How I’ve learnt to embrace the fog in my life

The other day I woke up anticipating throwing my curtains open and saying good morning to the early winter sunshine. My plan was to spread myself out on the couch like an old drag queen and just lay there, very dramatically, for as long as the natural warmth would allow.

Well, my theatrics don’t always work out because I didn’t plan on being greeted by grey. Not just in the sky but all around me. Normally I get to see the city wake up with me but on this day I couldn’t even see the city. The city was fog.

Fog

This wasn’t in the script for my day.

So what does a drama queen that’s set herself on a path of positivity and positive affirmations and flowing with the flow of life do?

She sighs very, very deeply. And just short of pouting back to bed she drags the words of every self-help book back to mind and ‘re-configures’ her thoughts to positive. Positive. Positive. Ok. I can do this. I can do this. I can do this. “What a wonderful day”. Big smile.

Saying the affirmations over and over and over again she jumps in the shower and gets on with her day.

Did the morning go well? Yes. Did the fog lift? Yes. Did the sun shine? Yes……..eventually.

Just not when I was expecting it to.

20130222-101439.jpg

This is the thing about life. Sometimes we find ourselves in the middle of that fog. We have no idea what’s in front, what’s to the left to the right or what’s behind. All we see is grey. And then we pray and stay positive and expect. Something to happen.

And when nothing happens we start to doubt or fear or become despondent. And we start to question. Why is everything not happening according to my plan, my timings, and my needs?

Well, from what I have learnt from all the overhauls and make-over’s of my life, is that in becoming a better person or creating a better life, you need to have an extraordinary amount of patience.

It doesn’t happen overnight, in a few weeks or a few months. And voila! Then you’re cured. That’s it.

Oh no. You have to be in it for the long-term. This is a lifetime thing. This is a constant. This is a discipline. This is for. Ever. And Ever.

That’s right. Yes, I’m sighing. Don’t worry, it’s a good sigh.

When you start to doubt, fear or become despondent, try simply ‘getting on with your day’.

Just don’t STOP.

Because the fog does lift. And the sun does shine.

Just not always when you expecting it to.

No Jane of the Jungle: Part 2

2 years ago while in Korea I decided to put my big girl panties on and venture out into the jungle. The dating jungle that is. I really don’t know what possessed me to do such a thing. Perhaps it was one too many nights spent cuddling up with a book or some misguided fear of missing out.

Even though I had heard some nightmarish stories, I felt strangely brave and excited. I mean, how bad could it really be?

Let’s just say, that it was disastrous an eye-opening adventure. An adventure that led me to one realisation: I am No Jane of the Jungle.
I decided at that point to stick to my books, movies and numerous dates with chocolate cake.

As a result, my curves are now amp-ler, my cleavage is lots-er-er and my butt is cushioned-der-rer. I am packing in all the right places.

Luckily for me, I have since left the Land of the Skinny and am now living in a Place of Undulating Foothills and Mountainous Terrain (my home South Africa). I feel like a normal part of society again and not some alien fatty inhabiting the shores of a shapeless race.

With this new sense of normality came a false sense of optimism and confidence. Whilst not actively seeking to date I have been out.

Now, how can I put it to you? Ummmm….let me put it this way; I’m no longer in jungle territory, more like the open Wild.

In the jungle, I wasn’t sure what was lurking around, it was all foreign to me, including some of the animals. Now I’m in familiar territory. I can spot a baboon a mile away. I can see the vulture swooping in for the kill and I can hear the laughing hyena.

While the animals are now identifiable the behaviour is not. You think you keeping company with a lion in the meantime it’s a fox. You think you’re conversating with an elephant in the meantime it’s a parrot. You think you dining with a giraffe in the meantime it’s a pig.

I mean it’s very confusing. The evolution in the Wild is taking a different turn. I can’t keep up. So what I’ve now realised is that I’m no Jane of the Jungle nor am I a Winnie in the Wild.

So what am I?

I don’t yet know. What I am thinking though, is that I may have to stay indoors…….

and start collecting cats?

