Tag Archives: Personal Development

Love is a beautiful battle…

A few weeks ago I was having a phone conversation with my best friend. I had flown to Athens to see her and was really looking forward to seeing her, so I was trying to arrange a meeting. She launched into a monologue about what her schedule looked like, that she never came into central Athens during the weekend, or evenings, when I was free, she was so busy and blah, blah, blah.

I had had a shit week, I had PMS and the one thing that kept me going was the idea of alone time, on a beach, or anywhere in nature, with my best friend. As I did have PMS I was struggling with an insane amount of thinking I was unlovable, so by the time I hung up the phone, ready to cry because somehow I had now triggered my best friend into treating me unlovingly as well, I felt like shit.

I knew I had to do two things: I had to tell my best friend she was behaving like a twat and I had to excuse myself for, most likely, trying to provoke her into behaving like a twat. Because if you feel unlovable, you provoke people into doing things to prove you right. And you have to understand, when I have PMS you can tell me I have coffee on my nose and I will think you hate me, or that you are the biggest idiot alive, the world has come to an end and we can all just prepare for doomsday.

So I wrote my best friend a funny message about PMS where I pointed out the above. As it turned out, she had turned around and just yelled at her boyfriend a few hours later and he had calmly picked up the calendar and told her she had PMS.

She had had social demands on her, for a week, so when I told her to come into Athens she lost it, because she had PMS.

I didn’t enjoy messaging my friend to sort out whatever weird “actions” (drama school language for mental as well as physical actions we have towards people) and purposes (drama school language for what our psychological gain is for doing something) we had during that conversation, but my relationship with her is a lot more valuable to me than my discomfort is discomforting.

Which brings me to the next point.

Last night I came home after a long day. I had been rockclimbing the day before (amazing!) and spent all of yesterday out with friends. You see, last week, I decided that it was time for me to do what I love in order to build my spirit and regain my strenght, so as to have strenght to work and get back to the kids after visa hick-up number four. I had an incredbile weekend, but I was physically spent. That’s when I received a message from my baby girl in Cape Town.

As some of you know I help raise a pair of ten-year-old twins and their now one-year-old baby brother in the township and I’ve fought visas and adoption rules for about four years; having known them for five. This journey is the hardest journey I’ve ever had and I’ve been on the brink of emotional collapse more than once.

Last night I got all these messages saying she loves me, the baby has taken his first steps, and then she sent me this crying emoji and I asked her why. She’s like “it’s just the baby ❤ ❤ ❤ ” and I said I wish I was there to hold him and she sent the below picture. Cue me bursting into tears. She even found an image with the right skin tones. I don’t know why that made me more emotional, but it did.

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I had just been thinking of how tired I am. I have spent you don’t want to know how much money setting up a business and going round the world on a visa mission to be with these kids and I’ve messed up my career, my social life and my life in general and I’m beyond exhausted. Sometimes I don’t know how to keep going.

At that moment, all I wanted was a hug. Not from a friend, but from a man. It’s all I’ve wanted since I started helping the kids, because I’ve wanted someone to be there for me. Support me. Not do my job for me, just be there. Just hug me. And it’s the kind of intimacy you’ll never get from a friend, because it feels different. Friends help, but a relationship is intimate on a whole other level.

Yet, a few weeks ago when I was talking to my coach and he was giving me “love goals” I was telling him I didn’t understand how to achieve them, because let’s face it: I might know a gazillion things about relationships, and I might get 800 men swiping right on Tinder in a few weeks (true story, ego hallelujah), but falling in love makes me feel so terribly uncomfortable (unlovable and not good enough) that I spend most of my time trying to become perfect (impossible) and end up giving up on the whole thing because it’s too uncomfortable feeling like I’m not perfect.

This is when my coach told me that he’s seen me with the kids for five years and no matter what life threw me, I didn’t stop. Nothing stopped me.

