kill myself, I just didn’t want to keep going. I didn’t know how to find the power. But every time I did. And life changed. 

A friend of mine once told me that she looked upon her children and realized they weren’t hers. They belonged to themselves. And that’s what I’ve tried to remember, while also remembering that children, as much as they kick and scream, sometimes shouldn’t get their way. Because what they want isn’t good for them. Being a parent is sometimes not about being loved, but about doing the right thing. 

What this journey has taught me is that you can’t allow circumstance to dictate how you feel. I often get stuck in my head (I mean I’ve been berating myself for twenty-four hours by now — see the post about Your inner dominatrix…), but I’ve learned that if I pay enough attention, I can unstick myself. 

Today I wasn’t feeling happy. So I decided, instead of running around thinking manic thoughts about things to distract myself, or simply feeling miserable, to sit down and ask myself what’s truly going on. This is going on. This and a sinus infection.

Every day is an opportunity to grow. To face our fears. To face our pain. To grow beyond them. 

Still, when I came home yesterday, after writing this, I was sad. I was tired. I felt depleted. The toddler was gorgeous. He wanted to fall asleep on the kitchen sofa, so we were both lying under a blanket there, on one end each, so my toes faced him. He decided to play dog and bite my toes. He was hilarious. And so goddamn cute. And I just felt sad. Because I was worried about his siblings. I felt lonely without them. I was worried about his mother who sometimes thinks she can handle raising children, until she forgets to pick them up at daycare within two days. We’ve been discussing adoption. I’ll be able to soon. Six years late, but still. 

And I’m scared man. I’m fucking petrified of losing the kids. For six years my life has been about finding solutions to get a visa. To find a way to launch my career and be with the kids. Permanent residency. Adoption rights. Movies. Magique. From time to time I’ve also decided to approach topics like men and friends. Sorting out my dating life and social life. And I’ve made every fucking mistake under the sun during this time. If only I’d known back then what I know now. If only…

But I didn’t. And as the post Your inner dominatrix… explains, there’s no point with regret. The best we can do is from now on live as we want to. To honor the people we fucked up along the way by making the mistakes we did. Honoring them by being better people. Honoring ourselves. Making the world a better place by doing better. 

That’s the best we can do. And as I’ve barely had time to breathe in the past six months, maybe I also need to honor the fact that now that things have finally calmed down a bit, I’ll feel the stress. I’ve been sick twice in two weeks. Four times in three months. And throughout it I’ve been pulling 10-12-hour days six days a week. Sometimes I’ve been in the office with a fever. 

The past two weeks I’ve allowed myself to blog. Just that gives me feelings of guilt. Time to process emotions instead of work. I always try to teach the whole world my learnings through this blog. Teach myself. And it’s only when I write that I truly process things. And by writing down my learnings I avoid lecturing everyone in sight. Because people need love and encouragement, not lectures.  

I feel like a big ass failure at the moment, while also feeling like I’ve come a hundred miles since last year this time. But as the story goes, I never stopped fighting because I was bleeding. If there was one thing my father taught me is that you get up, and you go. You keep going. Till you get there.

I’ll go see my kids. I’ll talk to them. I’ll explain. I’ll live. I’ll learn. And the truth is, just because something doesn’t pan out the way you wanted it to, doesn’t mean you can’t be happy. Maybe there’s a better plan. For one, I’m putting resources in place in the township to help the kids. Maybe this will work better. Maybe we will spend time together in a more functional way. And I finally have time to spend time with all the other kids I mentor too, as I’ll spend more time in the township. That’s where my heart is.

Plus, I’m gonna take dance classes again, because the mentor I’ve put in place for the kids is a dance teacher. That alone is worth celebrating. Seriously. There’s nothing much that makes me happier than dancing. I’ll be the fool with a big grin on my face. I’ll be happy.

Happiness is a choice. A damn hard choice. A choice to be the master of your thoughts. To make the most out of what you’ve been given. To let go of guilt and regret. To learn. To move forward. To flow with life. To constantly grow. It’s not always easy, but it sure as hell is worth it.

And remember, you are beautiful. We all are. We just get a little bit lost sometimes.

Dizzy blonde, over and out.

What’s going on in that beautiful mind…

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Your inner dominatrix…

Have you ever considered yourself to be in control? Maybe even a control freak? Or someone who likes pushing boundaries, winning races, chasing goals…someone who aims to win and fights to get there?

I have. I’m driven like crazy. I work like a maniac when I want something. I love adrenaline thrills. I will whip my own ass till I’m screaming in pain. And I like it. (This is a metaphor guys, I do not whip my own ass. Just to clarify. This blog, through the years, has created a fair amount of confusion.)

