Thursday, 20 February 2014

Chasing a life that doesn't belong to you

My friend Laura watched an Oprah interview with Caroline Myss the other day and wrote down this sentence.  It is one of those collection of words that gives me goosebumps.  

She said, "People suffer when they pursue a dream or chase a life that doesn't belong to them."   

I just love the words ... " a life that doesn't belong to them."  You can replace 'them' with 'me', and say " a life that doesn't belong to me."  How does that feel in your body when you say that? I pondered that this morning and it took me to all kinds of places and to nowhere and then back full circle. Here are some of the thoughts that came up for me when writing about it.

My first thought was that it doesn't really apply to me because I am doing so many of my joys; I am doing a writing course; working on personal growth retreats and workshops; blogging; running my women's circles; working through books like the Firestarter Sessions and of course my yoga which I try to do three times a week. So I am really into all the stuff that makes my heart sing.  And as I went deeper and deeper into it, and the writing took me all over and then even to a part where I said, "this feels like its fucking going nowhere," I finally got to the bottom line.  I wrote "a life that doesn't belong to me is one where I am just too busy fighting the reality that I don't have the space for all I want to do even though I have such a burning desire to do it all!" So there's a revelation brought to light!  I might be doing all the stuff that makes my heart sing, but then that joy is eroded by the angst of trying to pack it all in; by the irritation at my family because I have to look after them; by not getting enough sleep because I didn't get to read my book today; by shallow breathing because I am so busy rushing; by not having enough time for my husband and our relationship and by feeling that everyone including my little old dog and my feisty cats are eroding my time!  Wow.  So I will quietly step off that pedestal and take back those first thoughts, and be grateful for the insight into the angst I have been feeling of late.  I can't say I have the answer as to how to fix that all, but I have something to work with, gently, as my friend Anne says.

What also came to light for me, were all kinds ideas about my life such as studying something that didn't belong to me; being the kind of mommy that doesn't belong to me; doing work that doesn't belong to me and doing the type of community work that doesn't belong to me.  All of these kinds of lives and roles, have left me feeling out place and less than, more times than I can contemplate.  I wish I could say that all of that happened years ago; but I bow my head and gently shake it.

Finally, a sentence in my writing piece that also stood out for me is, "How about 'chasing a life for my children that doesn't belong to me?'"  Oooh!  My perceptions of how their life should unfold and what they should be doing has also brought huge angst for me; their lives do not belong to me. How I would like them to perform on the sports field, at school, socially and in life may not be a life that belongs to me, that is destined for me.  Another biggie for me.

So pondering this statement has been a really worthwhile exercise for me to do. Thank you Caroline Myss and Laura.

Monday, 17 February 2014

My Wabi-Sabi Self

My hubby recently came back from a trip to New York with the January/February copy of Experience Life magazine, saying that he thought there were some articles in it that I would enjoy. He was spot on.  I was absolutely delighted to find this article by Jessie Sholl, and to be introduced to the Japanese philosophy of wabi sabi.   (Don't you just love that name!!)

From Wikipedia, I gleaned the following definitions of both words.  ''Wabi now connotes rustic simplicity, freshness or quietness, and can be applied to both natural and human-made objects, or understated elegance. It can also refer to quirks and anomalies arising from the process of construction, which add uniqueness and elegance to the object. Sabi is beauty or serenity that comes with age, when the life of the object and its impermanence are evidenced in its patina and wear, or in any visible repairs.'

In the article, the writer introduces it as follows, "I learned about the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi, or 'imperfect beauty.'  The concept has its roots in the traditional Japanese tea ceremony and is sometimes explained by using the example of a well-loved tea cup, made by an artist's hands, cracked or chipped by use.  Such traces remind the observer that nothing is permanent - even fixed objects are subject to change."  Of-course I was now intrigued: tea ceremony and a deep, meaningful philosophy on life!  That is definitely a concept to share on my blog.

Jessie talks about how she noticed her body starting to age, her feelings about it and even the change in how people viewed her and addressed her.  She mentions how at first it really bothered her, but how she slowly realised that 'lamenting lost youth was, at best, an exercise in futility.'  She quotes Richard Powell in his book, "Wabi Sabi Simple" where he acknowledges three simple realities:  "Nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect."  What a simple, realistic and powerful perspective on life.  I think it would alleviate so much heartache and angst for many of us, let alone all the physical pain some people put themselves through to change what they believe are flaws.