I remember thinking when gran got senile and I was helping her in the bathroom, that love isn’t pretty, but it is beautiful. Love isn’t easy, but it is worth it. And my childhood didn’t make it easy for me to accept love, instead I strove to be perfect feeling I wasn’t good enough. I’ve often felt my adult life has been a long fight of not giving into the demons of my childhood; a long fight of opening myself up to love and joy and letting go of depression and self-hatred.

The question maybe I should ask myself is this: if my kids and best friend are worth me overcoming my demons, my fears and my discomfort, maybe my own happiness (a.k.a being loved by a man I truly have a connection with) would be worth the same? It’s a question of will.

I’m not perfect. My best friend isn’t perfect. My gran wasn’t perfect. My kids aren’t perfect. But we are all perfectly lovable. And it is perfectly possible to create great relationships. You just wade through the discomfort, is all. Because it is worth it.

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Image Source: https://za.pinterest.com/pin/507780926727114399/

 

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The milk and cookies rebound…

We’ve all had one right? A rebound. The restoration shag, or date, or…just about anything goes so long as it’s not Him or Her. It’s like milk and cookies when having a bad day: it restores your mind and heart by giving you a rush. You’re no longer down in the dumps, you’re functioning again. You might even see the rainbow after the rain.

For that reason, I am all pro rebounds. You went from being down in the dumps to functional. Realized there were more people to date than your ex. Marvelous. Or if you were onto the milk and cookies rebound, you found some energy and realized the world wasn’t half as bad as you thought half an hour ago. Again: marvelous.

Restoration shags/dates/cookies, if you so like, are one way of getting out of the dumps and back into the world of the living. The problem (you knew that was coming, didn’t you?)? The problem is that if you’re constantly living your life in reaction to events, you are no longer the captain of your ship (mind and body).

You had a bad day, so you call your friend to go for drinks, to take your mind off the day. That means you aren’t going there to enjoy the company of your friend and the bar; you’re going there to get away from your thoughts about the day. Which means you aren’t likely solving whatever problem is bugging you either.

In other words, what’s your end result for the evening? Moping about your problems, running away from them, or having fun with your friend?

That’s not to say that venting, getting love and encouragement from a friend, or taking your mind off things, isn’t a good idea. It can be a great idea. If that’s what you want to create. If that’s what your heart desires.

The thing is, we do all sorts of shit just because of how we are feeling in the moment. We try to release whatever tension we’re holding around something by doing something else. If what you truly want is to create a relationship with your soulmate, going to a bar to find someone to shag is not going to get you any closer, unless intuitively you know that going to that bar that night will take you closer to your goal.

Rebound techniques are similar to simply unleashing our frustration. Like, you know, wanting to create an amazing relationship with someone, only to yell at them when they say, or do something that hurts you. Do you really think you’ll create what you’d love (an amazing relationship), by trying to hurt them because you feel hurt?

Whether you’re feeling frazzled, or happy, stop. Ask yourself what you’d love to create right now. What would you truly love to create? Then take obvious action.

If you’re feeling lonely one night, then curling up on the couch with a movie and a bucket of ice cream might make you feel better, but what becomes obvious is that you should find something to do where you meet people. Possibly not that night, but for the future. Open Google and do some work on that, then you can have the ice cream and the movie.

Quick fixes are sometimes brilliant solutions as they get you in the right frame of mind for creating what you’d love, but remember that if you want to create long term highs, you need to ask yourself what you’d truly love to create, not just resolve the psychological tension around whatever’s bugging you at the moment.

Aniston and Butler in a photo shoot for W Magazine. Unfortunately there are no cookies in there, but see, I found at least one sexy picture with milk… 

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Life’s a bitch and then you have an orgasm…

Do you ever complain about life? I do. Life can be a bitch sometimes. Seriously. And there are times when you despair. You’ve banged your head against the same wall for what seems like an eternity. Every door that opened got slammed in your face, or led to a dead end. Your thoughts start circling in a negative downspiral and life starts feeling like it sucks.