The thing is, as I’m whipping my own ass to move forward, it’s not always encouraging whips. In fact, half of them act as punishment. Punishment for fucking up. For not being far enough along the road. For not being good enough. I punish myself endlessly for wanting to be better than I am.

These days my internal dialogue is a lot better than it used to be. Because instead of whipping my ass endlessly, I shift my attention to what’s working, what I’ve achieved and what I’m enjoying, because I know this is what will bring me to my goals. Focus creates reality. The more you focus on what’s working, the more you’ll create of that.

We punish ourselves because we think we deserve it and because we think it will move us forward, but that’s an illusion. In fact, it only derails us.

Punishment is a vicious circle. You fuck up. You feel bad about fucking up. So you fuck up more to punish yourself, or you sit doing nothing reveling in your own guilt, or trying to numb it by working yourself to death/downing your preferred poison/eating/working out. This is why I was petrified of drugs when I was younger. Back then I really didn’t like myself much. And drugs, to my mind, was about as low as you could go. Then you’d really lost control over yourself. I didn’t grow up seeing drugs as something you did at parties. I grew up seeing drugs as your one way ticket to the street. The ultimate surrender to your own ineptitude. And I was scared due to the circle of punishment — if I took a drug once I’d take it again. Not to get high and numb my pain, but so I could hate myself more. And the more drugs I’d take, the more I’d hate myself, so the more I’d have to take to punish myself. I’d read books about control freaks like myself completely losing it to drugs. And they scared the bejesus out of me.

Possibly ironically, I ended up working with substance abuse and raising and mentoring the children of drug addicts. Plus, I have enough recovering addicts in my life to write a book about it. Many have told me they take/took drugs because they can’t handle pain. I, on the other hand, revel in it. I take long baths in it. Which is probably why I never got addicted to substances. I’m too busy breaking my back chasing my next adrenaline kick. The pain fighting for it only fuels me on. That’s my drug. Tell me I can’t do something and I’ll break myself trying. I thrive on challenges.

My point with this post was not my paranoia about drugs, but pain. That inner dominatrix who is whipping its way around your life, causing havoc. Tell me, how many times have you punished yourself for something you did in the past? Once, twice, a thousand times? And how many times a day do you punish yourself for what you didn’t achieve that day, how much better you could be at x, y, z, or how you fucked up that one conversation with Mr Hot and Bothered, because, well, he was hot and bothered and you got confused and stumbled in your heels and went down like San Francisco in the great earthquake when he looked at you?

First, as Don Miguel Ruiz says (yes, I know I’m into his work a lot recently, but it always clears my mind): what’s the justice of you punishing yourself over and over again for the same thing? If you commit a crime you’re punished once. End of story. Better yet: you do something to balance out your actions. No, maybe you can’t give someone back the leg you broke in a fight, but you can work to help others learn to control their anger so they won’t break someone’s bones.

I always believe forgiveness is given the moment someone truly feels the impact of their actions and are willing to repent them instead of berating themselves, or numbing their pain with [insert poison of choice], or endlessly fucking themselves up because of their own self-loathing. Beause if they’re truly sorry for what they did, they use the event to turn their life around and become better people, not worse. That way, they can spend the rest of their life doing good instead of sitting moping about that one thing they fucked up. Because if they’re moping (see above: berating themselves, numbing the pain, or endlessly fucking up to keep feeling bad) it’s still all about them. It’s not truly about what they did to another person, but about how they feel about it. If it’s about the other person, they’d decide to service humanity instead of taking guilt trips.

Of course, it’s not that easy. Or maybe it’s easy once you have the answer, but as humans we react instinctively in ways that are completely idiotic. Such as holding onto the guilt instead of going out there and doing good. We feel we have to hold onto the guilt. Feel the need to punish ourselves. Feel we don’t deserve to be happy. While in fact, if we went out there and did some good, we’d help others and become happy ourselves. It’s simple. It just doesn’t seem that way when we’re guilt tripping.

Besides, we all fuck up. It’s part of being human. Unfortunately, we weren’t born with instruction manuals and some of us grew up in a way that taught us unsavory behavior. Once we realize how we’ve behaved we’re hit by guilt, but we weren’t in charge of our behavior. Not really. We never are until the day we become aware of our thinking habits and how they’re controlling our lives. And that’s a lifelong learning experience. So really, you should get over yourself because we all fuck up and depending on our backgrounds, we fuck up more or less. You don’t have to spend the rest of your life repenting your sins, but you’ll probably feel better when you start thinking about servicing others instead of thinking about yourself.