She also talks about how the wabi sabi philosophy gives a different perspective to our Western ideal of beauty, which originally stems from classical Greece and which celebrates smooth, symmetrical perfection. Wabi Sabi however, prizes authenticity. " The cracks in the old tea cup are seen as assets rather than flaws."  I just love that.  I also love how she encourages us to adopt a wabi-sabi outlook and how it can be both eye opening and mind opening.  "By perceiving ourselves through this generous lens, we can stop endlessly striving for the ideal body and focus instead on real physical health."  And I want to add to that and say give gratitude for our bodies, for the health of our bodies and deep appreciation for what they allow us to do.

I'm definitely going to be doing a bit more research on wabi-sabi.  Here are two books that I am putting on my wish list ... 

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Find What You Love

I found this interesting article on Angela Deutschmann's FB page.  The article by the concert pianist, James Rhodes, focuses on  following your joy wholeheartedly and doing what you love; doing what makes your heart sing.  There is also a short video clip where he plays a piece by Beethoven brilliantly . I really enjoyed it!  I hope you do too ... Find what you love

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Tea Time in Langkloof

During the holidays on route to the Eastern Cape Coast, we happened upon this little gem, The Kliphotel Country Store, looking for ... not a cup of tea, but rather some take away coffee for the journey.  I would however have loved to have had some tea on the stoep because it was just so quaint.  

We did have some time to browse the store and much to my delight, we found some really lovely  things.  Among them, which of course I just had to buy and share ...

 and ...

and how wonderful is this one 

So if you ever do find yourself along Route 62 near Langkloof, make sure you schedule some time in the travel budget to pop in for a cup of tea on the stoep and some delightful shopping! Alternatively, you can browse their websitePretti Cool

Friday, 7 February 2014

My Favourite Tree in the Local Village

I love trees.  There is something magical about them.  I drive passed this tree at least fives times a week, numerous times a day and I have loved it ever since we moved here.  I need to find out the name of it, but whatever it maybe it certainly brightens my day at this time of the year watching it come into bloom!

A local has set up a little take-away shop in it's shade and here are some people buying snacks on their way home from work today.  (Wish I could have moved the car out of the way!)

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Own Unique Essence

In the holidays I finished reading the book, 'Dying To Be Me' by Anita Moorjani.  It is a beautiful book with such a powerful message and I would recommend it to everyone.  In fact if I had it my way, it would be a compulsory school read for Life Skills.  Oh wow - that would be magical.  Anita had a Near Death Experience (NDE) after going into a coma and experiencing organ failure from advanced stages of cancer. When she came out of her coma she experienced a complete miraculous healing that baffled doctors and oncologists all over.

I want to share some of the paragraphs in the book that really spoke to me ...

"I saw my life intricately woven into everything I had known so far.  My experience was like a single thread woven through the huge and complexly colorful images of an infinite tapestry.  All the other threads and colors represented my relationships, including every life I had touched ... whether they had related to me in a positive or negative way.  Every single encounter was woven together to create the fabric that was the sum of my life up to this point.  I may have been only one thread, yet I was integral to the overall finished picture.
Seeing this I understood that I owed it to myself, to everyone I met, and to life itself to always be an expression of my own unique essence.  Trying to be anything or anyone else didn't make me better - it just deprived me of my true self!  It kept others experiencing me for who I am and it deprived me of interacting authentically with them.  Being inauthentic also deprives the universe of who I came here to be and what I came to express."

I really sat with that for a while because we hear so much about living authentically, but her last sentence really stood out for me as I had never thought of it that way; by not being true to ourselves, we deprive the universe, not just ourselves.  That held a big weight for me.  "Each one of us is a gift to those around us, helping each other be who we are, weaving a perfect picture together."

She also goes on to say, "You may frown or cringe at the thought, but I can't stress how important it is to cultivate a deep love affair with yourself.  I don't recall ever being encouraged to cherish myself - in fact, it would never even have occurred to me to do so.  It's commonly thought of as being selfish.  But my NDE allowed me to realise that this was the key to my healing ... I understood that to be me is to be love.  This is the lesson that saved my life"  

How powerful is that?  As a parent, I think that that is the most important lesson you can show your children. By just being yourself, giving yourself permission to be who you truly are, you are loving yourself and automatically loving those around you.

"I knew that was really the only purpose of life: to be our self, live our truth, and be the love that we are."

Okay, no need to say any more!  I strongly recommend you get yourself a copy of this amazing book and share it with as many people as possible.