This year I decided to pull my head out of the gutter. However, there have been a few slamming doors this year too and after walking head first into a door rather recently I started despairing. I thought I’d be stuck in the same situation forever. And as one thing was tied to another, that was tied to another, that was tied to another, I felt trapped. Like I’d never find a way out. The kids I help raise are in Cape Town, so I need to get back. For that reason I can’t change jobs, can’t do this, can’t do that, am financially strapped…and I have felt very stuck for a very long time.

Have I felt like a victim and pitied myself? Oh you have no idea. Have I gotten angry and wanted to punch a number of government officials? Hell to the yes. Have I panicked and felt like the lousiest extra parent in the world and hated myself for it? Gosh, you have no idea what a terrible person I am and how much I can possibly hate myself. Have I awoken in a state of panic from dreams of the kids, screaming, hyper ventilating, or crying? Way too many times to count. Sometimes I’m scared of sleeping.

Have I wanted to give up? Yes. I’ve felt like there is no strenght left in me. Like I’ll never win this fight. Like there’s no joy left in life. Like there is no way out of this blooming visa-adoption-career nightmare.

This year I decided to choose art. Choose poetry. Choose magical moments. Choose to believe that what I can do for the kids is a blessing, not that what I can’t do is a curse. In general, do what I can to enjoy what I can. When a door closes a window opens. It is all about that window. About the moment. About what you can do.

Some times are harder than others. It’s inevitable…and sometimes we invite it by doing something utterly stupid. We need to forgive ourselves. Give ourselves the gift of allowing ourselves to enjoy the moment. Give that joy to others. And slowly change our life and that of those around us simply by growing flowers in the mud. As the story goes, I prefer satin and Egyptian cotton sheets, but there’s nothing saying you can’t have an orgasm on whatever you picked up at Ikea. And I’m talking about the sheets you pick up there, not the men. Should Ikea come up with an invention for “easy-to-put-together-Scandinavian-men” that included the perfect user manual maybe I’d consider it, but Scandinavian men are generally not my type. I prefer the more exotic version…

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Poem No. 69: Desire of Life. Writing poetry for Magique is one of the things that’s resurrected my spirits this year. Poetry, to me, is like growing flowers in the mud when you focus on the beauty of life. This poem was written today. More poetry can be found here

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Brave heart…

this is my heart

It’s easy to be wise – it’s harder to convince your emotions just how wise you are. It takes years of practice not to run with every ridiculous impulse you have and yet years to learn to run with the true impulses, those that come from your spirit, your heart. It take year of practice to learn to listen to your thoughts; to really hear what’s going on within and be able to disregard the thoughts that count not and listen to the ones that do. To make a decision to act from the place you truly want to act from, rather than acting from a place of fear, of over the top excitement, of disappointment, or grief. It takes pratice to be true to you.

It takes bravery to follow your passions – to dare to lose that which you desire the most. To dare to give up what you do not desire at all and some things you really like, so as to reach what you truly love. We can’t have it all, but we can have this moment. It is within it we need to live and choose, choose every step of our journey now. It is in the now we practice to be whom we must to reach to where we want and at the same time be here, be now. Live. Breathe. Fully explore our hearts. Listen. Feel. Really be present to who we are; what we need. Fully enjoy the miracle of life in all its pain and pleasure.

And may I ask you this: if you had no fear, what would you do now? If you relaxed and instead of trying to do something, just did it, how would life feel? If you followed your heart, where would you end up? Those are the questions I ask myself and patiently await an answer…

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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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The Dalai Lama…

Gendun Drup, 1st Dalai Lama

Image via Wikipedia

“We can live without religion and meditation, but we cannot survive without human affection.” – Dalai Lama. I think the man has a point (no, really? The Dalai Lama???…) We grow our businesses, we grow our social networks, we grow our bank accounts…but do we grow our affection for friends, family and lovers? Do we sit down to think about how we can build our relationships? How we need to be loved? How we can love more?