Soul Searching

“Out of suffering comes creativity. You cannot spell painting without pain.” John Lithgow

South Africa has been gifted a canvas of such natural beauty and diversity it leaves you breathless at times. Breathless at the sheer audacity and grace of the Artist and his/her depth of vision, generosity, and creativity.

If you’ve seen, heard or read anything in the news lately about South Africa that would be easy to forget. For, if you scratch a little below the surface what you’ll find is a strong undercurrent of powerlessness, and it’s close ally, hopelessness.

At some point, most, not some of us, have been knocked off our feet by that current, and by those, who feel the need to claim their power through senseless acts of violence.

It’s not as if we have ever denied that this country was built and sustained historically and politically through violence but perhaps we have been in denial about just how much it has spread through the veins of our social structures and about just how much it has become so every day.

So every day and so endemic.

So many questions and so few answers.

My personal beliefs are perhaps those of a small minority. I believe in energy, in flow, in tides, in seasons, in new ways of doing things, in new levels of consciousness, in sustainability, in community, in creativity, in the feminine, in forgiveness and in living in love.

I have referenced my father many times in this blog, and believe me, if he had just read the above paragraph, he would be saying by now, “What crap is this?”

Like my father, you and I may not believe in the same things and that’s ok but what would not be ok is if we collectively did not believe in hope. Hope for South Africa. Hope for re-discovering our collective soul. Hope for humanity.

Soul searching does not often happen in times of great joy and happiness. It happens in times of deep, dark despair. It happens in times of an achingly painful state of being. It happens in times when the stench of decay becomes unbearable and the rotting hatred of life too much.

For a country like South Africa where smart, strong, honest leadership is missing, it’s up to the small steps of one and giant leaps of many to claim it’s soul back.

“In a decaying society, art, if it is truthful, must also reflect decay. And unless it wants to break faith with its social function, art must show the world as changeable. And help to change it.” Ernst Fischer

If you still have it in you to dig a little deeper, to go into the depths of our complexities, to go beyond the violence and the depravity and the inhumanity, what you will find is communities.

20130312-125310.jpg

20130312-125512.jpg

Communities of artists and of activists, groups of people who’ve stepped beyond the threshold of commercial gain and into the realm of agents of change. People who are quietly leading the way in re-generating, re-birthing and re-energising parts of the city and country that have been left for dead, so to speak.

20130312-125429.jpg

People who are using design, fashion, food, art, music, theatre and comedy to re-suscitate this ailing heart that is South Africa. They are proving through cultural endeavours that we are still here. That beyond the corruption, the fraud, and the violence, those who believed in what freedom would bring post-1994, those who were inspired by the humanity of Nelson Mandela and those who believe in a bright future for South Africa, are still here.

20130312-125251.jpg20130312-125535.jpg

They are proving that there is still a heart beat in this country, and however faint or weak it might be, as long as it is there, we have hope.

Hope that one day the beauty of the canvas will be matched by the beauty of the collective soul.

 

 

20130312-125331.jpg

 

 

 

 

It’s My Party

And I’ll cry if I want to. That’s how I feel about every birthday. It’s your day, your date, your cake, your chosen arrival into this world, your celebration, yours, yours, yours…. and it’s your time to own it.

For me it’s the best time to reflect. To look back on a year that’s past and take into account everything that’s happened: the beautiful, the average and the ugly.

More often than not, when you do this, you marvel at everything you’ve accomplished and how far you’ve come (even in the failures) and it gives you that extra oomph to tackle the next year.

This morning while drinking my tea in bed I took some time to think about the last year and I reflected, I remembered and I let go.

In a year I’ve:

  • Lost some friends and made some new ones
  • Holidayed in Malaysia, Hong Kong, Beijing and New York
  • Knocked off an item on a childhood bucket list (the Great Wall)
  •  Re-discovered my passion for writing
  • Lived, a life of charm
  • Cried in buckets, laughed in buckets and puked in buckets (too many Long Island Ice Teas, it happens)
  • Evolved emotionally and spiritually through some heartache and heartbreak
  • Stayed the course on steering and manifesting a life of my choice, my liking and my responsibility

It’s easy to dwell on these things, to gloat in a sea of achievement and get stuck in an illusion of glory. But it’s also dangerous.