Secondly, if you’re punishing yourself on a daily basis, not because you fucked that one (or several) things up, but because you feel you need to be better (this is called perfectionism), you are wasting your time. If you want to be so goddamn perfect, then spend your time thinking lovely thoughts. They will lead to lovely actions. That will take you a lot closer to being perfect. (The writer of this blog post is making mental notes to remember her moments of insight.)

Punishing yourself may feel good, as you feel it’s a way to repent your mistakes, but it’s not. It’s a way to hold onto them. It’s a way of staying in a state of mind where you keep fucking up. It’s an excuse to fail. You’re actually being selfish. If you truly want to repent, go out there and sort your life out and do some good. The better a person you become, the better a place this world becomes. And that’s probably what the people you fucked over in the past would prefer, as opposed to you sitting reveling in guilt and shame, downing whiskey to numb your feelings, or fucking up your life to feel bad, meaning those around you get fucked up in the process.

What it truly comes down to is loving yourself. When you do, you act from that space. When you act from that space, you create good things in this world. When you create good things in this world, you earn forgiveness as you show you’ve changed. You show you’re willing to work for a better tomorrow, not just for yourself, but for others.

However, you’re speaking to someone who strives on challenges and discipline, while getting high on pain, so if you’re anything like me you may respond better to something like: get off your lazy fucking ass and do something for the world instead of moping about your own ineptitude or I’ll whip your ass three ways to Friday. (Or better yet if you’re speaking to me: “I don’t believe you can do it.” When you say those words, I’ll rise like a Phoenix from the ashes and flap about until I prove them wrong.)

But really, it all comes down to love, in the end. Using the punishment method, or the “I don’t believe you can do it method” is a lot less healthy, but it can be a starting point. Because the moment you get someone off their butt (or our of their guilt/shame/pity) they do something they feel worthy of being loved for. And that changes everything. Love should be there regardless, because we’re all just humans — we all fuck up. The best we can do is learn from our mistakes and become better people.

If you want to be punished, keep it to the bedroom. Or work out till you pass out from the pain. Or challenge yourself at work until you have all the adrenaline kicks and mental pain you need. It’s much better for all involved.

Recovering mental pain addict, over and out.

Want to change your patterns in life to become a more productive, happier and healthier person, thereby making the world a better place to be? Read my post Getting naked with Socrates…

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The ultimate fantasy…

Last week I was listening to an audiobook mentioning a quote from Le Petit Prince. It made me think. It made me think about how wrong I am sometimes. Most of the time. Because I don’t view life through my heart, but through my rational brain. Which, surprisingly, often is quite irrational. 

“It’s only with the heart that one can see rightly: what is essential is invisible to the eye.”   

It sounds beautiful doesn’t it? But as beautiful as it sounds it’s a difficult thing to do. To look with the heart. To see the world through the heart. Or maybe it’s not so much that it’s difficult as the fact that we’re unused to doing it. 

If you receive an angry message, what’s your first reaction? Do you calmly view the message through your heart, disengaging from what the person on the other end clearly is trying to make you feel? Are you feeling what’s beyond their anger, or are you focusing on your own sense of having been unjustly treated? Are you more intent on being right, or being angry, than letting go and viewing the situation through your heart? 

When you get stuck in traffic, do you look upon the situation using your heart? Blessing the fact that you have a car, you’re safe, you’ll get there in the end? Or do you focus all your anger on the frustration of being stuck in traffic? Do you get lost in your own anger? When you could focus your mind on things worth thinking about? 

When was the last time you replied to an email from your boss viewing the email through the heart? Typing a reply coming from the heart? Seeing them as a person rather than focusing on the petty problems of everyday work? 

When was the last time you dated someone, looking at them through the heart, not with fear for what they may do, or hope for how things will pan out? 

When was the last time you looked upon yourself, seeing yourself through your heart? Instead of judging yourself, or reasoning with yourself using knowledge, when was the last time you simply looked upon yourself using your heart? 

When was the last time you woke up looking at the world through your heart? Because it’s actually the only way of viewing the world that will truly assist you in living a happy and healthy life. Your so-called rational brain is focused on things that don’t serve you in the least. Such as being angry with the traffic. Holding onto grudges. Reliving the past. Stressing about the present. Getting annoyed with details that don’t matter. Creating a fantasy world that you think is real filled with all those things. A fantasy that’s nothing but a trap.

In short, I swear your brain is up to no good…unless it’s engaged in sex fantasies. That, at least, will make you feel better…but not as good as looking upon the world through your heart.

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