“I believe that the very purpose of life is to be happy. From the very core of our being, we desire contentment. In my own limited experience I have found that the more we care for the happiness of others, the greater is our own sense of well-being. Cultivating a close, warmhearted feeling for others automatically puts the mind at ease. It helps remove whatever fears or insecurities we may have and gives us the strength to cope with any obstacles we encounter. It is the principal source of success in life. Since we are not solely material creatures, it is a mistake to place all our hopes for happiness on external development alone. The key is to develop inner peace.” I have said this before, but when our focus shifts from what people think about us, what we want from them, to what we can give them our own fear of judgment (ego) subsides and we experience the person and relationship in a new light. There is also a lot of fulfillment in the act of giving. I keep wondering: if we were all brought up to save the world, rather than to think about the “perks” we want…our own personal success…what would the world look like? Where would our focus be? On peace, on material wealth for all, on great health, on solutions… Now it’s a lot about Porsches…about “look at what I achieved for me.”

“In the practice of tolerance, one’s enemy is the best teacher.” “This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.” To bear this in mind when we are angry, sad, frustrated, upset…who is it we want to be? Never mind the other person – WHO ARE WE? How do you want to see yourself? How do you act FROM THAT PLACE??? And how do you look after YOUR TEMPLE?

“As human beings we all want to be happy and free from misery… we have learned that the key to happiness is inner peace. The greatest obstacles to inner peace are disturbing emotions such as anger, attachment, fear and suspicion, while love and compassion and a sense of universal responsibility are the sources of peace and happiness.” What do you do every day to feel peace and happiness? And how do you change all other emotions to peace and happiness? Do you allow yourself to go off on tangents just because you get an adrenaline/testosterone kick, or do you bring yourself back to peace and happiness asap?

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” What actions do you take on a daily basis that make you happy? Which actions would you love to take?

“We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.” When we blame, when we yell and scream at others…where does it come from?

“Where ignorance is our master, there is no possibility of real peace.” What small pains, annoyances and disturbances are you ignoring? What little thorns do you need to deal with to make you happy? To make your relationships happy? To make your business/career thrive?

“If you have fear of some pain or suffering, you should examine whether there is anything you can do about it. If you can, there is no need to worry about it; if you cannot do anything, then there is also no need to worry.” I realized this one day when I was thinking of my fear of illness and death (my mom died from cancer in her thirties) – whatever happens I will live through it…so I might as well just be happy in the process! Where you put your focus determines you happiness to a large extent. For example: the other day I got upset about my knee. I can’t really go running that often anymore and as soon as I stand up for days in a row, it goes wonky. So I started despairing, because I wanted to go running and in my head a I saw a scenario of not being able to go jogging for forever. But either I can think of that, or about all the blessings in my life. After all, I can still run. I can still walk. I can still dance!!!!!!!!!! I live a blessed life.

“If you don’t love yourself, you cannot love others. You will not be able to love others. If you have no compassion for yourself then you are not able of developing compassion for others.” “With realization of one’s own potential and self-confidence in one’s ability, one can build a better world.” So many times you meet people who want to have many things in life only to prove they are worth something, instead of finding their inherent worth. Whether they need to have a new hottie by their side every day, or win a prize for their abilities…the path becomes about proof of worthiness rather than love.

“To be aware of a single shortcoming within oneself is more useful than to be aware of a thousand in somebody else. Rather than speaking badly about people and in ways that will produce friction and unrest in their lives, we should practice a purer perception of them, and when we speak of others, speak of their good qualities.” We all need to analyze and understand things at times and we may speak of our process, but one needs to remember that whatever one says it will color other people’s perception of the world. To say you want a happy relationship, or a happy career…I believe you have to understand that first you need to find the love in you, the love for others and the love for the path you now choose to walk.

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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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