I’m proud of myself for the journey I’ve travelled thus far but I also realise that this list does not by any means reflect my biggest blessings for the year.

While I would say that receiving my father’s birthday gift in the post after 36 years of waiting, is right at the top of the list, it doesn’t quite top the list. Sorry Dad.

My biggest blessings this year are that I get to spend Christmas and New Year in my own country, that I get to celebrate it with my family, and that I get to do all this in summer.

In being away from home, I realised that we can climb the highest mountain, make the most money, drive the fanciest car, live in the biggest mansion and travel to the most exotic places but it all means nothing at the end of the year, at the end of your life and at the end of time.

The only things that really matter are those you love. And it was at this time of year, my birthday and Christmas that I really missed my family and friends. You know, the ones who put up with your bullshit and still offer a shoulder to cry on, the ones who give you everything when they have nothing and the ones who love you no matter what.

So after spending 2 summer’s away from home, from family, and from friends, I treasure all the calls and the messages I received today, I treasure the laughter and tears I’ve shared with all of you, I treasure the support but most importantly I treasure the love.

I hope that when you get to celebrate another year of your life, you reflect back on your list, give yourself a pat on the back and move on with a tidal wave of love and gratitude for the ones you love and who love you back.

Be blessed. Be thankful. Be love.

 

 

Dumped In Darkness

Downtown New York

Downtown New York (Photo credit: sreevishnu)

I was dumped. I was sad. I wallowed. I ate. I felt the disappointment.

I got up. I ate. I drank lots of coffee. I got dressed. I kept moving.

And I kept moving not because I’m some sort of saint-in-life, but because my survival depended on it.

The last I “spoke” to you I was falling in love with New York. I had questions about whether I could be vulnerable and questions about how far and how deep it could go. I was hopeful, I was glowing and I was very excited.

After a few weeks of that tingling feeling of living the New York life, almost overnight some bitch stormed in and whipped up her accomplices in a frenzy of jealous rage as if to say, “if I can’t have him no-one will”.

And that, as they say was that.

Pure darkness followed. Cut-off and cut-out, with no explanations.

All I can say is that these things happen in relationships and happen in life. Sometimes things fail, sometimes we fail and sometimes we don’t know why.

Storms come and they go. Sometimes big, sometimes small.

Storm Approaching Paradise - Coral Island, Phu...

Storm Approaching Paradise – Coral Island, Phuket, Thailand (Photo credit: Captain Kimo)

I wish I could assure you that by living a certain way or in a certain place would guarantee a life free of struggles and free of storms. I wish I could assure you that these storms would pass you by unscathed and untouched by heartbreak and destruction. And I wish I could assure you that when you do get knocked down it’s easy to get straight back up.

All I can assure you of is that life is all about getting back up. It doesn’t really matter how or when, but it does matter that you do.

When I woke up every morning ready to complain about the electricity or the bucket bath I remembered that there are those who go everyday without this ‘luxury’. I remembered that there were those who lost their lives, lost their home and lost their dreams in this storm.

New York also reminded me that with the loss or frustration or heartbreak that these storms bring, they also bring hope. The spirit of people, of communities, and of those who choose a profession that puts them in the front line of danger in order to protect and serve, restores faith.

And it was those people who choose everyday to protect and serve that got straight back up. And on the weight of their backs we all got back up.

It’s in these storms of life that we realise that as fragile as we are as humans, we are also resilient. And in being resilient we realise the depth of our inner strength. And in realising the depth of our inner strength we realise our capacity to love.

And it is in realising my capacity to love that I have come full circle. I got dumped, I felt the full gambit of emotions but I came back to a place of love. New York remains in my heart.

It’s given me a new sense of freedom, a new sense of hope and a new sense of attitude.

With these feelings I’ve come back home to South Africa to celebrate another year of my life, to embrace the love of my family over Christmas, to usher in a new year and move on.

I’m still groping in the dark with regards to my future, something a lot of people don’t understand, but that’s ok, because I know, whatever may come, I’ll always get straight back up. And I know you will too.